When do I need an Apostille?

February 18, 2021

The general rule is that for any official document issued in a foreign country to be valid and recognised in another, the document will need to legalised, or in the case of countries party to the Apostille Convention apostilled.

Exemption within the EU

As part of the EU’s administrative cooperation EU Regulation 2016/1191 came into effect on the 16th February 2019, simplifying the circulation of public documents between EU member States, and it applies to:

  • Administrative documents (such as certificates)
  • Notarial acts
  • Judgments
  • Consular documents

Said Regulation establishes an exemption from the Apostille, between EU member States, for these documents when they relate to the following subject matters:

  • Birth
  • A person being alive
  • Death
  • Name
  • Marriage (including capacity to marry and marriage status)
  • Divorce
  • Legal separation or marriage annulment
  • Registered partnership (including capacity to enter into a registered partnership and registered partnership status)
  • Dissolution of a registered partnership, legal separation or annulment or a registered partnership
  • Parenthood
  • Adoption
  • Domicile and/or residence
  • Nationality
  • Absence of a criminal record
  • Right to vote and stand as a candidate in municipal/EU Parliament elections

Furthermore, the Regulation also establishes an exemption from translations, under certain conditions. This means that if the original document is not issued in a multilingual format, you will be able to request a Multilingual Standard Form from the issuing authority, which saves on translation costs.

What about the UK?

The UK was of course an EU member State at the time that the Regulation was passed, but some people may be wondering if this exemption continues to apply to documents issued by UK authorities after Brexit.

Said Regulation was applicable in the UK immediately before the implementation period completion day (31st December 2020), which means that, in accordance with Section 3 of the European Union Withdrawal Act 2018 and Section 25 of the European Union Withdrawal Agreement Act 2020, the Regulation forms part of “retained EU law” and continues to apply after the 31st December 2020, until further notice.

Gabriella Mary Trussler Rowland
4408 Ilustre Colegio de Abogados de Almería