Getting a birth certificate recognised in another country can sometimes prove to be a challenge © 

It's one thing to move country, but quite another to get all your paperwork approved. Establishing the authenticity of public documents such as birth or marriage certificates can sometimes prove challenging. MEPs will vote on Tuesday 4 February on new legislation aiming to simplify the procedures for getting certain public documents accepted within the EU. This should help to cut down on red tape and make it easier for people to settle in another member state.

To make living, working or studying abroad easier, the new legislation will eliminate some of the existing formalities, which are often expensive and time consuming. For example, it will be easier to get a birth certificate recognised, have a house or a company registered, to get married, or to request a residence card.

The new rules would establish EU standard forms for documents, which will eliminate the need for translations, as well as the acceptance of non-certified copies and translations. It would also improve administrative cooperation between member states by using a common system to check the authenticity of documents. In addition some public documents would be exempt from having to have the signature and stamp on it verified.

The simplification will apply to certain public documents, such as those concerning birth, death, name, marriage, registered partnership, parenthood, adoption, residence, citizenship, nationality, real estate, legal status and representation of a company or other undertaking, intellectual property rights and the absence of a criminal record..

This is an important improvement from the situation today, as people and companies usually have to prove the authenticity of their documents and use certified copies and certified translations bearing the stamp of an official translator, often valid only in the country where the translator lives.

Bernhard Rapkay, a German member of the S&D, is responsible for steering the legislation through Parliament. His report was approved by the legal committee on 17 December 2013.