Has Brexit Meant More Apostilles for UK Citizens?
Colloquially, I believe the answer is yes. Since leaving the EU, I have seen a huge increase in the number of clients contracting with EU Member States seeking an Apostille. Whether this is a personal experience or evidence of something more serious is something I am trying to ascertain. To that end, I have just submitted a Freedom of Information Request to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to try to obtain some hard statistics on the matter.
As an example, I have many clients who are buying or selling property in Spain. In order to do this, they are asked by Spanish lawyers to provide a Power of Attorney, a translation of that document and a notarised copy of each page of their passport. Yes, you read that correctly, each page. That will all require at least 2 Apostille certificates, if not 3.
Furthermore, those who intend to spend more than 90 days in the EU are now having to apply for visas. In the last few weeks, I have dealt with 3 such applications, each requiring the following documents:
Passports (each page notarised and an Apostille on the photo page)
Birth Certificates of Children (with Apostille)
Marriage Certificate (with Apostille)
Health Insurance Certificate (Notarised with Apostille)
Evidence of Funds (Notarised with Apostille)
ACRO Criminal Record Check (with Apostille)
Assuming a client wanted this done within a week, that would set them back around £1000 per person. If the UK was an EU Member State, that client would not require any of this.
The story is similar if clients are intending to marry in the EU. There is a requirement for notarised and apostille certificates.
But to answer the question which sits at the top of this page, even in advance of the FOI response, I believe the answer is a solid yes. As this page suggests (https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/family/couple/getting-public-documents-accepted/index_en.htm) inter-EU citizens can have public documents automatically recognised without such authentication. What is interesting, is that this rule permitting the automatic recognition of such documents came into force in 2016 with the REGULATION (EU) 2016/1191 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 6 July 2016. The UK was still in the EU at the time and this might explain why I am now seeing such an increase in the number of Apostille requests; as UK public documents are no longer automatically recognised in the EU.
I will write a further article on this matter when the FCDO respond to my FOI request.