Want to retain your EU Citizenship post-Brexit?

With the prospective Brexit date of March 29th creeping ever closer, many British citizens are gearing up to try and claim citizenship in one of the remaining EU member states. Recent data shows that the number of British citizens successfully acquiring citizenship for another European Union country has more than doubled since 2016, the very year the Brexit referendum took place. If ensuring you retain your status as a citizen of an EU state is part of your plan, what do you need to begin the process?

In this article

jess petch

This week’s blog post is brought to you by our Certificates Administrator, Jess Petch, who specialises in all types of personal documents for the UK.

What We’ll Cover

  • The documents you’ll need to apply for citizenship

  • What the process of legalisation means

  • What an Apostille is and how to get one

Which documents will I need to make a citizenship claim?

Your birth certificate is going to be key to this process, either as evidence in showing your relation to a national of the country you want to gain citizenship of, or just as part of proving your identity. If showing an ancestral link, you may be asked in your application to provide the birth certificates of your parents, or even grandparents!

It is very important that the documents you present to the authorities are the long-form version, showing parents’ details as well as your own; this is because a short-form certificate is not a comprehensive document and only lists limited details, making them impractical for use in establishing identity. If you have been adopted, you will be asked to supply your adoption certificate as this is your legal document and supersedes your original certificate of birth – your natural birth record becomes more of a historic document and cannot be used for any official purposes.

You may also be asked to provide a marriage certificate; again, as part of proving a relationship. If you have a parent or spouse who is a national of another EU member country, providing the marriage certificate will support your application for citizenship.

What’s Next?

So, you’ve acquired all the documents you need to support your application – great! But have you considered the fact that these documents may need to be legalised? You might have come across the term before, or heard the words ‘attestation’ or ‘apostille’ mentioned whilst looking into the process. But what does any of it mean?

Legalisation, Attestation and Apostilles

Legalisation and attestation are interchangeable terms and refer to the process of having a document authenticated for use in another country. Part of this process involves having an apostille applied.

An apostille is a government-issued stamp which indicates to officials in other countries that the document has been checked and recognised as genuine.

But why would you need an Apostille?

Let’s say you are wanting to obtain citizenship in Germany and need to present your birth certificate to the government officials there. The German government would be able to tell immediately whether a German birth certificate is genuine because they know the key features to look out for. However, they do not necessarily know how to establish that a British birth certificate is genuine as they are not familiar with the signs that indicate its authenticity. By having an apostille applied to the certificate, it tells the German authorities that the British government have inspected the document and confirmed that it is genuine. It saves everyone a lot of time and makes the whole process easier!

For most countries, that’s as much legalisation as you’ll need. But depending on where you are presenting your documents, you may be required to have further attestation carried out before the country accept your document as genuine. This could be at the Embassy of the country you are wanting to present to, or in the country itself at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (or both!). Some countries also require the document to be translated before they’ll accept it, so it’s important to clarify the requirements before beginning your legalisation. For the vast majority of EU countries, the apostille will be enough but our advisers will be able to confirm this for you.

It’s important to remember that an apostille can only be applied in the country where the document originated. Therefore, a British birth certificate will be required to have the apostille applied in Britain. If we are obtaining a replacement copy of your birth certificate for you, consider adding on the apostille process to your order if you require it – it will save you a lot of time having the process completed all at once as opposed to having to send it back for legalisation!

We’re Here to Help

If you have any further questions regarding obtaining certificates or having them legalised, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! You can chat to our team now by giving us a call on +44 (0) 330 088 1142, use our live chat system, send us a text message via WhatsApp or e-mail us at sales@vitalcertificates.co.uk.

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Jess Petch
Jess is the Certificate Administrator at Vital Certificates. She specialises in obtaining personal documents in the UK as well as assisting the legalisation team, uniquely bridging her knowledge between the two sectors. Outside of her role at Vital, she enjoys a range of pastimes including various creative projects, gaming, and is mum to calico cat Munchie.
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