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The validity of documents issued by public authorities in the context of the Emergency State

By means of Decree no. 195/2020 on the establishment of emergency state on Romanian territory it was established that the validity of the documents issued by the public authorities shall be maintained during the emergency state period.

Additionally, Military Ordinance no. 3 on prevention methods against the spread of COVID-19 adopted on 24.03.2020 provides that documents issued by the public authorities that will expire during the emergency state period shall be subject to renewal in a 90 days term from the termination of the emergency state.

Although we assume that the intention was for these provisions to be generally applicable, as regards any type of documents issued by Romanian public authorities, many questions have appeared in the public space with respect to this matter and the approach of the authorities is different from case to case.

The provisions should be interpreted in the sense that:

» documents which will expire during the emergency state and which have a fixed validity period, with the possibility for prolongation or renewal before this validity period expires, shall be considered valid throughout the entire emergency state, to which 90 days shall be added, during which the holders shall be able to initiate formalities for their prolongation/renewal;

» documents which will expire during the emergency state and which are not susceptible to prolongation/renewal, shall be considered valid throughout the entire emergency state and their expiration date shall be the termination date of the emergency state.

Up to now, a series of public authorities have issued official statements in view of application/supplementation of these provisions:

» Bucharest General Directorate for Persons Record announced that documents issued by this institution and by the Community Public Services for Persons Record from Bucharest Districts 1-6, namely identity cards and temporary identity cards, which are to expire during the emergency state period, shall maintain their validity on the entire Romanian territory. Applications for the issuance of new identity documents, in the case of documents expired during this time, may be submitted in a 90 days term as of the termination of the emergency state.

» General Inspectorate for Immigration has suspended the activity of acceptance of applications for issuance of travel documents, residence permits, approvals of family reunification for beneficiaries of an international protection form, as well as for suspension of receipt of applications for restitution of national passports, for issuance of copies of documents or for rectifications of the data from the personal file. In case the validity of the documents issued by the General Inspectorate for Immigration expires during the emergency state, they will be automatically prolonged until termination of this state.

» General Directorate for Driving Licenses and Car Registration has announced that the documents issued by territorial public community services for driving licenses and car registration, namely driving licenses, temporary travel permits, as well as the proofs replacing the registration certificates and driving licenses that will expire during the emergency state period, shall be deemed valid on the entire Romanian territory until the termination of the emergency state. Also, the applications for renewal may be submitted within a term of 90 days as of the termination date of the emergency These regulations will be also applicable to the documents necessary for the operations of registration/examination/renewal of driving license (such as authenticity certificate, medical chart, education file) that will expire during the emergency state period.

However, according to a communication of the National Company for Road Infrastructure Administration, vignettes are not considered to be part of the documents issued by public authorities whose validity shall be extended until the termination of the emergency state, but their validity shall expire at the end of the last day of the period for which the tariff was paid, as per the general rule.

Similarly, the Romanian Automotive Register announced that validity of the periodical technical inspection certificates will not be extended since they are not documents issued by public authorities.

»Passport General Directorate has suspended the acceptance of applications for issuance of electronic simple passports and temporary simple passports, for a period of 30 days starting with 17.03.2020. By means of exception, passports shall be issued for individuals which provide justifying documents to prove the necessity to travel in the following 30 days as of the registration of the application.

» Romanian Road Authority has issued a communication according to which the documents issued by this authority and which will expire during the emergency state period shall maintain their validity throughout this period on Romanian territory, namely community licenses and conformity copies thereof, own-account transport certificates and conformity copies thereof, licenses for ancillary activities to road transport (activities carried out by bus terminals and intermediation of road transportation), alternative/under-lease transport permits and copies thereof, national road transport for fee permit and conformity copies thereof, driving school permits, professional certificates.

» Environment Fund Administration instated measures for granting certain facilities to economic operators having obligations towards the Environment Fund have been instated, namely:

postponement of the deadline for submission of the statements regarding the obligations towards Environment Fund from 25.03.2020 until 25.04.2020;

suspension or, if the case may be, not commencement of any foreclosures of the budgetary receivables. To this end, notices, seizures of monetary availabilities and of revenues will not be issued and seizures of assets will no longer be established. The amounts originating from court judgements issued in criminal matters will be exempted from these measures;

suspension of fiscal control actions (fiscal investigations), except for verifications that may be performed remotely, as well as the cases of money laundering, in situations where there are indications in this respect.

The above-mentioned measures will be applicable during the emergency state period on the Romanian territory, with the possibility of extension, depending on the development of the situation generated by COVID-19 pandemic.

» Romanian Energy Regulatory Authority set forth that a series of certificates for projection and/or execution of electrical installations shall maintain their validity throughout the emergency state period.

» State Inspection for Control of Boilers, Pressure Vessels and Hoisting has decided to preserve the validity of the documents expiring during the emergency state and to prolong the submission terms for the documentation necessary for the renewal of these documents’ validity with a 60 days period as of the termination of the emergency state. The measure shall also be applicable for the requests regarding the prolongation of the validity of documents registered before the emergency state was decreed.

» Bucharest Mayoralty shall issue administrative deeds (urbanism certificates, construction permits, site endorsements, etc) whose legal issuance deadline is overdue or which may be based on documents whose validity term has expired. These provisions shall be applicable to all the administrative deeds issued by Bucharest City Hall – applications for extension of urbanism certificates, applications for extension of construction permits, culture, circulation, environment endorsements, etc.

» Cluj Mayoralty has announced that the validity of construction permits and urbanism certificates, identity cards, temporary identity cards and residency visas shall be maintained during the emergency state established on Romanian territory. Moreover, starting with 25.03.2020 and during the entire emergency state period, the Service of Population Record shall issue identity cards only for exceptional cases involving loss, theft or destruction of the identity card.

» Sibiu Mayoralty has also announced that a series of documents whose validity shall expire during the emergency state established on Romanian territory shall have their validity prolonged until the termination of the emergency state period and shall be subject to renewal after this moment, such as: construction/demolition permits, urbanism certificates, tax certificates, licenses for the carry out of public alimentation and a series of technical notices.

» Constanța Mayoralty has suspended, starting with 21.03.2020, the foreclosure by deduction of budgetary receivables, except for foreclosures applied for the recovery of budgetary receivables established by court order. The suspension measure shall cease in 30 days as of the termination of the emergency state. Furthermore, the validity term of tax certificates which are to expire during the emergency state shall be maintained throughout this entire period.

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