Brazilians demanding national documents to be valid abroad know the bureaucratic ordeal that they must face. The perspectives are however encouraging as the Hague Convention abolishing the requirement of legalization for foreign public documents will come into force in Brazil.
The Convention, known as the Hague Apostille Convention, is a treaty which abolishes the legalization of certain documents between its 111 member countries. The list includes Germany, Denmark, United States, Finland, France, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland.
Currently, to have a public Brazilian document legalized abroad, it is necessary to recognize the signature at a Notary Public, then authenticate it at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MRE) and afterwards recognize the authentication of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MRE) at an embassy or consulate of the foreign country of destination of the document.
Regarding the reverse situation, to have a valid foreign document in Brazil, one must have the document certified by a Notary Office and then legalize the notary’s signature at a Brazilian embassy abroad, before having the document sworn translated in Brazil and registered in a local registry of deeds and documents.
In either case, the whole procedure may take weeks.
As of August 14, 2016, it is possible to turn a national public document internationally valid by simply submitting it to an extrajudicial notary of any Brazilian capital and request the “Apostille” of the document. Court documents may receive this apostille from judges.
An Apostille is a certificate as a form of authentication issued by a designated authority in a country where the Hague Apostille Convention is in force.
Apostilles authenticate the seals and signatures of officials on any public document, so that they can be recognized in foreign countries that are parties to the Convention.
The Apostille (in practice a sticker) will be printed on paper produced by the Brazilian Mint, will receive a QR Code and will be attached to the document. The document containing the Apostille will be scanned in the proper registry office and recorded along with the digital version of the issued booklet which allows to certify both the veracity of the handout as well as its link to the document with the Apostille.
The Apostilles are not exactly alike in all signatory countries, but follow the model given by the Convention. The forecast of the National Council of Justice is that all extrajudicial registry offices in the country will be able to grant Apostilles until the end of 2016. The time and the average cost to have a document with an Apostille is projected to be 10 minutes and BRL 97.
When a document involves a non-signatory country of The Hague Apostille Convention—as is the case of China, Canada and others—the legalization requirement and its current procedure will remain unchanged. Fortunately, the Hague Apostille Convention is broadly accepted and in most frequent cases the legalization will no longer be required.
Juliana G. Meyer Gottardi is partner at Pacheco Neto Sanden Teisseire Law Firm.
Julia Krautter Romeiro (PhD., LL.M.) is a German consultant at Pacheco Neto Sanden Teisseire Advogados.