Legal Magazine

Brazil Considers Joining the Apostille Convention

Posted on the 18 March 2014 by Angelicolaw @AngelicoLaw

Brazil has earned itself a reputation for being a difficult place for foreigners to do businesses.  However, Brazil is considering one step that may in fact make life a bit easier by eliminating delays related to the validation of foreign documents.  Brazil is analyzing the possibility of becoming a signatory to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, also known as the Apostille Convention.

The Apostille Convention is one of several conventions of the Hague Conference on Private International Law.  To date, the Convention has been signed by more than 100 countries.

The effect of the Apostille Convention is that it specifies ways that a document issued in one country can be certified for legal purposes in another country.  The certification is called an Apostille.  It is essentially an international certification that is comparable to a notarization.

Because Brazil has not joined the Apostille Convention, for a foreign document to be considered valid in Brazil, the original document must be examined and legalized by a Brazilian Consulate.  The document is legalized by either verifying the signature on the document or by authenticating the document by another means.  The process generally takes at least a week and varies depending on the particular Consulate.

The process can take even longer if the document is not written in Portuguese.  That’s because to be valid it must be translated in Brazil by a sworn translator.

Fortunately, the Ministry of Justice, through the Department of Assets Recovery and International Cooperation, is working together with the National Council of Justice to move toward joining the Apostille Convention.  Incorporating the rules of the convention may go smoothly since it’s believed that the processing system established by the convention is compatible with the existing Brazilian legal structure.

The move will contribute toward strengthening Brazil’s credibility in the international trade arena, making Brazil a more attractive place to do business.  Because the legalization of documents will take less time and cost less, foreign investors and foreign companies seeking to do business in Brazil will enjoy many time and cost-saving benefits.

To take advantage of newer technology, the Apostille Convention has created the e-APP, or electronic Apostille Program, to further improve and accelerate the document legalization process.  Brazil’s decision to examine joining the Apostille Convention comes at an excellent time to support Brazil’s economic growth.

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