After Chile deposited the instrument of Accession in December of 2015, the “Apostille Convention” came into effect in Chile on August 30, 2016, along with entry into effect of Law No. 20,711 that implements the abovementioned Convention and its Regulation (Supreme Decree No. 81 of 2015).

Under this Convention, Member States are exempted from their duty to the legalize public documents that are to be submitted within their territories, with the sole formality of issuing a seal known as an Apostille.

Practically speaking, the process consists of placing upon the document an apostille or annotation that certifies the authenticity of the public document issued in a certain country that is to be invoked in another. Thus, the Convention recognizes the legal validity of documents between member states, thereby eliminating the legalizations performed in the Chilean Consulates located in such states. Additionally, legalizations are no longer required in Chile before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was previously a requirement whenever such documents were received in Chile from abroad.

This will allow public documents issued in Chile to be more easily recognized as such in the Convention’s member states, provided that they have been duly apostilled before the relevant Authority. Specifically, the power to “apostille” documents in Chile will correspond to the Undersecretary of Justice and its Regional Secretary Offices (Seremis), and in relation to specific documents, certain members of the Ministries of Education, Health, Foreign Affairs and the Civil Registry and Identification Service will exercise such powers.

With the implementation of the “Apostille”, if a competent authority certifies the document, such circumstance will suffice to prove its public nature, that is to say, it would be certified that the signature or seal in the document belongs to a public officer acting within his remit, and the authorities of the country receiving the documents cannot demand more evidence regarding their authenticity. However, it must be noted that this step, as well as the legalization formality, does not certifies the validity of the document’s content.

Public documents are those issued by a public State institution. By way of example, it is possible to mention the following documents that can be the subject of an apostille:

  • Notarial documents, such as inter alia powers of attorney, articles of incorporation of corporations or other legal entities; private documents with certified signatures and affidavits.
  • International Rogatory letters
  • Judgments and rulings of the Ordinary Courts of Justice
  • Original or certified copies of University degrees certificates
  • Health certificates

Lastly, the copulative requirements for the issuance of an Apostille are the following:

  1. A document issued by or authorized in a State party to the Convention;
  2. That such document is to be used in another State party to the Convention; and
  3. That such document has a public character, in accordance with article one of the Convention.

Any person holding a public document the authenticity of which is intended may request the issuance of an Apostille. Its granting will be made by public means, at the bearer’s request, by such public authorities or bodies and in such manner provided for in the Regulation. Its conduction and registration shall be made online and in a centralized fashion, through the Unique Electronic System of Apostilles.

The implementation of the “Apostille” entails a significant change in the legalization of public documents issued abroad or issued in Chile for their use outside the nation, which broadly speaking, presents more strengths than weaknesses; therefore, it acts in furtherance of trade and multicultural interactions between the member states, as the barriers which hinder the circulation of documents are broken down.