On December 18 2015 the presidency published Decree 8605, enacting the International Labour Organisation's revised Convention 185/2003 and attachments, which addresses the new seafarers' identity document.

The convention applies to all persons who are employed in any function on board a vessel (other than a war vessel) and habitually engaged in maritime navigation.

In accordance with the convention, seafarers with a valid identity card will be authorised to enter into the territory of member states and will have temporary authorisation to go ashore for the duration of the vessel's call, provided that the formalities and procedures pertinent to the arrival of the vessel have been met.

The convention also clarifies that a visa is not required to disembark a vessel. Any member state that cannot fully meet this requirement must provide equivalent provisions in its legislation or practice.

Similarly, seafarers with a valid document will have their entry authorised, supplemented by the passport, with the purpose of:

  • boarding their vessel or transferring to another vessel;
  • passing in transit to board their vessel in another country or for repatriation; or
  • any other purpose approved by the authorities of the member concerned.

Entry may be restricted if there are justifiable and clear grounds to doubt the authenticity of the seafarer's identity card or for public health, public safety, public order or national security reasons. Further, member states may require satisfactory evidence of the seafarer's intentions and purposes, as well as his or her capacity to meet such intentions and purposes, and limit his or her stay accordingly.

All member states must issue a seafarer identity card to all nationals who request a card and perform relevant duties. Further, identity cards must be issued in the format and contain the content prescribed by the convention.

Member states must also keep an electronic database containing information on each identity card, including information on the issuance, suspension and removal of cards. The immigration services or competent authorities from each member state must be able to access these databases at all times in order to confirm the validity and authenticity of documents.

Independent assessments of the databases and quality control procedures must be conducted at least every five years and sent to the director general of the International Labour Organisation, as well as the representative organisation of ship owners and seafarers of the relevant member state.

Member states must acknowledge as seafarers individuals who present identification issued in accordance with the convention and facilitate their disembarkation, transit and embarkation.

Finally, cardholders must keep their seafarer identity card in their possession at all times, except when under the custody of the master of the vessel, with the seafarer's written consent.

The adoption of Convention 185/2003 revoked Convention 108/1958.

Decree 8605 entered into force on December 18 2015.

For further information on this topic please contact Godofredo Mendes Vianna at Kincaid | Mendes Vianna Advogados by telephone (+55 21 2276 6200) or email (godofredo@kincaid.com.br). The Kincaid | Mendes Vianna Advogados website can be accessed at www.kincaid.com.br.

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