On February 1, 2016, Decree No. 8,660/2016 came into effect, enacting the Hague Convention Abolishing of the Requirement for Consular Legalization of Foreign Public Documents, with the purposes of reducing the formalities required for the acknowledgment of the authenticity of foreign documents.
The Convention applies to more than 100 signatory states, including Brazil, and abolishes the requirement of consular legalization of public documents for their recognition as valid in Brazil. For the purposes of the Decree, public documents are namely the following:
- documents originating from public authorities or public officials linked to any jurisdiction in the state;
- administrative documents;
- notarial acts;
- official statements attached to documents of a private nature, such as certificates proving the registration of a document or its existence on a certain date, and signature certification.
However, the Convention excludes from its scope documents issued by diplomatic or consular agents and administrative documents directly related to commercial or customs operations.
The Convention establishes that a certification (apostille) issued by the competent authority of the state in which the document is issued may be required, for the purposes of attesting to the authenticity of the signature, the title or position held by the person signing the document and, when appropriate, the authenticity of the seal or stamp affixed to the document. This certification should be affixed to the document or on a sheet attached to it,and may be waived in cases where the formalities already met by a document are stricter than those set by the Convention.
With the enactment of the Convention and its consequential entrance into force in Brazilian territory, the delivery and receipt of documents to and from other signatory states shall become faster and less bureaucratic, since the respective consulates will no longer need to be involved in the legalization of such documents.