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Brazil simplifies formalities to the use of foreign documents

From: Bruno Robert, Tiago Molina Ferreira, Daniela Maria Rosa Nascimento

On February 1st, 2016, Brazil’s adherence to the ‘Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents’, also known as ‘Apostille Convention’, was successfully concluded by means of the enactment of Decree 8,660/16.

The Apostille Convention, applicable to several countries with which Brazil has relevant commercial ties (among others, USA, UK, China, and some countries belonging to the European Union), aims at reducing the required bureaucracy for the use of foreign documents in Brazil, as well as of documents originated in Brazil in the signatory countries.

Until now to validly use foreign documents in Brazil it was necessary to pass by a bureaucratic and time-consuming process. The former procedure normally implied the certification by at least two authorities before it could produce legal effects: a local public notary and the Brazilian consulate/embassy, both of them located on the country where the document was issued.  

With the enactment of the Apostille Convention, it will now suffice to attach to the document the so called “Hague’s Apostille”, signed by the local competent authority of the country in which the document was executed, so that it will be valid for all the other signatory countries.

The competent authorities responsible for issuing the certificate of Hague are designated by the signatory countries’ governments, usually in a greater number compared to consulates or embassies. The most likely effects are the reduction of the time to validate foreign documents and the costs involved in the process.

The Apostille Convention will be valid and in force in Brazil as of August 14th, 2016. Brazilian adherence to the Apostille Convention has the potential to, among other positive aspects, minimize current bureaucracy related to the incorporation of legal entities by foreign citizens and the participation of foreign investors in shareholders meetings.

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