Apostille Convention is Helping Investors Using Foreign Documents in Brazil
Doing business in Brazil is getting easier for foreigners. While investors still face heaping amounts of red tape and bureaucracy, one change made by the Brazilian government last year is having a profound impact – the Apostille.
If you have ever done business in Brazil, you know the feeling when it comes to signing documents. It seems that every document needs to be properly “authenticated” for it to be considered valid. That generally means having the document notarized in Brazil at a cartório. The challenge, however, is for foreigners who need documents authenticated abroad for use in Brazil.
Previously, foreigners from the United States, for example, would need to take documents to a notary public in their state before sending the documents to the appropriate Brazilian Consulate for legalization. The whole process was confusing, time-consuming, and, depending on the number of documents, costly. But this has all changed.
On December 2, 2015, Brazil acceded to the Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents. On August 14, 2016, the Convention entered into force. Brazil is currently one of 113 countries that recognize the Apostille.
Now, the process is straightforward. Often referred to as the Apostille Convention, the international agreement simplifies the authentication of documents to be used abroad. Local government agencies, whether in the United States or in another signatory country, can issue Apostille certificates that are recognized by institutions in Brazil. The Apostille eliminates having to legalize documents through the Brazilian Consulate.
An Apostille is a certificate that authenticates the origin of a public document. It should be noted that an Apostille does not guarantee the validity of the contents of a document. Rather, it only means that the document was issued by an appropriate authority.
The goal of the Apostille Convention is to reduce the amount of red tape foreigners have to go through to legalize documents such as:
- Birth, marriage, and death certificates;
- Powers of attorney and wills;
- Court documents for adoption, divorce, and custody rights;
- University and educational institution documents; and
- Travel authorizations.
The decision to join the Apostille Convention is a boon to foreign business as well as foreign residents in Brazil, reducing the investment of both cost and time required to authenticate public and private documents.