On February 1st, 2016, the Federal Decree nº 8,660/2016 was published in the Federal Official Gazette, promulgating the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, also known as the Hague Apostille Convention.

From August 14, 2016, public documents which have been executed in the territory of more than 100 countries will no longer need to be legalized by diplomatic or consular agents to be valid in Brazil. It also means that public documents produced in Brazil will be exempt from the legalization to certify the authenticity of the signature, the capacity in which the person signing the document has acted, or the identity of the seal or stamp which it bears.

According to the Convention, public documents are those emanating from an authority or an official connected with the courts or tribunals of the country, administrative documents, notarial acts and official certificates which are placed on documents signed by persons in their private capacity. However, the Convention shall not apply  to any documents executed by diplomatic or consular agents, or those dealing directly with commercial or customs operations.

The formality required to validate the authenticity of public documents is the apostille certificate which will be issued by the competent authority of the country from which the document emanates. The form′s model is annexed to the Convention and the parties should file the request to the authorities designated by each country.

In Brazil, the notarial and registration authorities will have competence to add the apostille certificate to the documents. The Brazilian Nacional Council of Justice ("CNJ"), the competent authority to coordinate and regulate the Convention′s implementation, has created a task force to design the implementation of an electronic system that will allow the issuance of the apostille certificate.

Brazil′s accession to the Convention aims to simplify the legalization procedure, to reduce costs and to facilitate the circulation of public documents needed in cross-border commercial and legal transactions.

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