The Brazilian Presidency published, on December 18th, 2015, the Decree no. 8.605 enacting the revised Convention no. 185 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and attachments of 2003, which deals with the new Seafarers' Identity Document.

The Convention is applicable to any and all person employed, hired, or who is working in any function onboard a vessel other than a war vessel and that is habitually dedicated to maritime navigation.

The Convention lays down that seafarers bearing a valid identity card will be authorized to enter into the States Parties' territory, enabling a temporary authorization 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 complied with, unless there are compelling reasons to doubt about the authenticity of the document or due to public health, public safety, public order, or national security reasons.

The Convention also clarifies that a visa is not required for the disembarkation authorization. However, it lays down that the States Parties that are not capable to fully implement such requirement shall guarantee that provisions essentially equivalent be provided for in their legislation or practice.

Similarly, the seafarers bearing a valid document will have their entry authorized, supplemented by the passport, with the purpose of boarding their vessels or their re-embarkation on another vessel, and the transit to board their vessels in another country or for their repatriation, or any other purpose approved by the interested State Party's authorities. Accordingly, the entry may be restricted should there be justifiable and clear grounds to doubt about the authenticity of the seafarers identity card or due to public health, public safety, public order, or national security reasons. The State Parties may also require a satisfactory evidence of the seafarer´s intentions and purposes as well as his/her capacity to meet such intentions and purposes, as well as limit the stay to a reasonable period in order to meet its purpose.

The seafarer's identity card must be issued by the Convention's States Parties to all nationals who request the identity card and perform seafarer's duties, whose format and content shall be in conformity with the Convention.

The States Parties shall also keep in an electronic database the data relative to each document that has been issued, suspended, or removed. The immigration services or any other States Parties' competent authorities shall have an immediate access at any moment to the referred database in order to allow the validity and authenticity of the documents presented.

The States Parties shall conduct, at intervals not exceeding a period of five years, an independent assessment on the administration of their system of issuance of seafarers' identity cards, as well as on the quality control procedures, and send the report regarding these assessments to the International Labor Organization (ILO)'s Director-General, with a copy to the representative organizations of shipowners and seafarers of the assessed State Party.

The State Parties must acknowledge as seafarers the individuals who present an identification issued according to the Convention, facilitating their disembarkation, transit and embarkation.

The seafarer's identity card must always be in possession of the identity card's holder, except if the identity card is under the custody of the master of the vessel where the seafarer is on board, with the seafarer's written consent.

The adoption of the Convention no. 185 (revised) entailed the revocation, on the same date, of the ILO Convention no. 108 of 1958.

The decree entered into force on the date of its publication.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.