Often, one of the most common complaints we hear is from
individuals or companies that need to legalise documents in order
for them to be recognised in Chile. Rightfully so, it is time
consuming, annoying and requires multiple steps at government
offices. The worst part is that documents that need to be legalised
are common when a foreign shareholder owns a Chilean company
– from a power of attorney (POA) to simple documents stating
The good news is...
On 16 December 2015, Chile deposited its instrument of accession
to the Hague Convention, Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation
for Foreign Public Documents (the "Apostille
Convention"). Following the usual procedural steps, the
Convention will finally enter into force on 30 August 2016, making
it the 112th Contracting State to the Convention.
Why is this important?
The current legalisation process consists of a series of lengthy
and costly proceedings. This included legalising documents before
the Chilean Consulates, which sometimes were not easy to visit or
were available in only certain cities.
Essentially, the following was the process:
The legal document must be signed in the presence of a Public
Notary. If the document is more than one page long the Public
Notary must sign and put his/her seal on every single page.
The signature of the Public Notary must then be authenticated
by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade from which ever
country you were sending the documents from.
The document must then be forwarded to the Chilean Consulate
General in order to legalise the signature of the officer from DFAT
(the previous step), which is charged on a per signature
Once the document arrives in Chile, the document then needed to
be stamped before the Ministry of foreign affairs and registration
(protocolización) before the notary public
The New Process for the Legalisation for Foreign Public
The documents issued in the home country will only need to be
certified with an Apostille to be recognised in Chile. This will
reduce the steps needed to demonstrate the documents authenticity
down to one single procedure.
Furthermore, once the document is received in Chile, no other
formality must be met, contrary to the current legalisation
procedure, which required stamping the documents before the
Ministry of foreign affairs and registration
(protocolización) before the notary public.
Finally, the documents issued in Chile and certified with an
Apostille may be recognized in any other Apostille Convention
member country, without the need for any further certification.
These new changes will help streamline the process for many
natural citizens and companies that send documents from a member
country to Chile and vice versa. Notaries may not like it but it
sure makes things a little more simple for those doing business in
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.
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