Paula Soncini, Pedro Vinicius Brito Eroles and Thais Helena Gobbi   The National Congress, by means of Decree No. 148, enacted on July 6, 2015, approved the text of the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, signed in The Hague on October 5, 1961. According to the text of the convention, public documents may not need to be legalized to take effect in other member countries.

Paula Soncini, Pedro Vinicius Brito Eroles and Thais Helena Gobbi 

  

The National Congress, by means of Decree No. 148, enacted on July 6, 2015, approved the text of the Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, signed in The Hague on October 5, 1961. According to the text of the convention, public documents may not need to be legalized to take effect in other member countries.

Brazil′s accession to the convention was the first step for public documents issued by its member countries to no longer need to be legalized by Brazilian consulates or diplomatic agents in their country of origin to take effect in Brazil and vice-versa. Such legalization procedure will be replaced by a certification procedure called "apostille". The "apostille" is attached to the original document by a competent authority designated by the government of the signatory state issuing the document. 

For the purposes of the convention, public documents are: (i) documents issued by an authority or public official linked to any jurisdiction of the state, including those from the Public Prosecutor′s Office, court clerks or process servers, (ii) administrative documents, (iii) notarial acts, and (iv) official statements contained in private documents such as, for example, signature confirmation and certificates attesting to the registration of a document. The following documents are not public documents for the purposes of the convention: (i) documents issued by diplomatic or consular agents, and (ii) administrative documents directly related to commercial or customs operations. 

Despite the publication of Decree No. 148, some procedures still need to be completed in order for the convention to enter into force in Brazil. After Brazil submits the instrument of accession to the convention to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, the Ministry will notify all signatory countries regarding Brazil′s accession, and these nations will have six months from the receipt of the notice to decide whether or not to accept Brazil. After this period, the convention will enter into force between Brazil and the signatory countries that have not submitted any objections within 60 days.

In addition, the competent authority to issue the apostille in Brazil will have to be appointed, such as, for instance, the notary offices themselves. 

The publication of Decree No. 148 approving Brazil′s accession to the Hague Convention represents a major step towards the de-bureaucratization of the certification process of foreign public documents in Brazil. However, this accession has no practical effects, since we still need to wait for the opinion of the other signatory countries on the matter and the deadlines set forth in the convention, as mentioned above. Therefore, until the procedures are completed for the convention to become effective, foreign public documents must continue to satisfy the regular legalization procedures to be enforceable in Brazil.