On  the 5th October 1961, it was signed at The Hague the Convention of the Elimination of the Requirement of Legalization of  Foreign Public Document,  also known as  Apostille  (The Haya Convention). 


On the 6th July 2015 (almost 54 years later),  the Brazilian National Congress approved of the adherence of Brazil  to the Convention, under terms of the Legislative Decree  no. 148, which became effective in the Federative Republic of Brazil  on the 14th August 2016.   
 

The purpose of Apostille is to expedite and to simplify the legalization of documents among the  signatory countries, entitling the mutual recognition    of Brazilian documents overseas  and foreign documents  in Brazil  through a single  seal called Apostille.
 

In practical terms, the Apostille consists of inserting into the document  an annotated (apostilé)  seal or stamp, which certifies the authenticity of the public document, issued  in a certain country  and required in another.   Hence, the   legal efficacy of the documents  among the Member Countries of the Convention are recognized, and, thus, removing  the need of having the document legalized  at the Brazilian Consulate of the Member Countries and, in turn,  entitling  Brazil to enjoy the same procedures, when receiving documents   emanated  from abroad  of one of the Member Countries.
 

Namely, the only formality, which can be required to attest the veracity of the signature, quality and authenticity  is the seal or stamp,   granted by the competent Authority of the country  whence the document emanates.
 

Note, however,  that the formality of the Apostille  cannot  be required,  should the laws regulations or costumers  in force in the country  in which the act was signed remove, simplify or dispense with the act of legalization.
 

The main advantages of the adherence to the Convention are   the quicker circulation  of public documents among the Member Countries, the removal of the red tape  of the certification system  of public documents, and, just as well, the reduction  of the  costs, ultimately benefiting  the international trade  and the performance of  the individuals of other jurisdictions, having  legal effects in Brazil.
 

The Apostille entitles  public documents issued in Brazil to be more easily legally recognized  in the Member Countries of the Convention,  provided they are properly annotated  by the competent Authorities.
 

In Brazil, the Justice National Council is the Agency responsible  for coordinating and  regulating  the application of the Treaty  through the competent Authorities to do so.
 

Upon the implementation of the Apostille, the act of certification on a document on the part of the competent Authority  suffices to prove its public character, namely,  the Authority certifies   that the signature  or stamp  affixed to the document   was issued by  a public Officer performing his functions, without any possibility of the Authorities  of the country receiving the document raising a requirement  for another test of authenticity in relation thereto.  However,  it is well to clear up  that this procedure  is equally valid for the legalization, namely,  the same does not certify the validity of the contents of the document, rather its  authenticity.  
 

The Convention is applied to public acts drafted and submitted in one of the Member Countries. Public acts are considered as follows:

i)Documents originated from  an Authority or from  an officer depending upon any jurisdiction of the country, such as those from the Public Prosecution Service,   Notary Public or from a Bailiff.

ii) Administrative documents.

iii) Notarial Acts.

iv) Official Declarations, such as references of registration, visa  for a fixed date  and authenticity of signature inserted into  acts of a private nature.  
 

And, the Convention is not applied to:

i)Documents  drafted by diplomatic Agents or  from the Consulate;

ii) Administrative documents   directly in connection  to a trade  negotiation or to Customs.   
 

For the  Apostille to be issued, it is necessary that:

1.it be a document issued  or authorized from a signatory country; 

2.it be used in a Country  Member of the Convention; and

3. it bear a public character, under article first of the Convention. 
 

Any individual holding a public document, which wishes to certify the authenticity may request the certification of the Apostille  before one of the competent Authorities, which may be found  through the electronic site below:

http://www.cnj.jus.br/poder-judiciario/relacoes-internacionais/convencao-da-apostila-da-haia/carto rios-auorizados
 

The implementation of “Apostille”  means a  significant improvement  for the legalization  of public  documents, issued abroad,  as well as for those issued  in Brazil to be sent abroad,  which, in general terms, have stronger points than weak, and, thus, favoring the trade and multicultural interchange among the Member States, removing the barriers  preventing the moving of the documents.

Example of annotation and stamp:



Image: http://www.cnj.jus.br/poder-judiciario/relacoes-internacionais/convencao-da-apostila-da-haia/carimbo