The validation, in Brazil, of documents coming from abroad

In order for a document produced abroad to be valid against third parties in Brazil and before the offices of the Union, states, the Federal District, the Territories, Municipalities, and in any instance, the courts, it must comply with a number of legal requirements.

"No book, document or paper of any kind, issued in a foreign language, will take effect in offices of the Union, states or municipalities, in any jurisdiction, court or sponsored entities, supervised or directed by the government without being attached with a translation made in conformity with this regulation. " (Article 18 of Decree No. 13.609, of October 21, 1943).

Documents from abroad must have their signatures notarized in accordance with local laws. In many countries such recognition is done by a notary public. In countries where there is no public notary, the recognition is done by other entities, in accordance with its local laws.

The signature of the notary public or other authorized entity, in the case of countries where there is the figure of the notary, shall be recognized by the nearest Brazilian consular representation, to produce legal effects in Brazil.

This procedure is known as notarization and consularization, or legalization of the document produced abroad, in order to make it valid in Brazil.

The document from abroad, written in a foreign language must be translated into Portuguese, according to the Civil Code in its article 140. According to article 157 of the Code of Civil Procedure, the translation into Portuguese should be performed by a certified translator.

With respect to documents written in a foreign language, of internal origin, the recognition of signatures is authorized, after the common characters are adopted, in accordance with Article 157:4 and 157:5 of the Code of Civil Procedure. However, after the recognition of signatures, the term of recognition, or the document attached to it, will mention that the document, in order to take effect in Brazil and to be enforced against third parties, it must be translated into Portuguese and registered.

In the case of a document produced abroad, but written in Portuguese, notarization and the consular certification of signatures stamped on it, as well as its record, accompanied by a certified translation of the legalization in the Registry of Deeds and Documents will be required.

According to Law No. 6,015 (Public Records Act) Articles 129, paragraphs 6 and 148, the documents written in a foreign language must always be translated and accompanied by their translations, registered in the Registry of Deeds and Documents to produce effects in relation to third parties and to produce effects in the offices of the Union, states, the Federal District and the Territories and municipalities, or in any jurisdiction or court.

According to the Code of Civil Procedure, article 157:2, Summary 259 of the Supreme Court, "In order to produce effect in court, entering in the public record of foreign origin, authenticated by consular channels documents are not required".
With regard to signature recognition, according to Decree No. 63.166 of August 26, 1968, the requirement is waived for notarization in any document produced in the country, when presented to prove before federal agencies and public entities of the direct and indirect administration. Based on the Civil Code art. 1289, paragraph 3, the recognition of signatures in private instruments is an essential condition for its validity, regarding third parties.

However, it is recommended that in case of doubt, any document from abroad, accompanied by an official translation, have the translator's signature recognized, and that it be registered with the Registry of Deeds and Documents.

Thus, for a document produced abroad in a foreign language, to be valid in Brazil; it should be legalized in its country of origin, i.e., notarized, consularized, translated into Portuguese by a Public Translator, with his/her signature being notarized; and registered in the Registry of Deeds and Documents.
Note that the document of foreign origin, while not fulfilling the aforementioned requirements, is valid in Brazil before the parties that sign it. However, to produce effects against third parties before public entities, it is essential that the requirements listed above are met.