Today, due to the interconnected and globalized world in which we are living, thousands of transactions take place on a daily basis, businesses start up and shut down, bank accounts are opened and other international operations that demand the need to have a series of documents legalized by the respective authorities to have them validated in other countries.
However, nowadays, our country has a system for the legalization of documents -to confer authenticity and veracity in Chile upon documents issued abroad and viceversa-, which results in a large pilgrimage to different public institutions in order to attain its complete recognition. These tiresome formalities consist in obtaining, both in the country of origin and of destination, a series of validations from the institutions which issue the documents, notarizations in registries of notaries, consulate and ministerial certifications, and also translations which has led to the legalization of documents being a costly and slow bureaucratic step, which falls short of the rhythm at which the international world operates.
Because of this, our country has finally signed the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, a convention that will enter into force in Chile on August 30, 2016 and to which more than 100 countries in the world are party, such as the United States, Spain, Italy, Germany, France and Argentina, among many others.
What consequences are there for citizens?
It’s simple, upon entry into force, the current system of the chain of formalities for validation of documents issued abroad for use in Chile as well as for the use of documents issued in Chile abroad, will be eliminated, and it will be replaced by a single formality, that of a certification called “Apostille.”
The main characteristic and benefit of this change is that it will reduce the costs and time currently required for formalities, including the fact that in some cases this certification will be able to be carried out on the Internet.
The Chilean Apostille via the web is an electronic certification, that is to say, it is carried out by an electronic signature and therefore its authenticity can also be verified online.
In any case, not only will this formality be able to be carried out on line, but also with the Chancery, with the Ministries of Education, Justice and Health, as well as with the Civil Registry and Identification Service of Chile which will also be able to give public documents the apostille.
Consequently, as of this upcoming August 30th, both the documents issued in Chile to be used in other countries party to the convention as well as the documents issued in those countries to be used in ours, will require only apostilles to be mutually recognized and to have full validity to take effect.
Foreign Senior Associate
María Jesús Lira