Translation and Authentication of Foreign Documents

Situations sometimes arise in which you need to accomplish something here in Portugal by producing formal documents that were issued in your home country or elsewhere abroad. These may be “official documents” issued by a State body, including: birth, marriage, divorce or death certificates and passports; or “private documents” such as health certificates, company contracts, Power of Attorney or affidavits sworn under oath.

Occasionally, documents that were legally accepted in your home country may not be recognised as valid by some Portuguese authorities unless and until they are properly authenticated by a solicitor, lawyer, embassy, consulate, or some specific official in this country. This is particularly true when you have only photocopies, but not the original documents.

I can help you with the authentication process. But you need to understand that we do not have “commissioners of oaths” in Portugal, and the process is not as simple as affixing a signature and rubber stamping your existing piece of paper. These things take time and must be done correctly.

Throughout all these matters, whenever you need to sign or submit Portuguese documents, I will translate so that you can understand every step. I am fluent in Portuguese, French and English and can translate between any of these languages.

 Authentication of Identity or Name Change

 Will Portuguese authorities recognise documents that you say are yours, but which show two or more different surnames? Maybe yes. Maybe no.

Changing your name can make things complicated later – and that applies not only to women who divorce and revert to their maiden names or remarry, but also to people of both sexes who change their names for whatever reason by a process like Deed Poll in their own country and then emigrate to Portugal.

You need to understand that in Portugal, we don’t have Deed Poll. Also, women don’t lose their own birth names when they marry – they simply add their husband’s name to their own family names. Both the mother’s and the father’s lineage can be read in a child’s complete name. That’s our tradition, and in some ways it makes matters like inheritance a little clearer.

If you find yourself caught in a tangle of foreign documents and Portuguese procedures, come and talk with me. Together, we’ll unravel the “spaghetti”.