Connecticut, US

Jul 22 2019

New Power of Attorney Rule Affecting Apostille and Legalization Process

Venezuela

At a Glance

  • Based on recent cases, the Venezuelan Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now requiring Powers of Attorney signed abroad to be authenticated by a Venezuelan consulate, despite Venezuela being part of the Hague Convention. Apostilled Powers of Attorney without an authentication from a Venezuelan consulate are not being accepted.
  • Individuals who are outside Venezuela and need to apostille or legalize documents in Venezuela through a local third-party representative must personally appear at a Venezuelan consulate to sign the Power of Attorney and have it authenticated.
  • Affected applicants may need to travel outside of their country of residence to complete this process, as numerous countries do not currently have active Venezuelan consulates.

The situation

Based on recent cases, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Venezuela is no longer allowing third parties to file and collect documents for apostille or legalization if the Power of Attorney authorizing those documents is not authenticated by a Venezuelan consulate. Previously, the Ministry accepted apostilled Powers of Attorney with document requests.

Impact

  • Applicants may need to travel. Individuals who are outside Venezuela and need to apostille or legalize documents in Venezuela through a local third-party representative may need to travel to the nearest Venezuelan consulate to sign the Power of Attorney and have it authenticated in person, incurring additional costs and time.
  • Delays in obtaining immigration documents. Immigration processes in countries outside Venezuela that require apostilled Venezuelan documents may be delayed due to this new practice.
  • Unaffected documents. Apostilles of digital police clearance certificates, which can be obtained by third-party representatives online without a Power of Attorney, are not affected by this rule.

 

Background

It is not clear why the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has implemented this unannounced, unprecedented policy. Although Fragomen has attempted to challenge it on the basis that Venezuela is a party to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents, the rule remains in place.  

Foreign and Venezuelan nationals continue to experience processing delays and administratively burdensome processes to apostille or legalize documents issued in Venezuela. The recently reported appointment delays continue and are not likely to subside soon.

Looking ahead

Due to government volatility in Venezuela, administrative processes and processing times are long and subject to change at any time. Fragomen is working closely with clients to analyze and provide guidance on all affected cases and will provide updates on the situation as they become available.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to lar@fragomen.com.