Travel.State.Gov > Legal Resources > Judicial Assistance Country Information > Portugal Judicial Assistance Information
DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND MAY NOT BE TOTALLY ACCURATE IN A SPECIFIC CASE. QUESTIONS INVOLVING INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE APPROPRIATE FOREIGN AUTHORITIES OR FOREIGN COUNSEL.
Av. das Forças Armadas, Sete-Rios
Telephone: +(351) (21) 770-2122
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(351) (21)-770-2122 or +(351) (21) 727-3300
Fax: +(351) (21) 727-2354
U.S. Consulate Ponta Delgada
Av. Príncipe do Mónaco No, 6-2 F
9500-237 Ponta Delgada, Açores
Telephone: +(351) (296) 308-330
EmergencyAfter-Hours Telephone: +(351) (21) 727-3300
Fax: +(351) (296) 287-216
Is Portugal a party to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters?
Complete information on the operation of the Convention, including an interactive online request form are available on the Hague Conference website.
How should requests be completed?
Requests should be completed in duplicate and submitted with two sets of the documents to be served, and translations, directly to Portugal’s Central Authority for the Hague Service Convention.
Service of process requests must include a copy of the initial claim and documents presented by the plaintiff, and a notification letter by which the defendant is informed about the conditions and the deadline to present an answer as well as any documents in support of the claim.
The person in the United States executing the request form should be either an attorney or clerk of court. The applicant should include the titles attorney at law or clerk of court on the identity and address of applicant and signature/stamp fields.
Does Portugal permit service via postal channels?
Portugal did not formally objected to service under Article 10, and does permit service via postal channels.
For additional information see the Hague Conference Service Convention web page and the Hague Conference Practical Handbook on the Operation of the Hague Service Convention.
Service on a Foreign State:
See also our Service Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) feature and FSIA Checklist for questions about service on a foreign state, agency or instrumentality.
Service of Documents from Portugal in the United States:
See information about service in the United States on the U.S. Central Authority for the Service Convention page of the Hague Conference on Private International Law Service Convention site.
U.S. federal or state prosecutors should also contact the Office of International Affairs, Criminal Division, Department of Justice for guidance.
Defense Requests in Criminal Matters:
Criminal defendants or their defense counsel seeking judicial assistance in obtaining evidence or in effecting service of documents abroad in connection with criminal matters may do so via the letters rogatory process.
Local attorneys may petition courts directly to compel the testimony of unwilling witnesses.
Is Portugal a party to the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil and Commercial Matters?
The Portuguese Central Authority for the Hague Evidence Convention designated to receive letters of request for the taking of evidence is the Hellenic Ministry of Justice.
How should letters of request be completed? Do they require transmittal via diplomatic channels?
See the Hague Evidence Convention Model Letters of Request for guidance on preparation of the letter of request. Requests for the compulsion of evidence under the Hague Evidence Convention are transmitted directly from the requesting court or person in the United States to the Portuguese Central Authority and do not require transmittal via diplomatic channels.
Letters of Request and accompanying documents should be prepared in duplicate and translated into Portuguese.
See also Portugal’s response to the 2008 Hague Conference questionnaire on the practical operation of the Hague Evidence Convention. .
Requests from Portugal to obtain evidence in the United States:
The U.S. Central Authority for the Hague Evidence Convention is the Office of International Judicial Assistance, Civil Division, Department of Justice, 1100 L Street N.W., Room 8102, Washington, D.C. 20530
Are depositions of willing witnesses without the involvement of the host government or courts permissible?
Voluntary depositions of U.S. citizens may be conducted in Portugal provided no compulsion is used.
May consular officers conduct depositions of willing witnesses?
The Portuguese Central Authority has informed the Hague Conference for Private International Law that U.S. Consular Officers may take the voluntary deposition of a U.S. citizen willing witness. In each instance, the U.S. Consular Officer must submit a written request to the Director-General of the Judiciary Department of the Ministry of Justice requesting authorization to take the deposition.
Oral depositions or depositions on written questions may be taken by U.S. consular officers or by private attorneys from the U.S. or Portugal at the U.S. Embassy or at another location such as a hotel or office, either on notice or pursuant to a commission. If the services of a U.S. consular officer are required to administer an oath to the witness, interpreter and stenographer, such arrangements must be made in advance with the U.S. embassy directly.
If a U.S. Government official or an attorney wishes to participate in the deposition, this must be included in the Consul’s written request to the Director-General. The Director-General is under no obligation to grant the request. It may take several weeks for the Embassy to receive the Director-General’s response.
Are depositions of Portuguese nationals possible?
The Portuguese Central Authority has informed the Hague Conference on Private International Law that depositions in Portugal of Portuguese and third-country nationals may occur only in a Portuguese court proceeding.
The attorney in the United States seeking assistance should send a Letter of Request, in English and Portuguese (two copies of each), directly to the Portuguese Central Authority. This procedure is completely under the control of the Portuguese judiciary.
Attorneys wishing to attend the hearing or request verbatim transcripts should include a statement to this effect in the Letter of Request, asking to be notified of date, time, and place of the hearing, and include telephone and fax numbers and e-mail address to facilitate a reply.
The Portuguese Central Authority is under no obligation to accede to the request. If such permission is granted, all questions would be posed by the judge.
Is Portugal a party to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization of Foreign Public Documents?
The Portuguese competent authority for the Hague Apostille Convention will authenticate Portuguese public documents with Apostilles.
How can I U.S. public documents for use in Portugal?
For information about authenticating U.S. public documents for use in Portugal, see the list of U.S. Competent Authorities.
To obtain an Apostille for a U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America, contact the U.S. Department of State, Passport Services, Vital Records Office.