In Portugal, it is possible to carry out real estate deeds, purchase and sale contracts, divorces by mutual agreement, among other measures exclusively digitally, through videoconferencing, provided that the participants are holders of the Digital Mobile Key.
In April 2022, Decree-Law no. 126/2021, of December 30, made it possible authentic acts, document authentication templates and their recognition online. In practice, the possibility of performing various authentic acts at a distance was opened up, without the need for a physical presence, similar to what happens with Porta Aberta, however, this legislation increases the number of possibilities to perform authentic acts remotely.
What are considered authentic acts?
- Divorce by mutual consent
- Qualification of Heirs with records
- Enabling Heirs without registrations
- Property transfer, encumbrance, and registration procedures
- Separation of people and property by mutual consent
- Deeds, including real estate
- Authentication of documents, including:
- Real Estate Purchase and Sale Promise Contracts (CPCV)
- Financing credit agreements
- Constitution of horizontal property
- Loan agreement with mortgage
Authentic acts can be performed by everyone: citizens (over 18); companies, notaries, conservators and registrars, solicitors, and lawyers.
A few months after the publication of the legislation that allows authentic acts to be carried out exclusively remotely and digitally, in October 2022, the Minister of Justice, Catarina Sarmento e Castro, officially presented the Distance Service Platform, supervised by her ministry.
How to access the platform?
Those interested in benefiting from these services at a distance must hold a Citizen Card and respective reader or, alternatively, the Digital Mobile Key, which is accessible to both Portuguese and foreign nationals residing in Portugal (Digital Mobile Key accessible to foreigners residing in Portugal)
Participants in the various services provided by the platform – https://agendamento.justica.gov.pt/ – must also have an active digital signature for all acts that require it, that is, they need a citizen card or mobile key digital or a qualified certificate.
The performance of authentic acts through videoconferencing also presupposes that the interested parties have access to a computer or mobile device with a microphone, sound, and camera and, of course, access to the internet. The fees inherent to carrying out the various acts are the same as those applied to the face-to-face regime. It should be added that this service is only available in the national territory.
After accessing the platform, participants can, within their reserved area:
- Consult scheduled and performed acts
- Access sessions held or scheduled
- Consult the details of the acts in which you are involved
- Access the videoconference session page
- Manifest consent and will
- Access, consult and submit documents and proof of payment
- Digitally sign documents during the video conference session
During the month of February, a private bank announced that it had successfully carried out the first property acquisition deed (purchase of a house), using only this videoconferencing methodology. The Minister of Justice, on the other hand, highlighted in the presentation of the Distance Service Platform the commitment to “ensure that the provision of services is increasingly integrated and their use simpler and more convenient”.
In the scope of carrying out authentic acts at a distance – only available as mentioned within the national territory – the validation of documents such as wills or the regulation of parental responsibilities are excluded and there is no predictability of their being integrated. According to the legislation in force, this optional regime is experimental and will last until April 2024, when it will possibly be reanalyzed.