The Brazilian Validation of my Ph.D.

I’m still months away from being validated. But at least 95% of the paper work is in. It was easy, really:
-Sent Diploma and full academic transcript to Brazilian consulate in Houston (closest consulate to graduating institution). $10 verification.
-Had documents sent to Brazil. $93
-Had said documents verified by a notary: $11
-Documents translated by an “official” translator: $217
-Paid fee to the “validating” Federal University (UFRJ) in my case: $41
-Handed-in documents to UFRJ!
-Realized that they also want a verified copy of my Undergraduate degree (how do you get a Ph.D. without an undergrad degree?).
-My wonderful mother rips my McGill B.A. out of a beautiful frame and sends it Fedex to Brazil. $175
-Notary public certification of McGill degree: $4
-Explanation of all of my Ph.D. courses in English: time cost- 5 hours.

I hope this helps some people who will have to go through the same process. I still have to go hand in these two last items.

The most dreaded part of this process was visiting the cartorio (notary) repeatedly. Cartorio’s are an archaic, costly, and unfair Brazilian institution, which –unbelievably– are allotted on a concessionary basis to private citizens. Owners of Cartorios make fabulous profits off of sticking government stamps on your paperwork. The government undoubtedly makes off like a bandit as well. I am amazed how these feudal institutions –a universal tax on Brazilians– have survived, especially given what Brazilians think of them.

A tired older lady in the cartorio lineup the other day told me in no uncertain language how depressed these places made her feel. Lineups are perennial, and the listless enthusiasm of cartorio staff is undoutedly reminiscent of 1979 East Germany.

Cartorio certified: now a real letter to be taken seriously.

Cartorio certified: now a real letter to be taken seriously.

You have to obtain certification for just about everything. I sent a letter to the Federal Police because of a missing document they said they had sent me. As a precautionary measure, I certified the letter (above). I am seriously considering taking a picture of my wife and me into a cartorio and having it certified. The first step to true validation…right?

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