Having to prove that you are who you say you are, filling out endless forms, walking around with different documents, wasting time in countless queues at state agencies. These are common ordeals for Brazilians who have to face state bureaucracy. Brazil remains one of the only countries in the world where a signature alone isn’t worth much — it first needs to be “validated” by a notary.
Brazilian bureaucracy is as old as the country itself. Portuguese colonizers brought a vastly bureaucratic structure that validated land donations from the Crown to the first settlers. As a matter of fact, the political elite of the land (more or less until the end of the First Republic in 1930) was not only formed by landowners and industrialists — it also contained families that controlled parts of the bureaucracy.