Brazilian Visa with Criminal Record
Presenting a background check might be required by some authorities in Brazil, specially during applications for visas. Know more about the implications of having a criminal record, and its influences on getting a legal permanence in the country.
When do I need to present my criminal records?
Typically, tourists do not need to present a background check, if their intention is to stay in Brazil for a maximum of 90 days. However, if the plan is to stay over this period, applying for a permanent or temporary visa, the authorities might ask for a criminal records certificate.
When applying for a visa in Brazil, as in many other countries, a foreigner must prove his good behavior in the past, for the simple reason that no country in the world wants to shelter a criminal. Therefore, depending on its content, the criminal records will have a significative importance in the process of getting a Brazilian visa.
So, the criminal records certificate will be required to check if the foreigner served or still has to serve a sentence in his country of origin. The document must be issued by the competent authority from the country/state/city police where the foreigner lived for the last 12 months, registered by a Brazilian consulate abroad, and then translated to Portuguese. Also, the original version signed by the city police administration is needed.
Normally, only crimes that were brought before a court will appear in the criminal records, what excludes police reports.
I have criminal records, now what?
Having a criminal record does not mean that you cannot apply for a visa in Brazil but, as the process of getting a visa is analyzed case by case, it is difficult to forecast if a criminal record will invalidate your request for legal permission to stay in the country.
We are not even discussing cases of people who did not serve their sentences and are trying to get a visa in Brazil. These people are either illegal immigrants and fugitives, so it is more than obvious that they cannot even apply for a visa. But if a foreigner who violated the law in his country of origin and already served his sentence there, then he has a clear criminal record, meaning that nothing should prevent him from getting his Brazilian visa. In theory.
What will determine if the criminal records will be taken into consideration is, of course, the seriousness of the offense committed. There are criminal offenses and criminal offenses. And particularly, in Brazil, the distinction between a felony and less severe crimes is kind of nonsensical in some cases. That is because the country’s Penal Code dates back to 1940 and urges some revision, what is currently in discussion.
First, it is necessary to clear up the different categories of breaking the law, according to the Brazilian constitution. The introduction of the Penal Code provides a great difference between:
Crime: Are the violations of the law that culminates in penalty of confinement or imprisonment. Some examples: carrying of weapons, robbery, murder, fraud, drug trafficking.
Misdemeanor: It is a violation of the law designated as a lesser crime, punished with simple detention and a fine. Some examples: drunkenness, vandalism, juvenile deliquency, street fighting, slander, abuse, disturb, persecute, threaten or in other ways violate third-party rights, refusal to submit documents to the authorities, playing games of chance, disobedience to authorities etc.
As misdemeanors are criminal offenses that present no potential damage to society, criminal records of this kind will not interfere in the process of getting a visa in Brazil, whatsoever, if the person already served his sentence.
When it comes to severe crimes, the situation gets complicated. Let us consider a person that committed a crime and already served his sentence abroad. As stated above, nothing should get in the way of this person if he wants to get a visa in Brazil, because he is even with the Justice.
However, some crimes appearing in the criminal records will difficult or even turn impossible the process of getting certain kinds of visas in Brazil. Normally, these are crimes that allow the country to expatriate the foreigner, such as rape, homicide, drug trafficking, smuggling etc. The good conduct in the past is a legal parameter to decide if the visa will be granted to the applicant.
If the person is already clear with the Justice, the best alternative is to seek for expungement or applying for pardon in his country of origin, as an attempt to erase his criminal records. That is because a criminal record will not only cause problems to the visa application, but also to finding a job, issuing other documents in the country etc. Each country will have its limitations and policies for expungements and pardons.
It is important to note that if the person is on parole, it is international understanding that this person is restricted from everything, including applying for a visa, even though he has the permission to remain in freedom.
Requesting a Brazilian Criminal Record Certificate
If you have an RNE, you can obtain a Brazilian Criminal Record Certificate directly through the internet at the Department of Federal Police website, clicking in "Antecedentes Criminais" (on the left menu), and then "Emitir Certidão".
If the Criminal Record Certificate cannot be issued through the Internet, the only alternative is to obtain it in Brazil in person, by giving someone the power of attorney to represent you at a state Federal Police Department (Departamento da Polícia Federal).
Certificates issued by the State authorities are valid throughout Brazil. A certificate issued in São Paulo, SP, for example, is valid in every state of Brazil.
Only people with citizenship in Brazil can issue a Brazilian criminal records certificate.