Living in Brazil is the dream of many foreigners, bur not all of them fulfill the requirements to apply for a residence visa. In this article, we will explain what are these requirements and give alternative advices to be able to stay legally in the country.
Many of us have the will to leave our hometowns and go live in other countries without a specific purpose. However, our desires often collide with the requirements and immigration policies of the targeted destination.
Among several countries worldwide, Brazil exercises a strong fascination to some foreigners of nomadic soul. First, because it’s a stable country, politically and economically, there are no declared conflicts going on. Second, because there is job opportunities in some areas here that arouse unemployed foreigners. And finally, because this is a beautiful country and there’s this thinking that we are a happy, delightful people that welcome everyone (what’s not necessarily truth, just to make it clear).
In this article, we will be discussing the cases of people who want to come to Brazil but have nothing that attaches them to the country, such as a job offer or family ties. It is also very common to see foreigners that come to Brazil for a temporary trip, as tourists or students, wanting to stay for good. We’ll also explain how to proceed in this case.
Although our immigration policies aren’t among the strictest of the world, coming to live in Brazil without a job in mind, without family relations or native friends might be difficult when it comes to getting a visa to stay legally in the country.
That’s why foreigners that expect to come here to make a living starting from scratch have to be informed on the problems that may appear and develop a plan in advance.
Requirements for applying for a visa in Brazil
There are several types of visa for foreigners in Brazil. Let’s see what are the main requirements for each one of them:
|Transit||For foreigners who need to pass through Brazil during a trip before arriving at the final destination. Maximum stay of ten days.|
|Tourist||For those visiting the country without any migratory intention. Maximum stay of 90 days, extendable only once.|
|Temporary||Travelers with cultural, educational, business and artistic purposes.|
|Permanent||For foreigners who intend to live in Brazil. Some permanent visas require previous authorization from the Ministry of Labor.|
|Courtesy||Foreign domestic employees of mission chiefs and consulate and diplomatic employees; foreign authorities unofficially visiting the country, and dependents on official or diplomatic visa bearers. Valid for 90 months, being extendable.|
|Official||For employees of international bodies on official mission and the employees of embassies and consulates who do not have diplomatic status. Valid up for two years, or the period of the mission.|
|Diplomatic||For diplomats and employees with diplomatic status, and the heads of offices representing international bodies.|
I really want to live in Brazil but I don’t fit into the requirements to apply for a visa. Now what?
You already decided that you want to live in Brazil and nothing is going to detain you. That’s fine, you’re very welcome, but don’t be irresponsible. First of all, make yourself this simple question: In order to live, what do I need?
First of all, MONEY. At the very least, it’s stupid to come here without a single penny in your pocket, assuming that you will find your way. You cannot work here without a work visa, and you cannot apply for a work visa without a job offered. Living in Brazil is not cheap. So, if you are not an already wealthy person, you will have to save some money beforehand.
Money saved, time to make your bags. But first, you don’t want to be an illegal immigrant right? So you have to find a legal way to enter Brazil. The only option you have is to come to Brazil on a temporary basis and then make your ways to get your permanent stay. In your condition of foreigner without a job offer in Brazil, temporary visas are granted for the following purposes: studies, tourism and business travels.
Among these three possibilities, tourist visa is the easiest to get, because you don’t have to prove any attachment to Brazil, you are only coming to VISIT the country and see its beauties right? Nobody has to know that your real intention is to stay for good. ;)
The tourist visa is valid for 90 days, extendable for more 90 days. So the longer you can stay as a tourist in Brazil is 180 days. If you come as a student, your visa is for one year, extendable for one more year. So the longer you can stay as a student in Brazil is for two years.
Considering that you as a tourist are allowed to stay legally in Brazil for six months, this time can be enough for you to find a job opportunity and do networking in the country. Once you have the formal job offer, you can apply for a temporary visa in Brazil and then, to the work permit.
The criteria for approval of an employment visa include suitable educational qualifications or work experience, a secured employment contract in Brazil, provide proof of adequate means of subsistence in Brazil, police confirmation that you have no criminal record, and a satisfactory medical examination. After your temporary visa expired, you can apply for a permanent residence visa.
It is important to emphasize that any kind of visa alone gives foreigners authorization to work in Brazil. But in order to do that, foreign workers need to apply for the work permit, which is issued only and exclusively by the Ministry of Labor.
Where do I live?
Since in order to rent a place to live in Brazil you will need a series of documents that you obviously don’t have, the only option is to live for a period in hotels, hostels etc.
The options are numerous, as the lodging industry in Brazil is well developed, especially in the largest cities.
I have money, I don’t need to work. How do I proceed?
Ok, but you cannot stay permanently in Brazil just being rich. In order to apply for a permanent residence. you have to invest in Brazil. The investor visa is issued to those who establish a business in the country and it is usually valid for five years. The investment can be done in a corporation that already exists or can be used to settle up a new one.
The only qualification to enable applying for a permanent investor's visa other than being older than 18 years old is to be indicated as the administrator of the company. Also, this visa depends on your economic activity. Only after the renewal of the first visa it is possible to have permanent one.
To grant a permanent visa, the foreign investor has to invest a minimum amount of BRL 150.000,00 in foreign currency. It is possible to get a concession of a permanent visa with an investment lower than the one previously mentioned, but in this case, the concept of social development will be considered, according to the following criteria:
- Amount of jobs to be created in Brazil
- Increase of productivity
- Assimilation of technology
- Fundraising for a specific sector
It is important to say that the National Immigration Council gives preference to investments from South American entrepreneurs.
Are you from a Mercosul country? Good news, things will get easier.
People from Argentina, Venezuela and Uruguay (Paraguay is in a difficult situation right now) have everything easier when it comes to live in Brazil. First, they don’t need any visa to enter the country and are allowed to stay here for 180 days only carrying their IDs or passaport.
After the 180 days they can apply for a temporary visa of two years, without any particular reason. Obtained the temporary residence, the person will be entitled to work under equal conditions of Brazilians. People from Mercosul don’t need a work permit. After two years, they can apply for a permanent visa.
People from Portugal and Chile also have special treatment.
There are plenty of opportunities for volunteers in Brazil. It might be your way to come live in the country.
Obtain a Brazilian Tax Card, the CPF (Cadastro de Pessoa Física) as soon as you arrive in town. You will need this document for several reasons while living in Brazil.
Assure with your banking institutions that you will be able to withdraw your cash once in Brazil.
Consider studying in Brazil. Everything is easier when you come to live as a student in the country.
Teaching English and other valued languages is one of the easiest ways to get a job in Brazil, as there’s a high demand for native speaker teachers.
Check our articles containing the cost of living of the main Brazilian cities and estimate how much money you will have to save before coming to Brazil.
Consider the smallest cities as a start. They have a much lower cost of living.