Cynthia Fujikawa Nes

Cynthia Fujikawa Nes

The Brazil Business


Deportation in Brazil

Cynthia Fujikawa Nes

Cynthia Fujikawa Nes

The Brazil Business


Although it is not always in the headlines of the newspapers, Brazil deports foreigners who, somehow, disobey local laws. In this article you will learn more about this practice which is very common around the world.

The Estatuto do Estrangeiro, portuguese for Foreigner Statute was created in August 1980 to determine the rights and duties of foreigners entering Brazilian territory.

Considering that the statute was created during the Brazilian Military Dictatorship, it reflects the thought that foreigners were seen as a threat, in a period when the national security and the control were the main worries of the government. Having this in mind, it's possible to comprehend that it no longer fits with the current situation. That's why it was amended in 2009 by a law which, among other measures, grants the reciprocity in principle regarding the maximum time foreigners can stay in Brazil.

Deportation, expulsion and extradition

Brazil's Constitution determines that, when in peacetime, foreigners from every nationality have the right to arrive, stay and leave Brazil, as long as national interests are safeguarded.

The Estatuto do Estrangeiro determines three different established rules, of different characteristics and reasons to control the compulsory departure of foreigners from Brazil: deportation, expulsion and extradition.

The difference among them is that extradition is to force someone to return to the country where they are being accused guilty of a crime, in order to settle a trial. Expulsion is when a foreigner is sent away from the country and forbidden to come back. Deportation is to force foreigners to leave the country, especially when they don't have the legal right to be there or when they have broken the law.


Deportation consists of making foreigners who have clandestinely come to Brazil or haven't regularised their situation to leave the country if they don't do it voluntarily. In this case, the foreigner will be notified by the Federal Police Department, known as Polícia Federal, and will be granted a period from three to eight days to leave the country before being forced to.

A foreigner can be deported, among others, for the following reasons:

  • Entering Brazil illegally
  • Remaining in the country after a visa expiration
  • Residing in Brazil without a valid ID card
  • Transpassing inspection or passport control areas before their documents were verified
  • Working in Brazil without holding the visa type which allows remunerated activity
  • Working in an activity other than the one which has been authorised when the visa was requested
  • In cases where the visa was granted as a work visa, changing employer without the authorisation of the Ministério do Trabalho, Portuguese for Ministry of Labour
  • Work in Brazil while entering with a student or tourist visas
  • Opening a company, becoming an administrator for a company, being appointed as a manager,or director of an association without having the proper visa for this activity

The voluntary departure is what essentially distinguishes the deportation from the other compulsory forms of leaving. Deportation only occurs if the foreigner doesn't depart voluntarily within the time established.

Deported foreigners will be sent to the country of their nationality, or any other country that agrees to receive them. If neither the foreigner or a third party can carry the deporting costs, the National Treasury of Brazil known as Tesouro Nacional will cover the deporting costs. In this case should the foreigner intend to return to Brazil in the future, the entrance in the country will only be allowed if they reimburse the National Treasury for all the expenses related to the departure.

Cases of deportation in Brazil

It's not very common to see in the Brazilian media that someone has been deported from here, especially in comparison to the number of deportations that happen in other countries from North America and Europe.

However, there has been some specific cases of deportation. In March of 2008, two Brazilian students from a university in Rio de Janeiro were deported from Spain. After this case, there were serious repercussions because of the way the students would've been treated at the airport, there was a migratory crises with the Spanish. In two weeks, Brazil deported 33 foreigners from countries that were severe with Brazilian immigrants, and 24 of them were from Spain. Brazilian authorities claimed that the actions were part of the principle of reciprocity.

This principle was also used against the United States in 2004. A Brazilian federal judge determined that every American who came to Brazil should be photographed and have a file opened, just like the USA was doing with Brazilian nationals. The American pilot Dale Robbin Hersh showed his middle finger when he was to be photographed and paid a BRL 36 000 fine before being deported.

The most recent case involving deportation that gained media attention happened in July 2016 and involved an Argelian French guest researcher at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. The professor, who was working at the physics department, was deported to France after being convicted in his home country for exchanging messages with people involved in terror acts.