Andréa Novais

Andréa Novais

The Brazil Business


Getting a Brazilian Visa

Andréa Novais

Andréa Novais

The Brazil Business


Getting a visa can be a complicated and stressing process, so we prepared an article with a step-by-step guide on how to get a Brazilian visa.


Over the last decade, Brazil has called the attention of foreign investors who want to start their businesses in the country. Besides those who come here seeking business opportunities, Brazil has also called the attention of foreign tourists, especially after being chosen to host major events such as the 2014 World Cup and The Olympics.

For the citizens of some countries, coming to Brazil requires the issuance of a visa, what can be very time-consuming as there is a lot of bureaucracy involved. Brazil applies the reciprocity policy, so it treats foreign citizens according to how that country treats Brazilians, so citizens from most western countries - with the exception of the US - are not required to issue a Brazilian visa when visiting Brazil for less than 90 days. Also, most Brazilian visa options - such as the tourist one - do not require an invitation from a Brazilian citizen.

Visa Options

Visas are issued to foreigners according to the purpose of the visit to the country. Before going to the Brazilian embassy, it is important to know what your options are and for how long they allow you to stay in the country. According to the Brazilian Ministry of Justice, the visa options are:

Visa Type Information
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.

When coming to Brazil on a business trip, foreigners may ask themselves if they are allowed to enjoy the country as tourists or if they are required to issue a tourist visa. What must be considered is the main purpose of the trip. If you are coming to Brazil to attend to some meetings, but also to have some fun, you must apply for a business visa, as it is possible to tour the country with this visa.

Who Needs a Visa?

Brazil requests visas based on the principle of reciprocity of treatment given to Brazilian citizens.

The next step is to go to the local Brazilian consulate with the following documentation:

  • Original passport
  • Passport-type photograph
  • ID and a proof of address
  • For some countries, such as the US, a photocopy of round trip tickets or a letter signed by a travel agent with confirmed round trip tickets will be required
  • Yellow Fever Vaccination for those who had been to one of the Yellow Fever Countries within 90 days
  • If you are attending a conference or a seminar, you must present a letter of invitation from the organization in Brazil that is hosting the event and a day-by-day itinerary of the event
  • A copy of the most recent monthly bank statement, showing the applicant's name as the account holder, the balances of the accounts and the date of the statement

After turning in all the required documentation, your visa will be ready in 5 to 20 days, depending on the country and on the type of visa you applied to.

Investor's Visa

An investor's visa is an effective way of getting a permanent visa to Brazil. It is issued to those who wish to 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.

The Process

After subscribing the BRL 150.000,00 into the firm, the visa application can be submitted to the Ministry of Labor. If the company already exists, the total processing time is of 35 days, being 30 days for the Ministry of Labor to analyze and approve the visa application and five days to the issuance of the visa by the Brazilian Consulate.

Hiring a lawyer to whom you give full power of attorney to act on your behalf is a good option to facilitate the ongoing process, as it allows you to apply for the visa before coming to Brazil. The following documents must be presented:

  • Passport
  • Birth certificate (for those who are single)
  • Wedding certificate (for those who are married)

It is also relevant to present copies of your current resumé and any other relevant educational transcripts, such as diplomas, awards or certificates.

The following step is to certify these documents at a consulate in the applicant's home country and then translate it by an official translator in Brazil. The documents must be certified at a local notary office and the full names of the applicant's parents will be required as well.

Have the attorney draw up a statement in which you pledge to employ local labor and increase the number of available jobs in the community the company will be established.

The next document you will need is a CPF. This document identifies a taxpayer at the Federal Internal Revenue Department. If you are not in Brazil yet, you can have your lawyer obtaining a CPF for you. When you have your CPF in hand, you can officially present your documents to the Commercial, Tax and Brazilian Immigration authorities. Also, it is important to get a RNE (foreigner's ID) and a driver's license.

Regarding Taxation

Before establishing your business in Brazil, it is always a recommendation to consult a tax specialist to better understand the Brazilian fiscal policy, as the country is known for charging a high tax burden and for having a very bureaucratic and complex regulation.

Also, if you take all your money away from Brazil after the visa approval, you may have to deal with tax matters. If it happens, you will have to explain to the fiscal authorities why the money was taken away from your company.

Work Visas

This category comprises any type of service under contract, including scientists, researchers, technicians and other career or trade professionals who are providing any type of service to the Brazilian government, a state controlled company or any company or organization operating in Brazil.

Here is a list of professionals who can apply for a work visa in Brazil :

  • Professors, researchers and scientists
  • Professionals contracted to render technical assistance and/or technology transfer services
  • Professionals with the power of management (administrators, managers, directors or executives)
  • Professionals working in a position with concomitant managing powers
  • Foreign citizens representing a foreign financial institution
  • Foreign artists or sports persons
  • Professionals working on board of a foreign tourism ship, embarkation or platform
  • Professional training for foreign citizens

According to the Ministry of Labor, each group of professionals requires a specific documentation, but the presentation of the following documents is mandatory to all groups:

  • Work Permit Application Form
  • Applicant and Candidate Form
  • Officially delegated power of attorney, or with a notarized authenticated signature in the case of a private application, if the applicant is represent by an attorney
  • GRU - State Revenue Collection Guide including proof of payment of the individual immigration tax of BRL 16,93 for the foreign citizen and each of his/her dependents
  • Legible non-notarized copy of the foreign passport's identification pages, containing the number, name, date of birth, nationality and the photograph

Also, many occupations require that the foreigner presents a signed document taking full responsibility for all medical and hospital expenses incurred by him or his dependents during the stay in Brazil.

To check the entire list, click here

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