Engineers and other professionals may be required a CREA membership in order to work legally in Brazil. In this article we detailed the process of getting a temporary or a permanent registration in this Council.
Regulations on some professions
In Brazil, some professions are strongly overseen by their official councils. Actually, every career in Brazil has a specific council operating as public autarchies or independent agencies, protecting, regulating, and inspecting the professionals and their practices in the country. A few of those councils are very powerful institutions nationwide, such as:
- CONFEA/CREA (Federal Council of Engineering and Agronomy)
- CFM (Federal Council of Medicine)
- CAU (Federal Council of Architecture and Urbanism)
- OAB (Brazilian Bar Association)
- CFC (Federal Council of Accounting)
In addition to regulating and supervising the professions, these Councils even restrict or prohibit the practice of graduates that are not registered as their members, hence the importance of being accredited. In this article, we will focus on how to become a member of CONFEA/CREA.
An introduction to CONFEA/CREA
CONFEA stands for Conselho Federal de Engenharia e Agronomia (Federal Council of Engineering and Agronomy) which is a public autarchy responsible for inspecting and judging the practice of engineers, geographers, geologists, agronomists and technicians related to those activities in Brazil.
The Council was created in 1933, with the purpose of looking after the interests of the society by regulating and supervising the work of the professionals it represents. Furthermore, the council is responsible for the services below:
- Technical Term of Responsibility - ART
- Registration of courses in the areas it represents
- Certificate of Technical Practice - CAT
- Registration of professionals graduated abroad
- Registration certificate
- Registration of class entities
- Registration of Higher Education Institutions
- Registration of individuals
- Registration of companies
Counting with more than a million professionals registered, CONFEA operates nationwide through its regional bodies located in each one of the Brazilian states and the Federal District. Those agencies are called CREAs (Regional Council of Engineering and Agronomy) and have offices in several cities.
It is important to note that CONFEA adopts a severe position towards foreign workers of its category. The Council is only favorable to foreign professionals working in Brazil in two cases:
- When there are not enough skilled professionals of a determined category
- When the amount of Brazilian professionals are not enough to supply the national demand for workforce
The professional who is not registered at CREA cannot sign or be responsible for any projects in Brazil. It is mandatory for foreign engineers to be registered at a state CREA in order to work legally in Brazil. Foreigners can get their register at CREA in a temporary or permanent basis.
It is important to say that masters degree or PhD in Engineering will not entitle a person to apply for CREA membership. Only Engineering bachelor’s degrees are valid for that purpose.
Temporary registration with CREA
The temporary register at CREA is destined for those professionals who are coming to Brazil to perform a job that have an end scheduled. The maximum validity of a temporary CREA registration (considering renewals) is two years and it has to be attached to a specific work contract with a Brazilian company.
But the temporary CREA registration has some limitations attached. Even though it allows the holder to sign documents as an engineer, this kind of membership will not permit him to hold the majority stake or occupy a management position in an engineering Brazilian company.
The first step to get a temporary CREA register is to fill up an application (in Portuguese) addressed to the president of the CREA agency of any Brazilian state. This application is called Requerimento de Registro Profissional and it is obtained through internet. Check the model from CREA-RJ here.
After completing this application, the foreigner must gather the following documents and appear before a CREA office in person.
- Foreign diploma legalized by a Brazilian consular authority (does not need to be validated by a Brazilian university)
- Academic transcripts containing the workload of the courses taken abroad
- Syllabuses of the courses taken abroad
- Ordinance of the Ministry of Labor published in the Official Gazette authorizing the foreign professional to work in the country
- A document proving the working relationship between the contracting company and the professional
- Contract of employment with a Brazilian company, public or private or service contract registered with the competent body
- Evidence of temporary appointments with the Brazilian government for the provision of service
- Statement by the contracting entity, specifying the activities that the foreign professional will perform in the country.
- Statement by the contracting entity, indicating a Brazilian professional to be maintained to assistant the foreign professional
- Document proving the contractual relationship between the contracting company and the Brazilian assistant
- Identity card indicating permission of residence in Brazil (can be the passport or temporary visa)
- Proof of residence in Brazil
- 2 color photos 3x4 (ID size)
If the paperwork is okay and complete, the temporary CREA register will be issued. But, in order to complete the process, the applicant will be required to pay a BRL 90,50 fee.
Permanent registration with CREA
Getting a permanent CREA membership is really time-consuming, the process normally takes 2 to 3 years of a very bureaucratic journey. The person has to be also prepared to spend good money with sworn translations, the legalization and certification of copies of the several documents required. There are also a lot of mandatory pre-conditions among them:
- Having a permanent work visa in Brazil
- Validating diplomas obtained abroad
- Being graduated in an engineering course of not less than 3600 hours
If the applicant for a CREA membership are under those conditions, he can go to a CREA office bearing the same documents listed above, for the temporary registration with CREA, plus:
- Originals and certified copies of documents proving the legal and permanent residence in Brazil (permanent work visa, RNE)
- Original and copy of the diploma revalidated by a Brazilian institution of higher education.
- Attestation of equivalence issued by the Brazilian university committee.
Again, if the paperwork is complete and okay and after paying a determinned fee, the applicant will have his CREA card granted. Once the foreigner has been accredited with a CREA membership, he will have to pay an annual fee in contribution to the Council. The fee stipulated for 2012 was BRL 250,00 for individuals.
Important: Both for temporary or permanent CREA registration, all the documents written in foreign languages must be legalized by a Brazilian Consular Authority and translated into the vernacular by a public translator, except those issued by Portuguese-speaking countries.