Igor Utsumi

Igor Utsumi

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Obtaining a Religious Visa in Brazil

Igor Utsumi

Igor Utsumi

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Individuals travelling to Brazil for religious purposes are required to get a temporary visa. This article explains everything about VITEM VII for clergymen and missionaries.

There are various temporary visas issued to foreigners in Brazil. Some common examples are those for professionals attending trade shows and congresses, or even one for investors.

A more unusual example of a temporary visa is the one known as VITEM VII, short for Visto Temporário VII. This document is issued by the Ministry of Foreign Relations (MRE) to religious professionals from other countries, that are intending to stay in Brazil for a certain amount of time.

According to MRE, “clergymen and missionaries with theological or academic religious education who intend to go to Brazil for religious purposes” are eligible for a VITEM VII.

This visa is valid for a period of one year, but it can be renewed for additional years. This extension must be requested no later than 30 days before the expiration date, whilst in Brazil.

Necessary Documents

All the items below must be submitted in order to apply for a visa for religious purposes. Additional documents might be requested by the Ministry of Foreign Relations or by the respective Consulate during the process.

It is important to highlight that some documents relating to the host organization of the applicant must also be presented. They are:

  • Copy of the Brazilian host organization CNPJ
  • Empowerment certificate issued to the Brazilian religious or missionary organization’s head officer
  • Charter or bylaws of the Brazilian religious or missionary organization
  • Original invitation letter from the Brazilian sponsoring religious organization, drawn at a Brazilian notary office (cartório) from Brazil

The invitation letter must be signed by the organization’s head officer or someone with power of attorney. It must also declare that the organization will be responsible for the expenses relating to the stay, medical insurance and repatriation of the applicant.

The required documents from the applicant are:

  • Passport, valid for a minimum of six months
  • Visa application form, completed online, printed and then signed
  • A passport photo size 5cm x 5cm, color, on a white background; this photo must be attached to the visa application form
  • Copy of applicants birth certificate
  • Copy of the round-trip ticket, booked itinerary, or another document with complete information such as places to be visited, flight number and arrival/departure dates
  • Proof of jurisdiction, showing that the applicant has been living within that consular jurisdiction over the last 12 months
  • Notarized document and a copy of a statement of commitment, expressing that the applicant will not engage in any activity in Indian areas without authorization from Fundação Nacional do Índio (FUNAI, or National Indian Foundation)
  • Notarized copy of ordination certificate and/or diploma and school transcript for theological studies, which will be authenticated by the consular office
  • Notarized copy of the applicant’s curriculum vitae

Necessary Procedures

After the visa application form is completed and signed, it is necessary to pay the related fees. In October, 2014, the fees charged were:

  • For United Arab Emirates citizens: USD 125
  • For United Kingdom citizens whose visa validity is up to 180 days: USD 70
  • For United Kingdom citizens whose visa validity exceeds 180 days: USD 225
  • For United States citizens: USD 260
  • For citizens from any other country: USD 70

After the fee is paid, all the documents listed previously must be presented at a consular office. These entities recommend that the process is started at least one month prior to the intended departure date.

The presentation of the signed form and the required documents can be done either:

  • In person, by the applicant or by a proxy
  • By a travel or visa service agency, although this is discouraged by the Ministry of Foreign Relations and by most Consulates

If the application is submitted in person, a self-addressed envelope with a tracking number and sufficient postage, must also be submitted, for the return of the passport and documents by mail.

The processing times vary from country to country. In the United States, for example, Consulates usually set an average timeframe of 10 business days, mailing time not included. You can also check the current status of your VITEM VII application online.

Note that anyone holding a visa for religious purposes must register with the Federal Police within 30 days of their arrival regardless of the length of their stay in Brazil. Failing to register in time will result in daily fines.