Rebeca Duran

Rebeca Duran

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


Visa Requirement to Work in Brazil

Rebeca Duran

Rebeca Duran

Staff Writer
The Brazil Business


You're a foreigner in Brazil and you want to work here, but does your visa permit it? If you have a tourist visa, a student visa or a work visa, does it make a difference? In this article you will find out how a foreigner can work legally in Brazil.

The work of foreign citizens in Brazil is designated by the Law 6815 of August 19, 1980, regulated by Decree 86.715, of December 10, 1981. This law establishes general standards and guidelines related to the legal status of foreigners in Brazil,including the information necessary for the foreigner to become involved in work activities in the country. The foreign worker will not only need a specific visa, but they will have to acquire work authorization issued by the Ministry of Labor.

Visas in Brazil

The visa is a mandatory federal authorization that enables the entrance of a foreigner to Brazil. For most countries, a visa is issued only abroad and authorizes the permanence of the visitor in Brazilian territory for a specific period of time that is defined according to the purpose of the travel.

It is not only foreigners who intend to stay in Brazil for a short time who must apply for a visa, the ones that wish to stay in Brazil for longer period of time also require one. It is advisable to research the requirements for obtaining a visa a month or two in advance because the process takes some weeks to be complete.

Types and Requests

The visas are granted to foreigners who come to Brazil in seven different types:

  • transit
  • tourist
  • temporary
  • permanent
  • courtesy
  • official
  • diplomatic

The foreign visitor must complete a form for visa application (Formulário de Pedido de Visto) – available in Portuguese, Spanish, French and English – individually. The application for a visa to enter Brazil can be done at any Brazilian consulate abroad. It is required to pay a fee, which varies according to the type of visa requested and the time that the tourist will remain in the country

It is important to remember that the passport should have at least a validity of six months from the time of the visa application. You must also submit a recent colored photo of 3x4 or 5x7 with white background.

If You're Going to Work

Not all the visas mentioned above allow you to work in Brazil if you're a foreigner. If you want to work in the country you will need specific visas that can guarantee that you will develop work activities in legal terms, such as:

  • the temporary work visa
  • the permanent work visa

Temporary Work Visas

If you're coming to Brazil on a temporary basis for work purposes, there are several types of visas that may be applicable according to each situation or circumstance. Listed below are the most common situations in which this visa is applicable.

Professionals with Employment Agreement

This visa applies to persons who will be employed temporarily in a Brazilian company in a position that requires knowledge and "know-how" specialized not found in Brazil. The visa can be granted for a period of initially two years and may be extended to a maximum of two years.

If the worker can present a qualification in the area of expertise that they intend to work in, it is also necessary to prove work experience in that same area of at least two years. If the worker does not possess a qualification it is necessary to prove at least three years of experience.

The company must comply with the rule of "2/3", which determines that 2/3 of the company's jobs and the amount of the company's payroll is owned by Brazilian citizens.

Technicians without Employment Agreement

The technician visa applies to foreigners who come to Brazil to provide technical assistance or technology transfer based on the Contract for Technical Services and Technology Transfer between Brazilian and foreign companies.The contract shall be registered with the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) before applying for a visa.

The visa may be granted for a period of two years in the case of transfer of technology, or for one year in the case of technical assistance, that can be renewed for an equal period. In emergency cases, the visa may be granted by the Brazilian Consulate with jurisdiction over the individual's residence for a period not extended of thirty days.

Emergency is defined as a situation that poses imminent risk to life, to environment, to national heritage, or that generated the interruption of production or provision of services.

Artists and Sportspeople

The request for this visa must be submitted to the Ministry of Labor in Brazil by the Brazilian organization that is sponsoring the event for which the services are being requested from abroad. Requires information about the event and the respective contract.

Foreign journalists

This visa for foreign journalists working temporarily in Brazil as to correspondents of foreign media will support the visa application. The candidate may not receive their salary in Brazil. The visa must be made directly to the Brazilian Consulate abroad with jurisdiction over the individual's residence.

Ship's Crew

A ships's crew are required to obtain a visa authorization for the operation of the ship in national waters and the Navy report and a copy of the contract. Brazilians must form part of the crew.

Research Scientists

This visa is designated to teachers, technicians, scientists and researchers wishing to undertake activities in schools or Brazilian universities, public or private, or in research institutions. A letter of support from the institution sponsor for the visit of the scientist is necessary, besides the term of employment or the employment agreement.

Social Assistance

The temporary visa may be granted for at most two years for foreigners coming to Brazil to provide religious services or social assistance as volunteers. The foreigner may not receive compensation for voluntary work in Brazil.

Permanent Work Visa

The Permanent visa may be issued under three circumstances:

  • family relationship with a Brazilian citizen (marriage, children)
  • retirement
  • nomination for a representation and management position in a Brazilian company (executive officer)

Family Relationship

Applies for people married to a Brazilian or someone that has a Brazilian child. In both cases the foreigner can apply for a permanent visa at the Brazilian Consulate abroad before coming to the country, or can request it at the Ministry of Justice in Brazil. In this case, the foreigner will be authorized to work in the country.

Executive Officer

The permanent visa may also be granted in the case of a foreign company having a branch or subsidiary in Brazil and want to transfer a director or manager for the Brazilian company. Thus, individuals who are permanently transferred to Brazil to work for an affiliate or subsidiary of a foreign company in the capacity of director or manager may request a visa for permanent work.

To apply for a permanent visa for its director or manager, the company must have at least two hundred thousand of USD of foreign investment registered in the Central Bank of Brazil, or at least be generated during the year preceding the coming of the foreigner, an increase in payroll – due to new jobs – equal to or greater than 20% or 240 minimum wages in the year.

Work Authorization

The Ministry of Labor, through the National Immigration Council – the body responsible for the formulation of immigration policy and coordination of their activities in Brazil – establishes procedures and guidelines for the granting of work permits to foreigners who wish to stay in the country to work, either temporarily or permanently.

Types of Work Visas Require Work Authorization
Professionals with Employment Agreement with a Brazilian company Yes
Technicians without Employment Agreement Yes
Artists and Sportspeople Yes
Foreign journalists Yes
Ship's Crew Yes
Research Scientists
Social Assistance
Family Relationship Yes
Executive Officer Yes