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Visas and permits: separate processes

Foreign nationals from the following countries do not need to obtain a visa prior to arriving in Brazil: Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, S.M. Order of Malta, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Surinam, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vatican, and Venezuela.

Business Visitors, Work Authorization, Dependents, Residence Permits, Permanent ResidencE

Entry clearance requirements are dependent on the citizenship of the applicant and the purpose of the visit. Citizens of most countries need a visa to visit Brazil for business or work purposes unless provided by treaty or other reciprocity agreement.

There are seven temporary visa categories. The most frequently used options are:

  • Temporary item II visa: business visitor
  • Temporary item V visa: local employment contract work visa, technical visa (90 days/1 year)
  • Permanent visa: entrepreneur, manager, director, executive work visa

LIST OF DOCUMENTS

BRAZILIAN SPONSORING COMPANY:

  • Last consolidation of the articles of incorporation and further amendments, if any (two certified copies).
  • Corporate document relating to the appointment of the company's directors, if it is apart from the articles of association (two certified copies).

FROM THE CANDIDATE:

  • Copy of passport (only pages containing personal information, issuing government, and validity).
  • Copy of passports of dependents (only pages containing personal information, issuing government, and validity).
  • Questionnaire duly filled out.
  • Evidence of education
  • Reference letters issued by previous employers (on letterhead paper, mentioning how long the candidate worked there, his or her job title and attributions), to evidence minimum professional experience related to the duties that will be performed in Brazil.

TOURIST VISA

A tourist visa is granted to the foreigner who comes to Brazil for recreational activities, visiting, or touring. The journey cannot have the purpose of immigration and this type of visa does not include a work permit.

The tourist visa is, normally, granted for up to five years and allows multiple entries. It is for citizens of countries that offer similar reciprocal conditions to Brazilians. This time period refers to the validity of the visa, not to the permission to stay in Brazil.

The tourist will be able to remain in Brazil for a maximum time of 90 days, extendable for an equal period. The foreigner can remain in the country for 180 days every 12 months, counted from the date of first entry.

To extend the period of stay, the request must be made to the Federal Police before the expiration of the period of stay initially granted.

To obtain this type of visa, the tourist must go to the Brazilian consulate closest to the jurisdiction of residence, present a passport and return ticket, and show that he or she will not need public assistance during his or her journey to Brazil.

TEMPORARY VISA/BUSINESS – Item II

The business-oriented visa - also called Temporary Visa Item II – is meant to make it possible for foreign citizens to come to Brazil, offer their products, get to know the Brazilian market, and close or legalize contracts. With this visa, they can participate in meetings, conferences, fairs and seminars; visit potential customers; and carry out market research. The holder of this visa is not authorized to work for any Brazilian company, regardless of whether the work is paid.

The use of this type of business visa is appropriate for activities such as administrative service, technical service, training, temporary work, consultancy service, studies, or any other activities that imply work, whether remunerated or not, is forbidden. Illegal use of this type of visa will result in a fine for the company and the foreign citizen, as well as his or her deportation.

Temporary Visa Item II normally is granted up to five years, allowing multiple entries, for citizens of countries that offer similar conditions to Brazilian citizens. This period refers to visa validity and not to the period of stay. Foreign citizens who travel to Brazil on business will be able to remain for a maximum period of 90 days, which can be extended for another 90 days, which is the maximum amount in a 12-month period.

TEMPORARY ITEM V VISA – TRAINEE

Legal basis: A Temporary Item V Visa is provided for by article 13, item V, of Law N. 6,815/80, and is regulated by Normative Resolution N. 37 (R.N.37) of the National Immigration Council.

Requirements: The applicant must have graduated from a university or technical course in the field of the trainee program up to 12 months before applying for this visa. Furthermore, there must be reciprocal treatment for Brazilian nationals or express legal provision in the legislation of the applicant's own country for such a visa. Engaging in any kind of remunerated activity in Brazil with this visa is forbidden.

Remuneration: A monthly gross salary must be paid entirely by an entity located outside of Brazil.

Validity of the visa: The visa can be valid for 1 year and cannot be extended.

Dependents: This visa can be extended to the applicant's dependents, who are not allowed to work in Brazil.

Taxation: A foreign national is considered to be resident in Brazil for tax purposes after 183 days of stay, consecutive or not, under any kind of temporary visa (including a business visa), except for the temporary visa under a local labor agreement, in a period of 12 months from the date of first entry. After such period, he or she is subject to the payment of income tax in Brazil, and is taxed on not only the amounts paid by Brazilian sources, but also on any income received abroad.

The form of taxation may be modified on a case-by-case basis if there is a reciprocal agreement or international treaty related to double taxation entered into by Brazil and the country where the source of the income is located.

Brazilian documents: It is necessary to obtain the following documents:

a) Identity card for foreigners (RNE);

b) Individual Taxpayers' Registry card (CPF/MF); and

c) Driver's license (This document is mandatory to foreigners who intend to drive in Brazil).

SHORT-TERM TEMPORARY ITEM V VISA – 90 DAYS

Legal basis: This type of work visa is also provided for by article 13, item V, of Law N. 6,815/80, and regulated by article 6 of Normative Resolution N.61/2004 of the National Immigration Council, published in the Official Gazette on December 23, 2004.

Validity of the visa: This visa can be valid for up to 90 days and cannot be extended. The visa must be obtained from a Brazilian consulate in the applicant's home country, and the registration with the Federal Police Department that must occur within 30 days is mandatory. The recipient is allowed to apply for another type of visa during the 90-day period, if necessary.

Requirements: This type of visa is applicable only to personnel with technical skills who need to come to Brazil under an agreement entered into with a foreign company. Under this procedure, the work permit application from the Ministry of Labor and Employment will require only Brazilian company information and corporate documents, and the applicant's résumé and information about his or her monthly gross salary, as well as evidence that he or she has at least 3 years of relevant work experience with respect to the services that will be performed in Brazil, and that he or she has health insurance coverage in Brazil for the length of the period of stay.

TECHNICAL TEMPORARY ITEM V VISA – without Labor agreement in Brazil, 1 year

Legal basis and conditions: This type of work visa is also provided for by article 13, item V, of Law N. 6.815/80, and is regulated by Normative Resolution N.61/2004 of the National Immigration Council.

A fundamental eligibility requirement for this visa is the existence of one of the following:

a) An agreement issued by the Brazilian Internal Revenue Department in case of the purchase and sale of equipment, including technical assistance;

b) A duly signed agreement with identification of the parties, in case of technical cooperation between companies belonging to the same group, with due evidence of the relationship linking them;

c) A document entered into by and between the Central Bank of Brazil and a foreign entity in foreign currency; or

d) An agreement or covenant.

Registration with INPI (National Institute for Industrial Property) is no longer necessary.

These instruments must contain some core information, among which is a program for the transfer of technology and/or technical assistance training of Brazilian employees. Documentation should note the number of Brazilian workers involved, their position and qualifications, and the results that are expected to be achieved with such training.

The technician must have at least 3 years of work experience in the services that will be rendered in Brazil.

Validity of the visa: The visa may be valid for up to 1 year and may be extended for an equal period of time. If the company is interested in keeping the foreign national in Brazil, it will need to hire him or her according to Brazilian labor laws.

Dependents: This visa can be extended to the technician's dependents, who are not allowed to work in Brazil.

Taxation: Under this type of visa, the transferred employee will be considered to be a resident in Brazil for tax purposes after 183 days of stay, consecutive or not, under any kind of temporary visa (including a business visa), except for the temporary visa under a local labor agreement, within a period of 12 months from the date of first entry. After such period, he or she is subject to the payment of income tax in Brazil, and is taxed not only on the amounts paid by Brazilian sources, but also on any income received abroad.

Brazilian documents: It is necessary to obtain the following documents:

a) Identity card for foreign nationals (RNE);

b) Individual Taxpayers' Registry card (CPF/MF); and

c) Driver's license (This document is mandatory to foreigners who intend to drive in Brazil).

TEMPORARY ITEM V VISA - EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT

Legal basis and conditions: This type of work visa is provided for by article 13, item V, of Law N. 6.815/80, and regulated by Normative Resolution N.74/2007 and 80/2008 (deprived of effect of Normative Resolution N.64/2005).

The Temporary Item V Visa may be obtained upon execution of an employment agreement by and between a Brazilian company and a foreign citizen. An employment relationship is established between the parties and the company is obliged to comply with Brazilian labor and social security law, being subject to payment of social contributions and labor rights.

Requirements: The Brazilian company must: (i) for each foreign employee, ensure that there are at least two Brazilians; and (ii) ensure that the total amount paid to Brazilian employees is at least twice as much as the total amount paid to foreign employees.

The candidate is required to show evidence of a university degree or evidence of at least 9 years of education. Furthermore, it is necessary to document experience related to the activities the candidate will perform in Brazil (preferably recent) of at least 1 year after graduation from university; or (ii) 2 years if the candidate does not hold a university degree; or (iii) simply a master's degree or higher that is compatible with the activities that will be carried out in Brazil. In the event that the profession does not require a degree, the foreigner must document at least 3 years of experience in that profession.

The requirements above, during the term of 2 years from the Normative Resolution publication N. 80/2008, do not apply to South American citizens.

The foreign citizen under this visa cannot legally represent a Brazilian company and execute documents on its behalf, because only bearers of a permanent visa can be vested with the powers to represent a Brazilian company.

Remuneration: The salary is considered a direct reflection of the professional qualifications of the foreign national, which is an essential condition for obtaining this visa.

In the case of a transfer between companies belonging to the same group, the gross monthly salary to be received by the foreign national due to his or her assignment in Brazil must be equal to or higher than the gross monthly salary received abroad.

Additionally, if the position that will be occupied by the foreign national already exists, the salary that will be paid in Brazil must be at least equal to the highest payment for such position.

A "split salary" may be allowed, where a portion of the total salary may be paid by the Brazilian company and the remaining portion by another company belonging to the group outside of Brazil, as long as the portion paid in Brazil is compatible with the highest salary paid for a similar position in Brazil, if such position already exists.

Validity of the visa: Length of stay can be up to 2 years, and can be renewed for another period of up to 2 years. The visa may be converted into a permanent one, which must be requested at least 30 days before the expiration of the period of stay or extension.

Dependents: This visa can be extended to the employee's dependents, who are not allowed to work in Brazil.

Transfer to another company: The foreign national admitted in Brazil under this visa will only be allowed to work for the entity that requested his or her visa. A previous authorization must be granted by the Ministry of Justice in order for the foreign national to be transferred to another company. In case of transfer to an affiliate company, it is only necessary to report and justify it to the Ministry of Labor and Employment within 15 days.

Taxation: A foreign national is considered to be resident in Brazil for tax purposes after 183 days of stay, consecutive or not, under any kind of temporary visa (including a business visa), except for the temporary visa under a local labor agreement, within a period of 12 months from the date of first entry. After such period, he or she is subject to the payment of income tax in Brazil, and is taxed on not only the amounts paid by Brazilian sources, but also on any income received abroad.

Brazilian documents: It is necessary to obtain the following documents:

a) Identity card for expatriates (RNE);

b) Individual Taxpayers' Registry card (CPF/MF);

c) Workbook (Carteira de Trabalho e Previdência Social – CTPS);

d) Driver's license (This document is mandatory to foreigners who intend to drive in Brazil).

PERMANENT VISALEGAL REPRESENTATIVES

Legal basis and requirements: This type of visa is regulated by Normative Resolution N.62, published in the Official Gazette on December 23, 2004, which allows permanent visas to be requested for foreign executives who will come to Brazil in order to legally represent a Brazilian company.

The main requirement for this type of visa is that the foreign company invests an amount equivalent to at least US$200,000 per foreign executive, duly evidenced by means of the registration of the foreign investment with the Central Bank of Brazil.

The foreign company also must produce a corporate document for the occupation of a statutory position by the foreign national (usually an amendment to the articles of association or meeting of quota holders in the case of a limited liability company, or minutes of a meeting of shareholders or of a board of directors in the case of stock companies), and must register with the Commercial Registry.

Minimum US$50,000 investment: If the Brazilian company does not have the minimum US$200,000 foreign investment made by its foreign partners, it will be allowed to hire a foreign executive and obtain his or her permanent visa if there is a minimum US$50,000 investment and the company commits to creating at least 10 new positions during a period of 2 years.

Companies with Brazilian capital: Normative Resolution N. 62 allows Brazilian-owned companies to hire foreign executives. In this case, the foreign investment will not be mandatory if there is evidence that there is one branch of the Brazilian company abroad.

Members of the board of directors: The National Immigration Council decided to definitively require a permanent visa for members of the board of directors with the enactment of Normative Resolution N.62, whereas before there was a dispute as to whether it was necessary.

Remuneration: A "split salary" may be allowed, where a portion of the total salary may be paid by the Brazilian company and the remaining portion by another company belonging to the group outside of Brazil, as long as the portion paid in Brazil is compatible with the living costs of the city in which the foreign national will reside.

Additionally, should the position that will be occupied by the foreign national already exist, the salary that will be paid in Brazil must be at least equal to the highest pay for such position.

LEGAL BOND WITH THE BRAZILIAN COMPANY AND OCCUPATION OF SEVERAL MANAGING POSITIONS:

The foreign national is bonded to the Brazilian company that requested his or her visa for a period of up to 5 years, and it is therefore forbidden for him or her to quit working for the first company (if he or she does so, the visa will be revoked).

It is possible, however, for the foreign national to occupy another managerial position for other companies from the same group, as long as a previous authorization is granted by the Ministry of Labor and Employment.

Previous authorization granted by the Ministry of Justice – upon opinion of the Ministry of Labor and Employment - is also needed in order to transfer an executive to another company. If the transfer is to an affiliate company, it is necessary to report and justify it to the Ministry of Labor and Employment within 15 days.

After the initial visa period of 5 years and having obtained a new RNE card, the foreign national generally can act freely without the need for authorization from the Brazilian authorities. It is not advisable, however, to stay out of Brazil more than 2 consecutive years; otherwise the visa will be revoked.

Taxation: A foreign national is considered to be resident in Brazil for tax purposes after 183 days of stay, consecutive or not, under any kind of temporary visa (including a business visa), except for the temporary visa under a local labor agreement, within a period of 12 months from the date of first entry. After such period, he or she is subject to the payment of income tax in Brazil, and is taxed on not only the amounts paid by Brazilian sources, but also on any income received abroad.

Brazilian documents: Upon the foreign national's arrival in Brazil, it is necessary to obtain the following documents:

a) Identity card for expatriates (RNE);

b) Individual Taxpayers' Registry card (CPF/MF);

c) Work Booklet (only in the case of a director with a local employment agreement); and

d) Driver's license (This document is mandatory to foreigners who intend to drive in Brazil).

PERMANENT VISAINVESTORS (INDIVIDUALS)

Legal basis: Normative Resolution N. 84, of February 10, 2009.

Requirements: A foreign citizen may obtain a permanent visa once he or she invests a minimum personal amount of R$150.000,00 (one hundred and fifty thousand Reais) at a new Brazilian company or at an already existing company.

In appraising the petition, the Ministry of Labor will first examine the social interest, characterized by the generation of employment and income in Brazil, the increase in productivity, the assimilation of technology, and the raising of resources for specific sectors.

This type of visa is granted for 3 years. At the end of this period, the foreigner will have to renew his or her status as a resident through the substitution of the Foreign Resident's Identity Card (CIE) at the Federal Police Department.

The foreign national must prove that he or she continues as an investor in Brazil by presenting the following documents:

  • Proof of payment of CIE substitution fee;
  • Original Foreign Resident's Identity Card (CIE);
  • Certified copy of the legal act that rules the legal entity, duly registered at the relevant agency;
  • Income Tax Declaration of the last fiscal year of the company and the delivery receipt;
  • Copy of the Annual Report on Social Information (RAIS) of the last two years, which shows the fulfillment of the generation of jobs foreseen in the Investment Plan, when applicable; and
  • Copy of the last collection guide of the Length of Service Guarantee Fund (FGTS) containing the list of employees.

In exceptional cases, the National Immigration Council can authorize a permanent visa for a foreign national even if the amount of investment is lower than the amount noted above, but in such a case, the social interest of the investment will be checked against the following criteria:

  • Number of jobs to be generated in Brazil, through the presentation of an Investment Plan containing the annual program of job generation for Brazilians;
  • Value of the investment and region of the country where it will be applied;
  • Economic sector where the investment will take place; and
  • Contribution to an increase in productivity or assimilation of technology.

In its decisions, the National Immigration Council will especially consider the investments of national entrepreneurs from South American countries.

When applicable, the Federal Police Department may take steps to confirm the physical existence of the company and the activities it exercises.

Dependents: This type of visa may be extended to the dependents of its holder. Spouses are permitted to work in Brazil while the holder's permanent visa remains valid.

Brazilian documents: It is necessary to obtain the following documents:

  • Identity card for the foreign national (RNE). Registration is required within 30 days from the date of entry into the country;
  • Individual Taxpayers' Registry card (CPF/MF); and
  • Driver's license (This document is mandatory to foreigners who intend to drive in Brazil).

permanent visa based on brazilian OFFSPring

The parenthood of a minor Brazilian citizen, who depends on foreign parents and must be kept under the parent's legal guard, may be used as a basis for obtaining permanent resident status in Brazil. Under this circumstance, the permanency can be required by the Brazilian Federal Police's office that has jurisdiction over the city where the candidate resides.

Once the application for permanent residence based on Brazilian offspring is submitted, the foreigner may travel and work legally in order to support the child's needs.

It takes approximately 1 year for such an application to be adjudicated.

PERMANENT VISA FOR MARRIAGE TO A BRAZILIAN

A permanent visa may also be obtained due to marriage to a Brazilian.

A permanent visa under these conditions can be requested at the Brazilian Federal Police's office from the place of residence of the interested party. The police will investigate the marriage's validity.

On the same date that the application for permanent residence based on marriage to a Brazilian is submitted, the foreign national begins his or her legal stay in Brazil and may apply for the work booklet so that he or she may work in Brazil.

It takes approximately 1 year for such an application to be adjudicated.

Brazilian Business Etiquette

  • Most of Brazil is three hours behind Greenwich Mean Time ( GMT -3), or two hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time (EST +2). Western Brazil is four hours behind GMT, or one hour ahead of EST.
  • Become accustomed to waiting for your Brazilian counterpart. Some regions have casualness about time. Even though San Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are not one of those (in these two cities, business meetings tend to start on time), lack of punctuality is a fact of life in most of Brazil.
  • Try to set your appointments between 10 a.m. and noon, so that your business runs into lunch. Lunch meetings are considered to be a key part of building a relationship.
  • Set appointments at least two weeks in advance. Making impromptu calls at business or government offices may not be effective.
  • The most spectacular Carnival festivities culminate on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. Avoid any business transactions for up to a week before Lent begins on Ash Wednesday.
  • A list of Brazil's official holidays is posted here.
  • Brazilians conduct business through personal connections. Before you invest in a trip, hire an appropriate Brazilian contact (despachante) in your industry to help you meet the right people.
  • Be prepared to commit long-term resources (both in time and money) toward establishing strong relationships in Brazil. Without such commitments, there is no point inattempting to do business there.