Many people have asked me about the possibilities to obtain Brazilian permanency (by this I mean permanent residency) or a working visa. People come to Rio and Brazil, fall in love and want to live here. On this page I have tried to sum up all the options available. If you know of other methods or have good information on the subject please let me know so I can include it in this text. There are basically four different kinds of permanency and long term visas, I have described them below. Anyone can apply for these but if you don’t meet up to the criterias stipulated your application will for certain be rejected. It can be helpful to have a Brazilian person, preferrably a lawyer, helping you with the application.

1 – Regular Brazilian Permanency (permanência definitiva)

It is for life and is normally granted for family reasons. It could be that you are married to a Brazilian, have a child with a Brazilian or have family in the country. Lately you can also be granted on base of a registered união estável (En: Cohabitation) with a Brazilian. If you are born in Brazil you automatically become a citizen of the republic, the mother and father of that child has a right to a permanency if they apply. It is also granted to retired people with a minimum monthly income of over 2000 U$. The order of process is that you will have to submit a number of documents and some photos to the Federal Police. Now you will have to wait for the Feds to come and visit you in your house where they will check that what you have stated is true. This can take years, but during this period you are allowed to stay in the country – you just have to go to the Federal Police every few months and get a stamp. After the responsible officers have interviewed you they will send their statement together with all your documents and photos to Brasilia. There it will be processed and if everything goes right you will be approved (you can follow this process on the internet), it will then officially be published in something called diário oficial. Now the process returns to Rio where you have to fill in another form, give your fingerprints and in the end receive a new protocol – now you officially have a Brazilian permanency and can apply for a job. The last thing you are waiting for is the Brazilian foreigner identity card, this can take a few years to arrive but is not necessary since you already are permanent. A good tip if you want the Brazilian permanency faster is to do this through the Brazilian embassy/consulates in your country, most of the time it is a lot faster.

2 – Working Visa

You need an employment in a Brazilian or Brazilian based company. Normally this is granted to skilled professionals that the company in question would have a hard time to find in Brazil. You also have special types of working visas for journalists, foreign representatives, academics and people working in the travel industry as well as for so called NGO’s. All these are time limited. It is very hard to get working permits issued in Brazil, the best way to go about it is to get employed by a Brazilian based country at home and let them handle the process. Rio de Janeiro is one of the harder places to find employment in Brazil, not only foreigners but also many Brazilians want to live in Rio, São Paulo and Curitiba is for instance a lot easier. In Rio it has earlier been reasonable easy to get a working visa as a English teacher, today it is a lot harder but might be worth a try. A university diploma from a English speaking country seem to help a lot.

3 – Investment Visa

Although the type of visa you get is the same as in category 1 I treat it apart since the process is quite different. It is issued to a person that invests a minimum 50000 U$ in a commercial business, this can be your own or in an already existant. If everything goes right you are given a permanência definitiva. You are supposed to do this in collaboration with minimum one Brazilian that initially has to have at least a 10% part of the business.

4 – Student Visa

his is granted for the period of studies you are registered. The most common for foreigners is to study Portuguese at the university PUC-Rio . If you contact them you can get more info (just click on the link above). Most likely you have to sort things out with your university at home to set up an exchange.

A new and good alternative is offered by Caminhos Language Centre who offer Student Visas (6-12 months), it is Portuguese school that is connected to an NGO. The process is quite easy and they specialize in helping students obtaining the visa. It’s straight forward – just enrol in classes (minimum of 20 hours per week to qualify for student visa) and pay in advance. Caminhos will issue the official documents and Sedex them to your address. You then book in an appointment with the Embassy of Brazil in your country and apply. The price as of May in 2016 was 6,560 BRL for 6 months and 10,560 BRL for a full year. Further info you can get on info|at|caminhosbrasil.com. I see it as a good way to continue learning Portuguese and stay in Brasil. Site: Caminhos Languages

Brazilian Citizenship (residência)

To obtain a Brazilian residency is a lot harder than all the options above. It is normally preceeded by having a category 1 – Regular Brazilian Permanency, after 3 or 4 years you can then apply to become Brazilian. The Federal Police will now make a more thorough investigation. What you gain is basically the right to vote and some other citizenship related benefits.

What To Think About

Brazil is still very bureaucratic, if you don’t have a person helping you will benefit from having a lot of patience. I have mentioned a few times that it is better to resolve things in your own country, believe me when I say that! Many people have contacted me with phrases like “I speak good Portuguese and English and have worked as a skilled XXX for XXX many years. I am coming to Rio de Janeiro next month and wanted to know how I can find a job?” The sad answer I give is that aside from the English teacher option it is almost impossible to get employed: There are few jobs, no job agencies and the corporate culture is much built on contacts and family ties. In other parts of Brazil it might be easier, but sorting it out before you arrive is for sure easier.

Where To Apply in Rio

Go the Federal Police/Immigration, at Terminal 1, Red Area, 3rd floor, Aeroporto Internacional do Rio de Janeiro/Galeão Antônio Carlos Jobim, tel 3398-3142, open 8h/17h Monday to Friday. Getting your Brazilian permanency in Rio is probably slightly more complicated than in other states of Brazil since there is a strong bureaucratic tradition here.

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