Immigration to Brazil: Information about procedures and requirements to obtain Brazilian permanent residency.
Brazilian Permanent Residence Visa (Brazilian Immigration Visa) will be granted only to applicants who satisfy the special requirements established by the National Immigration Council, Ministry of Justice or the Ministry of Labor.
In principle, there are six cases in which a foreigner can obtain Brazilian permanent visa:
- The administrator, manager or director of a professional or business corporation;
- A foreigner who intends to remain permanently in Brazil and will invest foreign funds in productive activities;
- A researcher or high level specialist;
- An officially retired foreigner, who will transfer to Brazil monthly the equivalent of at least R$ 6.000,00;
- When the applicant is married to a Brazilian citizen;
- When the foreigner has Brazilian offspring.
Business applicants will normally fall into the two first categories.
Obtaining a permanent residence visa requires the presentation of an extensive list of documents for each of these situations, besides the normal documents required from temporary visa applicants. Some of these documents are mentioned below. However, it is important that prospective applicants check with appropriate government departments. The process is handled by the Brazilian Federal Police, by the Ministry of Justice but it may also involve the Ministry of Labor, depending on the situation.
Applicants should be advised that the process is bureaucratically complex and lengthy – many of the declarations or documents must be presented in a specific, legally-approved manner and authenticated by specific agents or government departments. Most applicants find it worthwhile seeking the advice and help of a Brazilian specialist to prepare and accompany the application.
Immediate family can usually be included in the same visa application. See “Close family can normally be included” below.
Basic individual requirements, in addition to the normal documentation, are set out below.
Executives seeking a permanent residence visa will normally fall into one of the following categories:
The administrator, manager or director of an established company.
This category is designed to cover inter-company transfers or hiring of high-qualified executives to administrate Brazilian companies.
Necessary documents for the first step will include:
- Proof that the company outside of Brazil or its parent company has effected total foreign-capital investments of at least R$ 600,000 in the employing company in Brazil for each visa requested. Proof of such investment must be given by demonstration that the investment has been registered with the Brazilian Central Bank through the Electronic Declaration Register;
- Where the employing company cannot demonstrate such an increase in investment, it must alternatively be able to show a minimum investment of R$ 150,000 and it will have to attest, within two years, that will hire at least 10 (ten) new Brazilian employees.
This category was planned for those foreigners who wish to invest funds (minimum of R$150,000) in any kind of productive activity in Brazil. This kind of permanent visa is issued conditionally for three years.
Notes on process
In the above cases, the application must be initiated in Brazil, via the Ministry of Labor, in much the same way as an application for a temporary residence business visa. Once approved by the Ministry of Labor, the applicant must finalize the bureaucratic process at a Brazilian consulate.
Note that all non-Brazilian documents must be notarized by the competent authorities in their country of origin, and by the respective Brazilian consulate and then translated by a sworn Brazilian translator in Brazil.
Note also that foreigners who receive a permanent visa on the ground that they will hold an executive or administrative function in a Brazilian company will be required to work at least five years for the applicant company, except that it is necessary to carry out at the same time the role of the Administrator in different companies of the same economic group. In this case, it is necessary a pre-authorization request of the others entities nomination at the Ministry of Labor. Failure to comply with this minimum limit will result in cancellation of the visa.
Non-business applicants for permanent residence visas will normally fall into one of the following categories:
Researcher or high level specialist
The applicant must supply:
- A document from a Brazilian research institution manifesting its interest in the services of the researcher;
- A curriculum vitae and appropriate academic references and diplomas;
The applicant must be officially retired and must apply to the Brazilian Consulate nearest his or her place of normal residence. There is no limit to the number of dependents who may also receive permanent residence visas, but the main applicant must provide proof that they are genuine dependent relatives, as defined in Brazilian law – see Res. 36 of the CNI (National Immigration Council).
The main applicant must prove he has an income of at least US$ 2,000 a month. This will entitle him to visas for himself and two dependents. The applicant must demonstrate an additional US$ 1,000 /month for each additional dependent, over and above the two already mentioned, and must supply, among other things:
- A statement from the foreign agency responsible for paying his retirement pension, informing the total monthly sum of the benefit;
- A bank declaration authorizing monthly transfer of at least US$ 2,000;
Marriage to a Brazilian citizen
This case is covered by resolution 36 of the National Immigration Council. A permanent residence visa is granted to foreigners married to Brazilian citizens. Application is made to the Ministry of Justice (normally via regional Federal Police offices, which represent the Ministry at a State level) or to a Brazilian consulate abroad. Evidence of the matrimonial union (e.g. marriage certificate, statement from witnesses) should be presented. Immigration officials will effect a surprise visit to the couple’s home to make sure that the relationship is not a “marriage of convenience” that has the principal purpose of fraudulently obtaining a residence visa.
Foreigner with Brazilian offspring
CNI Resolution 36 covers this case. A permanent visa is traditionally granted to the foreign parent or parents of a Brazilian child. Application is made to the Ministry of Justice (normally via regional Federal Police offices, which represent the ministry at a State level). The offspring should be economically dependent on the foreign mother or father and be under the guardianship of the applicant.
Changing a visa category is normally impossible. The general principal is that a visa category may not be changed. Therefore, the holder of, say, a tourist visa might choose apply for a temporary or permanent residence visa, but the application is a separate process and must follow the procedures detailed elsewhere in this material.
The following categories are an exception to the general rule:
- Scientists, teachers, technicians or other qualified professionals under contract or rendering services to the Brazilian Government;
- Members of religious institutions or orders, and;
- Relatives joining a family member (see “Families”)
These groups may apply to convert a temporary residence visa into a permanent visa during their stay in Brazil. The change will be granted only if the applicant satisfies the conditions for the concession of a permanent visa (see above).
The application should be submitted to the Federal Police office nearest the foreigner’s place of residence in Brazil, at least 30 days before the expiration of the temporary visa. If the foreigner leaves Brazil and returns after the temporary visa has expired and before his permanent residence application is approved, he will enter the country as a tourist, but without prejudice to his ongoing application for permanent residence.
Close family can normally be included
A permanent or temporary resident visa can normally be issued to include dependent relatives – specifically a spouse, aged parents and unmarried children under 24 – provided these are named at the time of the original application.
The normal procedure is for every dependent family member to receive the same cs of visa valid for the same period of time of the head of household visa. Yet, the candidates must bear in mind that the dependents will not receive authorization to work in Brazil, applicable for temporary item V visas.
This restriction can cause problems for couples when one accepts a job offer to work in Brazil and the other faces the impossibility to work.
The dependent of a temporary item V visa holder who wishes to work in Brazil will have to follow the same steps taken by the head of household in order to obtain a work authorization. Therefore, candidates willing to obtain work authorization for the spouse should seek professional consulting prior to requesting a visa.
The Brazilian government may grant temporary or permanent residence visas for the purpose of allowing families to live together. This can typically include the case of a foreign family where dependent relatives seek to move to Brazil some time after the head of the family has received a temporary or permanent residence visa.
The following categories of foreigners may normally be considered, providing they are either dependent on a Brazilian citizen or on a foreigner who already holds a temporary or permanent residence visa:
- Unmarried sons and daughters under 24; if economic dependent of the parents
- Parents or grandparents of a Brazilian citizen;
- Brothers, sisters or grandchildren of an orphan, unmarried and under 18;
- Partner of a Brazilian Citizen, temporary or permanent visa holder;
- Spouse of a Brazilian citizen or of a temporary or permanent foreign resident;
- Life Partner (different sex partner or same sex partner) from a foreigner with a temporary or permanent visa or a Brazilian citizen.
In the case of a family member seeking to join a temporary or permanent foreign resident, the application can be submitted only once the temporary or permanent visa has been obtained by the sponsoring family member. This is typically the case of the wife and/or children of an executive who moves to Brazil with his family on a temporary or permanent work visa.
The most common and recommended form of uniting the family is to include all members in the applicant’s original visa application. If this is not possible, the applicant may apply for visas, citing CNI Resolution 36/99 related to uniting families. (See “Family reunion”.)
Documents required in the original visa application include:
- Proof of kinship (normally a birth or marriage certificate, notarized by a Brazilian consulate in the country of issue);
- Proof of the sponsor’s means of livelihood and financial capacity to support the enlarged family group;
- A declaration from the resident sponsor assuming responsibility for the incoming family member during his stay, for his maintenance, and for his departure from Brazil, and;
- Certification of a clean criminal record in the applicant’s country of origin.
Note that non-Brazilian documents must be notarized by public authorities in the country of issue and then by a Brazilian consulate.
It is important to note that incoming family members, if approved, will normally receive a visa of the same status and duration as their resident sponsor. This means that if the sponsor is a Brazilian or has a permanent residence visa, the incoming family member will receive permanent residence. Because a temporary visa for a foreign employee of a Brazilian company is issued to facilitate the exercise of a specific function, and does not confer on its holder the right to change jobs or seek general employment on the Brazilian market, the logic is that the incoming family member of a temporary resident is not allowed to work. The incoming family member of a permanent visa holder is allowed to work.
The application to grant the temporary or permanent visa to a foreign partner has to be filed at the National Counsel of Immigration and the application has to have the following evidences:
- certificate or similar document, issued by the national civil registry or equivalent;
- declaration, under the penalties of the law, from two persons that declare that the couple are life partners; and
- at least two of the following documents:
a) evidence of economic dependence, issued by a fiscal entity or the country’s internal revenue office;
b) religious marriage certificate;
c) testamentary dispositions that show evidence of the life partnership;
d) life insurance policy that determinate the foreigner life partner as beneficiary;
e) real state deed, that shows both life partners as owners or a lease contract that shows them as leasers; and
f) joint bank account.
If the documents used as evidence are the ones mentioned on items “b” and “f”, the life partnership period must be of at least one year.