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Immigration Law in Brazil: a guide on the Migratory Law for work and stay conditions

Learn about the New Migratory Law in Brazil, which since 2017 regulates the migration to the Country in better defining the meaning of immigrant, emigrant, border resident, visitor and stateless person.

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The New Migratory Law (Decreto n°9.199 de 20 de Novembro de 2017) regulates entry to Brazil of foreign citizens. Since its introduction, the Migratory Law poses specific requirements to enter Brazil for tourism, business or work activities.

For this last purpose, all foreigners who wish to enter Brazil under an employment contract must have a valid passport and an appropriate residence authorization.

The Immigration Law in Brazil: what has changed?

The New Migratory Law entered into effect on November 21, 2017. The provision introduced substantial changes, setting new rules for entry and residence of foreigners in Brazil.

The new legislation allowed some immigrants already living in Brazil to regularize their migration status. For example, they can now do so by applying for a work permit, if they had a job offer.

The primary goal is to lower the number of irregular stays in the Country.

Brazilian Permanent Visa no longer available

One of the most important changes is that the Migratory Law erased the Permanent Visa category. Applicants can now rely only on 2 options: a Temporary Visa or a Residence Authorisation.

Visitor Visa introduced in Brazil

The Brazilian Visitor Visa is one of the most important changes. This new type of Visa allows citizens of selected countries to enter Brazil for tourism of business.

However, the Brazilian Visitor Visa applies only for periods of less than 90 days.

Work in Brazil on a regular basis: Temporary Visa vs. Residence Authorisation

In addition to the tourist visa (or Visit Visa), which allows short stays not exceeding 90 days, there are two main categories of visas for Brazil: Temporary Visa and Residence Authorisation.

Brazilian Temporary Visa (VITEM)

The Brazilian Temporary Visa (VITEM) includes several categories of long-term Visas, allowing holders to stay in Brazil for more than 90 days. Once secured the approval from the Ministry of Labor, applicants can request the Temporary Visa at a Brazilian consular post.

The main types of temporary visas for Brazil are:

  • VITEM I VISA: for researchers, scientists,  professors or post-docs;
  • VITEM IV: for undergraduate or postgraduate students;
  • VITEM V: for work for Technical Assistance up to 90 days without contractual obligation; or
  • VITEM V: for Work for Technical Assistance for up to 2 years with no contractual obligation;
  • VITEM VII: for religious activity;
  • VITEM VIII: for lay volunteerism with stay;
  • VITEM IX: for investors in Brazilian startups or Brazilian real estate market;
  • VITEM XI: for family reunification with family tie in the straight line ascending or descending to the second degree or matrimonial/civil union, by residence in Brazil;
  • VITEM XIV: for retired people.

How long does it take to get a Brazilian Visa?

The necessary time to receive a Brazilian Visa depends mostly on its type.

As regards Visit Visas (for tourism) and Business Visas, applicants can get them at a Brazilian Diplomatic Mission abroad within 15 business days.

If one falls within the nationalities exempted from the visa requirement, then it is possible to directly enter Brazil following the 90-days limit rule to stay in the Country without getting the Visa. However, please keep in mind that some types of VITEM (i.e. VITEM V), need the approval from the Ministry of Labor (around 30 days).

Once approved, applicants can request the Visa at the Brazilian Diplomatic Mission abroad in 15 business days.

Residence Authorizations in Brazil

The Residence Authorization allows to change the status of the applicant to a resident permit in Brazil. The Authorization is eligible for various categories of workers and investors. Depending on the residence type, the application can be filed with the Ministry of Justice or with the Federal Police.

The validity of the residence authorization in Brazil is granted based on the visa or residence type.

The most popular long-term work authorizations are:

  • For an employment contract with a Local Company: used by foreign nationals to work for a Brazilian entity under an employment contract for an initial 2 years;
  • For an employment contract with a Local Company: provided there is a specific Contract or Technical Assistance Agreement existing between a Brazilian and a foreign company;
  • For Family Reunion: the family of the foreign worker can apply for the family reunion by first getting the family visa at the Brazilian representation abroad.

How long does it take to get the Brazilian Residence Authorisation?

The Brazilian Residence Authorisation requires first the approval from the Ministry of Justice (from 30 to 45 days). Once issued, applicants can request and get the Visa at the Brazilian Diplomatic Mission abroad in 15 business days.

CRNM: Migrant National Registration Card

Foreigners have 30 days from their date of arrival in Brazil to declare their presence. They can do so at the Federal Police in the city where they are based. This allows them to obtain the CRNM (Carteira de Registro Nacional Migratório), a mandatory national ID for foreigners.

Brazilian Business Visa and Visa-Waiver Citizenships

Foreigners who wish to work or stay in Brazil can also rely on 2 further types of visas: the Brazilian Business Visa and the Visa-Waiver Citizenship.

Brazilian Business Visa

Immigration Law in Brazil also provides for the Business Visa for all those workers who need to travel to the country for business activities, meetings, training and audits.

Please note that holders of a business visa are not able to undertake any remunerated or administrative activities in Brazil.

Business visa holders are only permitted to attend meetings, participate in seminars, meet customers and suppliers and identify local market prospects and opportunities, for instance.

The Brazilian Visa Waiver Program

It should be noted that citizens of some countries can enter Brazil for tourism or business purposes on a visa-free basis. For citizens of these countries, called visa-waivers, the procedures for entering the country are simpler and they do not need to apply for a business or tourist visa at the Brazilian diplomatic mission in their country.

Citizens of visa-waivers countries, are exempt from tourist or business visas for a maximum total period of 90 days within 180 days.

How to apply for a Visa at the Brazilian Diplomatic Mission

The Brazilian Government has recently implemented an e-Consular System. Applicants need to register online in order to access any kind of service, including Visa application.

Once accessed the dedicated portal and provided all the necessary documentation, applicants will then be able to plan the Consular Interview.

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Regulatory Framework

Decree No. 9,199, of November 20, 2017


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