permanent visa for brazilExploring life in South America offers numerous advantages and lifestyle perks for individuals worldwide, with Brazil emerging as a prime destination encompassing these benefits. The prospect of moving to Brazil has become increasingly popular, not just for the country’s natural wonders, biodiversity, and vibrant culture but for its potential as one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

Whether you’re a retiree, a digital nomad, or an individual looking to move for lifestyle or economic factors, continue reading as we break down the relocation process to Brazil.

Discover the unique opportunities, cultural richness, and practical considerations that make Brazil an irresistible destination for those seeking a fulfilling lifestyle change.

Types of Residency in Brazil

Brazilian authorities provide several options for those seeking a temporary or permanent move to Brazil. Brazil offers two primary residence visa codes:

  • VITEM: Temporary residency
  • VIPER: Permanent residency

Are you a digital nomad looking to live in Brazil temporarily to experience a different way of life or one of the many expats wanting to move to Brazil permanently and eventually become a Brazilian citizen? Your choice between the two options depends on the purpose of your move to Brazil.

Visa Options to Move to Brazil

Besides your reasons for moving to Brazil, your circumstances also determine the options for gaining a temporary or permanent visa in Brazil.

The subsequent residence visas are open to foreign nationals:

  • Brazil Family Reunion Visa
  • Brazil Work Visa
  • Brazil Student Visa
  • Brazil Retirement Visa
  • Brazil Digital Nomad Visa
  • Brazil Investor Visa

Reuniting with family in Brazil

Family reunification is one of the most straightforward paths to Brazilian residency. Applying for the Brazil family reunion visa (VITEM XI) is an option if you have a family member who is a Brazilian resident or citizen.

Eligible relatives for family reunification in Brazil include:

  • Spouse or partner
  • Children or grandchildren
  • Stepchildren under 24 years old, either enrolled in studies or financially dependent
  • Parents or grandparents
  • Siblings under 18 or financially dependent

Beyond relatives, family reunification eligibility extends to a tutor or legal guardian of a Brazilian national or legal resident. In 2013, Brazil made same-sex marriage legal, and same-sex couples have the right to apply for family reunification. Family reunion visas are valid for up to one year and can be renewed.

Moving to Brazil for work

Foreign nationals holding a temporary employment contract with a Brazilian company can obtain a Brazil work visa (VITEM V). Work visas in Brazil are designed to enable employers to address workforce shortages that remain unmet by Brazilian citizens. In determining whether a Brazilian national cannot meet employment needs, a Brazilian employer must apply for approval with the Brazilian Ministry of Labor.

Once your employer secures authorization from the Ministry of Labor, the Brazilian Embassy or Consulate where you plan to apply will be notified, allowing you to proceed with the application. Temporary work visas in Brazil are valid for up to two years and can be renewed, contingent on the continued validity or renewal of the employment contract.

policia federal in são paulo Studying in Brazil

To pursue studies in a Brazilian educational institution, international students can apply for a Brazil study visa (VITEM IV). Eligibility for this visa requires enrollment in a Brazilian university or educational institution and proof of enrollment. The minimum criteria to qualify for a Brazil study visa is at least 15 hours of study per work and three hours of daily lessons.

Study visas are valid for up to one year and renewable for the duration of studies. Please be aware that students are required to have sufficient financial means to sustain themselves, as study visas do not permit employment or paid activities in Brazil.

many expats live in brazil Moving to Brazil for Retirement

Brazil offers a pathway for retirees with pensions and various forms of passive income to establish permanent residency in the country. Brazil retirement visas come under the VIPER code and require retirees to remit a monthly amount of at least BRL 6,000 (about $1,200) in retirement income to a Brazilian bank account to be eligible and maintain their visa.

brazil large country Moving to Brazil as an Investor

The Brazil VIPER program grants permanent residency to investors who contribute to the Brazilian economy. The Brazil Investor Visa is designed to attract foreign investors who wish to make significant financial investments in the country, thereby stimulating economic growth and development. Eligibility for a Brazil permanent residence permit by investment is based on one of several investments and a minimum investment amount. These include:

  • Purchasing Brazilian real estate for at least BRL 1 million (about $200,000) or BRL 700,000 (about $140,000) in the property is in the north/northeast regions
  • Investing at least BRL 500,000 (about $100,000) in a Brazilian company
  • Investing at least BRL 150,000 ($30,000) in a Brazilian company related to innovation, basic or applied research, science, or technology

Beyond the stipulated investment threshold, businesses are also required to generate job opportunities for Brazilian nationals. Brazil’s permanent visas by investment remain valid, provided investors maintain their investments for at least three or four years, depending on their investment.

short term business trips to brazil Working remotely from Brazil

The Brazil digital nomad visa (VITEM XIV) has enabled Brazil to join the ranks of popular expat destinations offering temporary visas to digital nomads. This temporary visa was introduced to attract remote workers and freelancers seeking a flexible and vibrant work environment.

For eligibility, applicants must demonstrate a stable source of income derived from freelance work, remote employment, or other digital endeavors, and eligibility includes providing evidence of a minimum monthly income of at least $1,500 or $18,000 in savings.

Remote workers can reside in Brazil for up to two years with this temporary visa, initially granted for one year and extendable for an additional year.

Step-by-Step Guide to Moving to Brazil

Securing Brazil residency doesn’t follow a universal, one-size-fits-all approach. The complexity of the procedure and length of time to obtain residency is influenced by the type of visa or residency program you’re applying for, your purpose for moving to Brazil, and any specific requirements associated with your nationality.

That being said, the typical procedures for securing residency in Brazil involve the following steps:

Step one: Determine visa type

Identify the appropriate visa category for your circumstances. Whether it’s for work, study, family reunification, or retirement.

Step two: Gather the necessary documents

Collect all required documents for your visa application. The minimum documents include proof of your passport, passport photos, criminal record certificate, and birth certificate. You can expect to provide one of the following documents:

  • Letters of acceptance (for students)
  • Employment contracts (for workers or digital nomads)
  • Birth or marriage certificates (for family members)
  • Financial statements (for retirees and digital nomads)
  • Letters of incorporation or title deeds (for investors)

Depending on the visa, applicants may also need to provide supporting documents, such as private healthcare or international health insurance that covers extended stays in Brazil. Certain documents must be accompanied by a certified translation and authenticated by the Brazilian Embassy in your home country.

Step three: Submit the application

Submit your  application to the Brazilian Consulate in your home country or the country where you have legal residence, ensuring that all required documents are included, and the application is filled out accurately.

You may be able to submit an online application, depending on your nationality and the visa you’re applying for. Certain nationalities must visit Brazilian consular offices in person to submit visa applications.

Step four: Pay the application fee

Pay any required visa application fees. The fees will vary based on the visa type and the processing time.

Step five: Attend an interview (if required)

Depending on the visa, you may need to attend an in-person interview with a consular official as part of the application process. As with submitting applications, certain nationalities may be required to attend an in-person interview regardless of which visa they apply for.

Step six: Wait for processing

Once you’ve submitted your visa application and provided the required documentation, your application will be processed. The visa processing time will vary depending on the visa type, nationality, and whether there are any discrepancies in your application or requests for additional documentation.

Step seven: Receive visa approval

Once your visa application is approved, you will receive a visa sticker in your passport. This sticker will specify the type of visa, its validity, and any additional conditions associated with your stay in Brazil. It is essential to review the details on the visa sticker, including the expiration date, to ensure compliance with the permitted duration of your stay.

Step eight: Travel to Brazil and obtain your residence permit

You can travel to Brazil to obtain your residence permit with the approved visa. The Brazilian authority issuing residence permits to foreigners is Policia Federal (Federal Police of Brazil). Obtaining the permit involves:

  • Completing additional paperwork
  • Attending appointment an appointment with the Federal Police
  • Fulfilling any remaining requirements outlined by the immigration authorities

A Brazilian residence permit is essential for those living in Brazil as it comes with an RNE (Foreigner’s Registration Card), allowing Brazil expats to conduct various activities such as opening a Brazilian bank account and signing rental agreements.

Unlock Global opportunities with our citizenship by investment programs

Click Here Arrow Icon

The Pros and Cons of Living in Brazil

Pros

Low cost of living: The cost of living in Brazil are cheap for most American and European expats. The cost of a one-bedroom apartment and living expenses for a single person is under $1,000, and a family of four can comfortably live in Brazil with a monthly budget of $2,500 to $3,000, including rent.

Public healthcare: Brazil’s Unified Healthcare System (SUS) is constitutionally guaranteed for all citizens and permanent residents, providing comprehensive medical services. Foreigners with temporary visas can also obtain affordable private health insurance plans.

Vibrant culture: One of the captivating aspects of Brazilian culture is its festive and celebratory character. Brazil is famous for its football and world cup success, and vibrant festivals, including the world’s largest and most famous carnival, showcasing the country’s exuberant spirit and providing residents with opportunities for lively and unforgettable experiences.

Investment opportunities: The trajectory of Brazil’s economy has experienced fluctuations over the past few decades, with intermittent periods of prosperity and challenges. Nevertheless, economic reforms, natural resource abundance, and a growing middle class have contributed to Brazil’s potential as a resilient and emerging economic powerhouse.

Cultural diversity: Brazil is known for its cultural richness, with a diverse mix of influences from indigenous, African, Japanese, and Portuguese cultures, providing residents with inclusive experiences where cultural differences don’t matter.

Natural wonders: The scenic beauty of Brazil encompasses awe-inspiring landscapes, ranging from the majestic Amazon rainforest and the expansive Pantanal wetlands to the captivating power of Iguazu Falls and the vast dunes of Lençóis Maranhenses. The country’s natural beauty provides endless opportunities for outdoor activities and exploration.

Cons

High crime rate: Safety issues have unfortunately cast a shadow over Brazil’s reputation and have been highlighted as one of the main reasons not to move to Brazil. Violent crime and other forms of criminal activity in many major cities have contributed to Brazil’s label as a dangerous country.

Economic inequality: Despite Brazil’s emerging middle class, the country struggles with persistent income inequality. With a low average minimum wage compared to Western countries and limited employment opportunities, the high unemployment rate exacerbates the challenges associated with income inequality.

Language barrier: Brazil’s official language is Portuguese, and over 97 percent of the population speak Brazilian Portuguese as their primary language. While you can get by with limited Portuguese in major cities such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, proficiency in the local language will significantly enhance your overall experience and interactions.

Bureaucracy: Dealing with bureaucratic processes in Brazil, such as obtaining permits or handling official documentation, can be time-consuming and complex, causing frustration for residents.

Obtaining Brazilian Citizenship

If you’re seeking a second citizenship, the relatively short naturalization period is an added benefit of permanently moving to Brazil as a foreigner. To qualify for citizenship by naturalization in Brazil, you are required to maintain continuous residency for four years. Additional criteria include adhering to Brazilian laws and regulations and having the ability to speak Portuguese.

Foreigners can obtain Brazil citizenship by investing in real estate in a three-year reduced residency period for real estate investments of at least BRL 1 million.

Shipping Personal Belongings to Brazil

To comply with regulations, your personal belongings and household items must arrive in Brazil within 180 days of your arrival. Three taxes are levied against imported items:

  • Import Duty (abbreviated in Portuguese as II)
  • Industrialized Product tax (IPI)
  • Merchandise and Service Circulation Tax (ICMS). Usually

Tax rates range from 10 to 37.53 percent. Permitted items include:

  • Furniture
  • Clothes
  • Accessories
  • Documents
  • Books
  • Personal belongings
  • Motor vehicles
  • Appliances

Moving to Brazil with Pets

There are several measures and requirements to ensure pets arriving in Brazil experience a smooth and compliant entry process. The primary requirements to bring pets to Brazil are:

  • Proof of rabies vaccination administered at least 21 days and no more than 12 months before entry into Brazil. Pets under three months are not required to have rabies vaccination, provided a Veterinary Authority certifies that the animal was under three months old at the time of issuing the International Veterinary Certificate and had not been on any property with reported cases of urban rabies.
  • Treatment against internal and external parasites within 15 days of entering Brazil.

Upon arrival in Brazil with pets, owners must provide an International Veterinary Certificate issued by an official veterinarian approved by the country’s Veterinary Authority, which cannot be private. Certificates are valid for 60 days from the issue date, provided the rabies vaccination is still valid.

While import permits are not required for moving to Brazil with a dog or cat, Brazilian law requires other animals to obtain an import permit from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply (MAPA).

Rio de Janeiro

Foreigners visiting Brazil almost always have Rio de Janeiro on their list, as it stands as both a quintessential representation of Brazil and one of the world’s most famous cities. Rio de Janeiro presents awe-inspiring and dramatic views from every vantage point, coupled with famous and stunning beaches such as Copacabana and Ipanema.

Along with its aesthetic qualities, the city boasts a dynamic and rich culture, evident in its numerous museums, theaters, and music festivals. The iconic Museum of Modern Art (MAM) and the historic Municipal Theatre stand as testaments to Rio’s commitment to the arts. While Rio de Janeiro has many appealing factors, its cost of living is relatively high compared to other cities in Brazil.

São Paulo

São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, is Brazil’s financial capital and most populated city. Distinguished by its skyscrapers, the metropolis is a global cultural magnet and home to various monuments, museums, and other cultural attractions.

São Paulo’s robust and booming economy, driven by finance, technology, and commerce industries, attracts professionals, entrepreneurs and skilled workers from around the globe, contributing to one of the largest expat communities in Brazil and throughout South America. Moreover, São Paulo neighborhoods like Vila Madalena and Liberdade showcase the city’s eclectic and dynamic atmosphere.

Florianopolis

With dozens of beautiful beaches and numerous rural areas, Florianopolis is one of Brazil’s best coastal cities to consider for most expats moving to Brazil. Located in the southern state of Santa Caterina, Florianopolis separates itself from many other Brazilian cities through its low crime rate and one of the highest qualities of life in the country.

In addition to its low crime rate, the city is much more affordable than São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. This affordability extends to various aspects of daily life, including housing, dining, and entertainment. Florianopolis is a popular expat destination for those seeking a high quality of life without the higher cost and congestion associated with some of Brazil’s larger metropolises.

Porto Alegre

Home to over one million people, Porto Alegre is located in southern Brazil and close to the Argentinian border.

With a distinctly European flair, the city exhibits a relatively cool climate during Brazilian winters.

Porto Alegre proves to be an excellent destination for expats seeking investment and job opportunities in technology, industry, and agriculture.

Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte, the capital of the state of Minas Gerais, is often considered one of the best cities to live in Brazil. The city encompasses several appealing aspects of Brazilian life, from a safe and well-developed city to what many consider the home of the best of Brazilian cuisine. The city’s delicious food offerings showcase the flavors of Minas Gerais cuisine, enticing food enthusiasts with traditional dishes and contemporary gastronomic delights.

This harmonious combination of safety, developed infrastructure, and gastronomic excellence solidifies Belo Horizonte’s reputation as a city that seamlessly blends modern urban living with the charm of Brazil’s historical and cultural tapestry.

Salvador

Salvador is the ideal destination for those seeking to immerse themselves in Brazil’s vibrant heartbeat and spirit. Located in Bahia state, the city is home to almost four million people.

It is one of Brazil’s most historically significant cities, the first capital, and receives many tourists from Brazil and overseas. Furthermore, the city doesn’t experience the cold winters of São Paulo and other southern Brazilian cities.

Its deeply rooted African culture characterizes Salvador, with the stunning architecture and cobbled streets of Pelourinho, and beautiful views and sites along the Bay of All Saints.

How Can Global Citizen Solutions Help You?

Global Citizen Solutions is a boutique migration consultancy firm with years of experience delivering bespoke residence and citizenship by investment solutions for international families. With offices worldwide and an experienced, hands-on team, we have helped hundreds of clients worldwide acquire citizenship, residence visas, or homes while diversifying their portfolios with robust investments. 

We guide you from start to finish, taking you beyond your citizenship or residency by investment application. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Moving to Brazil

Can a US citizen move to Brazil?

US citizens can move to Brazil, provided they obtain the appropriate visa for residence. Brazil has various visa categories offering temporary and permanent residence permits, each with specific visa requirements. After three to four years of residency, Americans can apply for Brazilian citizenship and a Brazilian passport.

Is it a good idea to move to Brazil?

Moving to Brazil and life in Latin America can be a rewarding experience, but whether it’s a good idea depends on various factors and individual preferences. The country’s long history, lively festivals, and warm-hearted people create a unique and welcoming atmosphere. Economic opportunities exist, especially in the real estate market, including the added benefit of obtaining residency with real estate investments.

However, potential Brazil expats should consider factors such as safety concerns in certain areas as many consider Brazil to be the world’s most dangerous country, in addition to language barriers when considering whether living in Brazil is suitable.

Is it safe to retire in Brazil?

The safety of living in Brazil as a foreign retiree will vary depending on the specific location and individual circumstances. While Brazil offers a vibrant culture and diverse lifestyle, safety is vital. Certain areas, particularly major cities, may have higher crime rates. At the same time, many small towns and rural areas don’t suffer from the social issues often seen in larger cities, offering a more tranquil and secure environment for retirees.

Where is the safest place in Brazil to live?

Some cities with reputations of high safety levels include Florianopolis in Santa Catarina and Curitiba in Parana. Both cities offer a high quality of life and lower crime rates.

Is healthcare free in Brazil?

Health care in Brazil is not entirely free for all, but the country has a public healthcare system known as the Unified Health System (SUS), which provides free public healthcare to Brazilian nationals and most foreign residents.

Can you live in Brazil without speaking Portuguese?

Living in Brazil without speaking Portuguese can pose challenges, but it is possible, particularly in major cities and tourist areas where English and other languages may be spoken to some extent. However, learning Portuguese is highly recommended to fully integrate into Brazilian society, navigate daily life, and communicate effectively with locals.

How much money do I need to move to Brazil?

The money needed to move to Brazil depends on various factors such as the chosen city, lifestyle, and individual circumstances. Generally speaking, the money needed to live comfortably in Brazil is less than in various other expat destinations such as Spain and the United Arab Emirates.

Is Brazil good for kids?

Brazil can be a fantastic destination for kids, offering diverse experiences and a family-friendly atmosphere. The Brazilian culture, including its unique traditions and friendly locals, provides a unique and immersive environment for children to learn and grow. Regarding education, most large cities provide private schools for all ages, and cities such as São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Brasilia boast highly rated international schools.

More about Brazil

Brazil Passport Visa Free Countries
More Info arrow icon
Brazil Permanent Residency – Brazil Investment Visa (VIPER)
More Info arrow icon
A Guide to Brazil Citizenship by Investment
More Info arrow icon
Everything You Need to Know about the Brazilian Passport
More Info arrow icon