With its warm climate, affordable living expenses, and promising real estate market, Brazil has become one of the world’s premier choices for foreign retirees. The requirements for retiring in Brazil include meeting the retirement age criteria, demonstrating a steady source of monthly income, and navigating the visa application process; however, the steps involved are not as challenging as many foreign retirees might expect.
Keep reading as we explain how to retire in Brazil, explore the various Brazilian retirement visa options available, and provide valuable insights into the lifestyle, healthcare, and cultural aspects that make Brazil an attractive retirement destination.
Visa Options to Retire in Brazil
Brazil Retirement Visa
Brazil’s retirement visa stands out for retirees thanks to its minimal income threshold and the added benefit of granting temporary residency with the option to renew. The Brazil Retirement Visa comes under the VITEM XIV temporary residency code.
Brazil offers retirement visas to individuals who can prove a minimum monthly retirement income of at least $2,000 from a pension and other sources of retirement income. The minimum monthly amount must be transferred to a Brazilian bank account. The eligibility criteria also include:
- Retirement age of at least 65 for men and 60 for women
- Clean criminal background
- Health insurance
Family Reunion Visa
Suppose you’re a retiree who is a family member of a Brazilian national or resident holding a valid Brazil retirement visa; you can obtain a resident permit to reunite with them. The family reunification process is a direct avenue to Brazilian residency, though it falls within the VITEM code, leading only to temporary residency.
You can obtain a family reunion visa if your Brazilian or permanent resident family member is one of the following relatives:
- Spouse or partner
- Child or grandchild
- Parent or grandparent
Family reunion visas are valid for up to one year and can be renewed. If the sponsoring family member holds a Brazil retirement visa or another relevant visa, they must maintain a valid visa for family visas to be eligible for renewal.
Brazil Investor Visa
Brazil offers a unique VIPER program granting permanent residency to retiring investors who contribute to Brazil’s economic development. The Brazil Investor Visa is designed to attract retirees who wish to live in Brazil by making a foreign investment.
Individuals are eligible for a Brazil retirement visa by investment and permanent residency by making one of three investments:
- 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
The most popular investment choice among seniors to obtain a Brazil investment visa is Brazil real estate investment, as it not only serves as a strategic avenue for fulfilling the visa requirements but provides a place of residence and is a tangible asset with the potential for appreciation.
Brazil’s permanent visas by investment remain valid, provided the investment is maintained for at least three or four years, depending on their investment.
Required Documents for a Brazil Retirement Visa
The following documents are required to apply for a Brazil retirement visa:
- Original valid passport with two blank pages
- Passport-size photograph
- Original birth certificate
- Criminal record certificate
- Health insurance valid in Brazil
- Proof of retirement and ability to transfer monthly to Brazil the amount of at least $2,000
- Proof of alternative sources of income supplement the required amount of $2,000 (if applicable)
- Marriage certificate (if applicable)
Additional documentation may be requested, depending on the application. All official documents not in Portuguese must authenticated by a Brazilian Embassy in your home country and accompanied by a sworn translation.
Steps to Apply for a Brazil Retirement Visa
The Brazil retirement visa follows an online application process. Certain foreign nationals may be required to apply in person at the Brazilian Consulate in their home country, depending on their nationality.
You can apply for a retirement visa by following these steps:
- Contact the competent authorities in Brazil or your home country to determine where your retirement visa application will be processed.
- Visit the official site of Brazil Ministry of Foreign Affairs and fill out the retirement visa application through the online platform.
- Once you’ve filled out the application form, select “Complete Application” to generate your application number. Print and sign the Visa Request Form Receipt (RER) and upload all necessary documents to complete the submission process.
- Afterward, you will be given instructions on how to pay the visa fee. The fee will differ depending on which country you apply from. In the United States, the retirement visa fee is about $290.
- To finalize the application process, post the required documents and the Visa Form Delivery Receipt to the relevant Brazilian Consulate. A consular officer will receive the documents and confirm receipt after checking the information and processing the visa application form.
- Provided there are no discrepancies in your application, the visa will be approved, and your passport will be stamped with a visa sticker. You can now travel to Brazil to obtain your residence permit. Visa holders must apply for a Brazil residence permit within 90 days of arriving through Policia Federal (Federal Police of Brazil), the Brazilian authority issuing residence permits to foreign nationals.
Retirement visa processing time
The processing time for a Brazil retirement visa application varies, depending on the case, but processing is typically done within a few weeks of applying.
Brazil Temporary Residency vs Permanent Residency
Brazil offers two primary residence visa codes:
- VITEM: Temporary residency
- VIPER: Permanent residency
A retirement visa has the code, VITEM XIV, offering temporary residency with the option to renew. Retirement visa holders can apply for a permanent VIPER visa after four years of residency.
The Brazil Investor Visa program offers a direct route to obtain a permanent VIPER visa. Successful applicants of the program are granted permanent residency, provided they maintain their investment for three or four years, depending on their investment.
Obtaining Citizenship in Brazil
If you’re a retiree seeking a second citizenship, the relatively short naturalization period is an added benefit of retiring in Brazil. To qualify for Brazilian citizenship by naturalization, you must maintain a valid retirement visa and continuously reside in Brazil for four years. Additional criteria include adhering to Brazilian laws and regulations and proving proficiency in Portuguese.
Brazil Investor Visa holders are eligible for citizenship in a reduced period of three years through a qualifying real estate investment of at least BRL 1 million.
The Pros and Cons of Retiring in Brazil
Low cost of living: The cost of living in Brazil is low for most American seniors. The average monthly retirement budget is about $1,000.
Beautiful weather: Brazil’s tropical climate and beautiful beaches offer retired expats a haven of natural beauty and a pleasant atmosphere.
Public healthcare: Brazil’s Unified Healthcare System (SUS) provides comprehensive medical services to citizens and permanent residents.
Vibrant culture: Brazil is famous for its vibrant festivals and celebrations, providing a fun-filled retirement experience.
Residency by investment: Purchasing property is a route to gain permanent residency in Brazil, and with a real estate investment, you also get a place of residence and a tangible asset to pass on to your descendants.
Natural wonders: Brazil’s natural wonders, such as Chapada Diamantina and the crystal blue rivers of Bonito, provide a picturesque backdrop and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities and exploration in retirement.
High crime rate: Violent crime and other forms of criminal activity in many major cities in Brazil have contributed to the country’s negative reputation for safety.
Economic inequality: The country has struggled with persistent income inequality and low purchasing power, exacerbating social issues that retired expats may find challenging to navigate.
Language barrier: Portuguese is Brazil’s official language. While it’s possible to get by with limited Portuguese in large cities such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, speaking Portuguese is required to live comfortably.
Bureaucracy: Dealing with bureaucratic processes in Brazil, such as obtaining permits or handling official documentation, can be complex and time-consuming for retired residents.
Cost of Living and Housing in Brazil
Brazil is the largest country in South America and boasts the biggest economy; however, retirees from the United States can enjoy a higher quality of life at a lower cost.
Based on data from Numbeo, here is a comparison of some of the average costs of renting and purchasing property in Brazil compared with the United States.
One-bedroom apartment (monthly rent)
Average price per m2
Healthcare in Brazil
Brazil runs a state-funded universal healthcare system, SUS (Unified Healthcare System). Although universal and free, wait times to access care can be very long, and the quality of care does not match most Western countries.
A retirement visa comes with the requirement of obtaining a private health insurance plan. A private insurance premium in Brazil is significantly lower than in the United States, with a monthly plan worth $250 providing comprehensive coverage for doctor visits, hospital care, and prescription drug coverage. All major cities in Brazil have various private hospitals. After you obtain permanent residency or Brazilian citizenship, you gain comprehensive access to SUS.
Brazil Taxes for Retirees
All Brazilian residents are subject to income taxes. Brazil charges global income tax at a progressive rate from zero to 27.5 percent, and residents are required to pay taxes on earnings derived from Brazil and overseas.
The US does not have a double tax agreement with Brazil, meaning retired expats may be required to pay federal taxes even if they permanently reside in Brazil. In any case, retirees are taxed differently from working citizens in the United States, with Social Security payments and pension earnings excluded from taxation.
Many consumer goods and electronics are more expensive in Brazil. Brazil’s sales tax rate is between 17 and 25 percent, depending on the state and type of goods, as opposed to 7.25 percent in the United States.
The Best Places to Retire in Brazil
Rio de Janeiro: Rio is the quintessential Brazilian city, providing awe-inspiring and dramatic views. Retired expats can enjoy many of the city’s features, including Christ the Redeemer, the Museum of Modern Art (MAM), and Morro Dois Irmãos.
São Paulo: The largest city in the country is distinguished by its tall buildings, various monuments, and unique cultural attractions. São Paulo neighborhoods like Vila Mariana and Liberdade showcase the city’s eclectic and dynamic atmosphere and provide the perfect environment for retirees drawn to enjoy city life.
Florianopolis: This Brazilian city boasts dozens of beautiful beaches and idyllic coastal towns to settle in for retirement. Neighborhoods like Lagoa da Conceição e Campeche are peaceful and safe, with friendly locals to make new friends and large foreign retiree communities.
Belo Horizonte: The capital of Minas Gerais state, Belo Horizonte is the place to retire if you’re a fan of Brazilian cuisine. The city’s culinary offerings showcase the perfect rendition of Brazil’s food culture.
Salvador: Brazil’s first capital and vibrant heartbeat presents a deeply rooted African culture, stunning period architecture, and beautiful views. It is close to several highlights of this beautiful country, including Chapada Diamantina and Morro de São Paulo.
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 Retiring in Brazil
How much USD do I need to retire in Brazil?
The amount of USD you’d need to retire in Brazil varies widely depending on your desired lifestyle, location within the country, and spending preferences. Many retirees find that a monthly budget ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 can cover basic living expenses, including accommodation, food, transportation, and healthcare. Brazil retirement visa requirements include a monthly income of $2,000–sufficient for most US retirees to live comfortably.
How old do you have to be to retire in Brazil?
Foreign nationals must be 65 or over as men or 60 and over as women to be eligible for retiree visas in Brazil.
Where do rich retirees live in Brazil?
Wealthy retirees in Brazil live in affluent neighborhoods, such as:
- Leblon, Rio de Janeiro
- Jardins, São Paulo
- Boa Viagem, Recife
- Balneário Camboriú
- Jurerê, Florianopolis
Where is the safest place to retire in Brazil?
Two of Brazil’s safest places to retire are Curitiba and Florianopolis. Both cities offer a high quality of life and lower crime rates.
Can Americans retire in Brazil?
Americans can retire to Brazil by obtaining a Brazil retirement visa. To get a retiree visa, US citizens must be age 65 or over as a man and 60 or over as a woman and have a social security pension or alternative passive income produce at least $2,000 per month.