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Visas & Other Documents in Brazil

Documents – aside from the foregoing information you must remember that this is a police state, you are required to carry photo identification and travel documents at all times (certified copies are sufficient). Unlike in other countries police in Brazil have the right to compel you to identify yourself whenever they wish. Don’t refuse to do so or you will find yourself in serious trouble.

Tourist Visas – A tourist visa permits a stay of 90 days in Brazil, this may be extended (prorrogação de estado) for a further period of 90 days at the headquarters of the Federal police nearest where you live without having to first leave the country.

A tourist visa thus permits a maximum stay of 180 days (6 months). This is now calculated on a rolling year (i.e. the 365 days previous to one's present entry into Brazil).

Most tourist visas permit multiple entries in any given year. What happens in this case, the number of days of your previous stay(s), including both day of arrival and day of departure, is subtracted from 180 to determine the maximum stay for the current entry.

If you are coming to Brazil for tourism or business purposes the citizens of many countries are exempt from the requirement to obtain a Brazilian visa. Check the link below; if you hold a passport from one of the countries on the list you do not need a visa. However, the time of your stay in Brazil is still the same as if you are traveling on a visa.
While the link is to embassy in Malaysia, it is the official list of exempt countries:

List of exempt countries


Permanent Visas – Permanent visas may be requested for various reasons, most commonly are:
-    based on having a Brazilian spouse (legally married)
-    based on a stable relationship (common law relationship – heterosexual or same-sex)
-    based on having a Brazilian child (biological or legally adopted)
-    retired persons who meet financial requirements

Each of these categories has their own requirements; an internet search will give you the most current information for each one. Be aware that the permanency process is full of bureaucracy and takes forever to complete. Periods of up to two years or more are not uncommon.

You will need a healthy dose of patience whenever dealing with the Federal Police regarding any aspect of the permanency process since there is no single source of accurate information regarding the documents required or step-by-step instructions about any process. Due to the fact that most of the people that deal directly with the public (especially with foreigners) are not members of the Federal Police, but rather contracted employees from outside companies, they themselves do not have a clear understanding of the various procedured. Misinformation is commonplace, if you talk to ten different staff members you will get ten different versions of what you need or need to do. There is never a definite list of ALL of the documents you will require. (It seems they make it up as they go along.) Just when you think you have all the paperwork in order and go in and submit it you will most likely here, "Oh yes, and you will also need a ...... and also a ......, when you have it come back". This is extremely frustrating especially for those coming from countries that don't have a lot of bureaucracy. One thing to be very careful about, when they tell you that the signature on any document must be notarized (reconhecimento da firma) make sure to ask if it is to be notarized for authenticity (reconhecimento da firma por autenticidade) or just for likeness (reconhecimento da firma por semelhança) this is information that they will never just OFFER, you need to pry it out of them. In almost all cases when the Federal Police want a signature notarized it should be "reconhecimento da firma por autenticidade".

RNE and Carteira de Identidade Estrangeiro – You apply for these at the Regional Headquarters of the Federal Police, you may reserve a time and date in person or on the internet. Once you have entered the permanency process and applied for your RNE and CIE you will be issued a document called a SINCRE, this will allow you to apply for such things as your work book (Carteira de Trabalho) and to open a bank account. Without permanent status you cannot hold a bank account in Brazil.

CPF (Cadastro de Pessoa Fisica) – This document is like a Social Security number; however it is used for everything including your credit information. IT IS NOT PRIVILEGED INFORMATION IN ANY WAY. You can apply for your CPF at the post office, your passport will be sufficient identification for your application. You will be told that you have to go to the Receita Federal to finish the process, because you do not have a Brazilian Voter’s Card. This is absolutely one of the most important documents you will need to have… without a CPF you simply do not exist. At least the Invisible Man could wrap himself up like a mummy and be seen. Without a CPF even all the gauze in the world wouldn’t help.

Last update on 10 October 2012 14:56:34

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