Visas to live and work in Brazil – Part 1

The legal framework according to which foreign nationals are able to enter Brazil and stay in the country is provided by Law number 6815 of 19 August 1980, regulated by Decree number 86715 of 10 December 1981.

An entry visa to Brazil will be given in the form of a consular authorization in the passport of the foreign national, allowing them to enter and remain in Brazil if immigration law requirements are met.

Brazilian law provides for temporary and permanent visas. The Ministry of Employment is in charge of granting the necessary authorisation for foreign individuals to work in Brazil without which visas cannot be granted by the Foreign Ministry. Within the Ministry of Employment, visa matters are assigned to the jurisdiction of the Brazilian National Council of Immigration (Conselho Nacional de ImigraçãoCNI). The CNI has issued various regulations (called “Normative Resolutions”) in relation to the various types of visa that can be applied for.

Whenever an employee, or an investor, is to be transferred to Brazil, it is necessary to present an application to the General Coordination of Immigration (GCI) of the Ministry of Employment, located in Brasília, together with the specific documentation required by the foreign national in question.

General principles applying

Applications for visas by foreign nationals wishing to live and work in Brazil are closely scrutinised by the Brazilian immigration authorities.

The Brazilian authorities favour applications related to inter-company management transfers, but any company in Brazil may offer employment to a foreign national applying for residence in the country, provided that the link between the Brazilian company and the foreign company (the employee’s company) can be verified.

For reasons of space, this text will deal only with those types of visa that are of greatest interest to most business people wishing to live in Brazil, which is to say visas for investors, directors and employees.

(i) Investors – individuals/permanent visa

A permanent visa may be granted to a foreign national who intends to invest in Brazil. This matter is regulated by Normative Resolution number 84/2009 of the CNI.

The main applicable requirements are as follows:
• proof of investment, in foreign currency, of the equivalent at least R$150,000 “in production activities” (the investment can be made in a new company or in an already-existing one);
• in exceptional circumstances the authorities may grant a permanent visa to a foreign national who has made an investment of less than R$150,000, as long as the investment is considered relevant from a social perspective. In this case a detailed business project containing a plan to employ Brazilian workers must be prepared.

Despite its name, the “permanent” visa is initially granted only for a period of three years: after that it will be necessary to demonstrate to the authorities that the investment has been made and the jobs created. If that happens, the visa can become definitive.

(ii) Business or administrator/permanent visa

A permanent visa may be granted to a foreign national who is to become the administrator or director of the Brazilian subsidiary of a foreign company. This matter is regulated by Normative Resolutions 62/2004 and 95/2011 of the CNI.

To apply for a permanent visa for a company director or administrator, the foreign shareholder must make a minimum foreign equity investment in the Brazilian company of (i) R$600,000 or (ii) R$150,000, while undertaking, in this latter case, to generate at least 10 (ten) new jobs within two years of having been granted the visa.

The visa will be granted for the period during which the foreign national is fulfilling their role in Brazil.

(iii) Foreign nationals working for a Brazilian company/temporary visa

A temporary visa may be granted to foreign nationals who wish to work in Brazil under an employment agreement with a Brazilian company. The granting of this type of visa is also subject to the prior issue of a work permit by the Brazilian Ministry of Employment. This matter is regulated by Normative Resolution 74/07.

The requirements are as follows:
• The candidate must provide proof of his professional qualification and of experience compatible with the role to be fulfilled in Brazil, presenting diplomas, certificates or written declarations that demonstrate at least one of the following:
• school attendance of at least nine years, and experience of at least two years in a job for which university-level education is not required; or
• one year’s experience in a profession for which university-level education is required, as of when qualification was obtained; or
• completion of a postgraduate course (360 hours or more) or Master’s degree, or higher, compatible with the activity to be performed;
• three years’ experience in a profession of an artistic or cultural nature that does not require formal education.
• a contract of employment for an indefinite period of time, if it is intended that the foreign national will stay for more than two years (with at least the same clauses as in the Regulation).

The candidate will have to present an Employment Agreement signed by the parties (and in accordance with the model provided by the authorities).

The term of the Temporary Visa is established in the employment agreement and is up to two years. Subject to the approval from the Ministry of Employment, this term can be extended, once only, for a further two years. After that it is possible to apply for a permanent visa.

The Brazilian company interested in hiring the foreign employee must observe the ratio of two Brazilian employees to each foreign national hired. The same ratio will also apply in relation to the total pay-roll of the Brazilian Company.

Finally, in any of the above mentioned cases, it will be necessary to inform to the authorities the remuneration to be received by the candidate in Brazil as well as any remuneration that he will still be receiving abroad. There are other requirements that apply as well, but, as mentioned, in view of limitation spaces we will not expand on this matter.

Read Part 2 of this article.

Article taken from Brazil Business Brief, April 2012.

Countries: Brazil
Topics: Documentation, Employees, and Management
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