Immigration to Brazil – Types of Visas, Naturalization and Political Asylums

Immigration to Brazil – Types of Visas, Naturalization and Political Asylums

The Law No. 13,445 / 2017, known as the Migration Law, stimulates immigration to Brazil, the issue is also regulated by Law 6.815 / 80, better known as the Foreigner Statute, governing the legal relations of foreigners in Brazil. In additon to the Federal Constitution of 1988, in its article 12, deals with Brazilian nationality. Foreigners are, by exclusion, all those who do not meet the criteria for defining nationals.

However, any foreigner can legally enter Brazilian territory, provided that provided the legal requirements are met.

It is important to emphasize that although the foreigner, even if he/she possesses a permanent visa, does not acquire political rights in Brazil, the stay generates for the country the duty to guarantee the fundamental rights, although only in transit, as the rights: to life, physical integrity, among others.

To enter the Brazilian territory the foreigner must have a visa, which in turn has seven modalities, except in cases of tourist visa if there is reciprocity in dispensing the same type of visa to Brazilians in the country of this tourist.

In addition to the  visas, another important legal institute regarding foreigners in Brazil is naturalization, which is the derived form of obtaining Brazilian citizenship.

The Alien Statute lists seven Brazilian visas for foreigners:

1) Transit visa – valid for up to 10 non-extendable days, granted to the foreigner who has to enter the national territory to reach his country of destination;

2) Tourist visa – granted to the foreigner who comes to the country in a recreational or visiting capacity, valid for up to 5 years, allowing stays of up to 90 days, extendable for a further 90 days, totaling up to 180 days in each period of 12 months. As stated above is often dispensed in the case of reciprocity of the country of origin of the tourist;

3) Visa is temporary – will be granted to the foreigner who intends to come to Brazil on a cultural trip or on a study mission; on a business trip; as an artist or sportsman; as a student; in the capacity of scientist, professor, technician or professional of another category, under contract or in the service of the Brazilian government; as a correspondent in a newspaper, magazine, radio, television or foreign news agency; or in the capacity of minister of religious confession or member of institute of consecrated life and of congregation or religious order. The length of stay for temporary visas may vary from up to 90 days up to 1 year, or according to the duration of the employment contract or mission.

In cases where the temporary visa is linked to paid work, the requirements of the National Immigration Council and the Ministry of Labor must be met.

4) Permanent visa – that can be granted to the foreigner who wishes to settle definitively in Brazil. Permanent visas aim primarily at providing skilled labor to the various sectors of the national economy, aiming at the National Development Policy in all aspects, and in particular the increase of productivity, the assimilation of technology and the raising of resources for specific sectors. The most frequent cases of granting of permanent visas are for: executive, investors, retirees, researchers; and for married couples or relatives of Brazilian. In the case of executives, CNI Resolution 62/04 requires that the company that wants to obtain visas for its foreign executives should invest at least US $ 200,000 for each visa; or, US$ 50,000.00 committing to generate at least 10 jobs in up to 2 years. In the case of individual foreign investors, according to CNI Normative Resolution 84/09, they must invest at least R$ 150,000.00 in the country. In both cases (executives and investors), the appraisal of the applications will analyze the social interest, the generation of jobs and income in Brazil, increase of national productivity, transfer of technology, among other aspects. It is one of the most interesting visas for those who intend to immigrate to Brazil legally.

In addition to the hypotheses discussed above, there are three other official and diplomatic visas.

Such assumptions are special and less frequent so we are not delusional in this article as they are not of interest to our customers.

In short, all foreigners who intend to stay in Brazil for a period longer than 90 days must register before the national authorities within 30 days of entering the country. The conversion of a visa to another will only be allowed in exceptional cases, and from temporary to permanent, the others will be prohibited.

There is still another exceptional hypothesis of permission to stay in the national territory for foreigners is the condition of political asylum, a person persecuted for his political opinions, racial situation, or religious convictions in his country of origin can be protected in Brazil. The possibility of asylum is provided for in Article 4 of the 1988 Federal Constitution, which places political asylum as one of the pillars governing Brazil’s international relations. There is no specific law to deal with asylum cases, which is a prerogative of the Executive Branch, through the Ministry of Justice, and evaluated directly by the Presidency of the Republic.

In addition to the aforementioned hypotheses to the foreigner, besides the permission to stay in the national territory, it is also possible to acquire Brazilian nationality through naturalization.

The naturalization modalities are:

1) Original – for nationals of Portuguese-speaking countries;

2) Extraordinary – for the foreigner who resides permanently in the country for 15 years;

3) Special – for married or parents of Brazilians; (or early filing) for a child under 5 years of age who resides in the country and ratifies the option within two years of the age of majority. Once Brazilian nationality is obtained, it will only be lost by a judicial sentence or if acquired another nationality, in cases in which it is not possible to accumulate both nationalities.


Our office assists foreigners interested in obtaining temporary, permanent and naturalization visas, analyzing which is the most appropriate for each specific case, contact us!