Tuesday, January 28, 2014

How to get a permanent (residential) visa in Brazil

How to get a residential visa in Brazil (if you're married to a Brazilian citizen):

#1 - DON'T DO IT.   Save yourself some headaches and lots of money.  Just don't do it.

#2 - If you absolutely must do it, find an employer that will pay for it and help you take care of it.

#3 - If your employer will not help you, pay a third-party service to do it for you.  This will cost a little bit more, but it will be worth your time and frustrations!

#4 - If none of the above apply to you, keep reading... (it will really help if you have a car)

Items needed to apply for a permanent visa, on the grounds of being married to a Brazilian citizen (you will not find this list on any government website.  I had to make a trip to the Federal Police just to get this list):


1.  Authenticated copy of the transcription of your marriage license.
- If you were married outside of Brazil, you will need to do the following:
A.  Have your marriage license "legalized" in the Brazilian consulate of the region in the country in which you were married (In California, it costs $20 plus shipping/handling)
B.  Have your marriage license translated by a legal translator in Brazil (ours cost about $R240)
C.  Have the translator's signature "recognized" ($R depends on the cartorio)
D.  Get authenticated copies of all pages (license and translation) ($R depends on the cartorio)
E.  Register your legalized certificate and translations at the Registro de Titulos e Documentos (you will turn in your authenticated copies and your originals) ($R375)
F.  When you receive your documents back, you will need to get more authenticated copies (because they will now have more stamps and signatures on them) ($R depends on the cartorio)
G.  Get authenticated copies of your Brazilian Spouse's birth certificate ($R depends on the cartorio)
H.  Get authenticated copies of your proof of address (a bill, bank statement, etc.) ($R depends on the cartorio)
I.  Apply for a transcription (in Rio it is at the Primero Cartorio, there is one in Centro and one on the Ilha do Governador) ($R324)
J.  To request the transcription, you will need to fill out a form and have your signature recognized (as well as turn in the authenticated copies of all your papers).  
K.  After 10 days you may pick up your transcription.  
L.  Get authenticated copies of your transcription - THIS IS WHAT YOU WILL TURN IN TO THE FEDERAL POLICE.  You will keep all the original documents.

2.  Authenticated copy of the ID of the Brazilian spouse ($R depends on the cartorio)

3.  Authenticated copy of your arrival ticket (the form you filled out when you entered the country) ($R depends on the cartorio)

4.  Authenticated copy of your passport, including all blank pages.  -I had my visitor visa in my old passport, because I received a new passport when I changed my name.  If this happens to you, you will need authenticated copies of both passports. ($R depends on the cartorio)

5.  Declaration, with recognized signature, that you are not a criminal, either in Brazil or abroad.  You must pick this form up at the Federal Police.  
- To recognize your signature, you must do the following:
A.  Go to a Correios and apply for a CPF (it's similar to a SSN in the States).  They will fill out a form and you will pay them. ($R30? probably more, but I forget)
B.  The people at the Correios will tell you where to pick up your CPF (it is some government building and I forget what it is called)
C.  Take copies of your CPF and copies of your passport to the Cartorio.  If you are in a two-passport situation like I was, you will need to bring copies of both
D.  Register your signature at the Cartorio ($R depends on the cartorio)
E.  Sign the Declaration that you are not a criminal, and have your signature "recognized" ($R depends on the cartorio)

6.  Declaration, with recognized signatures, that you are not separated or divorced.  You must pick this form up at the Federal Police.  Both spouses will sign, and both signatures need to be recognized. ($R depends on the cartorio)

7.  Pay a tax of R$102 (the form is found online via www.dpf.gov.br - If you are in Rio, the code is GRU CODIGO: 140066).  
-  You will print out the form and take it to an approved place (listed on the form) to pay.  You will take the receipt to the Federal Police.

8.  You will need two photos of the non-Brazilian spouse and one photo of the Brazilian spouse, 3cm X 4cm ($R depends on the photo printing place)

NOTE:  Both spouses must be present when you turn these items in at the Federal Police.  You will be asked to sign additional statements in the presence of the Federal Police officer.

The 8 steps above took us six months to prepare ("Send this document here, now take it to this other place, now wait 10 days, now go some place that doesn't exist, now blah blah blah")

When you turn in all of these forms, you will be given a protocol number in your passport.  This is what you use instead of your visitor visa.  This can also be used to get a work book.  You MUST apply for a "certificate" to prove that you have a protocol.  You will need the certificate to apply for a work book.  It takes 8 days for processing, and you must pick it up in person (it will not be mailed).  

After you receive your protocol, you will wait for a "home visit," to make sure you are truly married and not just faking it to get a visa.  This can happen any time in the next 6 months.

 Now, here are just a few of the hiccups we faced along the way...  
-  I had to get a new passport to show proof of my new name... To get my new passport, I had to go to the American Embassy in Rio.  They got it done super fast, but it cost a LOT of money.  Now I have to make copies of both passports all the time (because the old one has my visitor visa).

-  We were assured by the Federal Police that I would not need a CPF to apply for residency.  They neglected to tell me that a CPF was necessary for registering a signature.  When I went to the Correios to register for a CPF, the told us that they only do it in the mornings.  So we had to come back the next day.  Then we went to the other location to pick it up, and they said it was too late, they had already given out all their "senhas" (appointment numbers that are first come-first served).  So we had to come back the next day...

-  We went to the Federal Police to turn in paperwork, only to find out that they were on strike (the Federal Police is located in the airport, which is about an hour away with no traffic, two to three hours with traffic)...

-  We don't have a car, so we are taking taxis or buses everywhere.  Taxis are expensive, but buses take too long, especially when you're dealing with time-sensitive paperwork...  

-  Several times we were told to go to one place to get something, and when we get there they told us it was the wrong place.  We wasted so much time going to the wrong places!

Ok, I hope this post was helpful to someone.  Ask me if you have any questions.  I will update when necessary!


  1. Hi Julie, this is a great resource for other expats in Brazil! I live in Peru and keep wanting to put together some guides like this for other expats. Found you through the link-up and excited to see Brazil through your eyes :)


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