Immigration Categories

A brief description of corporate immigration categories by assignment type follows. The appropriate immigration category or status for employees will depend on their specific details and information about the company involved. The most common category for corporate transfers in our experience is the Vitem (V) Work Visa with Local Contract. For details on non-typical categories not listed below (investors, special programs), please contact your representative.

  • Vitem (V) 90-day Technical Visa: Includes individuals traveling to Brazil for a period of up to ninety (90) days. Currently this visa type can be obtained directly at a Brazilian mission, and does not require Ministry of Labor approval.
  • Vitem (V) One (1) Year Technical Visa: Includes individuals traveling to Brazil for a period longer than ninety (90) days and up to one [1] year, who would provide technical assistance of any kind, install equipment, provide training in a subsidiary, among other activities.
  • Vitem (V) Two (2) Year Work Visa with Local Contract: Under this visa, a portion of the salary must be paid in Brazil.
  • Vitem (V) One (1) Year Trainee (Intra-company Trainee) Visa: This includes individuals going to receive training for up to one (1) year in a subsidiary or affiliated company in Brazil. Applicants remain on home payroll.
  • VIPER Permanent Visa (Administrator/Legal Representative Visa): This includes Director-level executives traveling to Brazil under a long-term work contract, who will serve on the Board of Directors of the Brazilian company.
  • Temporary/Permanent Residence (MERCOSUR/Family Reunion):  This includes individuals who have familial link with Brazilian nationals, or who have a regional (MERCOSUR) nationality that allows residence in Brazil.

Typical Process Overview

The following process overview is applicable to all Vitem (V) work visa categories that require Ministry of Labor Approval. Approximate overall processing time from the time the first step is submitted to the time the employee may work legally in Brazil is six (6) to eight (8) weeks. However, note that lead time for document gathering at the onset of the process should be factored in, as should processing time for completion of post arrival processes. In Brazil, the document gathering stage of the process can be labor intensive depending on the specifics of the case.  Many documents may need to be legalized and all must be translated prior to submission. We can assist with this if required. See the “Application Materials” section below for further details. Average processing time for each individual step is noted below.

Step One: Ministry of Labor Application
Processing Time:
Approximately thirty (30) to forty-five (45) calendar days

After the necessary personal and corporate documents have been provided, the application and supporting documentation are filed with the Brazilian Ministry of Labor on behalf of the client. The approval notice is sent to the relevant Brazilian Consulate in the home country.

Step Two: Visa Application
Processing Time: Five (5) to thirty (30) calendar days, depending on consular jurisdiction and visa type

The visa application may require a personal appearance depending on consular jurisdiction and visa type.

Step Three: Local Registration and Identification Card
Processing Time: Local Registration appointment is required to be scheduled within thirty (30) days of first entry to Brazil; local ID card issued approximately nine (9) to twelve (12) months later.

After arrival, the assignee may start working. Registration with the Federal Police must be completed and an identity card obtained. This step is required for all visa categories other than business/ visitor status. The receipt of ID card application serves as evidence of legal residence. Employees who will be placed on Brazilian payroll should also secure a taxpayer ID number and Work Booklet from the regional office of the Ministry of Labor.

Typical Documents Obtained

By following the application process described above for a Vitem (V) visa, the following immigration documents will be obtained. Typical validity is noted next to each document name. For details on the renewal process, please see the next section, “Renewal.”

  • Vitem (V) Visa: Up to two (2) years, depending on specific visa obtained
  • ID Card: Validity aligned with the Vitem (V) Visa

Renewal

Renewal, and in some cases transformation of visa type, is possible for all work visas in Brazil except the ninety (90) day Technical Work Visa category. Typically work visas (and respective dependent visas), for those under employment contract with a Brazilian company, are issued with an initial validity of two (2) years. Currently, Brazilian immigration authorities allow for the transformation of a Vitem V Work Visa with Local Contract to a Permanent Visa after the foreigner has completed two (2) years with the visa. Other requirements must be met to qualify. Renewal and transformation processes typically take twelve (12) to eighteen (18) months to be approved and should ideally be filed three (3) months prior to expiration. Please allow an additional thirty (30) days’ lead time for document gathering.  There is no disruption to work or residence as long as the application is filed prior to the expiration of the current visa. It may be necessary for non-visa waiver nationals to obtain a consular visa for travel into Brazil during the period that their renewal/transformation process is ongoing.

Deregistration

To ensure that assignees leave Brazil after the expiration of their permission to stay and to monitor the number of foreign workers in the country, the government of Brazil requires Deregistration of departing foreigner. A petition signed by the company and stating that the employee no longer works for the company, including the assignee’s date of departure, should be submitted to both the Ministry of Labor and the Ministry of Justice (federal police). An Emigra Worldwide representative may submit this petition. This petition cancels both the work contract and the assignee’s visa. Once the assignee’s work visa is cancelled, his or her dependents’ residence visas will automatically be cancelled.

Although the RNE Cards do not have to be cancelled, a best practice is that the cards be returned to Brazilian authorities. If an individual who previously held an RNE card, returns to Brazil at a future date, he/she will be required to return the old card in order to register anew with the Brazilian Federal Police. If the card was not returned and cannot be presented, then a fine will be incurred.

There is no established deadline to complete deregistration; however, Emigra Worldwide recommends it be completed as soon as possible once the assignee has left the company. A best practice is to complete the process within thirty (30) days.

Dependents

Dependent immigration status approval depends on the immigration status of the principal applicant. Where the principal applicant is in Brazil with a Vitem (V) or VIPER (Administrator/Legal Representative Visa) Visa, the following rules apply for dependents:

  • Minimum age (spouses): Not Applicable
  • Maximum age (children): Seventeen (17), but some exceptions apply
  • Unmarried partners: Yes, but different process
  • Same sex partners: Yes, but different process
  • Non-traditional dependents (e.g. parents): Yes, provided certain conditions are met
  • Work authorization granted? Yes, under certain circumstances

Application Materials

Application materials vary depending on the immigration category being applied for and on the specifics of the case. General application materials for the Vitem (V) Visa are noted below.

  • General application materials include current resume (C.V.), birth and marriage certificates, police clearance certificates, declarations of relevant work experience, signed labor contract, corporate tax documents, and corporate registration certificates. If the visa is not technical in nature, a university diploma may be required.
  • Many documents must be translated into Portuguese and authenticated by the Apostille or the respective Brazilian Consulate in the country of issuance, prior to use.

Business Visitors

Many business functions require employment-based visas regardless of duration of stay or place of compensation. Such activities include conducting some types of audits, installing machinery or software, and provision of training. A visa for short term work or technical assistance is available for periods not exceeding ninety (90) days. Business visitors who require a consular business visa should apply at the Brazilian Consulate nearest their home.

  • Name of visa granted: Vitem II
  • Duration of stay: Up to ninety (90) days.  Other visa specifics will be based on nationality.  For example, number of entries, and total length of stay per calendar year.
  • Validity of Visa: Validity is at the consulate’s discretion. Many nationalities receive visas valid up to ten (10) years.
  • General activities permitted: Attending general business meetings, attending conferences or trade shows, negotiating import/export contracts, meetings with customers to discuss sales and purchase of goods and services, meetings for project planning purposes, or presenting project results, internal audits, and exploration of investment opportunities.

Change of Status

Under certain circumstances, some individuals may be eligible to convert their status from visitor to temporary or permanent resident. Eligibility is primarily determined by job title, nationality or relationship to a Brazilian citizen.

Salary and Payroll

Salary and payroll requirements vary depending on the immigration category and on the specifics of the case. In Brazil, some amount of salary must be paid by the Brazilian employer. Additionally, payroll location will affect the immigration process. Please contact your representative for more details for your specific situation.

Qualifications

Qualification requirements will vary from case to case and will depend on the immigration category under which the application is made. However, in general, the immigration authorities do expect documentation of relevant experience and/or a university degree. In some situations, a strong case may be made for applicants without a degree provided their level of experience and industry specific qualification is high. Please contact your representative for more details.

Red Flags

In our experience, the following points are important to note at the start of the process. If any of the below situations apply to you, contact your representative immediately for further detailed advice.

  • An absence of relevant education or work experience and insufficient compensation can complicate Temporary Vitem (V) Visa applications.
  • The Ministry of Labor will also look at the Employer’s ratio of foreign to local workers.
  • The Ministry of Labor will specifically analyze the candidate’s salary.
  • Processes may differ for nationals of the Central African Republic, Comoros and Taiwan due to the fact that Brazil does not recognize their governments.
  • Presence of a criminal history, however minor the infraction, may prevent visa issuance at the consular level.

Penalties for Non-Compliance

The government of Brazil takes immigration non-compliance very seriously. Penalties for non-compliance may include:

  • Fines
  • Deportation
  • Imprisonment
  • Bar from future travel to Brazil

Employee Penalties:

  • Immediate visa cancellation and deportation can be ordered by the Brazilian authorities at any time if a foreigner is non-compliant with the terms of their visa.
  • Failure to register the visa within thirty (30) days of entering Brazil and prior to re-entering Brazil can result in a visa being cancelled upon attempted re-entry. Entry may be denied.
  • Overstaying in Brazil will result in a daily fine.

Employer Penalties:      

  • If a foreign worker is discovered without proper documentation, the Brazilian employer will be subject to fines, increased immigration audits, and limitations for the hire of foreign workers in the future.

For more details, please contact your representative.


Bilateral Agreements

  • France: A bilateral agreement with France eliminates the need for authentication of government-issued documents.
  • Mercado Comum do Sul (MERCOSUL/MERCOSUR): A bilateral agreement with countries that are signatory parties to the MERCOSUL agreement allows citizens of those countries to work in Brazil without the need for approval from the Ministry of Labor. A streamlined residence process is available for MERCOSUL nationals.
  • Requirements for documentation supporting educational background are less stringent for citizens of certain South American countries not party to MERCOSUL. For specific details, please contact your representative.