5 Easy Visa Types for Living in Brazil

Volunteer visa, Brazil So, you want an easy way for living in Brazil for longer than 6 months but don’t what types of Brazilian Visas let you?  Let me see if I can solve that problem for you in this post!

I run into this type of scenario constantly: Chris travels to Brazil, spends 3 months there and loves it.  He then goes to the and extends his Brazilian tourist visa for 3 months more.  As the months go by he becomes desperate, he wants to stay but can’t figure out what types of Brazilian Visas will let him!

After a 6 month love affair with the country he gets onto an airplane, feeling like he left his heart behind together with all the friendships and experiences.

Figuring out  types can be a pain in the royal a-hole, and don’t get me started on the waiting period… But not if you know some loopholes and tricks that I will now show you!

UPDATE: since writing this post, a lot of developments have happened within the visa area.  Therefore, I’ve created an .

An Inconvenient Truth

The sad truth is that Governments don’t really care how you feel; they only care about the rules that they put into place.  And to be honest, most immigration rules are set based on visa (a smart way of saying “America makes it difficult for Brazilians, so we will make it difficult for Americans too!!”)

The ugly thing about bureaucracy is that you are not the center of focus, BUT the one beautiful thing about bureaucracy (and especially in Brazil) is finding loopholes.  So many rules contradict others that it would literally be impossible to follow them all!

I will cover 5 different types of visa “” scenarios and tell you how each one could benefit you in order to attain your dreams!

Disclaimer: any advice I give here is purely informational – use it at your own risk.  I neither approve of nor am asking you to do anything illegal or against traditional wisdom…  ESPECIALLY loophole #5!  Ok, now that’s out of the way ;)

1.  Get Married – Family Reunification

Have you met the person of your dreams?  Or are you still looking for someone?

Either way, if you are considering marrying in the future and would love to marry a Brazilian, then you should seriously consider this option.

A. You Have a Brazilian Girlfriend or Boyfriend

If you already are together with a Brazilian and wedding bells could be a part of the near future, then by all means continue on that path!

After you are officially married, you can apply for family reunification based on a Brazilian spouse.  This will grant you permanent residence and the option for citizenship after 1 year of permanent residence.

There are obviously a lot of details in this, but keep this one important rule of thumb in mind: apply for your visa at the embassy in your home country before moving to Brazil.  We are talking about 3 months or so for the visa to get approved vs. up to 2-3 years if you apply through the Federal Police in Brazil!

B. You Would Like a Brazilian Girlfriend or Boyfriend

Well, well then… that’s an exciting adventure!  If you would consider marrying in the near future but have yet to find a Brazilian spouse, then don’t worry, there are a lot of willing people out there and thanks to the Internet, it has become easier then ever.

Your best bet is to begin socializing with Brazilians at local gatherings or finding the right dating site.

For dating sites, I personally recommend BrazilCupid.com over the competition due to the simple fact that they are well established and have the most Brazilians looking for love out of any other site out there.  This is because they make the site very Brazilian friendly as well as friendly for you, so there are plenty to encounter!

You can check them out by clicking here.

2.  Have a Baby – Parent of a Brazilian Child

Yeah, you heard me right!

Even though I met my wife in Brazil, she isn’t Brazilian.  So we had a little dilemma, when my Volunteer Visa ran out, what were we to do if we were to continue living in Brazil??

We found a nice little loophole that won’t be changed any time soon: any child born on Brazilian land is Brazilian by birth.

What’s even better is that any parent of a Brazilian child can apply for permanent residence based on the child – despite their criminal record (not that I have one…).

So if you are not married to a Brazilian, then that’s not an issue – consider having your next child in Brazil.

One of these days, I will write all about how we did it.

Tip: this type of visa must be applied for while you are in Brazil, you cannot apply for it from a consulate abroad!

3.  Study Portuguese in Brazil – Student Visa

You are single (or not), would like to live in Brazil for a while or forever and need to learn Portuguese anyways right?

Consider enrolling yourself at a language school or University in Brazil offering to teach you Portuguese and give you a student visa at the same time.

It doesn’t just have to be a language school though; it can be any accredited university, a non-profit or whomever that can offer a student visa.

You can find these types of programs all around Brazil all with varied durations and offerings.

is a good list of schools for you to take a look at.

As a rule of thumb, you will get a visa for around the duration of the school program itself, extendable if needed.

Tip: many universities/schools offering these programs charge a very inflated price, so shop around!

4.  Volunteer in Brazil – Volunteer Visa

Of course you would like to volunteer – you have such a humanitarian heart! ;)

This is actually the route I went with originally when I came to Brazil, the picture at the top right of this post is of my actual volunteer visa from back in 2005.  I found an (ONG in Portuguese) that I liked and decided to enroll myself to come as a volunteer.

Any non-profit with a CNPJ (a Brazilian business number) can send you the required paperwork in order to apply for this type of visa.

It’s duration is 1 year + renewable 1 year again for a maximum of 2 years.

The process was quite bureaucratic due to the fact that the Brazilian Consulate has to send all of the application paperwork to Brazil to get approved.  It took me about 5 months from start to finish to get my visa in hands – the visa actually arrived via FedEx 3 hours before my flight!

Tip: be patient and realize that even though they say that this visa takes 2-3 months on their website, that it will probably take double that!

5.  Down With the Rules – Staying Illegally

There are always a few rebels in the bunch who decide that they are just going to forget everything visa related and stay no matter what.

I have actually known TONS of people who have done this and kind of admire their passion and relentlessness!

Here is the typical scenario: Sarah stays for 3 months on a tourist visa, she then goes to the Federal police and extends it for 3 more months.  The thought of leaving Brazil, everything and everyone she has grown so fond of behind is so devastating that she decides to just stay.

In many countries if you overstay on a visa, you are usually barred entry into the country for a number of years.  Let me share the consequences in Brazil:

  1. You pay an overstay fine of about $R8.50 per day upon exit (though the amount maxes out at around $R850.00)
  2. As long as the fee has been paid, then there is usually no barring from entry, prejudice on getting any other type of visa etc.
  3. Pretty no consequences unless someone is out to get you.

In other words, you could theoretically just stay in Brazil and when you decide to leave and come again, you would have to pay a “fine” (more of a fee) and be free to come back again.

There are some risks associated with staying illegal, and one of them is that if you take up illegal work and someone doesn’t like it, then you could risk getting if they have a good friend at the Federal Police.

I actually knew a guy who did this, he got a job as an English teacher while staying illegally, the competing English school got wind of this and sicked the Federal police on him – he was given a week to leave.

Tip: If you end up getting married or having a child, then you can just change your visa status while in the country without having to leave.

Amnesty After Staying Illegal

Ever few years or so, the Brazilian Government gives amnesty to a number of illegals living in the country.  It’s the Government’s way of “pardoning” people who really have made it their mission to live in Brazil forever.

How to Apply for a Brazilian Visa

Most all visas have to be applied for in your home country, except a couple (family reunification for example).  I always recommend that you apply from your home country even if you have the possibility of applying from Brazil, this is due to the face that it is much quicker.

When I applied for my Brazilian volunteer visa…

It was a mess!  The Brazilian Consulate was 2 states away and about a 15 hour car drive…  I went to apply in person but it was a disaster!  I was turned way and told to get more documents (that weren’t even on the website), correct others etc.

Right…so I have to drive 15 hours, wait 3 weeks to get more documents from Brazil, and drive 15 hours again??

Applying for a visa to go to Brazil in America is a very painstaking process: the consulate doesn’t respond to your calls and e-mails, they don’t inform you of what is going on, can be very rude and you have to drive for hours and wait in a 3 hour line to even approach them – how much is your time worth?  Mine is worth more….

Finally light at the end of the tunnel

I soon found out that you could pay a Brazilian Visa Agency to do this for you.  The only problem is that 99% of them only do Tourist Visas, Student Visas and Business Visas – none of them would help me with my volunteer visa, they knew how bureaucratic it was!

After a lot of trying and calling around, I finally found a Visa Agency that covered all jurisdictions and ALL types of visas – this is the only Visa Agency in America that does this as it requires them to have an office next to every single Consulate in America.

A friend of mine one time tried a visa agency that said that they could do all types of visas, in the end he called them pretty much daily – he was so peeved but then again they would never respond, so I understand him.

And it is really important that you choose a trustable visa agency!  They will be your life-line while you are waiting on your visa.

Final Words

Are things starting to make a little more sense?  That is my hope!

These 5 different loopholes are the most commonly used for a reason, they will get you to Brazil the fastest – but obviously each person has a different need and my hope is that one of these 5 will suite you.

The biggest and most important piece of advice I can give you is to keep your eyes fixed on your goal and find a way to get there!  Don’t accept anything less, where there is a way, there is a will.

Do not be defeated, pursue your dreams and I will do my best to help you attain them!

Valeu – cheers!


P.S. since so much has changed since writing this post, I’ve decided to address visas more specifically in .

3 part free video series teaches you step-by-step everything you need to know to make the move to and live a happy life in Brazil >>
  • Tim

    The Brazil consulate story sounds so familiar! Requirements and process are changed on -the-fly without notice or grace period. It could be a frustrating experience. To make my story short, by the time I get my VISA I know almost all front officers there with their colorful hand written notes all over my applications :)

  • https://liveinbrazil.org Kevin

    Tell me about it, isn’t it lovely? I had colorful hand written notes all over my passport too ;)

    • Munish Singh

      sir i m harry plz help me i need visa in brazil because last time my girl frd send me paper to come to toursit in brazil but emassay not give me visa and and i really thanks for u i need visa any visa can go over there plz guide me how to go there my email id

  • tom

    are you saying you can study the first module which is like 3 weeks at PUC then extend whilst your over there? the only problem i have is wont the student visa then be only valid for like 1 month?

    • https://liveinbrazil.org/ Kevin Porter

      You get a visa for 6 months and then can extend it after that.

      If you’re interested, I have a very good contact at a language school in Florianópolis who has a 100% approval rate on visas!

      Here name is Martha and e-mail is mghizzo(at)thelanguageclub.com.br, tell her Kevin sent ya and she’ll hook you up :)

      • peter arnold

        hello kevin,

        can you tell me if one can covert volunteer visa to a work visa without leaving brazil.

      • canadoce

        Guys, just a heads up for those who get student visas which they might extend in-country.

        I studied Portuguese in Bahia in 2011. I had a six-month visa and decided to extend it to one year before it expired. During that time I got my RNE and CPF.

        Extending the visa meant I again had to get a new bank letter from my US-based bank to show I had sufficient funds to support myself (I guess if you have parents, etc, they would have to provide the letter). And that meant someone back home taking the letter to the county clerk’s office and the Brazilian consulate for stamping. Then, in Brazil I had to have all those documents translated and I’m sure I also had to return to the cartório (notary public).

        Not sure if that process has changed, but just a heads up.

        • http://www.joseliasajjad.com sajjad

          hello every one i am sajjad ali from pakistan brazlian permant resident living in brazil about 2 years which countries can i travel plz email me

          • http://www.bilalsheikh.net Bilal Sheikh

            Hello Sajjad, I want to be your friend and also want to go to Brazil and live in Brazil. I’m a freelancer live in Bangladesh. Working online since 2009. I have 5 years experience in online earnings. I’m finding a muslim (sunni) in Brazil to be friend with. I will email you right away, please accept me as your new friend if you interested. The mail will be sent from .

  • tom

    oh really… so really i apply for a module say 3 weeks? and get the acceptance letter and take that to my consulate and if all approved i should see myself getting a visa for 6 months??

    • https://liveinbrazil.org/ Kevin Porter

      exactly! And then you can extend it after that as long as you are enrolled in any university classes from within Brazil.

      • tom

        sweet thank you!!

  • tom

    also im looking at schools in Sao Paulo.

  • Mari

    can i go to brazil with a one way ticket

    • https://liveinbrazil.org/ Kevin Porter

      Depends on the airline and your visa!

      Either way, a one way ticket is usually more expensive than round trip.

    • Thiago Chahin

      In case you plan to stay forever or work, you would need a permanent visa or working permit.
      I could help you with the permanent visa :)

  • juliet

    Hey, i’m looking to move to brazil with my man (Brazilian) and his family would you suggest me getting a tourist visa then extending it or? i dont really know where to start and would really appreciate you help!

    • https://liveinbrazil.org/ Kevin Porter

      Hey, It’s faster to do it from abroad but you can do it in Brazil too (though it takes quite a bit longer for the visa).

  • Mike

    Hi Kevin! This your blog is so informative but i need little enlighten here. Am thinking of coming to Brazil with my wife to come and give birth… We are both foreigner and she is presently pregnant, but am considering not to over stay there before she give birth.. Can we get our visa before her pregnancy is over 6 month and where can you recommend as a safe place to live in Brazil. Please Advice!!

  • osro18

    Hi Kevin. I’m going to apply for volunteer visa to go to Brazil. Please give the name of the agency that can help me to do that. Thank you.

  • Ned

    hi Kevin, i am canadian married to Brazilian lady , we live in Toronto and have one child who hold both brazilian and canadian citizenship . when my wife asked the brazilian embassy regarding giving me permanent visa they said it can be done within a month but they want to know when i am leaving permanently to Brazil ! i am having problems getting a job in brazil without having proper papers in my hand , on the other hand brazilian embassy wants me to leave canada to get my paper work done, it is like chicken and egg which one came first , i do not want to leave my job in Canada and head to the unknown . can i get permanent visa but still spend most of my time in Canada and travel for few weeks to brazil every year until i get a job ?

    • Thiago Chahin

      ” technically they want me to move then good luck !!”
      Yea, thats it.
      They wont help you find a job.

      • Ned

        I am not asking to help find a job , I think you miss read my comment , I want to know my steps and what I need to do from paper owrk perspective . I got my permemnant visa and I am heading there next month , embassy staff told me to head to federal police office and register the visa after that they have no idea on how to apply for work book or documente and how long the process approximately takes . They are 2 seperste entities and as usual in brazil no one know what need to be done until they venture and try themselves , it is simple culture and system issue .

  • dlarks

    Are the penalties for overstaying related only to a tourist visa or do they apply to all types of visas? Im currently in brazil on a VEFIT.

  • Amit Tyagi

    Very Useful things, thanks for this information, Kevin

  • Michelle Steele

    I am going to Brazil in July and I am planning to apply for an extension to stay an extra 3 months. I called the Federal Police in Goiania (the city I am traveling to) to find out if I would buy my return ticket with the December date (trying to save money) or if I was required to buy it showing the return date in October (the 90 day mark). He said that there are no extensions and that he had no idea what I was talking about. I would have to leave the country and then come back later. I am so confused. I even tried asking the people at the consulate, and they were no help at all. No one seems to have any answers for me. Any suggestions?

  • Erica

    Hi Kevin !
    I’m a Chinese , girl ,. I have a Brasilian gf, and Im considering to travel to Brazil and marry there.
    Is there any problem ill face too ? Cause we r same sex couple . And do u know any agency can handle our things ?
    Plz, I need some help.

    • Tom

      Hi Erica, I am also in a same sex relationship with a Brazilian citizen and too am planning to move over there in the foreseeable future. You shouldn’t face any problems with the fact you’re in a same sex relationship, but please PLEASE be aware that a majority of people in brazil come from strong catholic backgrounds so prepare yourself for some prejudice. None stronger than what you may be used to, but maybe in a higher volume.
      Hope this helps!

  • Viviane Viana

    Hello guys . I found it interesting posts from you. I am Brazilian and I’ve been in Japan for two years and had no idea it was so bureaucratic for you , settled in Brazil.
    When I went to Japan I found so much strength to stay there with me my family .
    Brazil is an extremely hospitable place , but with huge paradoxes between poverty and lack of education and a beautiful country full of untapped news.
    Here we face unemployment and the lack of conditions to qualify to get a good job . By contrast people are cheerful and always find a way to overcome the difficulties .
    Brazil is not only made ​​of Rio de Janeiro , Carnival , soccer and women without clothes …. Here we face many difficulties and some people , men women, children end up finding on the wrong things as prostiuição , drugs and other illicit things a way to make a living.
    I went through some prejudices when I was in Japan … but made ​​up for with my professionalism working in the factory Toyota .
    I saw a post here on the Blog in which two girls wish to marry and are afraid of finding some resistance here. Someone had said that most of the people here were Catholic and therefore could find some kind of prejudice. Today much is eclectic , religiously speaking … we evangelicals , Jehovah’s Witnesses , Espiritas , Mormons , Protestants, I would say that most of the poor and under study follows the Evangelical religion.
    And in some evangelical churches face homosexuality as a disease .
    But …. for being a country of people of various races and ethnicities all contemplating very normally.
    I have a lot of information to pass on to you seen …. But I find it interesting to talk a little about my homeland since some people out there have a slightly different view of reality we have here.
    That’s right folks I have helped , if you need me for anything else just call me …. I will gladly inform them .

  • Thiago Chahin

    Reminder :
    If you want to work in Brazil, you cannot stay illegal, unless of course you are doing illegal business.

    PS : I’m single (this is a hint) ;)

  • Winston Parks


    Perhaps you can shed some light on my issue. Ive been in Brazil last 18 months (not legally) and have now been accepted into an MBA program in Rio. After much deliberation, Ive

  • Hazem Jumaa

    Hi …
    What are the requirements of the permanent residence if I got an immigration visa to Brazil?