Brazil Travel F&Qs

How long can I stay on a tourist visa?

This depends on your country of citizenship. Many countries will allow you 90 days tourist stamp on entrance to Brazil. You will be required to show a return plane ticket. For a full list of the visa requirements by country refer to this document in English.

For citizens of the U.S., Canada, Japan, and Australia there is now a Brazilian e-visa program where you apply for a tourist visa online.

Certain citizens can also extend their tourist stay after 90 days by leaving the country and re-entering. Or by paying a fee and extending it at the federal police immigration at the airport. The federal police website has all the information for extending a tourist stamp. You need to take the following with you: passport, entrance card (filled out on plane on arrival), proof of payment of tax, form (downlaodable in section 2),proof of sufficient money, accomodation and returning flight.

How long can I stay on a student visa?

Student visas are granted for the length of the course. At universities this is usually by semester (6 months) or academic year (1 year). If you want to stay longer you will need to leave the country after the visa expires and re-enter on a tourist stamp (unless your country requires you to have a tourist visa too).

You must apply for a student visa (Visto IV) from your country of residence no more than 90 days before entering Brazil. Read more about studying abroad in Brazil.

Is Brazil safe?

There are pockets of violence in Brazil like anywhere in the world, but it’s not a banner you can hold over a country.

Take care, read up on the city and country before you visit. Some of the most pertinent advice when visiting Brazil is don’t wear flashy jewelry or watches in the street. If a neighbourhood is empty catch an Uber. Take little with you to the beach, during carnival or to a club.

On the other hand, there are cities and regions of Brazil that are extremely safe. Large agglomerations of people generally lead to sharp inequality and it’s in these places you need to be more vigilant. I lived in Brazil for 3 years and visit annually. During this time, I’ve only lost 1 necklace.  

What are some good volunteer organizations in Brazil?

We will soon add a list of responsible non-profit organizations in Brazilian cities.

Can I drive in Brazil?

Most licenses are valid in Brazil for 6 months via the Vienna Convention on Road Agreement. You probably need to obtain an international drivers license, which translates the information into a selection of languages.

We have a detailed article on Everything You Need to Know about Driving in Brazil.

Are favelas safe?

Favelas are the name given to a diverse communities either in the cities or on the peripheries. They differ significantly in security. Like in any city, you should be aware of which neighbourhoods are safe and which to avoid. We don’t suggest you join the favela “tours” sold in the hotels, as little of this money is returned to the community. Instead, seek out sustainable tour agencies and NGOs that offer these services. These tours will be led by a community resident and ensure that the profits go back to improving the community’s development.

Read more on favela communities in our post on Visiting Favelas Responsibly.

What should I take to Brazil?

Electronics and simple staple clothes including good quality shoes. All these items are expensive in Brazil.

What is the best way to travel around Brazil?

Mostly airplane since the distances are vast between large cities and tourist destinations. If you feel comfortable you can road trip around. In the cities Uber is affordable. In São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro the metro system works well to avoid long traffic jams.

What should I buy in Brazil?

Havaiana flip flops are super affordable in Brazil. You should buy cangas (sarongs) from the beach, regional honey, a couple of Brazilian designer clothes (Farm, Cantão or Animal) and Brazilian art and artisanal crafts.

What is some Brazilian music I should listen to?

Brazilian music is diverse and lively. We have a series of Brazilian playlists to get you started. There are links to the Spotify playlists in the posts.

10 Brazilian songs for cooking a feast.

10 Brazilian songs for the bath.

10 Brazilian songs to serenade your love.

10 Brazilian songs for roaming the supermarket.

Do I need to learn Portuguese?

English is not widely spoken in Brazil and it will help enormously if you learn the basics. Brazilians will mostly be able to understand Spanish, whereas a Spanish speaker understanding Portuguese is much more challenging.

Here are some useful resources for learning Portuguese.

What else should I know before going to Brazil?

Read our post on Useful Things to Know Before Going to Brazil to prepare yourself before setting off.

Moving to Brazil F&Qs

Can I work in Brazil?

You need a visa that allows you to work in Brazil, which can be challenging for foreigners.

Getting a sponsored work visa will likely only be granted from a multinational company where you are already employed. Student visas do not grant you permission to work. Permanent Resident Visas (granted to spouses or dependents of Brazilians), work visas (a business will need to sponsor you), or if have become a Brazilian citizen by other means, are all permitted to work. If you live in Brazil for 4 years without leaving you may be granted citizenship. You can fast track citizenship if you are married to a Brazilian.

Where can I teach English in Brazil?

You will need a visa that allows you to work in order to legally give English lessons in Brazil.

Large English schools include Cultura Inglesa, IBEU, Wiseup, Wizard, CCAA, Red Balloon (for children), Curso Oxford. Some schools such as Cultura Inglesa and IBEU have a central HR department, so you are better applying online and having teaching qualifications or experience. Other schools like Wise Up and Wizard are franchises, so it is best to go into the branch where you want to work with a printed resume.

You can also work as a freelance teacher for schools that send teachers into businesses.

Finally, some foreigners work as teachers for the international and bilingual schools. You will need a work visa sponsored by the institution and apply before arriving in the country. This is usually a position only for accredited English-speaking teachers wanting to relocate abroad.

How can I find accommodation in Brazil?

Renting in Brazil usually requires a guarantor who has property in the same State as you want to rent. Obviously, this is challenging for new arrivals. We always suggest checking out Airbnb for a temporary solution. The prices are competitive, they include bills (so you don’t need to set all this up), and you have direct access to the landlord for any maintenance fixes.

For students you can check out local Facebook groups, WebQuarto or Roomgo for people who are subletting rooms.

If you have good Portuguese and connections Zap Imovéis also lists apartments for rent.

Can I retire to Brazil?

Yes, the Visto de Investidor (investor visa) is designated for those who are making an investment in Brazil. You will need to purchase a property of R$ 500K BRL or more and probably need a lawyer to help you through the process.

Where can I get documents translated for visas?

All visa/ naturalization documents must be translated by a sworn translator. This is a professional that has passed government exams. The price is fixed. These are the translation prices for 2020.

Unfortantely, the prices are high because there are few openings in these government exams. You must pay this fee if you want your documents accepted.

Use this website to locate a sworn translator near you.

Where can I get a CPF (social security number)?

CPF’s are attained from the Federal Police. All the information is on the Ministry of Economy website. You may be able to get a CPF online or you can book an appointment via that website at a local branch.

How do I register as a student with the federal police?

All foreign students must register with the federal police within 90 days of entering in Brazil. There is a R$100 fine per day after this 90 day period if you don’t register. You need to take documents with you and must book an appointment. Your hosting school will be able to help you with the specifics. Read more in our post How to Handle Study Abroad in Brazil. This website by PUC university in Rio has very detailed instructions, but they are in Portuguese.

How do I get a Carteiro de Trabalho (worker’s book)?

A Carteiro de Trabalho is required by any formal worker in Brazil. You can get it from the Ministry of Work in your city. Usually you collect a workers book via appointment using this website. If you receive a job offer you can by-pass the appointment, taking with you a job offer letter straight to the Ministry of Work during open hours. Go early.

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