In 2020, Brazil’s Ministry of Justice reported that 1.3 million immigrants have taken up residency in Brazil — a leap of 24% since the previous decade. Brazil isn’t the easiest country to get residency and a visa, but if you have a reason to be there, they’ll herd you in with open arms.
Perhaps you’ve been transferred by a multinational or snagged a teaching spot at an international school. You could want to reunite with Brazilian family, have been assigned a new diplomat transfer, or have accepted a place on a Master’s or PhD course. In some form, you see yourself setting up shop in Brazil for a handful of years.
Now you want your belongings to join you. Besides visas, paperwork and finances, you’ll need to factor in the logistics of shipping your items to Brazil. Many UK removal companies offer international removals. They can handle heavy lifting and logistics, ensuring your items reach their destination safely.
What to Bring on Your Flight from the UK
Shipping to Brazil can be complicated. Start by analysing what you’d miss, what you’ll replace soon anyway, and what could stay in storage for a while. And by storage, I count hiding belongings in the hidden spaces of your mum’s house for years.
There’s some items you’ll need to stash in your checked in luggage. Anything shipped unaccompanied can be subject to duty tax. I would pack these items for personal use instead of purchasing once you arrive.
- Electronics – Apple products have a 40% mark up on taxes in Brazil
- Lightweight decoration items – blankets, table runners, unframed art. There aren’t many good quality budget stores like B&M or Target in Brazil.
- Branded sports shoes – AIESEC, Hokas, and Nike are cheaper in Europe
- Tennis rackets and beach tennis rackets
- Golden syrup – if you want to bake, bring the biggest bottle of golden syrup you can find. You can’t ship food unaccompanied
- British chocolate (nom)
- Some baby items – prams and carriers are cheaper in Europe and the US
What to Buy in Brazil
- Heavy sports equipment (not shoes) – Centauro has affordable options
- Furniture and large electronics. Browse some Brazilian home stores to get an idea of the price:
- Toiletries – try Brazilian brands; they work a charm
Before Shipping to Brazil, Secure Your Brazilian Residency or Visa
You will need to ensure that all paperwork has been completed and submitted. Leave enough time for this as any errors can cause a delay in your move. In addition to the points below, you need adequate health and travel insurance.
Remember these to Ship to Brazil:
- You must have a temporary or permanent residence visa to clear your goods through customs in Brazil. Check on the Brazilian Consulate in London website for the visas you are eligible for.
- Removal companies can only ship your items if you have a visa.
- You must be in the country for the goods to clear customs.
- Your goods will need to be shipped no longer than 6 months after you arrive.
- Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry into Brazil. Dual British/Brazilian nationals may be required to travel on a Brazilian passport rather than a British passport.
Arrange work in Brazil
To legally work in Brazil, your employer must formally hire you in a “Workers Handbook” (Carteira de Trabalho). You will need a CPF (Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas) and the necessary visa or residency to apply for one. Tourists and students can’t work in Brazil. Via your Carteira de Trabalho, you will receive your PIS number, allowing you to work in the country.
Find out more in Everything You Need to Know About Working in Brazil
Find Somewhere to Live
Line up somewhere to live in Brazil before booking a removal company. This way, you can get an accurate quote and an idea of how much space you have. After all, shipping to Manaus, the capital of Amazonia or portless Minas Gerais presents a challenge for boat shipping…
Shipping Options: Air Freight and Sea Freight to Brazil
You can ship your items to Brazil via air or sea freight from the UK. The best approach depends on your timescale, budget and requirements.
The cheapest shipping method from the UK to Brazil is part-load sea freight. Remember that this is designed for those with fewer items and is the method with the longest timescale.
Air freight speedily gets your stuff from A to B. It’s the express delivery option for cargo. The good news is that it’s pretty secure – your items are less likely to go missing or get damaged than other shipping methods. The catch? It’s not a budget-friendly choice. Further, you have to keep the weight limit to keep in mind. If you plan on transporting hefty furniture, you might want to explore other options.
Be aware that weight rather than a flat rate calculates the cost of air freight. Additionally, air freight goods must be professionally packed, adding extra cost. Your removal company can handle the professional packing for you.
There are many ports across Brazil, with the largest and most popular being Santos Port in São Paulo. An extensive river system also makes ships a popular option for transporting items. Sea freight will take longer than air, but it will also cost less. As a result, you can ship more items this way.
You can opt for an entire shipping container or part-load. Shipping containers are usually 20ft or 40ft as standard. With part-load, you are allocated part of a container with the rest comprised of other people’s items. This is the slower option of the two but it is ideal if you are shipping fewer items.
According to Movehub, the average shipping time from the UK to Brazil via air is 1 – 3 days. By sea, it is between 16 – 22 days. Keep in mind that part-load may take even longer.
Required documents for Shipping to Brazil
To ship your items, you’ll need:
- Original bill or landing (OBL)/ air waybill (AWB)
- Two notarized copies of passport
- Two notarized copies of Brazilian Tax Card (CPF number)
- Two notarized copies of the airline ticket
- Notarized employment contract
- Declaration of residence abroad
- A detailed inventory of your goods in Portuguese – one for new items and one for used items
- Two copies of Registro Nacional de Estrangeiros (RNE)
- Baggage Declaration
- Guarantee Bond
For your moving company to perform the pre-registration with the Brazilian Customs Authorities, you will need:
- Customer ID card or protocol, Brazilian Social Security (CIF) or protocol.
- Power of attorney (for the shipping company to move goods on your behalf)
Shipping Costs to Brazil from the UK
The cost of transporting your items to Brazil will depend on the method you use and the volume and value of goods. The season can also influence the cost, with higher demands at certain times of the year pushing up prices.
According to Movehub, the average cost of Sea Freight from the UK to Brazil for the contents of a standard 3-bedroom home is £6,130 – £6,775.
For reference, if you are moving less than this, they estimate that the cost of moving the contents of a 1- 1-bedroom flat is £3,984 – £4,403. By comparison, transporting the same volume of goods via air freight is estimated at £7,589 – £8,388 by Movehub.
Keep in Mind these Additional Relocation Costs
International removal insurance provides financial cover if your goods are lost or damaged in transit. The insurance cost will depend on the value of the goods you send. It also depends on the volume of goods, distance and method of transport. You do not have to sign up for insurance through your removal company. You can take it out independently.
Import Duty Tax
Import Duty – abbreviated in Portuguese as II – is a federally mandated tax. This tax is paid when the goods enter Brazil. It is levied on a cost, insurance and freight (CIF) basis for imported goods and traveller’s luggage from abroad. In most cases, you can expect import duty rates to range between 10% – 35%.
When transporting items by air, you must have your belongings professionally packed. Factor this into your relocation budget. Opt for professional packing even if you are shipping by sea. This can free up time and ensure your items are packed well for transport.
Prohibited Items When Shipping to Brazil
You will need to be aware of the items you cannot take to Brazil. These include:
- Handguns, firearms and ammunition
- Knives and deadly weapons
- Controlled substances, narcotics and drugs
- Counterfeit goods and money
- Pornographic material
- Dairy products
- Fish products
- Fresh fruit and vegetables
- Hazardous materials