Work Visas in Brazil

Understand the requirements for obtaining a work visa in Brazil...

In general, work visas and work permits will only be issued to employees of Brazilian registered companies, subject to local tax and labor regulations. This means that no one may work in Brazil whilst being paid by a company which is registered outside Brazil.

In order to obtain a work visa, a work permit application must be sent to the local Ministry of Labor and Employment (Ministério do Trabalho e Emprego) office by the company wishing to employ the foreigner. Once the application has been approved, the approval is published in the Diario Oficial (Brazilian legal newspaper) and sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will then authorize the Consulate or Embassy to begin to process the work visa.

There are many different sub-categories for work visas, which largely depend upon the type of work that is to be done. However, the most common types of work visa are:

Permanent visa (vista permanente)

This five-year visa is granted directly to a company administrator or someone who is directly responsible for final decisions regarding the running of the company and the signing of documents.

The foreign-based company for whom this individual works must be investing or be preparing to invest, through its Brazilian-registered branch, a minimum of US$200,000 in the country.

The company employing the person to whom this visa is issued must prove that they intend to pay the employee a salary that is at least equivalent to that which he would be earning for the same duties in his native country.

Permanent visa for investors (vista permanente por investidor)

This visa is granted to individuals intending to invest a minimum of US$150,000 in Brazilian-based business enterprises. This is the only instance whereby a visa can be issued to an individual without proof that his salary will be paid by a Brazilian-registered company.

Once the individual is in Brazil, he will be expected to follow all the guidelines established for the foundation of a company.

Temporary visa with a company tie (visto temporario V)

This visa is granted to an individual whose qualifications and/or experience clearly demonstrate that his skills set is unique and there is no Brazilian citizen who can assume the role he is intended to perform in the country. This requirement will be rigorously investigated by the Ministry of Labor and Employment (Ministério do Trabalho e Emprego).

Due to this stipulation, this visa is usually issued to technicians or skilled workers employed by a foreign-based company with activities in Brazil.

The visa is issued for an initial period of two years, with the option to extend it for another two years should the need arise. Following this four-year period, the company has the option of applying for the visa to become permanent.

Temporary visa without a direct company tie (visto temporario III)

Contrary to the suggestion in the name of this visa, a company must be involved in obtaining this visa and it is the company that applies for the visa.

This visa is designed for companies intending to contract hire an individual that the company can prove has unique skills and for which there is no Brazilian citizen able to perform the same tasks. However, the worker is neither a direct employee of a Brazilian company or of an overseas-based company with a Brazilian-based branch: he will be an independent, overseas-based individual, contracted to attend to a specific need that may have arisen.

Due to this stipulation, this visa is usually issued to foreign technicians or skilled workers who will be employed by a Brazilian company to attend to specialist equipment or a particular stage in a project.

The visa validity periods are the same as those for foreigners with company ties.