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Brazil’s unique location, with a coastline over 4,600 miles long and borders with every country in South America except for Ecuador and Chile, makes it a popular place to work and live. In addition, several Brazilian cities are vying to become Latin America’s Silicon Valley, and the numerous stunning beaches offer plenty of opportunities for relaxation and nightlife. These factors, combined with the low cost of living, make Brazil a sought-after working destination for digital nomads and other expats.
If you want to expand into Brazil or offer your remote workforce the chance to work there, your people will need work visas.
Types of Brazil work visas and permits
Brazil — officially, the Federal Republic of Brazil — issues several types of work visas that cover different types and lengths of employment.
Permanent work visa (Visto Permanente)
Foreign nationals who qualify for permanent residency in Brazil can apply for a permanent work visa. This type of visa is usually issued to:
- Investors ($50,000 for an individual or $200,000 for a company)
- Some VITEM V visa holders who’ve been working in Brazil for over two years
VITEM V visa
The VITEM V visa is a temporary visa that’s issued to foreign nationals who will be working in technical or research fields or who provide other professional services. The Ministry of Labor and Employment must approve employees for this work visa, which is usually valid for two years.
VITEM II visa (Business Trip)
The VITEM II visa is issued to foreign nationals who are traveling to Brazil for business trips. It’s valid for up to 10 years and entitles the holder to stay in Brazil for up to 90 days per year. However, a person can’t accept money from a Brazilian company while using this visa.
Digital nomad visa
If you have remote workers who want to live in Brazil while they work for you, they may be eligible for a digital nomad visa. The Brazilian digital nomad visa first became available in January 2022. It’s a residence permit that allows foreign nationals to live and work remotely in Brazil for up to one year and can be extended for one year.
Self-employed and remote workers can apply for a digital nomad visa, provided they work for a company that doesn’t have a presence in Brazil. Unlike other types of work visas, a worker can apply for a digital nomad visa when they're already in Brazil. However, the process takes longer and requires more documentation than applying from their home country.
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Requirements for a Brazil work visa
The requirements for a work permit in Brazil vary depending on the type of visa. The most common types of visas that apply to businesses hiring foreign nationals to work in Brazil include the following.
VITEM V visa
Most of your employees will need a VITEM V visa, and it’s up to the employer to start the application process. They’ll need a temporary or permanent residence visa before they can get a work visa. Employees have to meet one of the following criteria for the role they’ll be filling:
- Two years of relevant work experience and nine years of education
- One year of relevant experience and a university degree
- A relevant postgraduate degree
Because only legal entities can apply for a work visa in Brazil, you’ll either need to use a PEO (professional employer organization) or establish a local legal entity, such as a subsidiary.
The employer and the employee must complete the application process jointly. To begin the application, you’ll need the following documents:
- Work permit application form
- Applicant and candidate form
- Copy of the company’s registration with the Brazilian authorities
- Tax identification number
- Proof of payment of the application fee
- Any other documents, as requested
The employee will need to provide the following:
- A passport that is valid for at least six more months
- A recent passport-sized photograph
- Current address
- Proof of education and experience
- Criminal background check issued by the applicant’s home country within the past three months
- A health certificate issued by the Brazilian embassy or consulate in their home country
- Proof of financial support
- Proof of yellow fever vaccination if they live in or have traveled in countries where yellow fever is a risk within the past 90 days
- Any other documents, as requested
VITEM II visa
A VITEM II visa is mainly issued for business travel. The holder can’t accept payment from a Brazilian company under this visa. Applying requires the following:
- A passport that’s valid for at least six more months
- A passport-sized photograph
- A letter on the company’s letterhead that states the employee’s name, title, how long they’ve been working for the company, nature of the business to be conducted, anticipated length of stay, employee’s contacts, and acceptance of responsibility for the employee while in Brazil
- An original invitation from a Brazilian company stating the nature and details of the trip
- Financial references from self-employed applicants
- Certificate of vaccination, if necessary
- A return ticket with the name of the employee, date, itinerary, and flight number
- Proof of payment of application fees
- Other documents, as requested
Permanent work visa
Permanent work visas are much rarer than other types of visas. For a permanent work visa, the following are required:
- Original passport with at least six months of validity remaining
- Copy of the passport
- Two passport-sized photos
- Proof of income
- Proof of qualifications
- Bank statements
- Proof of address
- Medical/health certificate
- Criminal background check issued by the employee's home country within the past 90 days
- Additional documentation, as requested
Digital nomad visa
Brazil is one of many countries that have created a digital nomad visa in recognition of the growing trend of remote workers traveling and working in different countries.
Employees can live and work in Brazil as digital nomads by applying for a special type of visa that allows foreign nationals to work for up to a year. The digital nomad visa is also eligible to be renewed for one year. This visa is one of the few types of work permits people can apply for from both inside and outside of Brazil.
To apply for a digital nomad visa from outside of Brazil, the applicant needs the following:
- A personal statement certifying their ability to carry out their work activities remotely
- Proof of income from a non-Brazilian source
- Proof of regular income of at least $1,500 monthly or a bank balance of $18,000
- Health insurance coverage in Brazil
- Proof that they paid the application fee
- Completed visa application
- Criminal background clearance
To apply for a digital nomad visa from within Brazil, the applicant needs the following:
- Application form for a residence permit
- Valid travel documents such as a passport
- Payment of the application processing fee
- Criminal record certifying they haven’t committed any crimes in the past five years in any country
- Documents certifying their digital nomad status
How to apply for a Brazil work visa
You'll need to initiate the work visa application process for your employees, except in special circumstances for the permanent visa or digital nomad visa. Documents must be translated into Portuguese and certified before submitting them. Once you've started the application and submitted the required documents, your employee can gather the necessary documents and contact their local Brazilian embassy. The employee has to apply from their home country. A work visa can’t be issued from Brazil.
Each embassy has its own method of handling visa applications. Some make appointments, while others operate on a first-come, first-served basis. After your employee completes the interview and pays the fee, they'll wait for a decision from the Brazilian government.
If the Brazilian government grants the work visa, they will mail it to your employee's home address. Then, you can make the necessary travel arrangement.
Once they arrive in Brazil, your employee will need to apply for several more documents. As foreign nationals with work visas, they must register with the federal police within 30 days of their arrival in Brazil. They’ll be fingerprinted and given an alien registration card. To apply for the alien registration card, they’ll need an application, a passport, two passport-sized photographs, proof of payment, and any other documents requested. The alien registration card is their Brazilian identification, which they’re required to carry at all times.
They will also need a Labor and Social Security Booklet, which they can get after they have their alien registration card. They can apply for it at the Ministry of Labor and Employment or any regional employment office.
The alien registration card is a “work card” and is an official record of their employment, including details about their employment contract, which you provided in the initial application process. It provides your employees with benefits that are required by Brazilian labor laws, such as a 13th salary in December, paid vacation, and paid maternity leave for women.
Your employees will need a tax identification card so you can withhold the appropriate income taxes on their behalf. They can apply for one at the Federal Tax Office or Brazilian consulate.
Brazil work visa processing time
The normal processing time for a Brazilian work visa is between two and three months. However, it can take more or less time, depending on the individual circumstances. Ensuring that the application is complete and free of errors is the best way to speed up the process.
If an application is accepted, the work visa will be sent to the applicant's address. If it’s rejected, they will get a letter explaining why it wasn't approved.
Planning to hire or work in Brazil? Here’s how Skuad can help
Regardless of whether you need employees in Brazil to manage projects or you want them to be able to work from anywhere, at Skuad, we’re making mobility possible. You can hire talent in Brazil and beyond. We’ll handle localized onboarding, cross-border payroll, local compliance, and more. When you partner with Skuad, you can focus on building globally distributed teams to take your business to the next level. Reach out today to talk to an expert.
Can a foreigner work in Brazil?
Yes, a foreigner can work in Brazil, but you must have a valid work visa. In most situations, your employer will need to apply for a work visa on your behalf. Then you’ll need to make an appointment with the embassy in your home country and bring all of the Brazil visa requirements and necessary documents.
Can I work in Brazil on a tourist visa?
No, you can’t work in Brazil on a tourist visa. If you plan to do any work in Brazil, you must have a work visa.
How long does it take to get a Brazilian work visa?
The processing time will vary based on your home country and the circumstances of your employment. In general, it can take anywhere from a week to several months to process your visa application.
How much does a work visa cost in Brazil?
The cost of a Brazil work permit varies based on your home country. In the United States, you’ll pay around $290, and in the UK, you’ll pay $225.
Can I work in Brazil as a US citizen?
Yes, you can work in Brazil as a US citizen. The easiest way to work in Brazil as a US citizen is by getting hired by a multinational company with a presence in Brazil. Intra-company work visas are easier to obtain than other types of work visas.
Brazil doesn’t have a Free Movement of Labor agreement with any country, so all foreigners are subject to the same requirements. In addition, Brazil immigration laws require that employers give preference to Brazilian citizens before hiring foreign nationals.
As in all countries, you’ll have an easier time getting a job in Brazil if you are highly skilled in a field such as engineering, finance, or information technology.