Assistance to Brazilians abroad
According to the most recent estimate of the Foreign Ministry (2014), around 3 million Brazilians live abroad. This number is obtained, among other sources, from reports of embassies and consulates submitted annually, and from consular registrations. Taking into account that in some countries a significant portion of Brazilians are in irregular migratory situation and avoid participating in surveys and censuses, it is difficult to estimate the number with greater precision. Estimates from other sources present different numbers. To see them, click here (in Portuguese).
It is estimated that about 8 million Brazilians travel abroad every year for various reasons, including tourism, business, seminars and academic events.
On average, 15 thousand daily consultations are answered by the Brazilian consular network abroad, to Brazilians and foreigners. The consultations can be presential, by email, phone or fax.
In addition to the 2.5 million Brazilians living abroad, the Brazilian consular network also gives assistance to tourists, businessmen, students and academics traveling abroad for short periods of time. Foreigners are assisted with visa concession and some consular services, besides consultations given in the trade promotion and other areas.
Yes. The Consular Portal is the webpage of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which contains relevant information on the consular assistance provided to Brazilian nationals outside the national territory. The Consular Portal provides guidance to Brazilians who live in other countries, contact information of all Brazilian Consular Offices, and warnings, alerts and recommendations to travelers and Brazilian citizens living abroad.
The Division of Consular Assistance of the Ministry also has a Facebook page to publish general information and promote direct dialogue with citizens.
5. What are the limits to the Brazilian consular activities?
In general terms, assistance provided to Brazilians by the Consular Offices and Consular sectors of Embassies abroad is established by the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, from 1963, the international treaty which governs the consular activities of almost all countries of the world. It is important to highlight that, abroad, Brazilians are subjected to the laws of the country where they are. A simplified list of what a consulate can or cannot do can be found here (in Portuguese).
Information about any required documentation to enter another country should be checked with the Embassy or consulate of the country in Brazil.
The Embassy or Consulate of the country concerned shall inform on visa requirements and procedures to get it, according to the reason for travel. A tourist trip may be exempt from visa; in general, a visit for work purposes implies a corresponding visa request. Proof of vaccination may also be required.
Additionally, prior consultation to the section Alert to the Traveler, of the Consular Portal, is recommended. The section is intended to provide an overview of information about each country to Brazilians aiming to travel abroad.
It is also recommended that the traveler take note, before going, of contact information such as phone numbers (including the emergency consular number), email and address of the Brazilian Consulate or Embassy responsible for the region which he/she will visit.
It is also important to make copies of documents (such as passports and ID cards), in case it is necessary to make a new passport abroad, due to loss or theft.
It is equally recommended that complete information on the itinerary, hotels and possible contact numbers be given to a family member or friend.
The citizen who intends to leave the country must go to the Embassy or Consulate of the country where he/she wants to live while still in Brazil. The Consulate will inform about visa requirements and procedures to get it, according to the reason for the trip.
In case of mistreatment abroad, it is recommended that the victim or a close person get in touch, as soon as possible, with the Brazilian Embassy or Consulate responsible for the region where the incident happened, so that appropriate action can be taken.
Alternatively, the citizen can contact the Center for Assistance to Brazilians of the Foreign Ministry, through the email firstname.lastname@example.org, or the emergency consular number of the Undersecretariat General for Brazilian Communities Abroad of the Foreign Ministry, through the phone number +55 (61) 8197 2284
It is suggested that the Brazilian in this situation should seek the nearest Brazilian Consular representation to explain the circumstances. The Foreign Ministry will then contact the relatives and acquaintances and instruct them to send a return ticket. In extreme cases, the Government may, exceptionally, and provided there are budget resources available, pay the air or ground fare to the nearest point of entry into the national territory.
The issuance of travel documents in emergency situations is one of the functions of a Consular Office. In case it is not possible to issue a new passport (which requires possession of other documents, besides time to process the booklet), the Consulate will check the possibility of issuing an Authorization to Return to Brazil (ARB), which guarantees the direct return of the traveler to the country, but does not work as an identification document. Once in Brazil, the person can apply for a new passport, at any time.
It is important to highlight that the loss of a Brazilian travel document must be immediately reported to the Consular Representation, in order to allow its cancelation. It is also important to inform the local authorities, and get a police report.
Under no circumstances you should accept to carry packages, envelopes or objects to strangers, or to anyone who does not show the package content. You should not accept to carry drugs in any quantity or any way, either. Drug dealers are often the first to denounce their "mules", as small carriers are called, in order to mislead the police. Airports and seaports rely on increasingly sophisticated equipment to detect drugs, and any suspicion leads to intimate search or investigations with equipment capable of detecting even minute quantities of narcotics.
Drug trafficking, especially by "mules", is one of the major factors for the imprisonment of Brazilians abroad. Many countries have much stricter legislation than the Brazilian to deal with the problem of possession, use or trafficking of drugs. Some of them even impose death penalty as a punishment for this crime.
The Foreign Ministry recommends that each trip abroad be preceded by a consultation to the Consular Portal, in which the traveler will find this and other information. A complete and updated list of all Brazilian Consular Representations in the world is available here (in Portuguese).
If abroad, the case should be reported to the consular emergency number of the Embassy or Consulate responsible for the region where the emergency took place. The consular emergency number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is important to highlight that the consular emergency number should be contacted only in serious situations and of proven emergency, such as accidents, deaths and imprisonment of Brazilian nationals. The loss of a passport, for example, should preferably be reported during business hours.
The consular emergency number of each Consulate or Embassy is available on the Consular Portal and on the webpage of each post. If you fail to contact with the consular emergency number, or if you are in Brazil, the emergency situation should be directly reported to the emergency number of the Undersecretariat General for Brazilian Communities Abroad of the Foreign Ministry, through the number +55(61) 8197 2284.
14. In case of the arrest of a Brazilian citizen abroad, can the Foreign Ministry help? What are the rights of the prisoner and his/her family in this case?
The detained Brazilian citizen is entitled to contact relatives and to the treatment determined by the legislation of the country where he/she is arrested. According to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the foreign detainee has the right to request that the Consular Representation be informed of his/her arrest. Once aware of the existence of Brazilian inmate, consular officers can schedule visits, according to the rules of the detention center, to check on the treatment received by the detainee.
Many Embassies and Consulates have contacts with legal advisors who can accompany possible proceedings brought against Brazilian detainees, and instruct them. The Consular Representation cannot, however, hire a lawyer to defend a Brazilian citizen detained or prosecuted in a foreign country, be part of legal proceedings or interfere with local regulations.
15. In case of death of a Brazilian citizen overseas, to what rights is his/her family entitled? Does the Foreign Ministry pay the transfer of the body to Brazil?
In these cases, the role of the Consular Office is to inform the family about the incident, facilitate contact between the family and the local authorities, and monitor the bureaucratic procedure for the release of the body and of the corresponding documentation. If the family cannot afford to bury or relocate the body, the consulate will help finding solutions to the case.
There is no legal provision for defraying the relocation of the body with public resources.
Yes. However, Brazilian citizens with dual nationality should note that the consular assistance provided by the Brazilian government in the countries of which they are also nationals may be considerably limited by the natural resistance of local authorities to accept the intervention of a foreign state in subjects related to its nationals.
As provided in the Federal Constitution of 1988, a child born to Brazilian parents outside Brazil whose birth is duly registered with a Brazilian Consular Representation is a native Brazilian. It is strongly recommended that children born to Brazilian parents abroad be registered in a Brazilian Embassy or Consulate as soon as possible.
Brazilians who live abroad are not alienated from exercising their citizenship. They must vote for President of the Republic, register for conscription and submit the income tax declaration. Fail to comply with any of such obligations produces the same penalties imposed on a Brazilian citizen living in national territory.
Registration for conscription should be made before completing 18 years of age, in the Consular Representation responsible for the region where the Brazilian citizen resides.
To vote, it is necessary to go to the nearest Consular Office and request for a transfer of domicile for the country of residence. If the voter's certification is not transferred, the Brazilian citizen must justify the nonattendance according to procedure indicated on the webpage of the Superior Electoral Court.
As for the income tax, the declaration can be made online. The Consular Representation can provide information about deadlines. It is important to remember that consular officers are not trained to answer specific questions about income tax. Answers can be found on the webpage of the Federal Revenue of Brazil.
19. I have married abroad. Am I automatically married before the Brazilian judicial system? Can the divorce conducted abroad be recognized in Brazil?
Brazilian Law recognizes the validity of marriages and divorces performed abroad. However, for these acts to produce legal effects in Brazil, the marriage must be registered in a Brazilian Consular Office and transcribed into the books of a Brazilian First Civil Registry Notary Office, and the divorce sentence must be ratified by the Superior Court of Justice, Federal District, according to Constitutional Amendment no. 45. Marriages performed abroad, even when not transcribed to Brazil, constitute legal impediment to remarriage.
Consular Offices in certain countries (those which allow this practice) are authorized to issue a consensual divorce of Brazilian couples who do not have incapable or underage children, provided that the legislation of the country of residence recognizes the validity of the consular extrajudicial judgment of divorce.
The Consular Ombudsman, created in 2009, was structured with this goal. It can be contacted at email@example.com or +55 (61) 2030-8804. The cases presented are analyzed by the Ombudsman on an exempt and independent way. All messages sent to the Ombudsman are analyzed and answered.
It depends on the region where you are going. In some places of South America (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela), by virtue of an international treaty, the passport is waived for tourist trips; to enter these countries, it suffices to present a valid civil identity document, in good conditions, with a photography that allows the clear identification of the bearer and issued less than ten years.
To travel to any other country, any Brazilian citizen must carry a valid passport with at least 6 months validity remaining.
The Foreign Ministry receives numerous complaints from victims of theft, fraud and violence committed by foreign spouses met online, and with whom they had little or no interaction before marriage.
According to reports received, it is common for foreign spouses to change their behavior after the registration of formal marriage, and the consequent attainment of the Brazilian permanent resident visa, becoming aggressive or suddenly interrupting contact with the victims.
Therefore, caution is recommended with virtual relationships established with foreigners for the purpose of celebrating marriage. It is suggested, among other precautions, to look for referrals of the foreign citizen from third parties and avoid keeping the relationship restricted to online communication.
The Foreign Ministry has received, in recent years, increasing number of reports of Brazilians who faced problems abroad after accepting a job offer as a football player, model, barbecuer at a restaurant, capoeira instructor or sex worker. The problems are related to the immigration status (not having the proper visa), the irregular contractual clauses, the non-receipt of wages, the withholding of passports by organizers, the precarious living conditions. In some cases, even deprivation of food and physical aggression are registered. Some cases involve human trafficking.
The reading of the booklet "Guidelines to working abroad", before signing a contract of this nature, is recommended, in order to ensure that the work experience abroad will be the most promising and enriching as possible.
If you decide to work abroad, write down the contacts of the Brazilian Consulate and Embassy in the country or city before going. Upon arrival, inform the Consulate or Embassy of your presence in the country and of your contact details, in order to facilitate the consular assistance to be provided to you, if necessary.
The careful reading of the section "Alert to the Traveler" of the Consular Portal is recommended.
Brazilians going on "adventure tourism" or extreme sports in inhospitable regions must take several special precautions before traveling: making health exams; hiring adequate health insurance to avoid problems in the visited country and have the support needed; having the emergency consular numbers written down; informing relatives and friends of the contact number and address of the hotel or the place where you will be staying along the trip.
Brazilians traveling through risk areas should be aware that the Brazilian consular assistance may experience serious limitation in the event of problems occurring in these regions. In these cases, consular assistance will be largely conditioned by the willingness and availability of resources of the local authority, sovereign to act on its territory.
26. Is it necessary to hire international health insurance before traveling?
Some countries, like France, require that the visitor submit a health insurance certificate when entering their territory. Even in countries that do not require such measure, it is highly recommended, especially in cases of citizens who already have a health problem.
It is important that the health insurance is comprehensive and that values cover the entire period of the trip abroad. The Brazilian Government cannot afford medical expenses of Brazilians abroad.
Some Embassies and consulates of Brazil, particularly in West Africa, have often received reports of financial scams used by citizens of countries in that region. The scams begin with unsolicited information sent by electronic messages or on social networks and usually involve false promises of employment contract, business, romantic relationships or inheritances. During the exchange of messages, the victim is requested to provide complete information about him/her, and is driven to make small deposits in a bank account, allegedly to defray paperwork needed to release the promised funds.
In more serious cases, Brazilians are induced by scammers to travel abroad to complete the transaction. Such scams represent real dangers of financial or physical damage.
The Foreign Ministry advices extreme caution in these cases, recommending that no personal data should be provided through the internet and, above all, no financial transactions should be completed without previously contacting the Consular area of the Ministry, or, in case you are abroad, the Brazilian Embassy or Consular Representation of the jurisdiction.
28. I live abroad, but I intend to return to Brazil soon. What should I do?
In regard to the documentation, it is only necessary to have a valid travel document to return to Brazil. A comprehensive list of measures and services available to assist the returnees can be found in the "Brazilians returning home Portal" of the Foreign Ministry.
To be valid abroad, documents issued in Brazil must first be authenticated, in Brasilia, by the Sector of Authentication and Foreign Consular Network of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or, at the Representation Offices of the Foreign Ministry in the States of the Federation.
Next, they must be authenticated by the Embassy or Consulate, in Brazil, of the country where the document will be presented. Information on how to proceed to request the authentication is available in the section Authentication of Documents of the Consular Portal.
No. Documents issued abroad must be, first of all, authenticated by the Brazilian Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over the region where they were issued abroad in order to be valid in Brazil. Once in the country, the documents must be translated into Portuguese, obligatorily by a sworn public translator. For information on how to proceed, refer to the Brazilian Consular Office of the region where the document was issued.
Yes, Brazilian Consular Representations perform notarial acts and authenticate copies of documents issued abroad. As a general rule, documents issued abroad must first be authenticated by the Brazilian Embassy or Consulate with jurisdiction over the region where they were issued abroad in order to be valid in Brazil. The translation of documents into Portuguese must obligatory be done in Brazil, by a sworn public translator. To learn how to proceed, refer to the Brazilian Consular Office of the region where the document was issued.
The revalidation of diplomas obtained abroad must be made by a Brazilian public university which offers the same or similar course, recognized by the Government. For a description of the necessary procedures, refer to the Ministry of Education webpage. In the case of medical degree, applicants are submitted to a test (REVAL - National Examination Revalidation of medical degrees) performed by the Ministry of Education.