Brazil implements overhaul to immigration law

  • The Brazilian government issued a decree Nov. 21 that implemented the New Law on Migration, overhauling the country's immigration framework and representing the most significant amendments in the 30 years since the original immigration statute was enacted.
    The new law reshapes regulations for foreigners, expatriate workers and refugees, and reorganizes visa categories. The law contains important changes and expanded opportunities for Brazilian companies and foreign employees. Below is a breakdown of key changes to the law. For additional background on the immigration law, read Berry Appleman & Leiden's white paper, Brazil: Immigration Forecast for 2017 and Beyond.

    • e-Visa: The decree confirms that e-visa processing will be implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs according to reciprocity with individual countries.
    • Visitor Visa: This new visa category will cover short-term stays in Brazil for business purposes (including maritime business), tourism, transit as well as artists and athletes. The maximum period allowed to stay in Brazil with a visitor visa is 90 days, extendable for an additional 90 days, and with a maximum of 180 days in any 12-month period). Certain subcategories such as maritime, artists and athletes cannot extend their visitor status. Visitors will also be able to change their status to local resident while in country.
    • Temporary Visa: Foreign nationals who intend to establish residency in Brazil will be able to request temporary visas at the Brazilian consulates. However, those requesting a temporary visa for work-related activities will be required to apply for a residence authorization from the Ministry of Labor prior to having the work visa stamped at the consulate. Temporary visa holders will be allowed to convert their status to resident visa holder while in Brazil.
    • Residence Authorization: Immigrants and visitors may now apply for a residence authorization while in Brazil, regardless of their current immigration status in Brazil.
    • Local Federal Police Registry (CRNM – Carteira de Registro Nacional Migratório): The former RNE card has been renamed CRNM. This change was necessary because the new law abolishes the term "foreigner" and replaces it with the term "immigrant." It is expected that the new ID cards may be issued electronically. Temporary-visa holders must have their registration completed within 90 days from the date of entry in Brazil, while those who request residency authorization have 30 days to update their status at the local Federal Police office.
    • Fines and penalties: As anticipated, the decree establishes stronger punishment for foreigners and Brazilian companies using inappropriate visas and/or illegal status. Penalties for individuals will be established between 100 and 10,000 Brazilian reals (about US$30 and $3,070) while companies could be subject to fines of 1,000 to 1,000,000 reals.

    In the month following the law's implementation, Brazilian immigration authorities released two batches of normative resolutions that clarify additional immigration scenarios under the new law. The 23 resolutions provide helpful guidance to employers. Below are key changes included in the resolutions. For a full list of the changes, go to: Dec. 8 Normative Resolutions | Dec. 22 Normative Resolutions.

    Key Changes Outlined in the Normative Resolutions:

    • Residence Authorization: The process has been established for foreign workers who have a labor contract with Brazilian companies to apply for residence authorization. The resolution provides three additional scenarios in which applicants may prove their professional experience or academic background:
    • Technicians – must prove three years of experience.
    • Undergraduate professionals (without a university diploma) – must prove 12 years of regular study plus four years of professional experience.
    • Artists or professionals involved with cultural or similar activities – must prove three years of professional experience.
    • Technical Work Visas: Technical work visas will have a validity of either 180 days or one year and require a residence authorization from the Ministry of Labor before the visas will be granted by the Brazilian Consulate. Visas valid for 180 days should be approved within five days by the ministry and emergency cases should receive approval within two days.
    • "Transfer of Technology" Category: This new category is separate from the regular technical work visa and covers scenarios in which a foreign national intends to transfer technical knowledge to a local Brazilian employee according a training plan to be presented at the Ministry of Labor. This visa is valid for one year and allows the employee to work at multiple worksites.
    • Fees: Government processing fees were significantly increased from 16.93 reals to 168.13 reals (from about US$5 to $51) for all temporary visa applications (residence authorization applications) submitted to the Ministry of Labor.
    • Maritime Professionals: Maritime professionals staying in Brazil for more than 90 days will need a residence authorization granted by the Ministry of Labor.
    • Crew members with a valid professional document (a "Seamen's Book" in accordance with the International Labor Organization) planning to work in Brazil aboard foreign vessels operating in Brazilian waters do not need to get a residence authorization prior to the visa issuance.
    • In addition, maritime professionals will be allowed to work on different ships simultaneously.
    • Investment Visas: Normative Resolution 13, which replaces the former NR 118, establishes the process for residence authorization for immigrants who intend to invest 500,000 reals (about US$150,000) of their own funds into a company's equity capital. Exceptional cases with lower investments (at least 150,000 reals) are still possible.
    • Corporate Training: Normative Resolution 18, which replaces the former NR 79, establishes the residence authorization for immigrants coming to Brazil without an employment relationship, from a multinational company with a Brazilian head office, in order to develop technical-operational or administrative functions and training in professional qualifications and the corporate culture. This residence authorization is valid for two years and is not renewable.
    • Job Training: Normative Resolution 19 establishes the residence authorization for immigrants who will be transferred to Brazil to receive training in a Brazilian branch, subsidiary or headquarters of the sending company. A training plan now is required to support this application. This residence authorization is now valid for two years, instead of one year under the previous NR 87, but renewals are still prohibited.

    It is important to note that Brazil's transition period for the new immigration law remains in effect and all visas granted under the old immigration law will maintain their validity until the expiration date. Immigrants with pending work authorization applications at the Ministry of Labor (submitted before Nov. 21) will continue to be processed under the old law.


    For continued coverage of the changes to Brazil's immigration law, subscribe the Berry Appleman & Leiden's newsletter here.

    This post has been provided by Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) Corporate Immigration. For more information please contact: Kristi Paulsen - Relocation Today or Jennifer Fisher at BAL

    About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP
    Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from seventeen offices across the U.S. and Globe. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.


    Source: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP
    Copyright © 2018 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact copyright@balglobal.com.

    About Relocation Today:

    Relocation Today, Inc. has been joyfully developing and serving corporate clients global relocation needs, supporting recruiting efforts & managing summer intern housing programs since 1994. For more information on services or relocation benefits policy review please contact: Richard Rudeen, Business Development Manager  952.278.0530

Brazil implements overhaul to immigration law

  • The Brazilian government issued a decree Nov. 21 that implemented the New Law on Migration, overhauling the country's immigration framework and representing the most significant amendments in the 30 years since the original immigration statute was enacted.
    The new law reshapes regulations for foreigners, expatriate workers and refugees, and reorganizes visa categories. The law contains important changes and expanded opportunities for Brazilian companies and foreign employees. Below is a breakdown of key changes to the law. For additional background on the immigration law, read Berry Appleman & Leiden's white paper, Brazil: Immigration Forecast for 2017 and Beyond.

    • e-Visa: The decree confirms that e-visa processing will be implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs according to reciprocity with individual countries.
    • Visitor Visa: This new visa category will cover short-term stays in Brazil for business purposes (including maritime business), tourism, transit as well as artists and athletes. The maximum period allowed to stay in Brazil with a visitor visa is 90 days, extendable for an additional 90 days, and with a maximum of 180 days in any 12-month period). Certain subcategories such as maritime, artists and athletes cannot extend their visitor status. Visitors will also be able to change their status to local resident while in country.
    • Temporary Visa: Foreign nationals who intend to establish residency in Brazil will be able to request temporary visas at the Brazilian consulates. However, those requesting a temporary visa for work-related activities will be required to apply for a residence authorization from the Ministry of Labor prior to having the work visa stamped at the consulate. Temporary visa holders will be allowed to convert their status to resident visa holder while in Brazil.
    • Residence Authorization: Immigrants and visitors may now apply for a residence authorization while in Brazil, regardless of their current immigration status in Brazil.
    • Local Federal Police Registry (CRNM – Carteira de Registro Nacional Migratório): The former RNE card has been renamed CRNM. This change was necessary because the new law abolishes the term "foreigner" and replaces it with the term "immigrant." It is expected that the new ID cards may be issued electronically. Temporary-visa holders must have their registration completed within 90 days from the date of entry in Brazil, while those who request residency authorization have 30 days to update their status at the local Federal Police office.
    • Fines and penalties: As anticipated, the decree establishes stronger punishment for foreigners and Brazilian companies using inappropriate visas and/or illegal status. Penalties for individuals will be established between 100 and 10,000 Brazilian reals (about US$30 and $3,070) while companies could be subject to fines of 1,000 to 1,000,000 reals.

    In the month following the law's implementation, Brazilian immigration authorities released two batches of normative resolutions that clarify additional immigration scenarios under the new law. The 23 resolutions provide helpful guidance to employers. Below are key changes included in the resolutions. For a full list of the changes, go to: Dec. 8 Normative Resolutions | Dec. 22 Normative Resolutions.

    Key Changes Outlined in the Normative Resolutions:

    • Residence Authorization: The process has been established for foreign workers who have a labor contract with Brazilian companies to apply for residence authorization. The resolution provides three additional scenarios in which applicants may prove their professional experience or academic background:
    • Technicians – must prove three years of experience.
    • Undergraduate professionals (without a university diploma) – must prove 12 years of regular study plus four years of professional experience.
    • Artists or professionals involved with cultural or similar activities – must prove three years of professional experience.
    • Technical Work Visas: Technical work visas will have a validity of either 180 days or one year and require a residence authorization from the Ministry of Labor before the visas will be granted by the Brazilian Consulate. Visas valid for 180 days should be approved within five days by the ministry and emergency cases should receive approval within two days.
    • "Transfer of Technology" Category: This new category is separate from the regular technical work visa and covers scenarios in which a foreign national intends to transfer technical knowledge to a local Brazilian employee according a training plan to be presented at the Ministry of Labor. This visa is valid for one year and allows the employee to work at multiple worksites.
    • Fees: Government processing fees were significantly increased from 16.93 reals to 168.13 reals (from about US$5 to $51) for all temporary visa applications (residence authorization applications) submitted to the Ministry of Labor.
    • Maritime Professionals: Maritime professionals staying in Brazil for more than 90 days will need a residence authorization granted by the Ministry of Labor.
    • Crew members with a valid professional document (a "Seamen's Book" in accordance with the International Labor Organization) planning to work in Brazil aboard foreign vessels operating in Brazilian waters do not need to get a residence authorization prior to the visa issuance.
    • In addition, maritime professionals will be allowed to work on different ships simultaneously.
    • Investment Visas: Normative Resolution 13, which replaces the former NR 118, establishes the process for residence authorization for immigrants who intend to invest 500,000 reals (about US$150,000) of their own funds into a company's equity capital. Exceptional cases with lower investments (at least 150,000 reals) are still possible.
    • Corporate Training: Normative Resolution 18, which replaces the former NR 79, establishes the residence authorization for immigrants coming to Brazil without an employment relationship, from a multinational company with a Brazilian head office, in order to develop technical-operational or administrative functions and training in professional qualifications and the corporate culture. This residence authorization is valid for two years and is not renewable.
    • Job Training: Normative Resolution 19 establishes the residence authorization for immigrants who will be transferred to Brazil to receive training in a Brazilian branch, subsidiary or headquarters of the sending company. A training plan now is required to support this application. This residence authorization is now valid for two years, instead of one year under the previous NR 87, but renewals are still prohibited.

    It is important to note that Brazil's transition period for the new immigration law remains in effect and all visas granted under the old immigration law will maintain their validity until the expiration date. Immigrants with pending work authorization applications at the Ministry of Labor (submitted before Nov. 21) will continue to be processed under the old law.


    For continued coverage of the changes to Brazil's immigration law, subscribe the Berry Appleman & Leiden's newsletter here.

    This post has been provided by Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) Corporate Immigration. For more information please contact: Kristi Paulsen - Relocation Today or Jennifer Fisher at BAL

    About Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP
    Founded in 1980, Berry Appleman & Leiden (BAL) provides comprehensive global immigration services from seventeen offices across the U.S. and Globe. BAL manages global visa matters and customized application approaches for work permits, business visas, and residence permits in more than 100 countries. With a single cost center for worldwide operations, BAL offers centralized management with regional and local support for the complete spectrum of global immigration matters.


    Source: Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP
    Copyright © 2018 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact copyright@balglobal.com.

    About Relocation Today:

    Relocation Today, Inc. has been joyfully developing and serving corporate clients global relocation needs, supporting recruiting efforts & managing summer intern housing programs since 1994. For more information on services or relocation benefits policy review please contact: Richard Rudeen, Business Development Manager  952.278.0530