Student Visas in Brazil
If once you get to Brazil you decide you really like it and want to stay and learn Portuguese you can not just change from a tourist visa to a student visa. You have to leave the country, enroll in an approved language school, show proof of enrolment to the embassy or consulate, and only then will you be issued with a student visa.
Not only do you have to leave the country but your application for the new visa must be made from your country of residence. This obviously prevents you from going down to Buenos Aires for the weekend and coming back with a new visa.
For those intending on taking a 2 or 4-week Portuguese course before traveling around Brazil the tourist visa will be sufficient. It is only those that wish to undertake a more serious study who should look into obtaining a student visa.
How to get your student visa for Brazil
STEP 1. Find the Embassy of Brazil (or Brazilian Consulate) in your home country and find out the requirements for obtaining a Student Visa. Every country is different and has different paperwork requirements.
STEP 2. Find Portuguese courses – which can sponsor your student visa.
STEP 3. Book and pay for your course.
STEP 4. The school should send you these documents:
- Invitation/acceptance letter
- Notarized letter (“Alvará de Funcionamento”)
STEP 5. Once you have received your documents, you will need to visit the Embassy of Brazil in your country. Please make sure you read the information on their website properly and prepare all of the documents prior to your appointment. Every Embassy is different, but here is a list of the most common documents you are likely to need:
- Passport — must be valid for your length of stay in Brazil, with at least one blank double page for the Brazilian Visa
- Two recent passport photos
- Birth certificate
- Application form and receipts of taxes paid
- Full police check official certificate (some countries require Full fingerprint police check)
- Evidence of sufficient bank funds – print a copy of your bank account statement
- Caminhos Invitation/Acceptance letter
- Caminhos Notarised letter (Alvará de Funcionamento)
After you arrive in Brazil and go through immigration, you will be told that you have 90 days to register with the Federal Police of Brazil (Polícia Federal).
If you are on a Tourist Visa and would like to change to a Student Visa for Brazil, it is possible now to do this within Brazil. You will just need to go to the Federal Police.
Permanent Residency Visas
To get a permanent visa you need to apply through the Brazilian embassy in your home country. It may take some time but they are granted. You should approach your embassy for specific details before signing up with a lawyer who has offered to help you out and because he’s a nice guy will only charge you $R10,000.
Last time I checked if you had the pennies to lodge a bond of USD$200 000 you were also able to stay or come and go as you pleased. Not many of us eh?
Unless you work for a big company that is organizing your work visa you are probably not going to get a permit to work. The same goes for English language schools. It is very difficult to find schools that will organize a work visa for you. That said, most schools like having native speakers and are not too interested in your visa status.
Overstaying – advice for those in love
Every day that you overstay your visa will incur a fine of R$8.28. Importantly the maximum you can be fined is for 100 days ($R828.00). You do not have to pay this fine before leaving the country but if you plan on returning you will need to pay the fine before being allowed to return.
If you want to pay the fine before leaving it is better to pay it a day or two in advance to avoid any possible headaches at the airport. Unlikely but theoretically possible. At a Federal Police station, you will get a stamp in your passport threatening you with deportation if you do not leave within 8 days which is what you are going to do anyway. I’m not sure where you pay your fine. To the Polícia Federal or a Banco do Brazil office?
The airport experience shouldn’t be any different from every other time you’ve traveled. They’ll look at your passport, see you’ve overstayed and have paid the fine (or not paid) and then let you board the plane. It’s not like they are going to want to make your stay, is it?