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Permanent Visa Process for American Spouse of Brazilian Citizen

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10/21/2012 12:48 EST

Good afternoon Expat Group:

My wife and I have spent an extended period of time working to obtain her visa to the US and after constant delays and denials / appeals / waiver filings (complicated violation of a previous student visa unnecessary to expand on here), we have happily decided to reverse course and go with Plan B (me going to Brazil). We will maintain the US process which will eventually go through, but we look forward to our life in Brazil.

Brazil is not new to me. I am here every month the past two years, we have an amazing family (ginormous ;-) and own a small business.

As relates to securing documents, while I have read many stories of bureacracy and complaining, maybe we have been lucky... every step we have had to make from our marriage (married in Brazil) to business filings has been straight forward and without complication - many steps yes, but as long as we followed them, it all worked out.

1) If you are an an American who has married a Brazilian citizen and you have personally gone through the process of obtaining your "permanent" visa, can you explain each step of the process (and eta) / any advice you have. Also, what are the full benefits that a permanent visa offers?

2) Similarly, can you explain the permanent resident steps and process / experiences / fees / duration?

3) Lastly, the work permit process. Is a permanent visa one in the same as a work permit? Is it it different and the steps, duration, etc you have experienced? While we have a business, it is in her name and I eventually intend to go back into the work force in SP or Rio. I have multiple US business opps with offices in BR.

Many thanks in advance!

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10/21/2012 15:22 EST

Hello Ashco,

I am a Canadian but I did recently go through the process (I married a Brasilian) so I can provide you with a little of my experience. First we married in Canada and now we live in SP.

1). I applied for the perm visa in Canada. I went to the Brasilian Embassy and they walked me through it. I already had the visitors visa. It was very easy because my request was due to marriage (much more difficult if you are coming without a purpose or business sponsor). We had to have a lot of documents translated but it only took 30 days one all the paperwork was filed. My husband needed to provide proof of having a job, bank statements and a signed - notorized - letter stating he could support me in the event I could not work.

2) If you're committed to moving to Brasil, I'm pretty sure you have to have the perm visa and you cannot apply to be a citizen until after living here for one year (so I have been told). The cost was about $300 (CDN) but I would budget for closer to $500 for translations and notories, As stated, it took about 30 days but if you're married to a Brasilian, you should have no problems.

3) Perm visa and work permit are entirely different things. You need a CPF and an RNE to be able to apply for a carteira de trabalho. All of which are not hard to get, just time consuming and make sure you read everything about what you need to have to avoid frustration. Also, very important, bring your wife or another Brasilian with you when you go for these processes, you want someone who can speak Portuguese very well and also someone who is familiar with the system. Finally, depends on what you're doing but you can apply for a PIS# (I teach English freelance right now) which is great for consultants, otherwise, to be able to legally work you need the carteiro. I have all and really it was not a huge deal.

Good luck to you Ashco. Quite honestly, I love it here and while there is a bit administration to go though (same as anywhere), it is well worth it.

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