Brazil’s New Digital Nomad Visa
In January of 2022, Brazil launched South America’s first Digital Nomad Visa. The Digital Nomad Visa, formally known as VITEM XIV, allows qualified applicants to stay in Brazil for 1 year at a time, and can be renewed for 4 years.
This visa is ideal for remote workers, freelancers and entrepreneurs who enjoy staying in Brazil, and don’t want to deal with the hassle of extending their tourist visa after 3 months, or having their stay cut short at 6 months. In addition, upon arriving in Brazil under the visa, the applicant can obtain a Brazilian foreigner ID card, which will make life in Brazil much easier in certain situations.
In this post, we will go over the requirements to get the visa, and share the experience of what it was like to obtain the digital nomad visa at the Brazilian Consulate in Los Angeles. If you’re not American, you can keep reading anyway, as the requirements and process are the same regardless of which country you’re from, though the specific agencies that you’ll have to go through to get your documents from will be different.
Qualifications for the Digital Nomad Visa
In order to qualify for the Brazilian digital nomad visa, you must be able to demonstrate that you make more than $1,500 a month doing work that originates from outside of Brazil, and can be done remotely from Brazil. This must be documented through a work contract, and paystubs as well as a declaration from your employer that you are able to work remotely.
The alternative to showing your paystubs is to show a bank account balance of $18,000 (12×1500). If you have the available bank balance, it may make more sense to show that instead of showing your income, as the digital nomad visa is a temporary residency visa, and with residency comes tax burdens. Technically if you stay in Brazil for more than 6 months, you should pay taxes on income, and documenting your income to the Brazilian government this early on may not be the wisest thing to do.
Taxation goes beyond the scope of this article, you should consult with a qualified tax preparer in Brazil regarding your situation. As more information is obtained later on, this article will be updated.
In addition to being able to document financial solvency and the capacity for remote work, you must also have a clean criminal record in your home country. In the US, you can either get a FBI background check, or you can get a “local clearance letter” from your local police department. Both are equally valid for this visa, and in my case I was able to get the local clearance from my hometown for $40 in less than 10 minutes.
The FBI background check requires that you get a Livescan, you have to send in an application, and can take several weeks or up to 2 months to get the results back. Given that both have the same validity for the purposes of this visa, it is recommended that you get the local background check.
You are also required to have international health insurance for the duration of your stay, and must submit this documentation along with your visa. As an American, I found that Atlas Travel had the cheapest policy available, and for under $100 I was able to get the required health insurance for this visa.
Application Process for the Brazilian Digital Nomad Visa
In order to get the visa, you should follow along the instructions available on the Consulate website that you will be applying from. Here is the Brazilian Embassy in Los Angeles for example.
The application has two parts. You’ll need to request an appointment through the Econsular system, and start a new visa application there. However, in order to do that, you must first submit all of your documents through a separate system through the Ministery of Foreign Affairs (MRE), and generate a protocol number and receipt there.
You will begin that process by clicking here, and you can save your application and update it as you collect your documents. When you believe that you have submitted the required documentation, you will submit your application through the MRE system, and will get a receipt which you will upload to the Consulate website. At that point, the consulate will allow you to proceed with the next step of either mailing in your passport to have the Visa affixed, or to schedule an appointment to have it done same day.
If you are unsure at any point whether your documents are sufficient, it is recommended to either submit them as is and receive feedback from the consulate, or to call or email them and get their feedback.
Required Documentation for Brazilian Nomad Visa
Applicants for the Brazilian digital nomad visa will need to amass the following documents.
- A valid passport with at least 6 months of validity
- A recent 2×2″ passport photo
- A birth certificate (this will later need to be apostilled and submitted to the Federal Police upon arrival under the Nomad Visa)
- The visa online application form from the MRE
- A contract demonstrating international health insurance coverage
- A $100 USPS money order
- Proof of a clean criminal record (this also needs to be apostilled and submitted to the Federal Police upon arrival).
- Demonstration of remote work capacity – The easiest way to do this is to show a work contract, or in the case of self employment, documentation showing incorporation
- Proof of $1,500/month in income or $18,000 bank statement – In the case of monthly income, a recent paystub will suffice. For demonstrating the bank balance, your local bank can issue you a document stating your current balance.
- A declaration attesting to digital nomad status. A sample letter provided by the Brazilian Consulate in LA will be provided below.
Sample Attestation Letter:
“I, XYZ, hereby declare that my job and its responsibilities can be performed remotely 100% of the time. I work remote on a daily basis by computer utilizing the internet and my cell phone for communications. I can and have been permitted to work from Brazil.“
Timing of Visa Application
The Brazilian Digital Nomad Visa, once granted, will be good for 1 year after issuance. This means that you have 1 year from the time that your visa is granted to enter Brazil under your Digital Nomad Visa. Once you arrive in Brazil, you will be granted 1 year of temporary residence.
For example if you get your visa affixed in your passport on Jan 1, you can enter Brazil up to December 31 of that year, and you will have 1 year of temporary access, regardless of whether you entered on Jan 1 or Dec 31.
You’ll also need to register at the Federal Police in Brazil within 1 week of arrival under the digital nomad visa. You’ll need to bring the receipt given to you by the Brazilian consulate at the time of issuance of the visa, as well as an apostilled copy of your birth certificate and police or FBI clearance letter.
For California, I mailed these documents to the Secretary of State following the process described on their website, paid $20 per document, and received the apostilled documents back two weeks later. This could also be done in person at the apostille office in Los Angeles.
Duration of Visa Process
In the case of applying at the Brazilian consulate in Los Angeles, the turnaround time was quite fast. After submitting the initial application, corrections were required on some of the documents submitted, and these corrections were requested through the econsular system. After submitting these, the consulate usually responded within a day. Once the all clear was given, I was able to schedule an appointment the next day, and the visa was granted within 15 minutes of arrival.
In general, Brazilian bureaucracy outside of Brazil moves much faster than inside of Brazil. If you have all of the documents on hand, you can submit your application for a visa and likely have it granted within 2 weeks. You’ll also need to budget an extra few weeks to have the apostille done. Only the most prepared and organized of visa applicants could expect to have the process done in under a month, and most people should budget at least 2-3 months before their trip to complete the process with all of the required documents.
For digital nomads outside of their home country, several of these documents could prove to be problematic to obtain remotely. Specifically, a birth certificate, police check and bank balance may require you to show up in person in some capacity in order to obtain.
FBI background checks should be done by a Livescan technician, which only operate within the US, and is a painless process. According to the FBI website, it is also possible to submit the application by mail, however it must be done according to stringent guidelines, and can take up to 2 months to get back. If done by the police in the country you’re currently in, and submitted well enough in advance, it could be preferable to a visit to the US.
Birth certificates in the US in general can be request online or in person, by either you or an immediate family member. This should be the easiest document to obtain, by filling out the forms, paying the fee, and waiting for it to arrive in the mail.
For the bank balance, I had to show up in person to my local bank branch to request the letter. Every bank has a different policy, and it is possible that your bank may provide you with the proper documentation via email or mail, so check with them.
The digital nomad visa can be renewed for up to 4 years, and can be done without leaving Brazil. This means that it is an ideal visa type for those who are looking for a way to legally stay in Brazil long term, while enjoying the benefits of having a local ID card and access to the Brazilian banking system, without taking on the full burden of becoming a Brazilian citizen.
Travel Outside Brazil During the Visa Period
Holders of the Brazilian digital nomad visa can travel in and out of Brazil during their visa period. However, the visa period starts as soon as the visa holder first enters Brazil and continues uninterrupted, regardless of time spent outside Brazil
The Brazilian Digital nomad visa is a serious step in the right direction for Brazil in terms of attracting foreigners to visit Brazil.
With strong benefits for those who are looking to stay in the country long term, it is seriously worth considering and applying for. If you plan on staying for more than 183 days per year, you may be required to pay taxes to the Brazilian government, and you should seek out further counsel from a qualified Brazilian tax authority.
If you have any questions about the application process, the best bet is for you to reach out to the Brazilian consulate closest to you and ask them directly.