Beach landscape after international moving overlay

A Complete Guide to Moving to Brazil

Posted Country Guides / April 12, 2017

Moving to Brazil might sound like a very attractive idea – this exotic and vibrant place definitely has a lot to offer. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of it? Tropical beaches, carnival atmosphere, and joyful people? This nation has all of that and much more, so you should definitely consider a move here as one of the best options for the next chapter in your life.

Is Moving to Brazil a Good Idea?

Let’s begin with the main reasons to move here:

  • Remarkable natural beauties,
  • Laidback lifestyle,
  • Passionate and interesting people,
  • Delicious food and drinks,
  • Overall amazing energy and surroundings.

This is probably one of the best countries to live in if you’re passionate about soccer, music, or coffee. The atmosphere here can seduce you quickly – everything about this place seems magical. If you’re moving on a low budget, that’s another reason – life here is pretty affordable, especially if you’re an American moving to Brazil. The official language is Portuguese, but most people understand English as well, especially in metropolitan areas. When it comes to safety, there are a few areas you want to avoid, but in general, there are some great places for raising a family.

Can a US Citizen Move to Brazil? Yes, But You’ll Have to Apply for a Visa if You Want to Stay Longer Than Three Months

Moving to Brazil from the USA isn’t very complicated – except for visa requirements. You can choose from short-term visas for various purposes and permanent visas for those intending to move here for good. American tourists can freely travel here and stay up to 90 days without a visa, but you’ll need one for a longer stay. You can choose from categories such as visas for:

  • Students and exchange students,
  • Researchers, artists, volunteers, religious missionaries,
  • People intending to work here,
  • People with immediate family here.

Temporary Visa

Category V Temporary Visa (VITERM) is intended for those who have already signed a temporary employment contract with a Brazilian employer. These work contracts have to be approved by the Ministry of Labor – only after the examination can this application be processed. This visa is valid for two years, and it can be extended only once, but the good news is that this extension you make can be permanent. If you have any additional relocation questions to ask the employer about this process and plan an employee relocation, you should contact them directly and proceed with gathering the documents necessary to travel abroad.

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One of the Best Tips for Living Abroad Is to Get a Permanent Visa

Another option is a permanent visa (VIPER). Many expats apply for this option instead of the temporary one. This option might be more convenient for some expats because it allows changing jobs without losing their residence permit. Permanent visas can be granted to expats with some specific qualifications or contracts, as well as those who are seeking to get a job here or start their own business. The only requirement is that they bring in a certain financial capital or prove that they possess certain skills that can be beneficial for the Brazilian economy.

In case you plan to travel abroad during covid-19, and you’re a US citizen, ensure you check all the details on the Department of State website because some requirements might change depending on the current situation.

How Much Money Do You Need to Move to Brazil?

Once you start packing to move and compiling your relocation checklist, you should ask yourself how much this whole process is going to cost you. Balancing finances abroad is one thing and organizing a move is another. You’ll definitely need money for relocating to Brazil (shipping your personal stuff or a vehicle in a container), and you’ll have to pay for a visa, your trip there, and your new home – rent, for example. Getting a free quote for the required services from the chosen company might be a good way to plan your budget in advance. These are some of the basic expenses you should consider before making any final decisions. Other costs are related to living there – food, utilities, transportation, and so on.

How Much Money Do You Need to Live Comfortably in Brazil?

Life here can have a very positive impact on your budget. Although in most parts of the country, the cost of living is lower than in the US, some of the largest cities are still expensive – São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Brasilia, for example, are the most expensive in the region. To live comfortably around here, you’ll need approximately $2,000 a month. The average salary is about $32,000 a year, meaning that a comfortable lifestyle can be achieved with regular earnings.

Where to Live in Brazil?

If you’re planning to move abroad and start living in this beautiful land, it might be hard for you to decide which city will suit your needs perfectly. According to research, the most popular cities for expats around here are:

  • São Paulo,
  • Rio de Janeiro,
  • Florianopolis,
  • Porto Alegre,
  • Curitiba,
  • Brasilia,
  • Salvador,
  • Fortaleza.

These places offer good possibilities when it comes to business, schooling, real estate, culture, and nightlife. On the other hand, if you don’t speak Portuguese well, fitting in some of the bigger cities might be easier. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.

São Paulo Is Perfect for Digital Nomads

This is the largest city, with over 12 million inhabitants, so it might be a little overwhelming for those who don’t like crowds. On the other hand, it is also a financial center making it extremely attractive for expats and also the most international city. It has a strong economy and great infrastructure.

When it comes to the cost of living, it is also decently affordable if you compare it to some other metropolitan areas. English is widely spoken here, thanks to the multinational, so you’ll have more time to adapt and learn a new language while living here. Learning Portuguese will be much easier if you have people who understand the English around you.

Rio Offers Amazing Beaches and a Laid-Back Lifestyle

This is obviously the most famous place in the country and probably one of the most recognizable places in the whole world. It has a population of about 7 million residents, including expats and Brazilians, and it comes second in size after São Paulo. It is known for its amazing beaches, great atmosphere, friendly people, and many world-class historical and cultural monuments and attractions.

Brasilia Is the Capital City

The economy and job opportunities in this area are growing extremely fast, so this might be the perfect place for you if you want to live abroad and jump-start your career. Brasilia is also known as an architectural masterpiece with breathtaking modern buildings. It has about 2 million residents and attracts expats from all over the world, so you’ll easily adjust to the new country and make new friends – you can even join some of the best expat communities.

The Public Health System Is Free and Universal

Your relocating abroad checklist must include some healthcare information as well. If you’re planning to move here, you should know that healthcare is a constitutional right, and it’s provided both by private and government institutions. Public healthcare is provided both for permanent residents and foreigners in Brazilian territories through the National Healthcare System – it is universal and free for everyone. If you want to get private healthcare, you should know that the one here is one of the most expensive healthcare plans in Latin America.

You Can Find Good Schooling Options for Expat Children

Schooling here is mandatory for children from 6 to 15 years of age. After this, secondary school is optional. Children usually attend schools closest to their homes. If you wish to enroll your child in a public school, you’ll have to visit the school for in-person registration. When it comes to private and international schooling options – they are mostly located in the largest cities.

These schools usually follow the British and American curriculums, so it will be easier for your children to overcome the culture shock. You can also choose tutors and tutor companies once you move here. Private higher education is connected to university centers and integrated faculties. Depending on the programs and degrees offered, tuition fees can cost from $2,000 to over $10,000 a year.

Public Transportation Is Efficient and Flexible

When it comes to the public transportation you can use once you start living in another country, you should know that buses here are the most common and flexible form of transport. All major cities have a good system for inner-city transportation as well as stations for traveling to other regions. Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo also offer modern metro networks, perfect for avoiding heavy traffic if you need to commute. A monthly pass for public transportation can cost you about $40, which is pretty affordable. The video below will help you understand the public transit system here better.

Climate Is Warm and Humid

This region lies in the Southern Hemisphere, so seasons are exactly opposite from the ones in the Northern Hemisphere. Summer lasts from December to March and winter from June through September. It is also a huge country, so the climate varies from region to region. Summers around here are usually very hot, with temperatures over 110°F and high humidity. The winter months are usually slightly wetter, with quick showers that cool things down before more sunshine. The Amazon area is hot and humid year-round. The dry season in this country lasts from June to December, and as the rivers recede, beaches and islands reappear. Humidity is higher in the rainy season, with heavy rains almost every afternoon.

Tourist Attractions and Natural Beauties are Numerous

When it comes to sightseeing, Rio is definitely one of the most popular destinations around the country. It’s filled with historical monuments, amazing food and different kinds of attractions. New Year’s Eve on Copacabana Beach is a perfect opportunity to experience a unique carnival atmosphere – one of the most recognizable events for this time of the year.

You’ll Fall in Love With the Delicious Food and Rich Culture of This Country

Apart from that, you should also check out Sugarloaf Mountain and make a stop to visit Christ the Redeemer. Iguazu Falls should be another destination on your list – these massive waterfalls in a tropical jungle are something you’ll never forget. Chapada Diamantina is a National Park also worth visiting – perfect if you enjoy hiking and admiring beautiful landscapes. Ilha Grande is a tropical paradise – an island close to Rio, with dreamy beaches and a relaxing atmosphere.

The northeastern part of the country also attracts many tourists, so you shouldn’t miss the sand dunes tour in Natal as well as Salvador – one of the picturesque cities with vibrant streets and delicious food in traditional restaurants. This video will give you more ideas about places to visit during your time here.

If Moving to Brazil Sounds Just Right, Pack Your Bags and Enjoy This Paradise on Earth

Relocating internationally shouldn’t be that hard now that you know everything about this process. The only thing left is to hire a professional international moving company and move efficiently with their relocation services. That way, you won’t experience any kind of relocation stress, and you’ll be able to enjoy the natural beauties of this place before you notice. Don’t forget to bring some colorful clothes and bikinis – the carnival at the most famous beach in the world is waiting for you.

Anastasia Hill

Apart from being the next fashion icon, Anastasia is also a freelance writer and expert on moving (and packing clothes).

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