• Foreign Workers Under Local Contract Must Seek Permanent Visa to Remain in Brazil for More Than Two Years
  • September 4, 2012
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • In a reversal of previous policy, foreign nationals working in Brazil under a local employment contract can no longer renew their initial two-year employment visas. To remain in Brazil for more than two years, they must apply for a permanent visa pursuant to an indefinite labor contract at least 90 days before their initial visa expires (though this deadline may change when the government issues a resolution formalizing the policy change). Pending applications to extend a temporary visa must be converted to a new permanent visa application.

    The permanent visa issued after the initial two-year period in Brazil will still be tied to the foreign national’s employer in Brazil, but after four years, the link to the company will cease, allowing the foreign national to work for any employer and to obtain an unconditioned permanent ID card. As a practical matter, the difference between a temporary visa extension and a permanent residence application is minimal because extension applicants have been required to submit an indefinite employment contract since November 2011. The advantage of the permanent application is that the foreign beneficiary's dependents will be authorized to work once the application is approved.

    The new policy - the result of a legal opinion from the Brazilian Attorney General - should end several months of uncertainty concerning temporary visa extensions and follows two prior policy reversals. In November 2011, the Ministry of Justice - the entity responsible for visa extensions and permanent residence - took the position that foreign workers needed a permanent visa to remain in Brazil after their initial two years. However, later that month, a new resolution from the National Immigration Council led the Ministry of Justice to resume accepting applications for two-year temporary visa extensions, as long as applicants presented an indefinite employment contract.