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BRAZIL – New Immigration Regulations Introduced

18 Dec

On December 8, 2017, the Brazilian National Immigration Council announced the revocation of all prior immigration regulations that were still effective under the vacation legis, the period of time between the publication of the new Brazilian immigration law and its implementation and legal effect. The National Immigration Council also published 12 new regulations to implement the new visa categories as established by the immigration law enacted in May 2017.

The new regulations do not address numerous practical points, which will require clarification from Brazilian authorities as the new visa regime is implemented and multiple Brazilian governmental agencies publish new procedures and requirements. (as an example, the regulations do not address renewal or extension processes.)

In practical terms, the expected short-term effect of the new regulations may be delays in work authorization applications at the Ministry of Labor in Brazil and in visa applications at Brazilian consular posts. As noted below, the Ministry of Labor has suspended work authorization processing, and although there has not been any formal suspension of consular visa processing, at present many Brazilian consular posts are reporting that they are restructuring their visa services and application procedures. We expect that some consulates may refuse to accept visa applications for a limited period of time.

At this time, we note the following important considerations that are established in the new regulations:

  1. All visas issued under the previous regulations will remain valid until their expiration. 
  2. Multiple visas allowed – A foreign national may maintain a valid business/tourist visa along with a subsequent work visa. Previously, the issuance of a new visa automatically invalidated any previously held visa.
  3. Auditing services are now authorized visitor activity – Under the previous immigration regulations auditing and consulting services were prohibited activities for business visitors, however the new regulations allow for these services to be performed by business visitors.
  4. Ministry of Labor not accepting applications until further notice – Before any new work authorization applications are accepted, the Ministry of Labor will prioritize the clarification of new procedures and required documentation for the new visa categories and will focus on the training of its staff on the new regulations and procedures.
  5. Vitem V 90-day technical work visa revoked – Normative resolution 100/2013, which was the legal basis for the Vitem V 90-day technical work visa, was revoked on Dec. 8 and replaced by new normative resolution 03/2017. Normative resolution 03/2017 now requires that a prior work authorization application be approved by the Ministry of Labor before this type of visa may be issued at a Brazilian consulate. Given this change, it is possible that Brazilian consulates may reject pending Vitem V 90-day technical work visa applications due to the change in regulations.
  6. Federal Police registration limited service – the Federal Police Department has closed its office in São Paulo for registrations until further notice. Federal Police Departments in other Brazilian cities have limited their schedules, but continue to register foreign citizens with visa stamps issued under the previous law.