Effective November 2017, a new Brazilian immigration law (Lei 13445/2017, published 25 May 2017) will replace the Foreigner Statute law (Law No. 6815/1980).
The new law has a humanitarian approach and aims to reduce the bureaucracy and fight the criminalisation of immigration non-compliance. Note that implementing regulations will have to be published before the impact of the new law is fully understood. Below is a summary of the main changes.
Law No. 13,445/2017 changes the nomenclature of visa types and abolishes the Permanent Visa. Note Article 12: “The applicant who wishes to enter or remain in the national territory may be granted visas: I - Visit; II - Temporary; III - Diplomat; IV - Official; V - Courtesy.
These are visas for business, tourism, transit, and other short-term purposes not linked to any remunerated activities in Brazil.
Aside from expanding the number of categories for a temporary visa, the new law also abolishes the work visa requirement for crew members of cruise ships and vessels operating in long-haul.
The new law creates a residence permit available to all foreign nationals in Brazil, regardless of their immigration status (or entry visa). With the elimination of the Permanent Visa Provision and the creation of the residence permit, foreigners wishing to reside in Brazil on a permanent basis while on a temporary visa or visitor visa may apply for a residence permit by complying with the required conditions outlined in Article 30.
The new residence permit applies to those who wish to remain in Brazil for work, family reunion, research, teaching or research, health treatment, humanitarian efforts, investment or relevant economic, social, scientific, technological or cultural activities, as well as those who benefit from a treaty on residence and free movement regulations, such as Mercosur nationals.
Processing of applications should be completed within 60 days.
The National Register of Foreigners (RNE) will be renamed to National Migration Register.
For Temporary Visas, foreigners will have to register within 90 days of entering Brazil.
It is important to mention that foreign nationals holding residence permits must register within 30 days with the department which authorises the residence
Fines and deportation
There will be an increase in the fine for an infraction committed by an individual, ranging from R$100.00 to R$10,000.00 per infraction. Currently the fine ranges from R$8.28 to a maximum of R $828.28.
There will also be an increase in the fine for an infraction committed by a legal entity (i.e. an employing company), ranging from R$1,000.00 to R$1,000,000.00 per infraction. Currently the fine is R$2,480.00 and can be multiplied up to 10 times per infraction.
The economic condition of the offender, recurrence, and the seriousness of the infraction in both cases above will be considered upon charging a fine.
The fine for overstaying may be converted into an equivalent reduction of the authorisation of the visitor visa period, in case of new entry in the Country.
In any case of irregularities subject to deportation, the notification will be 60 days (currently it is three to eight days). In addition, the migrant within this period will be given the opportunity to regularise their migratory situation, which is different from the previous law.
The 60 days minimum may be disregarded in cases in which the migrant has committed an act contrary to the principles and objectives displayed in the Federal Constitution.
Employers of foreign nationals working in Brazil are advised to consult an immigration specialist for the latest details about the forthcoming new law.