Investor Visa in Brazil: A Practical Guide
The investor visa procedure in Brazil is governed by the National Immigration Council’s (CNIg)with a new Normative Resolution from 2015. This new resolution brings new rules pertaining to the investor visa procedure in Brazil, such as a new amount of foreign investment required and special rules for startup companies who work on the innovation and technological sector, for example.
In the ever changing set of rules and Brazilian bureaucracy obstacles many foreign investors have difficulty in understanding the practical aspects of the investor visa procedure. Questions such as when should I move to Brazil, how should I send and apply the investment and what documents do I need to prepare are very common to occur, and if not clarified with the correct information can lead to a visa denied notice, as well as waste of considerable amount of time and money.
This article aims to answer a few of those questions, in order to provide the correct information that may help you on your decision to apply for an investor visa in Brazil.
- When should I move to Brazil during the visa processing time?
This question is asked by a lot by foreign investors who are not currently living in Brazil and want to move into to country as soon as possible and start working on his/her project while the visa procedures are being processed.
The key point to understand is that you cannot receive the investor visa while you are in Brazil. Once the visa is approved, the document will be issued by the consulate appointed by the investor during on the visa application. This means that if you are in Brazil under a temporary visa you will have to leave the country in order to receive your new permanent visa.
It is also important to clarify that not one single step for the investor visa procedure requires the presence of the foreign investor in Brazil.All the steps can be done through a representative by issuing a Power of Attorney with specific powers of representation for the visa procedure.
This means that the foreign investor can plan his/her move to Brazil right after the visa approval and without the need to waste a trip to the country with the purpose of settling up.
This also means that the foreign investor can plan his/her stay in Brazil before or during the visa processing time if needed. With the knowledge that visa is not issued in Brazil, but at the appointed Brazilian consulate overseas, the foreign investor can make a much better use of the 90/180 days tourist visa for example when preparing the definite move into the country (Please see our article on how to extend your tourist visa in Brazil for more information).
- What are the steps and how long does it take?
Since there are many steps involved, having an accurate overview of the investor visa procedure and its time frames is essential when planning your move to Brazil. The basic breakdown of the procedure can be seen below:
- Issue a Power of Attorney through the respective foreign authority (usually a notary) and obtain an apostille certificate for the document (Since last year Brazil is now part of the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents).
- Provide Apostille certificates for all the foreign documents that are going to be used during the visa procedures (Passport and birth certificates for example).
- After the representative receive the documents under steps 1 and 2, the CPF (Brazil’s Individual Taxpayer Number) for the foreign investor can be obtained at the Federal Revenue Agency.
- After the CPF is obtained, the company opening procedures before a Commercial Board or a shareholder incorporation procedure if the investment will be used in an already existing Brazilian company can be started (Please see our article on company procedures for more information).One representative with a Brazilian residency (a Brazilian or a foreigner with permanency visa) will have to act as a representative at this point, at least until the visa is finally granted to the investor.
* If the investor is starting a company from scratch, a valid address needs to be provided to act as the company’s headquarters. However, the investor CANNOT use the investment’s money at this time, since the visa rules requires the foreign investment to be applied on acompany. This means that you cannot buy a property before opening your company, otherwise the money you invest in the property will not count as foreign investment. An alternative solution for this problem is to use a temporary address for the company procedure, and then invest the money on a property after the company is open (Please see our article on buying real estate in Brazil for more information).
** At this point the investor should heavily consider the services of an accountant, since a new company needs permits in order to perform its business activities and is subject to taxes for being active.Our offices can help with a portfolio of partners throghout the country.
*** This step may take between 1 to 2 months depending of the Commercial Board requests, especially when the company has a foreign shareholder.
- After the company is open, the investor needs to open a bank account for the company so the investment remittance can be made. This step can also take a long time because many bank managers in Brazil are not used to companies with foreign shareholders, and since the banks can make their own governance rules regarding internal procedures, the requests for documents and delays can take quite some time. Finding the right banks and managers with experience is essential during this step.
- With the company’s bank account open, the investment can finally be made. But before that, the company needs to be registered at the Brazilian Central Bank in order to receive a foreign investment operation. This step can take 1-2 weeks.
- As explained on step 5, the money remittance procedure can also take quite some time depending on the bank manager experience with direct foreign investment operation. There are cases where the process can take more than 30 days for example before the money liberation is approved. Also, the money remittance needs to be linked to the company through the Central Bank’s company register; otherwise the whole operation will not be considered as a foreign direct investment operation.
- After the investment is properly registered before the Central Bank, the visa application may finally be filed with the documents listed in the normative resolution, such as a specific business plan. Fortunately the last step for the visa procedure has undergone by serious improvements in an effort for efficiency for the government, and now it usually takes from 15 to 30 days for the visa to be approved. After the approval the respective Brazilian Consulate needs to be consulted by the investor on how obtain the permanent visa documents, the procedures may vary from country to country.
- The amount required for the investment has been increased, however there are opportunities for startups.
Before 2016, the minimum amount required for the investment was R$ 150.000,00. This at the time would translate to roughly USD 50.000,00. Now, with the new normative resolution, the minimum amount required for the investment has been increased to R$ 500.000,00, which currently would incur in around USD 150.000 (as of beggining of 2017). This was a substantial increase that took many people by surprise. Many considered their plans of moving to Brazil and opening a business to be over, but in this case the attention to detail is more important than ever.
The new normative resolution opens an opportunity for startups who work on the technological, scientific or innovation sector. If the company meets the conditions presented by the resolution, the minimum amount required to invest will revert back to R$ 150.000,00, creating an opportunity for those investors who want to tackle on the startup business.
The necessity of filing a consolidated Business Plan still holds however, since the immigration authorities will use it as a base for future inspection on the status of the company and the investment.
If you would like to know more about the investor visa in Brazil or if you are interested in bringing your business to the country, please contact us, we from Botinha & Cabral have large experience on this subject and would be glad to assist you on your endeavors.
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