The acquisition of real estate in Brazil, by foreigners, is subject to a special regime. Regarding urban property, the only restriction for foreigners would be the one established in Decree-Law 9760/46 which PROHIBITS the acquisition of property or land located within a range of 100 meters along the coastline, EXCEPT if the act of acquisition is authorized by the President of the Republic or by the Minister of Finance. But what does this mean in practice? How to obtain this authorization?

First and foremost, it is important to highlight the concept of navy land. Corresponds to the 33-meter range from the sea towards the mainland. In this way, they are included in this decree-law 100-meter fence. For the purpose of this text, however, only land corresponding to the 33-meter range (marine land) matters. It so happens that, despite what the text of the Decree-Law says, it is not necessarily a prohibition, but a restriction, whose authorization can be obtained, provided that the lawyer who advises the foreigner understands all the steps to be followed. It is also essential to understand certain specific concepts, explained below.

Navy land may be under occupation or tenure regime. In occupation regimes, marine lands are in areas that are property of the Union, which can claim the right of use whenever it wants. In the tenure regime, the resident now has the so-called useful domain over part of the land, with the area being divided between the Federal Government and the owner. Taking these facts into account, could a Navy land be alienated? And could it be acquired by a foreigner? The simple answer to both questions is yes. But expertise is needed to follow the necessary procedures.

It is important to highlight that the potential seller of the Navy land has (or should have) an occupation registration in the Union Heritage Secretariat (SPU). In addition, it must also have the RIP (Real Estate Property Registry), which is the identification of the property in the SPU’s registry, this property being Marine Land. Without registration and without the RIP, it is not possible to transfer ownership of the property.

However, with the registration and the RIP, and the fees due to the Union up to date, the transaction can be started. Once the Purchase and Sale Agreement is concluded, the foreign acquirer of the occupation rights will need authorization from the SPU (which, in these situations, represents the Minister of Finance). A number of bureaucratic procedures are required to obtain authorization.

Once the acquisition is approved, three steps are required:

1- Calculate the Laudemio and issue the DARF

2- Request the CAT (Certificate of Authorization for Transfer)

3- Transfer the person responsible for the property in the SPU register. (this is the final step and usually takes 45 days straight)

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