There are ample reasons why expats love Brazil: Boasting a tropical climate, friendly locals and a low cost of living, it is an excellent retirement destination – for North Americans, in particular. In today’s episode, we take a look at the benefits of the country’s Retirement Visa program. (And yes, it can lead to a second passport…)
Why Brazil – and its retirement visa – could be a win in 2023…
Brazil is what summer vacations are made of. Very few places on earth can boast the beaches, vibrancy and sheer joie de vivre on offer in this South American juggernaut.
By early 2022, Brazil’s estimated population was around 225 million. In fact, it’s the largest country in Latin America, covering more than 3.2 million square miles.
Given this, it is a place of exceptional diversity, both in terms of its culture and the range of experiences on offer.
It is home to the world’s largest rainforest, the Amazon… And to the world’s most famous beach, Copacabana… And to the world’s most renowned eye-candy festival, the Carnival in Rio de Janeiro.
The relaxed Brazilian lifestyle is massively appealing for many people, and the country is home to significant expat populations hailing from across the world.
A highly accessible Retirement Visa program…
Fortunately for foreign retirees, Brazil makes it easy to gain residency there.
The Brazilian Retirement Visa is a great residency option to consider if you are of retirement age, and earn at least $2,000 in monthly income from official pension sources. (Resolution 40 of 2019 – published in Portuguese – governs this program’s updated conditions.)
Here’s what you can expect at a glance…
|Residency duration||Initial: 2 years|
Renewals: Temporary residency for 2 years, renewable for permanent (with no expiry date)
|Financial requirements||$2,000 in monthly qualifying income|
|Can it lead to PR and citizenship?||Yes, after 6 total years (2 years of temporary residency, and 4 years of permanent residency)|
|Do I have to be retired to qualify?||Yes|
|Can I qualify on the basis of savings?||The law doesn’t explicitly allow for this – but it’s worth a try if your savings exceed the minimum annual requirement|
|Does Brazil allow dual citizenship?||Yes|
As the name suggests, the program is designed specifically for retirees. In fact, its first qualifying condition is proving that you are officially retired.
And there are multiple ways of doing this. If you are American, a Pension Verification Letter or Social Security Benefits Statement should suffice.
Also, there are no age limits, but you will need to be able to demonstrate that you are retired according to the laws of your home country.
For example: You can be a 35-year-old person who just retired from the military, and still qualify.
Next, you will also need to demonstrate that you earn a monthly income of at least $2,000, and that you will be able to receive this money in Brazil.
Your qualifying income can be derived from various sources — including private or public pensions, social security benefits, rental income, dividends, royalties, etc.
The required amount must be transferred to Brazil. So, for example, if you receive your pension into a bank account in your home country, you will need to transfer that money to your Brazilian bank account on a monthly basis.
Keep in mind that unlike with the country’s Digital Nomad Visa, a lump sum of cash is NOT mentioned as an eligible basis upon which to qualify for their Retirement Visa.
However, Brazil is not exactly Germany. Brazilian immigration officials apply a lot of discretion in terms of who they accept, and who not. Depending on the bureaucrat appraising your application, you could get lucky.
Thus, if you have more cash in your bank account than the required annual income, you could try to submit your application on the basis of savings, too.
According to our local service provider, an amount of $48,000+ in your Brazillian bank account could potentially do the trick…
…Plus a viable path to Brazilian citizenship
One of the best things about this visa category — it can lead to citizenship. (Unlike the Brazilian Digital Nomad Visa.)
Initially, you’ll receive a temporary residency, which is valid for two years.
Two years later, you can convert it to permanent residency. And, after four more years of holding permanent residency (for a total of six years), you will become eligible to apply for naturalization in Brazil.
A Brazilian passport is nothing to sneeze at. It is a solid B-graded travel document, affording you visa-free access to 145 countries worldwide, including the Schengen Area, the UK, as well as Thailand and Russia.
NOTE: If you would like to upgrade your temporary residency to permanent residency, it’s highly advisable to not leave Brazil for longer than six months in any 12-month period.
If you don’t have any important justification for being abroad (e.g. business or family commitments), some Brazilian immigration officials may not approve your citizenship application.
Remember that residency approvals are subject to government discretion – they don’t have to approve yours.
The good news is that Brazilian permanent residency has no expiry date. You will just need to update your local Brazilian ID card (called “RNM”) every ten years.
Applying for the Retirement Visa with your spouse (as dependent)…
Brazil’s immigration law is not very clear in terms of applying with a spouse.
The resolution does not explicitly state what happens in this case, but it is quite likely that their immigration officials will want to see your combined income being double the minimum amount required for a single applicant – in other words, $4,000 per month, instead of $2,000.
Then again, it’s entirely possible for your immigration lawyer to build a case that your spouse should be included within the same monthly income of $2,000-$2,500.
After all, retired couples tend to move overseas together, and a couple’s living costs will not be double that of a single retiree.
We suggest you discuss your individual situation with a knowledgeable provider on the ground.
(Sovereign Confidential members, you can get in touch if you’d like to obtain the contact details of our vetted Brazilian suppliers.)
If you are a retiree looking for a change of scenery – plus exceptional beaches and ample sunshine – then Brazil is definitely an option to consider. Plus, thanks to their simple and accessible retirement residency program, making your Brazilian dreams a reality in 2023 could be far easier than you might have imagined…
Yours in freedom,
Team Sovereign Man