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Moving to Brazil - advice needed!

by yepfun Online Now Feb 5, 2013 at 4:01 PM


This question is probably best answered by a) someone from Brazil or b) someone not from Brazil but who has LIVED or travelled the country for an extended period.

I'm Irish, 23 and have always wanted to go there. I work for a company with global offices including one in Sao Paulo. My rough plan is to go to Brazil, hopefully make some friends through volunteering or in a Portuguese language school, travel a little, then go to Sao Paulo and work where hopefully I will be able to make a circle of friends, either through work, or outside clubs or language classes... or on nights out.

My question is - how easy is it to settle in? I know lots of Brazilians in Ireland and they're cool but I don't mind being friends with other English speakers. Are there many working in Brazil? I'm not talking about backpackers just passing through. And I've also heard it's hard to break into a Brazilian's circle of friends as they usually will have known each other for years and aren't keen on outsiders.

Anyway, I want to go around April-June... so any practical advice (ie. links to volunteer agenices or language schools etc) would be REALLY, really appreciated.


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3 Answers
  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Re: Moving to Brazil - advice needed!

    by cachaseiro Online Now Feb 5, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    Brazil is generally an easy country to get accepted in.
    Of the +70 countries i have travelled i found Brazil to be the most welcoming to foreigners who wanna settle there.

    Speaking some poertuguese is a very good idea though as english is not widely spoken in Brazil.

    And you have tens of thousands of foreigners living in Sao Paulo as this is a huge business hub and many foreign companies are based there.

    And be ware that in june/july/august sao Paulo can be pretty damn cold as it's a little up in the mountains.

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  • robine's Profile Photo

    Re: Moving to Brazil - advice needed!

    by robine Online Now Feb 6, 2013 at 11:37 AM

    I am British, but married to a Brazilian, and have lived in Brazil for a total of well over ten years. Rio was my first posting, over 40 years ago, and 5 years ago we returned here definitively, on my retirement.

    Your best option would be to secure a transfer to SP through your company (which might even help with moving expenses). Otherwise, work visas are very difficult to secure, and trying to find a job without one is illegal. And a tourist visa is valid only for 3 months.

    SP is certainly the business capital of the continent, and so quite a lot of expatriates are based there. A fair few live in Rio, too, mainly because of offshore oil companies, and most people consider this a far preferable place in which to live. There are welcoming local clubs here, such as the International Newcomers' Club, and the British and Commonwealth Society of Rio de Janeiro. (Yes, of course I know that the Republic isn't a member of the Commonwealth, but don't worry, you'd be welcome!)

    Yes, Brazilians are very friendly and welcoming, but in my experience Portuguese (learnt, or at least started on, before arrival) is essential.

    Let me know if there's any other advice I can helpfully offer. Good luck!

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  • DSwede's Profile Photo

    Re: Moving to Brazil - advice needed!

    by DSwede Online Now Feb 9, 2013 at 5:22 AM

    I agree and will testify to much of what was stated above. I've been living just outside of Rio for over a year now for work. The people are very welcoming, but the government and the formalities are not. Outside of the tourist centers or principle commercial centers, Portuguese becomes exponentially more important.

    If you want to spend any length of time here, you absolutely must sort out the correct visa in advance. Even with a company support letter and all proper documentation, it took me over 3 months to get my type V work visa. So if you plan to work, get it sorted in advance or budget yourself to live here with no income.

    Also, look into getting a CPF. Its an individual identification number, like a social security number. It is essential for almost everything down here. You can't purchase many things (legally) without it, like cell phones or large purchases like TV's or computers. You even can't get memberships at many gyms or purchase airline tickets with the discount airlines without it and/or a domestic credit card.

    Renting an apartment by yourself (without company support) will be difficult. Without being able to prove collateral equity in Brazil, residence papers, Porto Seguro (like insurance), etc. you will have to pay an inflated price. Basically there is the local's rent and then foreigner's rent. So if your company does not support your rent, it would be best to just make a deal with some friends and move in as a roommate and let them deal with the hassles.

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