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Subject: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?


Posted by Alex
On Wednesday, August 28, 2002 at 20:08:14

Message:
Hello,

I'm an American planning to move to Brazil next January to teach English. I've heard that it's virtually impossible to obtain a work visa, so I'm prepared to work illegally. Everyone seems to do it that way, it's just how things are done.

But, what if I want to stay longer than the 6 months my tourist visa will allow? I can't seem to find a reliable answer anywhere. Can I get a student visa somehow, even if I'm not in school now? Can I bribe immigration officials into letting me stay longer? If so, how, and how much? Can I just overstay my visa, and expect a fairly mild penalty upon leaving? Has anyone tried anything to extend their tourist visa that either worked or backfired? Or do I have to accept the fact that 6 months will be the limit? Help!

Thanks very much in advance to anyone who has any information.
RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by braslvr
On Wednesday, August 28, 2002 at 20:37:23

Message:
I can only answer one of your questions. Overstaying your visa is a bad idea. Very bad. Chances are you won't have much problem leaving but..... The chances are VERY good that you will have muito problemos trying to re-enter. You will also most certainly have problems entering many/most other countries in the future. You will most likely not be granted another Brazilian visa when yours expires. It's all recorded in the computer whether anyone at exit immigrations says anything or not.

The only time one should EVEN consider doing this is if they NEVER plan on leaving Brazil, and even then it is a dumb idea.
RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by egads
On Thursday, August 29, 2002 at 07:29:45

Message:
mine is not very reliable advice, since my experience was back in the 70's, before computers took over everything, but...

if you have a standard tourist visa for US citizens that allows multiple entries for 5 years, max. 6 month stay, what you can do is this: go to Foz de Iguacu, cross over to Argentina, spend the night somewhere, come back the next day, and voila! you are good for 6 more months. We did this in the 70's and it worked fine. Don't know if it is still a workable idea, tho.

Of course, if you can afford it, you can also take a little trip back to the USA and then re-enter Brazil for another 6 months.

It used to be that you paid a HEAVY fine if you overstayed, but there were none of the other ramifications mentioned above, but that was a long time ago.
RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by braslvr
On Thursday, August 29, 2002 at 08:10:35

Message:
egads,

Leaving Brazil then returning works fine for getting your second 90 days, but will not help you get more than 180 days per year. Another thing to remember; this rule and other restrictions including the need for the visa itself are only imposed by Brazil as a tit-for-tat on the US and the other countries that impose these types of things on Brazilian citizens.
RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by egads
On Thursday, August 29, 2002 at 09:47:32

Message:
braslvr,

I stand corrected... it's a 90 stay, not a 6 month stay, isn't it. Oh well.

I don't know why the US imposes that restriction on Brazilians, when there is no such restriction on people from other places, like England, France, etc. Or is there?

Of course, after 9/11 and with the suspected presence of Al Queda around the Brazil/Paraguy border region, I don't expect that will change any time soon.

RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by braslvr
On Thursday, August 29, 2002 at 11:44:30

Message:
Actually what I wrote above was not worded perfectly. The particular rule only allowing 90/180 days per year is fairly common worldwide. After all, if it weren't, everyone might as well just open their borders.

The tit-for-tat rules I spoke of concern the visa requirements. The fact that there is payment required, and the amount. The policy of taking at least one business day to process visas. The requirement to show that you have a ticket to leave within the proper time frame. The "first entry within 90 days requirement, etc. are all things done in reciprocity to US requirements.

I'm stepping out on a limb here, because the US govt. would never admit it, but I suspect that if it is more likely people from any certain country are going to overstay their limit and become illegal immigrants, the entry requirements will be tougher for those countries. Not sure if it is still true today, but recently Brazilians wanting to travel to the US had to show evidence of Brazilian financial security. As a matter of fact, I remember having to do that too on my visa app. for Brazil 5 years ago, although not this time.

Think about it though, other than us brazilnuts here, how many Americans would overstay their visas in Brazil. Estimates are that there are only about 1000 illegal US immigrants in Brazil. I've read that there are over 100,000 illegal Brazilians in Florida alone.
RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by Joe
On Thursday, August 29, 2002 at 18:30:02

Message:
Couldn't you get a work visa while you're there during your first six months? If you can't persuade a school to sponsor you, maybe you could convince a brazilian friend (who owns/operates a business) to "hire" you -- though obviously you'd need to pay for the sponsorship and throw the friend some extra money for the trouble. I don't see why this wouldn't work, but I have no idea. And I think it takes quite a while to process the work visa (i.e., months), so even if you do get sponsored somehow, you might have to leave and come back when the work visa gets processed.
RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by braslvr
On Thursday, August 29, 2002 at 20:38:01

Message:
A US citizen cannot get any type of visa while in Brazil. All visas must be obtained before you go. My first Brazilian visa was a work visa. It took about 1 month to get. But it was totally legit, and my company had all the documentation required including tons of paperwork from the Brazilian company we were contracted with, and even more paperwork that documented to the Brazilian govt. why we were needed there, and why Brazilians could not do this work. Still, it was a 5 year visa with the same 90/180 day limit as a tourist visa. (I can't imagine how hard it would be to get a less restricted one)

Short of marrying a Brazilian, investing a large amount of US dollars into Brazil, or getting a job with coca-cola, bayer, etc., with a skill that can be shown that cannot be filled in Brazil, I don't know how to do it legally. When someone has the answer, please post it here, cause....it's tough.
RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by Joe
On Friday, August 30, 2002 at 09:53:28

Message:
Thanks for the reply, braslvr. Interesting stuff...
What if you "lost" your visa when you wanted to
come back? I'm not sure the system is
computerized there -- at least not everywhere.
The last time I went (this past February), they
were still just stamping. So, if you wanted to
return to the U.S. after, say, a year, couldn't you
just get a new passport and if asked, just say
you've only been there a week? If it's not
recorded by computer, then there'd be no way
for them to really refute you. Again, I'm just
brainstorming.
RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by braslvr
On Friday, August 30, 2002 at 10:24:34

Message:
My passport has been scanned(and stamped) every time I entered or left Brazil for 5 years. But even if it isn't, remember that little slip of paper you filled out when you entered? They keep a copy, and you get a copy. Also, the airlines are doing their part by reporting no-shows to immigration, and immigration can also check these records directly. From what I understand, this is how most of the tracking is done these days. I don't know how entering by car/bus from a neighboring country works.
RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by Joe
On Friday, August 30, 2002 at 15:25:50

Message:
Braslvr, those are all great points. Thanks for
your insight.

If they scan and keep those carbon copies, I
really don't see a way around that. But with
regards to the airline tickets... let's see...

To get your tourist visa, you must show a
round-trip airline ticket. But what if you arrange
(with the airline) for a moveable return date,
then as soon as you get in Brazil, move it for
several months down the road? There'd be no
reporting, because you wouldn't be missing
your return flight. I doubt the airlines would tell
immigration that you'd rescheduled your return
date, but you never know. (But maybe the
airline won't let you reschedule that far into the
future.)

Braslvr, do you know of anyone who has been
caught trying to stay in Brazil too long (caught
as they try to leave, of course)?
RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by braslvr
On Friday, August 30, 2002 at 16:55:11

Message:
No, I do not personally know anyone who has overstayed their visa in Brazil, and as I said before, I think it is quite rare for US citizens to do so. Most but not all of my info on what happens if you do overstay comes from reading 1000s of posts on various travel related message boards from people who have(mostly accidentally) done so in many different countries. Many people who need to travel for work(like me) have lost their jobs because countries denied them entry after they overstayed in another country.

Let's focus here on legal ways to do it. There surely are some loopholes in the Brazilian system that I'm not aware of. In other words, how can one get a Brazilian permanent residence visa? (Other than the 3 easy(not) ways I mentioned earier)
RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by Joe
On Friday, August 30, 2002 at 17:25:37

Message:
I would think it'd be easier to get a temporary residence visa than a permanent one. I guess it depends what your plan is -- mine is to go to Brazil for 1 year.

I'm sure you're aware of this site, but here are six ways to get permanent residency: http://www.how2immigrate.net/brazil/permanent-visa.html

Overall, I agree -- it's probably better to focus on legal ways. I'm researching it quite a bit, and I'll report anything I find. (Also feel free to e-mail me at the address listed.)

Joe
RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by braslvr
On Friday, August 30, 2002 at 21:44:32

Message:
No, I had not seen this particular site. Thanks. #s 1,2,and 3 I was aware of. I lumped them together. #4 I had forgot about, and #s 5 and 6 I also lumped together under "marriage". #4, the retirement option is a good one but US$2000 per month is way more than I would need to live in Northeast Brazil(wonder how they keep track of that), and age 60 (not 50 anymore) is still quite a ways off. I can't seem to find the "invest in Brazil" option now. I wonder if they have eliminated it. Keep brainstorming.

http://www.brazilsf.org/
RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by Joe
On Saturday, August 31, 2002 at 11:43:58

Message:
Here's number 4 in it's entirety:

-----------------------------------------------
A retired foreigner, over 50, who will transfer to Brazil the monthly equivalent of at least US$2,000. There is no limit to the number of dependents who may also receive permanent residence visas, but the main applicant must provide proof that they are genuine dependent relatives, as defined in Brazilian law - see Res. 4 of the CNI (National Immigration Council).

The main applicant must prove he has a pension of at least US$2,000 a month. This will entitle him to visas for himself and two dependents. The applicant must demonstrate an additional US$1,000/month for each additional dependent, over and above the two already mentioned, and must supply, amongst other things:

A statement from the foreign agency responsible for paying his retirement pension, informing the total monthly sum of the benefit;
A bank declaration authorizing monthly transfer of at least US$2,000.
-----------------------------------------------

As far as keeping track, it sounds as though they only check initially. They probably know that a U.S. resident's retirement income is basically fixed, and that a old retired guy (or gal) who want to live in Brazil isn't going to be up to any moneky business (e.g., taking jobs from natives.) Most important, the Brazilian authorities know that the retiree will be spending money in Brazil. (More on that in a second...)

Here's my specific situation: Ideally, I'd like to move to Brazil for at least one year. My employer (in New York City) has agreed to let me telecommute, and telecommuting from Brazil isn't going to be a problem on my employer's end. But like you, I want to be able to come and go as I please, and not be tied to some 6-month tourist rule.

I've been making all the connections I can over e-mail and Web sites, and I now have the name and number of a consular agent in two huge cities (in Brazil). As soon as my NY employer gives the green light to the Brazil-telecommute thing (our CEO just got fired, so I'm waiting until the dust settles), I'm going to call these two gentlemen and see what their advice is. What I want is not technically a work visa, because I'm not getting a job in Brazil -- therefore, no substantial paperwork from Brazil should be needed. I'm obviously not retired, but what I want is most similar to the retirement visa. I could prove to Brazilian immigration that I'd be receiving at least $2K/month from a U.S. company, and I wouldn't be taking a job away from a Brazilian. So... it seems that everyone wins: I get to live in Brazil on my American money, and I'd be spending this money in Brazil. (Of course, the rule does clearly state that the person must be over 50 years old, and the one big difference is that I could somehow get fired and lose my $2K/month, without Brazilian authorities ever knowing. One can't get fired from one's retirement income.)

Your situation is undoubtedly different, but I'd be interested to hear what you think of the above. The point is, maybe there's a loophole to the retirement clause.

Joe

RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by Joe
On Saturday, August 31, 2002 at 11:44:20

Message:
Here's number 4 in it's entirety:

-----------------------------------------------
A retired foreigner, over 50, who will transfer to Brazil the monthly equivalent of at least US$2,000. There is no limit to the number of dependents who may also receive permanent residence visas, but the main applicant must provide proof that they are genuine dependent relatives, as defined in Brazilian law - see Res. 4 of the CNI (National Immigration Council).

The main applicant must prove he has a pension of at least US$2,000 a month. This will entitle him to visas for himself and two dependents. The applicant must demonstrate an additional US$1,000/month for each additional dependent, over and above the two already mentioned, and must supply, amongst other things:

A statement from the foreign agency responsible for paying his retirement pension, informing the total monthly sum of the benefit;
A bank declaration authorizing monthly transfer of at least US$2,000.
-----------------------------------------------

As far as keeping track, it sounds as though they only check initially. They probably know that a U.S. resident's retirement income is basically fixed, and that a old retired guy (or gal) who want to live in Brazil isn't going to be up to any moneky business (e.g., taking jobs from natives.) Most important, the Brazilian authorities know that the retiree will be spending money in Brazil. (More on that in a second...)

Here's my specific situation: Ideally, I'd like to move to Brazil for at least one year. My employer (in New York City) has agreed to let me telecommute, and telecommuting from Brazil isn't going to be a problem on my employer's end. But like you, I want to be able to come and go as I please, and not be tied to some 6-month tourist rule.

I've been making all the connections I can over e-mail and Web sites, and I now have the name and number of a consular agent in two huge cities (in Brazil). As soon as my NY employer gives the green light to the Brazil-telecommute thing (our CEO just got fired, so I'm waiting until the dust settles), I'm going to call these two gentlemen and see what their advice is. What I want is not technically a work visa, because I'm not getting a job in Brazil -- therefore, no substantial paperwork from Brazil should be needed. I'm obviously not retired, but what I want is most similar to the retirement visa. I could prove to Brazilian immigration that I'd be receiving at least $2K/month from a U.S. company, and I wouldn't be taking a job away from a Brazilian. So... it seems that everyone wins: I get to live in Brazil on my American money, and I'd be spending this money in Brazil. (Of course, the rule does clearly state that the person must be over 50 years old, and the one big difference is that I could somehow get fired and lose my $2K/month, without Brazilian authorities ever knowing. One can't get fired from one's retirement income.)

Your situation is undoubtedly different, but I'd be interested to hear what you think of the above. The point is, maybe there's a loophole to the retirement clause.

Joe

RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by braslvr
On Saturday, August 31, 2002 at 15:35:48

Message:
I wish you luck, Joe. Please report here on your success.

BTW, here is the recent revised requirement for a permanent retireree visa, from the consulate general website.


Retired Persons


Retired individuals, age 60 or over, (and their families) who receive a minimum of US$ 2,000 per month
in retirement benefits - which are required to be transferred each month to a bank in Brazil - may apply
for a permanent visa. If there are more than 3 family members, US$ 2,000 per month must be added for
each person. Please contact the Brazilian Consulate for more information.
RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by Joe
On Saturday, August 31, 2002 at 17:41:13

Message:
I'm going to write the two consulars snail-mail letters this week. (I only have phone numbers and addresses -- I couldn't find e-mail addresses.) I'll definitely let you know what these guys say.

This is sort of a tangent, but here are two more sites that may be of interest to you. This one belongs to a guy who lived in Brazil for four years. He went there as a tourist and then got amnesty (1998), so his situation is unique. Still, it's interesting reading, and he gives good advice on other things. Go to http://www.geocities.com/teachinginbrazil/.

Also, there is a TEFL/CELTA school called Bridge Linguatec that has four locations: Denver, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, and Santiago. It costs $1,500 to get a CELTA certificate, which is generally recognized worldwide as the best TEFL qualification. That does us no good, but I suspect that since BL has locations in these foreign countries, they must have connections with decent schools, i.e., schools that would sponsor a work visa. This is certainly speculation, but I don't see the point of having these branches (which are for native English teachers, not for citizens of the countries they're in) unless they can offer you something upon getting certification. Spending $1,500 and two months in Rio for a TEFL diploma would be stupid if you just had to go back to the U.S. after six. Anyway, check out http://www.bridgelinguatec.com/ if you're interested. I plan to contact BL this week to see what their story is.

Joe
RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by Gene
On Monday, September 02, 2002 at 05:16:47

Message:
I'd wanted to join earlier but I don't know what happened to my post. Anyway, what I wanted to say was what about the TAX implications of being a resident. I was told that as a permanent resident you are subject to pay taxes on income including money earned abroad like your pension money. The figure quoted to me is a hefty 27.5% for amounts over R$23,000. Of course, taxation is the same all over the world. But for those who are thinking of residing full or part-time in Brazil with a resident visa, taxation should be borne in mind too. Anyone out there who can shed more light on this issue. Is Boris perhaps reading this thread?
Obrigado.
RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by Alex
On Monday, September 02, 2002 at 14:59:08

Message:
Hi everyone,

This is Alex, the original poster of this thread. Thanks for all your input.

Joe, about your post re Bridge Linguatec. That is the exact school that I am thinking of enrolling in to get my teaching certificate. I spoke to someone at their center in Denver, and unfortunately, she said they don't arrange work visas (despite their claim to do so on their web site). It seems that they can get you to work legally in Santiago and Buenos Aires (their other South Ameican locations), but getting work visas secured in Brazil is just as hard for them as it is for us. She seemed to be telling me that it wasn't a big deal to work illegally, and I already knew this. The problem, of course, is for those of us who want to stay longer than 6 months.

So far, it seems the "lost" passport idea is the only one that could theoretically work, i.e., one overstays their visa, then hopes that the overstay is only noted on their passport and not computerized into any database; then one "loses" that passport and gets a new one, allowing them to return to Brazil. This, of course, sounds highly risky, and probably not worth it.

Does anyone know anything about leaving Brazil on a bus, (and perhaps hoping that immigration at the road border won't scrutinize visas), and then catching a flight out of Argentina back to the States?
RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by Alex
On Monday, September 02, 2002 at 14:59:21

Message:
Hi everyone,

This is Alex, the original poster of this thread. Thanks for all your input.

Joe, about your post re Bridge Linguatec. That is the exact school that I am thinking of enrolling in to get my teaching certificate. I spoke to someone at their center in Denver, and unfortunately, she said they don't arrange work visas (despite their claim to do so on their web site). It seems that they can get you to work legally in Santiago and Buenos Aires (their other South Ameican locations), but getting work visas secured in Brazil is just as hard for them as it is for us. She seemed to be telling me that it wasn't a big deal to work illegally, and I already knew this. The problem, of course, is for those of us who want to stay longer than 6 months.

So far, it seems the "lost" passport idea is the only one that could theoretically work, i.e., one overstays their visa, then hopes that the overstay is only noted on their passport and not computerized into any database; then one "loses" that passport and gets a new one, allowing them to return to Brazil. This, of course, sounds highly risky, and probably not worth it.

Does anyone know anything about leaving Brazil on a bus, (and perhaps hoping that immigration at the road border won't scrutinize visas), and then catching a flight out of Argentina back to the States?
RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by Joe
On Monday, September 02, 2002 at 16:09:54

Message:
Hi, Alex.

I can't imagine anyone would enroll in Bridge Linguatec's Rio school if BL wsan't able to either sponsor a work visa or set you up with a school that would. Who knows. I, too, was told that illegally teaching was the way to go, but when I spoke with them on the phone I didn't ask any follow-up questions. I have no problem working under the table; I just want to be able to leave. Let's see how they reply to my e-mail to them. I'll post it here.

(From what I've been told by a guy who's lived in Rio for 3 years, the expense of sponsoring a work visa is not only initial, the business must also pay the government whatever they pay you. Add to that all the paperwork, and that's what makes the legal route so unappealing for the schools -- especially given the economic climate now.)

I'd never thought of flying out of Argentina to the United States. Like you said, it depends what the border is like. I know a round-trip ticket is necessary to obtain a tourist visa from any Brazilian consualte, but I wonder if your round-trip ticket can be returning to the U.S. from Argentina (or wherever).

BTW, Alex, were you considering the CELTA program this February?
RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by Tody
On Tuesday, September 03, 2002 at 18:43:10

Message:
There is an exchange school that arranges for a 1-year stay in Brazil but to my knowledge one must conform to their rules, which are myriad. There are no positions in major cities and one must live with a host family and work for peanuts. My friend Amy did this and hated it because she got placed in a small town. I wouldn't do it but maybe there's a way to get their visa then ditch out of the program. Go to http://www.mgt.com.br/icbeu/ and click on the "esl handbook" icon for the grisly details. I hope this helps. Tody
RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by Joe
On Wednesday, September 04, 2002 at 21:20:38

Message:
If you want to go the legal, temporary route, the student visa seems to be the best way. The following can be found at http://www.consulatebrazil.org/studentvisa.htm:

---------------------------------------------

STUDENT (Temporary Four) visas apply to non-Brazilian secondary or post-secondary students who have been accepted or invited to enroll in a school, college or other academic institution in Brazil, on a regular or international exchange basis.

Requirements for STUDENT visas vary according to the length of stay in Brazil and are as follows:
a valid passport or permit to reenter the US;
one (for stays under 90 days) or two (for stays over 90 days) filled out copies of a visa application form provided by the Consulate;
one or two recent passport-type photographs;
evidence of enrollment in a school, college or other academic institution in Brazil;
proof of means of subsistence in Brazil;
"Good Conduct Certificate" (must be legalized by the Consulate at US$20.00 per document) issued by a police department with jurisdiction over the applicant's place of residence.
* Non-US citizens are additionally requested to present one of the following:

- a US resident alien card or
- a valid entry visa to the US.
A STUDENT visa can allow for a stay of one year and can be extended for a further year in Brazil. Consular fees run at US$40.00, plus applicable fees (see section Entry Visas General Information).

-----------------------------------------------

(Sorry if the formatting sucks.)

So according to this, a student visa will get you at least two years. It's a little vague about what's considered a student, so I'm not sure if you could just scrape up some Portuguese classes or if you'd have to go to a proper university.

Joe

RE: How do you get around the 6-month visa limit?
Posted by Joe
On Friday, September 06, 2002 at 09:04:31

Message:
I heard back from Bridge Linguatec and
another school yesterday. They sent me way
too much to post here. If you have any
questions about what they said, e-mail me
and I'll send it all to you.

Joe

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