Brazil Expats Guide: Moving to Brazil Tips & Advice

Moving to Brazil? Here is our expat section with complete information on everything you need to know before your trip.

Visas

A visa is required for US citizens to enter Brazil. You’ll need a passport, 2 passport sized photos and the application fee to process your visa.

For more information, visit our Brazil visa section.

Cost of Living

Brazilian women

Knowing the general cost of living helps you get the best experiences that aren’t going to leave you out of pocket.

What you save can go towards the next trip because Brazil is such a huge country at 8.516 million km2 you’ll need multiple trips to experience it – after all the whole of Europe can fit into Brazil.

From the Amazon basin in the north to the vineyards of the south the cost of living will vary. Like all big cities worldwide expect to pay more in Rio de Janiero and Sao Paulo for your accommodation and transport than in Salvador, El Bonito or Paratay. Imported goods like cars will be expensive as will the latest tech gadgets.

Currency comparison

One US dollar is currently worth 3.1017 Brazilian Real (R$) – so a good rule of thumb is to divide by 3.

Rio de Janiero prices

We’ll start with the most expensive city – prices will be better in the smaller cities.

Food

Expect to pay in the region of:

28 R$ for a meal at an inexpensive local restaurant
100R$ for a mid-range restaurant meal for two
7 to 11 R$ for local beer per 500ml – depending on whether it is in a local area or an expat pub.
6 R$ for a cappuccino

Cooking your own meals? Expect to pay:

5R$ a kilo of bananas
2.5 to 3 R$ a lettuce
3.7R$ a kilo of potatoes
11R$ for a kilo of skinless boneless chicken breasts.
6 R$ for a dozen eggs
3.75R$ for a loaf of bread

Getting around
A monthly train ticket will be around 200R$, a liter of gas 3.94R$ and an 8 km taxi trip during the week around 23R$. Buying a new VW Golf 1.4 TSI 150CV with no extras will be in the region of 86, 224 R$

Entertainment

In Brazil, everyone dances seemingly everywhere- so small tavernas and eateries will usually have a band. And if you are eating there it’s not going to cost extra. On the other hand movie, tickets will cost 24R$ each, a pack of Marlboro cigarettes around 8R$ and quality theater tickets around 92R$ each. A cocktail in a club downtown will be 26R$. And 8Mbps of the Internet per month will set you back 75R$.

Accommodation
Renting an apartment in central Rio will cost around 2170R$ per month for one bedroom.

Out of the city center, the rent will be 1318R$. For a three-bedroom apartment expect to pay just over double those figures.

From the thousands of hotels and guest-houses available, we chose the Golden Tulip Ipanema Plaza as an example. A room will cost 815R$ via booking.com for 2 nights for 2 people in May – it has an outdoor pool, breakfast is included and there is an airport shuttle available –and it’s near the beach.

Buying an apartment?

In Rio, it’s going to cost you around 320 000 to 350 000 for a tiny 1 bed 1 bathroom place that’s around 25 square meters. On the other end of the scale, 24 million R$ will get you a stunning 2045 m2 property with 34 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms with views forever, also in Rio.

Once you move out to the country towns the prices drop considerably. A sea view home with 2 suites, a swimming pool, outdoor terraces and balconies and barbecue area costs $506 880R$ in Trairi just 200m from the beach with coconut palms, lagoons, and calm seas.

Dating

Brazilian Women
Brazilian Women

Dating in Brazil is much different from meeting women in anglo saxon countries like US or UK. First off, Brazilians are extremely social people so you can meet women anywhere once you step outside.

Brazil understands that men have needs so you won’t feel any social shaming or problems when approaching and talking to women. In this guide, you’ll learn tips on what to do before you go out, best places to meet women and the best online dating websites in Brazil.

Before You Go Out

Here’s a few tips to know before you start talking to Brazil women.

Start a simple workout routine

Brazilians care more about looking good than being rich. You will see lots of Brazilian guys with muscles so it’s time to start working out to look better. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a gym membership.

Use this simple bodyweight workout routine to build the entire body from the comfort of your home.

Smile

Living in western countries destroys a man’s ability to smile at random people. In anglo saxon cultures, people tend to either frown a lot or look stoic. This won’t work in Brazil and you will scare many women away.

The key to getting her interest is to smile a lot and look approachable. Many Brazilian women will approach you if you look fun to hang around. Once she gets near you, then you’re set.

Learn Portuguese

Many Brazilian women speak English but you’ll lose access to the hot Brazilian girls who only speak Portuguese. If there’s one thing you take away from this article, then please learn some Portuguese.

Not only will it help you meet women, but you’ll pay less money for everything and make friends in Brazil much easier.

Best Places to Meet Brazilian Women

Brazil is an outgoing society so there are plenty of good spots to hunt for ladies.

Supermarkets

One of the best spots for hunting is your everyday supermarket. You will attractive women shopping as well as the girls working at the store. Female supermarket employees are some of the easiest women to meet. They have to work all day and they’re usually bored. Now it’s your chance to introduce yourself and set up a date later.

Smoothie Bars

Brazilians are obsessed with healthy eating including shops like smoothie bars. You will find some of the hottest women who care about their health and have great bodies too. In Brazil, you can sit next to her and strike up a conversation. It’s completely normal in their culture.

Nightclubs

Although a bit more difficult, Brazilian nightclubs are still in excellent spot to meet Brazilian women. The ratios are in your favor and the women are there to meet men, not attention whore like most western women.

Wear a nice dress shirt and pants. Put on some good looking casual shoes too. No sneakers at the club. Also, be ready to bounce to another spot because when a girl likes you, she really wants to hook up that night.

Beaches

Brazil is well known for its beaches but they are also a great spot to meet women. The key here is eye contact. If you catch her looking at you, then interpret his interest as a signal for you to talk to you. Simply walk up and say “Ola”. The beach is full of beautiful women trying to look their best for you.

Recommended Online Dating Sites & Apps in Brazil

  • BrazilCupid – It’s the largest and most popular online dating site in Brazil. Full of hot, young Brazilian women who are interested in meeting foreigners like you.
  • Tinder – It’s a 100% free dating app that’s getting more popular in Brazil. Not as easy as BrazilCupid but it’s free.

Check out this post for a complete list of the best online dating sites in Brazil.

Jobs

Looking for work in Brazil? There are many international companies with offices in Brazil. It’s time to pump up your resume and start applying today.

Learn more about finding a job in Brazil and how to land your first gig.

Apartments

Brazil is a country found in South America. A number of its major cities include Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Salvador, Brasília, Belo Horizonte, Recife, Manaus and Fortaleza. Portuguese is the country’s official language. This article, however, discusses how to find an apartment in Brazil.

In Brazil, rental properties are widely available. And prices normally vary throughout the country. For instance, you are going to pay higher rents in large cities like Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Note also that long-term rental apartments or properties in Brazil and normally not furnished, and without white goods or even fitted shower heads. Electricity as well as other services are also disconnected. It’s also quite rare to find furnished apartments plus long-term houses for rent in Brazil, though these can be found if you know where to search. Vacation plus short-term let houses and apartments in Brazil are normally fully furnished as well as equipped.

Finding an Apartment in Brazil

Brazilian rental properties and apartments may be commonly found online, via rental department of estate agents, by word of mouth, or in the classified sections of the local papers. Even though there are various websites which are important to use, you will discover that apartments are still easiest to find through looking offline.

“ For Rent” signs in Brazil might be displayed on the vacant property itself. You may see the signs either attached to the front gate of a property, or hanging from the apartment window. Most commonly they bear the word “Alugo”. And when the apartment is available for short-term lease, commonly during the summer tourist season in cities and coastal towns, the sign usually will read “Alugo Temporado”.

Furthermore, when the words “tratar proprietario” is written on the sign, it means the owner should be contacted and personally dealt with. In these instances, the strictly enforced apartment rental requirements that are demanded by rental agencies might be by-passed, and rental price or/and deposit may be negotiated.

Property rental websites

There are several estate agents in Brazil with national coverage. And rental properties may be searched for by location, value or the kind or type on property websites. These are commonly written in Portuguese.

For instance, common websites include:

All the above mentioned websites are written in Portuguese.

They’re specifically significant for the sprawling big cities plus harder to access rural locations, since they may considerably cut down your search time.

Daily Newspapers

Daily papers also are particularly useful when you are looking for an apartment in Brazil. For instance, Folha de Sao Paulo circulated in the state of Sao Paulo together with the A Tarde newspaper found in the state of Bahia usually have regularly updated websites which you may search for rental properties.

It’s possible to either search for a rental (aluguel)or sale (venda) by the kind of property (tipo de imóvel), city (cidade) or district (bairro).

Finding a rental apartment in Brazil may be quite enormous challenge and may take time. Ensure you plan ahead, and be patient and persistent in your approach. It’s good to let everyone know you are looking for help when searching for an apartment. Ultimately, you are going to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Also check out these helpful guides:

Books

We’ve covered the best books about Brazil for men in our book reviews section.

Healthcare

The current healthCare system in brazil is a testament of improvement after the military dictatorship that started in 1964. It is called SUS- Sistema Único de Saúde.

The system promotes the slogan of “health for all”, where the Federal, State and municipal government authorities have taken financial and social responsibility to provide its residents comprehensive and free health care.

Currently, 70% of the nation populous is reaping the benefits of this system, while the rest enjoy the private health care available through variable sources. The healthcare if funded and run by the Brazilian government and more accurately, the Ministry of Health.

The responsibilities include providing public health services, running of government hospitals and any associated medical services.

Despite its problems, now the poor people of Brazil are in better condition owing to the public health system. The healthCare solution is constitutional right based on easy access to primary care. Besides the usual emergency services, there is also the health workers, who educate and help the needy and their families with their health issues.

Under the “Family Health Programme” created in 1994, Brazil HealthCare SUS is revolutionized, catering to families by launching an all-inclusive health plan accessible at their homes nearby clinics as well as the city hospitals.

According to date reported by the World Health Organization, currently 2000 families, in 5560 municipalities are being treated under this program by the 27, 000 Family health teams.

Besides catering to the primary needs of its citizens, the Brazilian healthcare is also tackling health concerns regarding prevention, and solutions to deadly diseases. As a developing country, it has an additional burden of dealing with increased risks conditions like Dengue and Cancer.

Who can afford the Brazilian HealthCare?

The answer is everyone, whether you are a born citizen or an international resident, the public health services are at your disposal. All that is needed is a Brazilian identification card and the SUS card.

The health care has graced the news on multiple occasions because of its generosity and principle to cater to all. As, it was described to enforce the need for universal health care coverage when the voting for Obamacare began to surface.

Now like any system, even if it is massively beneficial to the masses more often than not has flaws or room for improvement. In the case of Brazil HealthCare, major development is needed in infrastructure, execution (more health care personnel) and of course funding (in 2013 the estimated health care expenditure was $208 billion).

Although the intentions are good, the government is not just in the position to cater to the 207.8 million. Hospitals are still flooded with patients, with waiting for months to get access to specialists like cardiologists and endocrinologists.

Things are especially difficult in hard to reach places like the Amazonian regions, where there is actually more need for prevention and elimination of diseases and hygiene issues.

While the government has taken steps to target these poor and remote areas by introducing the Mais Médicos, the more doctors program, where the hire local and foreign doctors to solve healthcare issues in remote areas.

As of now, Brazil’s healthCare system is extremely beneficial and a huge step towards the development of its people, but still big and expensive changes are required for the to make it easily and properly accessible for its residents, at their local municipalities and states.

Weather

Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

We all know that Brazil is a vast country and therefore there is every possibility for the climate to vary from region to region.

The average temperature in the country is generally above 20 degree Celsius except for the southern areas and the mountains. While the climate is usually humid in the Amazon rainforests, it is typically hot and dry in the interiors.

During summer, the Amazon regions experience very high temperatures sometimes reaching even 40 degree Celsius.

During the winter season, the southern part of the country, as well as the mountainous regions, usually experiences cold climate with temperatures often getting as low as 0 degree Celsius.

For the major part of the year, the coastal areas of Brazil are usually quite sticky and hot. The duration of the rainy season is from January to April in the northern areas, November to March in the São Paulo and Rio areas and April to July in the north-eastern regions.

The best time to visit the country will be from March to November when the Brazil weather is pleasant during the dry season.

Real Estate

Looking to purchase a home in Brazil? We can help you purchase a dream home for you and your family.

This guide will assume that you have decided to buy a property in Brazil and explain the stages you need to work through to complete the purchase process successfully.

The first thing to know is that there are no restrictions on buying Brazilian property, with the exception of some designated areas near beaches or frontiers or other areas deemed as important to national security.
Apart from that, foreigners can only buy a rural property if they plan to move to Brazil within 3 years from the date of acquisition.
So, you have found your ideal property in Brazil and want to know what to next:

Step 1: Reserve the Property with a Small Deposit

As with a massive proportion of overseas property purchases, the first step in buying a Brazilian property is to reserve the property. This involves signing a reservation agreement and paying the deposit, which will usually be stated/agreed in advance of signing the reservation agreement, and also clearly stated in the reservation agreement itself. This deposit will be taken as part of the purchase price.

Step 2: Due Diligence

Before signing the contract (preliminary purchase contract if buying off plan, sale and purchase contract if buying a key-ready or resale property), due diligence is vital, meaning that buyers should minimize their risk by checking the following:
If buying from a company/entity:
*#Ask to see the company registration certificate.
*#Ask for proof that the signatory has the authorization to sign
If it is a private seller:
*#Ask to see proof of identity
*#If applicable make sure attorney of seller is authorized to sign on their behalf
If buying Off Plan Property:
*#Check the planning permission/consent
*#Check the building license
*#Check all other relevant permissions for the commencement of the project
*#Ask to see at least one bank guarantee, insurance and/or assurance to ensure the completion of the project or an escrow system to provide security for the buyer’s property payments
*#Enquire about the independent quantity surveying (QS) system during the construction period
In all cases:
*#Check the title certificate for the land
*#Check the administration certificate
*#Check any lien, debt, development finance, or encumbrances against the land and/or the project
It is best if the above due diligence checks are done through a local law firm or conveyancing lawyer. You should be able to get recommendations from previous buyers through online forums, but again, try to be sure of their impartiality, and/or seek multiple referrals.

Step 3: Obtaining Cadastro de Pessoa Física (CPF, i.e. Tax Code)
This is basically the Brazilian equivalent of the UK’s Unique Tax Payer Reference (UTR). It is basically a fiscal number, which must be obtained by anyone purchasing Brazilian property. It is a number unique to you that will allow the authorities to assess any tax owed, and allow you to pay said tax.

Step 4: Exchange Contract
After your due diligence is completed and you have your CPF, you can exchange contracts with the seller. The first installment will usually be required at this stage.

Step 5: Deed of Sale
The property transaction is finalized with the buyer and seller signing the Deed of Sale before a Notary (Oficio de Notas o Cartorio). The Notary’s duty consists of identifying the buyer and the seller, and ensuring that all legal requirements have been met and that the amount due to be paid has been settled.

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