COVID-19 Travel Restrictions & Visa Challenges in Brazil

5 min readSep 26, 2021

By Gabriella Lessa, Immigration Lawyer in Brazil

Streetcar in Rio. @Brazil is making substantial efforts to drive tourism and generate incentives that encourage new residents.

On 25 January 2021, Ordinance №652 was issued providing for the exceptional and temporary restriction on the entry of foreigners into the country, of any nationality, as recommended by the Brazilian National Health Surveillance Agency (“ANVISA”) for health reasons related to the risks of contamination and dissemination of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) .

Due to the global pandemic and the directives provided by the World Health Organization on 30 January 2020, based on the human infection with COVID-19, as well as the epidemiological impact that the new strain identified in the United Kingdom and in the Republic of South Africa, the Brazilian Authorities prohibited on a temporary basis, all foreigners with international flights to the Federative Republic of Brazil originating in or passing through the referenced countries. Exceptions are only for those foreigners that have origin or history of passing through the mentioned countries in the last 14 days. For these specific foreigners, when entering the Brazilian territory, there is a mandatory requirement for them to remain in quarantine for a 14 day period.

In this regard, the entry of foreigners of any nationality into the country is restricted, by road, by other terrestrial means or by water transport. However, the restrictions do not apply to:

  • Brazilian citizens, born or naturalised
  • Permanent residents of Brazil
  • National Immigration Registry Card Holders (Registro Nacional Migratório — RNM)
  • Foreign professionals employed by a nongovernmental aid organisation recognised by the Brazilian government
  • Foreign officials accredited by the Brazilian government
  • Spouse, domestic partner, son or daughter, father or mother, or caregiver of a Brazilian citizen
  • Any person whose entrance into Brazil is deemed by the government to be in the public interest
  • Travellers in transit as cargo delivery, passengers required to disembark for aircraft refueling or repairs and flight crews

It is important to mention that the restrictions provided in Brazil’s current legislation do not prevent the entry, by air or waterway, of maritime crew to exercise specific functions on board of a vessel or platform operating in jurisdictional waters, provided that the migratory requirements appropriate to their condition are observed, including to carry an entry visa, when required by the Brazilian legal system.

Moreover, the current legislation does not prevent the disembark, authorised by the Federal Police, of maritime crew for medical assistance or for connection of air return to the country of origin related to operational issues or termination of employment contract.

As for foreigners entering the country by land between the Federative Republic of Brazil and the Republic of Paraguay, provided that the migratory requirements are met they should be allowed to enter by road, by other terrestrial means or by water transport.

The restrictions mentioned above do not prevent the execution of cross-border humanitarian actions previously authorised by the local health authorities; nor the traffic of border residents in twin cities, upon presentation of a border resident document or other supporting document , provided that reciprocity in the treatment of Brazilians by the neighbouring country is guaranteed; and the free traffic of road cargo transportation.

Exceptionally, the foreigner who is in a land border country and needs to cross it to board on a flight back to his country of residence may enter the Federative Republic of Brazil with authorisation from the Federal Police, provided that there is an official request made by either the embassy, or consulate of the country of residence, in addition to the corresponding air tickets that will be required to presented at the airport.

As to the traveller of international origin, Brazilian or foreign, must present to the airline responsible for the flight, before boarding document proving laboratory testing RT-PCR, for screening for infection by the COVID-19, with a negative or non-reactive result, carried out in the 72 hours prior to the time of travel, observing the specific criterion.

Moreover, the traveller who performs a migration that exceeds 72 hours since the RT-PCR test must present a document proving the new testing with negative or non-reactive results for COVID-19 at check-in in order to depart to Brazil. As to children, depending on the age, there are specific requirements for testing prior to travelling into the country.

Finally, the General Coordination of Labour Immigration, of the Ministry of Justice, as well as the federal police are open and working. However, as to the General Coordination of Labour Immigration, the resident permit application processes for issuance of temporary visas are submitted electronically and since the governmental clerks are working remotely, they are successfully able to analyse the immigration processes that are being submitted. It has been working very smoothly and in an expedited manner.

As to federal police officers, given the person-to-person spread of COVID-19 through respiratory droplets and in view that they have a higher risk of exposure in view of their close contact with the foreign public, the foreign public have been encountering some issues in that it has been a bit more challenging to schedule appointments within a shorter period due to the reduction of federal police available.

1. Note that the exceptions for spouse, partner, son, father of citizens of the Bolivarian Republic from Venezuela with permanent residence, for a fixed or indefinite period, in Brazilian territory, will not apply, nor for those citizens of the Bolivarian Republic from Venezuela bearer of the National Migratory Registry.

2. This exception does not apply to the border with the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Learn more about travel and securing a visa in Brazil

Gabriella is a senior immigration lawyer and partner @ Veirano Advogados — a leading Brazilian Law Firm, providing individualized solutions to clients for over 36 years.

Veirano Advogados specialist team is ready to answer your questions, and to help you navigate recent visa challenges in Brazil. Reach out and request a consultation with Gabriella today.

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