A Gringo's Survival Guide to Brazil

Hi everyone!

I definitely agree with Bigsexy there. Brazil is a great country with many different customs and behaviors between its regions. Sometimes it is even hard for Brazilians to understand each other!

Whenever we travel to a new place (anyplace), we tend to be a bit more cautious and aware of the surroundings. We are not so sure of the "dos" and "don'ts" of each place. After a while, you will most likely adapt to the environment. You will recognize the streets, the accents or specific terms of the city...

Another great "tip" for gringos in Brazil would be to make new friends - walking around the city in groups might be less frightening. Needless to say, more enjoyable as well.

Actually here in Fortaleza, we are quite affraid of people with backpack. Typically if a young male enter in a shop with a backpack, everybody will get very very nervous.

Thank you for all the subject matter. You've been more help to many and I know through experience; than what  I could ever hope to receive from the Recife American Consulate.
I've lived here some 9 years now after marrying a Brazilian girl. I echo what you have voiced by having jumped through many of the cultural, legal, financial hoops you have mentioned. Your advice, through experience is both accurate and well spoken.

'This is not the promised land' - what a hoot.


Hey James i am moving to ribeirao das nevas.... Any tips for this city?

Leighmcd :

Hey James i am moving to ribeirao das nevas.... Any tips for this city?

Yes, as a matter of fact I lived right on the outskirts of Ribeirão das Neves for about 4 years... be extremely careful and hyper-vigilant there, it's a very dangerous city. Follow ALL of the safety tips in my posting to the letter, and make sure never to forget.

If you don't have a car you will find it's probably going to be a bit easier to get into downtown Belo Horizonte than it was when I lived there, even so, it's quite a jont.

If you drive, avoid avoid BR-040 like the plague, especially on holiday weekends, MG is one of the worst states for traffic accidents and BR-040 always has some of the highest trafffic faltality counts in all of Brazil on long weekends.

Two nearby cities you should avoid are Santa Luzia and Vespasiano, both pretty rough places even by Brazilian standards.

James Experts Team

This morning my wife called one of her sisters living in Novo Progresso which is near Belo Horizonte. This is a working poor/lower middle class area.

The sister told my wife that one of her nieces, who is about 30 years old, was accosted a week ago and just left the hospital yesterday.

Only 30 feet or so from the house on her way to work, a thug on a motor-cycle came up behind her, grabbed her back-pack and dragged her several feet before he was about to wrestle it from her.

She ended up with a broken shoulder plus scratches and bruises on her head and elsewhere.

Also, it took two days before a doctor attended her.

My guess is that these creeps study the habits of people living in the neighborhood and know when to strike.

Hi James
I got my RNE on PR basis.How can i register Government Retirement plan privately on the phone?I think of opening a homebased micro company in the near future as well.So Will i be able to contribute two different pension plans in the same time?  Cheers Jim.

Hi Jimkey19

Unfortunately Mr. James passed away and is no longer with us. 

As far as your questions are concerned, I believe some of the experts on the Canadian forum might be able to give you are more clearer idea about the policy and procedures for your Government Retirement Plan and also a better clarification for the pension plans as well.

Wish you the best of luck

Boa Noite


feeling so sad for him.

HI Jimkey

Yes indeed.  We all feel quiet sad for the situation.  Mr. James was a rockstar on this board and he was a gem of a person.

Have a great evening



So sorry to hear about his passing.God bess him and his family.

Fantastic post!!!!
I am brasileira, l've been living abroad with my child to educate him for over 7y and want to move back as he us in university.  Children education was ur only missing point on your post, you must to tell people how ridiculously expensive is to educate a child in Brazil, you  dont want your children on a public school, you dont wish that not even to you worse enemy, is a hell!!!! My aunt teaches in a public school, everyday she comes home horrified by things she sees there :(
I was lucky to study my whole life in private schools, and now l know if l didn't l would never be able to speak 4 languages and see the world the way l do. Plus, if ur child cant speak portuguese, he is f***** till he does!!! English even in private schools is a joke.

My condolences. Meus pesames.

Hi James another great read with as alway great information. I was wondering is it easier to get a permanent residency a Brazil consulate in the US.

I'm hearing that it takes about about the same amount of time as it does in Brazil. If you get it in Brazil it takes about 60 days to get your CIE. Your RNE is approved right away. Getting it in the USA you have to wait till it is approved to come to Brazil. You still ha
ve to pick it up at the PF. Either place is easier now.


I am a USA citizen but I have a CIE with a Permanente classification, issued in 2014.  Does this function as a a visa or do I need to buy a visa to return to Brazil?

jst13...........This CIE is your Visa and no other visa passport stamps are required.  However there is sub-classifications.  A permanent resident Visa may have a date of expiration on the front of the card.  Or, it may say "indeterminada."  If it states the latter then you do not have to worry about how long you may be out of the country of Brazil and the card is good forever.  If it states an expiration date then if you are living outside of Brazil, you must return at least once within a 24 month period of the time you last left Brazil.  I hope this helps!

You have to return every 2 years to keep you CIE valid  the indeterminate is for people over 60.


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