Getting married in Brazil, Permanent Visa and documents required

You can't change over 500 years of tradition and laws.

The laws here require exact adherance to full names and correct spelling of birth names since first there are so many individuals with the same or similar names; and because of the fact that legal and financial responsibility for one's children passes back from parents to grandparents. So, in a country where you have José Felipe Silva, José Felipe da Silva, and José Felipe Silva e Costa (and probably thousands of each) you can begin to see the necessity. Also for example in a case where a couple divorces and has children where the husband is ordered to pay support for the children (Pensão Alimenticia), but skips out on it the grandparents are legally responsible and in fact can be jailed if THEY don't pay it; so there exact names are important.

Maiden (birth) names are always used when putting ancestors names on official documents here and they must appear on documents exactly the way that the appear on the original Birth Certificate of that individual, that's just the way things are done here and there is also a hierarchy of documents. For example the Birth Certificate (RG) that is superior to all other identifying documents (except for women) and it is mentioned as "Originating Document" in all other documents issued from that time forward. It will be noted as CN No. XXXXX (CN = Certidão de Nascimento and the number of one's Birth Certificate). However for women, the  Marriage Certificate is superior to Birth Certificate in that it also has the power to change one's name. When a woman marries she MUST have all of her ID documents changed if she adopts her husband's name. From the time of marriage onward, she no longer uses the Birth Certificate, but rather the Marriage Certificate for purposes of ID and all future documents issued for her will mention the "Originating Document" as CC No. XXXXX (CC = Certidão de Casamento). I've never seen such a case personally, but I guess this would also be done in cases where a man were to adopt his wife's family name when he marries, which is provided for by law.

This is also the source of great legal problems for many people, both Brazilians and foreigners alike; because if the Cartórios make a simple error of spelling or anything else, one must actually go to court to obtain an Order to have that error corrected, the Cartório WILL NOT just do it on their own. So here in Brazil you see people in court all the time seeking Orders to correct the spelling mistakes in their name, or even worse still get their Birth Certificates changed to reflect the fact that they're male or female because their name induced the Escrivão (Scribe) to incorrectly record them as the wrong gender; or people seeking Orders to prove they are in fact alive because a Cartório wrongly issued a Death Certificate in their name.

While BUREAUCRACY was not invented in Brazil, the government has spent over 500 years perfecting it into an absolute science!

William James Woodward, EB Experts Team

Thanks for the educating post. I figured it had something to do with their system being different. After all I'm sure every country has their own systems that corresponds to their legals ways and their culture. And it's understandable Brazil can't accomadte and intergrate every country's name systems into theirs. Its not like Canada where you have an influx of immigrants coming in every day to the country from all over the world. Anyways as complicated as my process was I appreciate the cartorio being helpful and even fixing the mistakes for me.
By the way I started my permanent residence process. Woohooooo! I got my protocol and certificate to register a work permit. The visit at the federal police went pretty smoothly.  :D

Dear Williams,
i have doubt could please clear with your experience..

name in passport        : given name :  Azarudeen  surname: AbdulKhadar
birth certificate            : Azarudeen A
Unmarried certificate    : Azarudeen A
In india usually childrens carry father name first letter as they intial . all my school certificate, college certificate are Azarudeen.A but in passport we have expand our full name...
so do you think will have face any problem during my marriage process??

but in birth certificate , unmarried certificate it have mention azarudeen S/o AbdulKhadar

By Regards,

It would probably be helpful in the process if the notarized translator (tradutor juramentado) were to provide you with an official statement regarding this traditional way of recording names, explaining that the Family Name (surname) is often omitted. I really can't say for sure as I've never dealt with this problem before. Perhaps it would be helpful for you to contact the Consulado-Geral do Brasil and discuss the problem with them to find out if they have any suggestions, because the Birth Certificate must show both your parents' names (mother's birth name) and their place of birth.

William James Woodward, EB Experts Team

Hello there,
        I see this is a good place to ask my question. I am married to a Brazilian but working in Japan and have no intentions of moving to Brazil immediately. But since I need to travel a lot between Brazil and Japan, is it possible that I apply for any permanent visa, so that I don't need to get to the Embassy every time ? I live in Tokyo, Japan Thanks.

Yes, if you are legally married to a Brazilian you are entitled to apply for a VIPER Permanent Visa. Your Brazilian spouse must register the foreign marriage with the Consulado-Geral do Brasil (I presume it is in Tokyo) and you will get a new "Certidão de Casamento" which is issued by the Consular Cartório (Registry), which is the document that is legal here. Then it must also be registered at the 1º Oficio do Registro Civil, either in Brasília or in the city where you reside in Brazil after your arrival here. See link for information on this process:

Once you've registered the marriage with the Consulado (probably can do this at the same time, but ask them) you apply for your VIPER Permanent Visa, you can't enter Brazil until you've actually received the visa which usually takes 3 to 6 months when applied for abroad (here in Brazil the process is much longer 2 to 3 years or more). You can't even enter Brazil on another category visa during the 3 to 6 month time you're waiting for the visa as far as I know, so you may want to ask about that too, it might be necessary to really plan the timing of the application well, in case you would need to come to Brazil for some reason.

See this link (last part of posting) for the documents you're going to need for the VIPER application:

Just remember one important fact, permanency in Brazil is not really permanent. Once you've received your VIPER Permanent Visa you cannot be outside of Brazil for more than 2 years at a time or the permanency is revoked. This is based on entry/exit stamps in your passport. So you would have to return to Brazil at least once every two years to avoid this. There is no specific requirement as to just how long that must be for, so a short vacation a week or so would still keep you OK.

Once you've got the VIPER, when you come to Brazil you have 30 days to report to the Policia Federal and register (RNE and Cédula de Identidade Estrangeiro), You can schedule that online and fill out all the forms on the DPF website, pay the fees and then show up at the time and date scheduled, but that's for later down the road so I won't go into it now.

William James Woodward, EB Experts Team

Thank you very much William, I really appreciate the information and all the work you are doing...  Just an add-on, I actually got married in Brazil and not in tokyo... Given this, does anything change in the information you gave me??

Thank you

Yes it does, since you don't need to register the marriage with the consulate. You jump straight to the VIPER Permanent Visa application.

I just has an interesting conversation with the federal police in Boa Vista about the permanent residency

They said that I don't need a non-criminal record from my home country "at this time". They said it was only a requirement for people applying for citizenship. Instead, they gave me a form to sign and that's it.

They gave me another form that lists all the requirements for the permanent residency. I'll post both of these forms on here later.

I won't be applying until a few weeks from now, so let's see if they give me trouble then.

They handed mine back and had me do the same also, however about the time anyone expects this to happen they will change it.

Hi cupofjoe,

Actually, the Feds probably will never ask for the Criminal Record Check again, they may ask you to sign a "Declaração Sob Penas da Lei de Bons Antecedentes / Nada Consta" but that's about it, especially if you told them that you had no criminal record at all.


Yep, this is the form they gave me

I'm quite surprised by this because I was expecting the FBI background check as a requirement (mine is still in the brazilian consulate in the states getting legalized) I asked the lady 3 times to clarify for me. I'm happy about this

You won't be asked for anything else, at I wasn't and my process is in Brazilia now.


Whenever you are required to sign any "Declaração Sob Penas da Lei" for the Federal Police this must have your signature notarized in the Cartório (Reconhecimento da Firma). There are TWO DIFFERENT TYPES of notarized signatures, the first is Reconhecimento da Firma por Semelhança (for similarity) which is cheaper and can be done by anyone; and Reconhecimento da Firma por Autenticidade (for authenticity) which is more expensive, you must appear personally at the Cartório, present ID and sign the document in front of the officer and sign their logbook too. The Federal Police and any other agency dealing with immigration or naturalization matters ONLY ACCEPT the latter, Reconhecimento da Firma por Autenticiade so don't make the mistake of getting the wrong one done. You must tell the clerk that is what you want or they just automatically will do the cheaper and the PF, MJ or MTE will not accept the document.

In order to have your signature notarized, it is necessary to first register your signature at the Cartório (Abrir Firma) and reconhecimento can only be done at a Cartório where your signature is registered. Many people will "Abrir Firma" and several Cartórios for convenience, especially if their business dealing often require reconhecimento on documents, or they must have their signature notarized in some jurisdiction other than their city of residence.

Yes I had to get mine and my spouses signature notarized at a cartorio. We also had to notarize every page of my passport including blank pages and the marriage certificate. Total was like R$138. It was required to before applying for VIPER. The lady at the cartorio missed to notarize a blank page of the passport but the federal police worker let it slide and notarized it herself for free.  :D

James is it a fact that once permanent residence is granted there is no time limit as to how long you have to stay in Brazil between having to visit Brazil once every 2 years? Can it literally be a 1 week visit every 2 years?

Q: When is PERMANENT not permanent?

A:  When you're in Brazil, of course!   :lol:

When you apply for "Permanência Definitiva" until you are actually granted the VIPER you may leave Brazil and re-enter ONLY for periods up to 90 days or the process is cancelled and you must start all over again. Only in cases beyond one's control such as being hospitalized will this be reconsidered. Of course there must be documented proof.

Similarly, once you have obtained permanent resident status you are permitted to be outside of Brazil for periods of up to 2 years, after which permanency is lost. Again this would not happen in cases beyond one's control as mentioned above.

That said, even if it were not beyond one's control there is a mechanism by which one can request re-instatement of permanent resident status without actually having to start all over from the very beginning, It is probably just as bureaucratic as the first time around, however.

Note that the absences are calculated by the entry and exit stamps in your passport.

A couple of other important things that all permanent residents must remember, until such time as you apply for naturalization and are granted Brazilian citizenship the law requires all foreigners, permanent or otherwise to report any change in address to the Federal Police within 30 days of any move. Failure to do so can cause real problems. Also if you have one of the old style (paper) protocolos for your process as opposed to the passport stamp protocolo which is being issued now, you must carry the ORIGINAL with you at all times along with other ID. Federal Police will not accept that you're carrying even a "cópia autenticada", you may however leave your passport in a safe place and use a certified copy as ID, this is something that is highly recommended in order to avoid passport theft.

William James Woodward, EB Experts Team

What I meant to ask is: Once you have VIPER, and then leave Brazil and come back before the 2 year permitted limit is up, is there a limit as to how long you have to stay in Brazil before you can leave again without losing residency status?  Can I visit Brazil every 2 years on a 1-2 week visit and come back again in 2 years?

No, there is theoretically no amount of time you must remain in Brazil every two year in order to retain permanency. Essentially the entry stamp re-starts the two year countdown clock all over again. Many expats with permanency actually come back every two years for a short vacation just in order to retain their PR status. That said, it is Brazil and everything here is subject to change without much advance notice, so I'd recommend that you stay on top of the situation and keep alert for any future changes.


I went to the Cartario (yesterday) again with all my papers (birth certificate and authentication from my state dept translated). They told me that they also wanted my single declaration "translated", even though it was written in Portuguese already and they also wanted my passport translated. Lovely.

Yes, your Single Certificate / Declaration of no impediment needs to be translated but only if it was not issued in Portuguese. There is absolutely no requirement for a passport to be translated under existing legislation, unless you are using the passport for the purposes of proving your age, marital status or parents' names in lieu of other documents.

Sounds like it's time to ask the Cartório to return all the documents you've given them and look around for another. They're clearly jerking you around trying to milk you for every penny they can. What state is the Cartório in by the way? Is there any chance you could marry in another city or state?

The single declaration was written in English and Portuguese (all on the same paper) and stamped by the US consulate in Manaus. The lady at the consulate said she never heard of Cartorios rejecting the declaration in this form (then she knocked on wood)

Yeah, I definitely feel like I'm getting jerked around. I also pointed out to them that nearly everything on my main page of my passport is on the Brazilian visa in Portuguese, they didn't care about that.

I'm in Boa Vista, Roraima. I'm assuming this part of Brazil is quite disconnected with the rest of Brazil, so I expected some odd things.

I already dropped my things off to be translated yesterday and paid the translator. It should be done Monday or Tuesday.

If you have any further problems I'd suggest getting married in Manaus - AM if you can. I've heard that the Cartórios there are quite helpful and much less rigid.

I live in USA and my fiancee is in Brazil, we want to get married so he can stay in USA, I am originally from costa Rica. So my question is that been so hard to get married in Brazil and there is so many different places to go to. He lives in a very country area where it would be difficult to go from one place to another w ill it be the same if we meet in costa Rica and get married there? Then we can move to Brazil and stay together until his status to move to USA is ready. Thanks!!!

There's a few things to respond to here.

Do you have a visa for Brazil? If not, you'll need to get a tourist visa. Then probably apply for permanent residency if you're planning on living in Brazil until you guys figure out his status for the US because I can't imagine it's a quick process.

I would suggest also posting in the US part of this forum about getting your future husband a visa there. It's definitely not as easy as getting married and he gets a green card. I'm getting married soon to a Brazilian and I would just be happy with her getting a tourist visa to the US. When we're married, it's not even a guarantee that she'll get a TOURIST visa. So it may help you posting in the US forum to get more info from them.

wjwoodward probably can help you with the part about getting married in another country and having Brazil recognize it.

Hello lauracr20,

Sorry, I can only advise you about marriage in Brazil because I don't know anything about Costa Rica. If you choose to marry here in Brazil my first posting to this topic describes the process completely.

If you do decide to marry there then he'll have to register the marriage with the Consulado-Geral do Brasil in Costa Rica.

See the following topic:

Great information as usual!  Couple of questions that pertain to my situation.  I am married to a Brazilian National in Canada.  We have already gone through all of the lengthy documentation requirements including obtaining certified translations, notarized and legalized copies of all required documents.  All of these have been submitted to the Federal Police in Niteroi, RJ.  We were advised it can take up to 2-years to obtain my VIPER visa but as you have clearly stated, I can remain and work in Brazil no mater how long the process takes.   

1)  Today, an officer of the Federal Police contacted us as they would like to conduct a 'home interview' is this normal?  He asked for directions to our condo but did not indicate when he would be coming.  I though that was strange.  Any idea what this process entails and another tidbits you offer?

2)  I am a USA citizen and currently have a tourist visa that will expire next February.  I was issued a 'protocol' document by the Federal Police and was advised that I need to obtain a new one every six months until my application for a VIPER visa is approved by Brasilia.  Since most airline companies do not understand that a Protocol Document  issued by the Federal Police is a valid document to enter the country travel companies routinely any boarding and request that USA citizens obtain a valid tourist visa.   I would like to obtain a new tourist visa in a South American country now as I travel to and from the USA frequently and, if I go to the Consulado in Miami (closest to US residence) it can take up to three weeks due to the backlog at this location.   Do you have any insights on whether can can simply go to Montevideo or Buenos Aires and apply for a tourist visa there or will they claim I have to go back to the USA due to jurisdictional requirements.   

Thanks for your continued help.  You provide a valuable service to this community.

1.  Yes, the home visit is obligatory. The Federal Police must verify that a couple actually does exist. The "Sindicância" as it is called is where they go over all of the documents with the applicant and he/she signs off on the process. At this point the Federal Police handling of the file is complete and they will forward the process to the Ministry of Justice for the ultimate decision.

2.  I take it that you were issued one of the OLD STYLE paper protocolos. Most of the DPF Delegacias have actually done away with this and stamp the passport stating that the individual's status in the country is extended UNTIL PUBLICATION IN THE DIÁRIO OFICIAL DA UNIÃO (DOU).  You might want to go back to the DPF and ask if they have the new protocolo passport stamp and ask if they'd stamp your passport to avoid any problems. If they do not have the new stamp yet, or for some reason will not stamp your passport, then yes, you're required to return to the DPF every 180 days from the application date and have the protocolo stamped with a prorrogação.

Also be aware that the law requires you to report any change of address to the Federal Police within 30 days of any move. DO NOT FORGET THIS VERY IMPORTANT REQUIREMENT.

If you leave Brazil during processing of your VIPER you may be outside the country for a period of up to 90 days from the date on your exit stamp, no longer (except for limited circumstances beyone your control). Once you've received your VIPER that becomes 2 years from the date of departure. Should you stay out of Brazil longer than 2 years permanent resident status is forfeited. This is why many expats actually come back for a quick vacation every two years, there is NO CLEARLY DEFINED MINIMUM STAY in order to retain PR status, theoretically it could be as little as one day!

As far as I'm aware, once you've applied for your VIPER Permanent Visa, the Consulado-Geral do Brasil won't even issue a VITUR Tourist Visa, since in legal terms you do not need one.

EDIT:  Aug. 8, 2014    Yes, they will issue a Consular visa VITUR, and actually it must be valid for re-entry. The 90 day temporary absense rule is only for the VIPER process and does not take the place of your visa.

I was told that if I want to leave Brazil while viper is processing, I would need to contact the federal police agents that do the home visit to notify them and get their permission.

Have the Federal Police already done the home visit for your VIPER Permanent Visa process? If they have not, then yes you do have to let them know that you are leaving Brazil temporarily, so they won't come while you're away. That could really mess things up, but you don't need their "permission". Also, remember that during processing you can only be out of Brazil for up to 90 days and no longer. Also your visa must still be valid or you will need a new one in order to return, I just found that little bit of information out the other day.

If they've already done the home visit for the VIPER I don't believe you need to inform them, but you certainly can if you wish to.

It is not so complicated .. good rules

Thank you so much James, For all your help this website was not only helpful for me tis website saved my life, I was in contact with woodward james during all my proces , and I faces many trouble with the police federal after I got married and because of him and his help I got all my documents done, thank you again.

Hi Midhat,

You're very welcome. I'm glad that I was able to help you resolve all your problems. Just shows you that even the Federal Police aren't always right, they clearly made a very grave mistake in your case which needed to be corrected, not just for you but for every expat who marries a Brazilian citizen.

For the rest of our members I would like to explain your situation more fully so if it happens to one of them they'll know exactly what to do.

Once you are legally married to a Brazilian citizen your visa status legally is no longer relevant. Even the Ministry of Justice's own website makes this fact clear. You can read it yourself: … ermanencia

"Permanência no Brasil

Em regra, somente podem requerer a permanência definitiva no Brasil, estrangeiros em situação migratória regular. No entanto, nas hipóteses em que restar confirmada a "inexpulsabilidade" do estrangeiro (ser genitor ou cônjuge de brasileiro) - Art. 75, II, a eb da Lei 6.815/80  poderá ser afastado o requisito da estada regular, tendo em vista o princípio Constitucional de Proteção à unidade familiar."



As a rule, only foreigners in a regular migratory situation may request Definitive Permanency in Brazil. However, in the case where it is proven the "inexpulsibility" of the foreigner (being parent or spouse of a Brazilian)  - Art. 75, II, a eb da Lei 6.815/80  this provision can be waived, in view of the Constitutional principle of Protection of the Family Unit." (Art. 226 Federal Constitution).

Once married or having a child in Brazil anyone has the legal right to remain in Brazil regardless of their visa status. This is guaranteed by Art. 226 of the Federal Constitution. The Federal Police MUST accept your application for a VIPER Permanent Visa (Permanência Definitiva), they have no choice in this matter, because the Federal Police ARE NOT immigrations authorities, they act only as an agent of the government to collect the information and maintain a registry of foreigners. In fact, on their own forms for requesting permanence they have a line with a checkbox "Pedido de permanência definitiva - inexpulsável".

In this member's case he entered Brazil legally, married during the valid period of his visa and before making the application with the Federal Police his visa stay had expired. The Delegado refused to accept his application and documents, stating that he would have to leave Brazil and apply at the Consulado-Geral do Brasil in his homeland. THIS WAS ABSOLUTELY WRONG. The Delegado was completely mistaken, since the law is clear on this matter.

The refusal to accept the application is a clear violation of an individual's Constitutional Rights. The remedy for such a case is to bring on an application in the Tribunal Regional Federal - TRF for a "Mandado de Segurança". This is a simple process that does not even require a trial or hearing, it is analyzed by a judge in a matter of minutes. In this particular case there is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that had it been necessary to apply for the Order, it certainly would have been granted.

However, with the information I provided Midhat's lawyer she was able to show the Delegado his error, explain the law to him and resolve the issue without further legal action.

Should any of you find yourselves in a similar situation, you have a Brazilian spouse or Brazilian child for all legal purposes YOU ARE NO LONGER A TOURIST. Your visa status is completely irrelevant and the Federal Police CANNOT refuse to accept your application for Permanence. They do not have that authority. If it should happen to you.... stand your ground, obtain a lawyer and fight for your rights. YOU WILL WIN, because the Constitutions guarantees you'll win.

I would like to provide some information that may be helpful to many people. Many of the documents that are listed as `required` (in this blog) to get married to a Brazilian are not required.
I originally read this blog post and was very worried that I was going to have to go back to the United States to get necessary documents. My fiance, however, decided that we should go to the federal police and just ask them what was required. After talking to the federal police, I was relieved. I do not need anything more than my original birth certificate, passport, and entry card from the U.S. (it depends on which cartorio you choose, they can be different, but just ask a different one if the first one requires documents you don´t have). Everything else can be obtained here.

I just thought I would help someone out who may be in the same situation as I am!

Hi Megan,

If you have read the topic from the beginning you'll already know that it has been stated many times that there is absolutely no universality and that each and every Cartório does exactly as it pleases in this regard, they ask for whatever documents they wish.

That does not negate the fact that the documents listed are what Brazilian law requires. But in reality Cartórios will ask for more or for less or whatever they please.

You may have gotten married with less documents, but that is in the Cartório and state that you're in. That does not necessarily mean that someone is going to have the same luck in another state or Cartorio.

The main problem in this country is a law "Desacato de Autoridade".... it's like a judge saying you're in contempt of court, but here it is any public authority, police officer, dog catcher, his parakeet, the guy who owns the hotdog stand on the corner, etc, etc, etc..... you can't even tell public servants in this country that they're wrong, they're clueless, or just plain stupid, because you can go to jail for Desacato... so what is the end result, nothing changes here. Public servants are no longer servants, they've become the MASTERS and we're the servants, like it or not.

Brazilians DID NOT invent bureaucracy.... they just turned it into a science!

I've been here in Brazil for 13 years and lived in 5 different states, you can rest assured that I've picked up a bit of experience along the way.

Hi Megan, I was told that by a Cartorio too. But when the time came to turn in all my documents, they demanded more (same Cartorio). After returning FIVE times and having them jerk me around each time, they finally took my documents.

Each Cartorio is different, but people within the Cartorio don't even know their own rules. You could get 5 people in the same Cartorio giving you different answers.

Honestly, if I was you, I would be a bit skeptical. Nothing is as easy as it seems in Brazil. I'd be very surprised if that's all you will need

It's everywhere in Brazil that requires documents. When they don't want to do anything at that particular moment they request additional documents or they will tell you the system is down. When you do get them to accept your documents, sometimes they hand you half of it back.

meganb :

1.  Many of the documents that are listed as `required` (in this blog) to get married to a Brazilian are not required......

2.   I do not need anything more than my original birth certificate, passport, and entry card from the U.S.

1.  The documents listed here are most certainly REQUIRED, it is mandated by Brazilian law regarding civil marriage.

2.  How do you intent to PROVE that you are not already married if you don't have a Certificate of Non- Impediment?

I´m sorry if it seemed like I was trying to start an argument or say anyone was wrong.
I was just posting about my personal experience. I have friends in Brazil who have not had these problems and complications, either.
All I was trying to do was let people know that sometimes it isn´t as hard as it is for some other people.

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