Drivers license in Brazil

02/17/23 @abthree
Bom dia!

Actually, in my case here in João Pessoa, I had an International Driving Permit from AAA, but when applying for my Brazilian Driver's License, noone ever asked for this. I have many more details of my exceedingly long, frustrating dealings with the local DETRAN bureaucracy here, (2 months and 6 visits to DETRAN) but for now now, suffice it to say, I finally did receive my Carteira Nacional de Habilitação, good for 4 years.
-@MA22


That's right: an IDA is not required when obtaining a Brazilian Driver's License based on a foreign license.  When a person is driving in Brazil on a foreign license, they're expected to have an IDA with their foreign license if the police stop them. 

@abthree Good find. What is not clear to me reading this is if the 180 days is for a lifetime? In other words if I leave Brazil does the 180 days always reset? It says nothing about residency that I remember. And it talks about if the person wants to continue driving they need a Brazilian drivers license after 180 days. So for me I have yet to drive in Brazil. So since I have never drove once yet in Brazil does the 180 days apply to me yet or is it only when I start driving in Brazil does the 180 days start? Seems like a lot of grey areas.

02/17/23 @jasonlovesdogs.  My reading would be that the 180 days keep renewing for anyone who's in Brazil occasionally on a tourist visa, as long as the foreign license and IDP are current.


If stopped, I would expect that a resident who was still driving on a foreign license more than 180 days after the issue date of their CRNM would have some serious explaining to do, and probably should have their phone and enough money on them for an Uber to get home, just in case.

@abthree
Bom dia!

Actually, in my case here in João Pessoa, I had an International Driving Permit from AAA, but when applying for my Brazilian Driver's License, noone ever asked for this. I have many more details of my exceedingly long, frustrating dealings with the local DETRAN bureaucracy here, (2 months and 6 visits to DETRAN) but for now now, suffice it to say, I finally did receive my Carteira Nacional de Habilitação, good for 4 years.
-@MA22


To anyone new to Brazil, or considering a move to Brazil, a good trip to DETRAN always provides a wonderful experience and entry into the true meaning of bureaucracy.

@rraypo


Many GOOD trips haha! 

02/19/23  To anyone new to Brazil, or considering a move to Brazil, a good trip to DETRAN always provides a wonderful experience and entry into the true meaning of bureaucracy.
-@rraypo


True story.


The Sworn Translation of my US license had an electronic signature, which anyone who questioned it could confirm online.  The DETRAN clerk did question it, so I pointed out the link to him.  He looked at it quizically, then said, "Oh, I can't do that.  You'll have to take it to the (in-house) cartório for them to authenticate it."  So I went over the cartório.


"Oh, I can't authenticate this", said the person at the cartório, "because there's nothing here to authenticate.  However, if you like, I can take a copy of it and authenticate THAT."  "How much will that cost?" I asked.  "Twelve Reais." she answered.  "Do it!" I said.


I then took the authenticated copy of the Sworn Translation back to the DETRAN clerk, who happily finished processing my Brazilian license.

I have my residency and a Texas Drivers License.  Do I understand correctly that is I have it translated and signature authenticated I can get a Brazilian Drivers License?  My Portuguese is very limited so I have hesitated to even try!  Is any testing involved or any need for an oral exam?  I have not driven much here after my 180 days.  Any help here would be appreciated.

02/19/23  I have my residency and a Texas Drivers License. Do I understand correctly that is I have it translated and signature authenticated I can get a Brazilian Drivers License? My Portuguese is very limited so I have hesitated to even try! Is any testing involved or any need for an oral exam? I have not driven much here after my 180 days. Any help here would be appreciated.
-@Mikegabriel


Hi, Mike.  Yes, eventually you'll need to get a Brazilian driver's license.  Every state is a little different, so since you live in the State of Rio, you should go to the DETRAN-RJ site to see what their exact requirements are.  One of them will be to present a Sworn Translation of your Texas Driver's License, both sides.  You'll also need to provide copies of your CRNM, proof of address and the fees, of course.  You may need to provide pictures, and other documents.


You should not have to pass a road test.  You will have to pass an eye test, a medical exam, and a psychological behavior/logic test.  After that in Amazonas, I had a choice of either sitting through an ungraded theoretical course (in Portuguese), or taking the written theoretical exam.  I chose the course.  I don't know whether RJ has that step in the process.

I seriously will not sit thru a course or even try to pas an exam in Portuguese.  I guess I will continue to have my driver on hand. Thank you

@Mikegabriel


The only test I had to take was the Psycho-motor. Which was not that difficult except understanding the directions!  lol...She repeated them nicely for me a couple of times for each section. I passed. NO written exams, courses or road tests. Vison and that Psycho-motor test along with the sworn translations of my Minnesota Driver's License.  I am in Joao Pessoa, Paraiba. Maybe different rules where you are...  Best wishes Mike!

Do you need a Brazilian Driver's license to drive the sand dunes in Jericoacoara. I will be getting a two-seater Dune Buggy. Will I have to hire a driver to go on the sand dunes?


Roddie in Retirement1f575.svg

@Texanbrazil Thanx, in an effort to bolster my residency my brazilian wife put the car I bought her in my name. I really don't want to drive in brazil, but if something happens to her (my worst fear) I am better off having my own drivers license. Thanx for the info.


Roddie in Retirement

@Texanbrazil Thanx! To bolster my residency my Brazilian wife had the car I just purchased for her put in my name. I don't want to drive in Brazil, but just in case something happens to her (my worst fears) I will follow your guidance and get a driver's license.


Thanx,


Roddie in Retirement1f575.svg

Good luck!

Hello Sebastian,


Welcome to expat.com!


Perhaps you can start by introducing yourself on the thread New members of the Brazil forum, introduce yourselves here - 20231f609.svg


Cheers,


Yoginee

Expat.com team

I've gotten stopped three times in total. Once in Florianópolis by local police (don't remember if they were civil or military but probably civil because they just yelled at me out of their widow to not drive fast), the next in Rio (Military Police), and the Laayoune on the way to MG from Rio by the PF. The first two instances, the police didn't ask for any drivers license.


The last instance with the PF I gave my Virginia's drivers license and showed a photo of my passport. He said that he needed to see my entry stamp, I told him that I didn't have a photo of that. Then he let me pull up the flight receipt from my last entry into Brazil (December 27) to make sure I haven't physically been here for more than 180 days. I made no mention of my CRNM and when he checked the documents on my car he only checked to make sure that the license plates matched.


Maybe I got lucky, but every time I've handed over my US drivers license, police tend to be a bit more at ease with me.

03/27/23 Maybe I got lucky, but every time I've handed over my US drivers license, police tend to be a bit more at ease with me.
-@okcummings


The thing about being lucky with the Brazilian police is that you can be really lucky -- until suddenly you're not. Sounds like you'll get plenty of opportunity to find out: you've already been pulled over three more times than any expat I know. But just keep rolling those dice, and let us know how it turns out.  It's a great natural experiment.

@abthree clarifying the circumstances of my last response, I was requested to pull over once (Florianópolis, the police actually just pulled up to the side of my car and yelled at me).


the other two times were blitz, the first was by the MP looking for guns and drugs (randomly stopped me in this situation as I drive an unsuspecting fancier car, they didn't check any papers other than my American drivers license). The second time was a blitz by the PF and they were stopping everybody on the road as it was past midnight and there wasn't a ton of traffic. They were very relaxed and patient

I wonder what possible consequences would be if you were found to be in violation? A fine? How much? Loss of driving privileges?

Does anyone have an official link to a Brazilian government site where it says you must obtain a Brazilian drivers license after 180 days?

@jasonlovesdogs



https://www.gov.br/pt-br/servicos-estad … trangeiros


https://www.detran.sp.gov.br/wps/wcm/co … aabbfca197


Here are a couple sites. 


Yes, it is in the law that after 180 days, yoou need to get a Brazilian  Driver's License. I completed this after a long tedious process here in Paraiba. Lots of Bureacracy and people giving me different information.  But I did get it done without needing to take any road tests or behind-the-wheel or classes. I did need official translations of my Minnesota LIcense, and  my previous LIcense, since I had just renewed mine in Minnesota.  You need to show them you've been driving more than one year.  Hope this helps!

Assuming you have permanent residency (RNE) you can get a Brazilian license using your US driver's license. You will need an translated copy of the license from an approved translator. You will then need to visit DTRAN in your state... once you get your US-to-Brazilian license approved you will need to go to DTRAN and pass a vision and hearing test as well as a psychometric test...


the "psych" test is the most difficult as it is in Portuguese... but doable if your wife can help you understand the instructions -- it is basically a kind of IQ test... I recommend you schedule a private test rather than being in a room with others, so you can get individual attention and translation... you will need to know basic Portuguese... but the questions themselves ask you to find and complete patterns...

Hello, i just went to DETRAN today and they are requesting to have a declaration of my American driver license for its validity.  So is it possible to get a declaration from American consulate?


    Hello, i just went to DETRAN today and they are requesting to have a declaration of my American driver license for its validity.  So is it possible to get a declaration from American consulate?
   

    -@deafmgecko


Are you sure they do not mean an official translation? This will show the validity...

@Peter Itamaraca


I have a sworn translation of my driver license.  He gave me a paper of list for requirements to get Brazilian driver license.


It said " It is essential in all cases to present a Declaration from the respective Embassy attesting to the validity of the foreign qualification."


I'm not sure if Embassy do a declaration of the driver license.  I emailed American consulate to see what they said.  Haven't heard from them yet.


   02/16/24 Hello, i just went to DETRAN today and they are requesting to have a declaration of my American driver license for its validity.  So is it possible to get a declaration from American consulate?
   

    -@deafmgecko


That's a very unusual request.  What Brazilian state are you in?  Has your US license expired?

@abthree


I'm in Federal District.  No, my driver license is active until 2029.


I know it's strange request.  I'm not sure why.  It may be a new requirement.


    @Peter Itamaraca I have a sworn translation of my driver license.  He gave me a paper of list for requirements to get Brazilian driver license.It said " It is essential in all cases to present a Declaration from the respective Embassy attesting to the validity of the foreign qualification."I'm not sure if Embassy do a declaration of the driver license.  I emailed American consulate to see what they said.  Haven't heard from them yet.        -@deafmgecko


Knowing Brasilian regulations and their nuances.......where do I get a copy of this government "declaration" from.......online perhaps ? DETRAN ? Any idea ?


  02/16/24  @abthreeI'm in Federal District.  No, my driver license is active until 2029.I know it's strange request.  I'm not sure why.  It may be a new requirement.        -@deafmgecko


It's a VERY weird request, and one that may be impossible to satisfy:  a driver's license in the United States is a state document, and I'm not aware of a federal entity like the Embassy or Consulates vouching for any state documents.  To make matters worse, the DETRAN-DF website is unusually unhelpful and uninformative.


I hope that the US Consulate responds to you to clarify their position, which will at least give you a document to show them at DETRAN.


You may have just gotten a bad clerk, and trying at a different time may make the problem go away.  You may also have to go through a despachante.  Good luck!

@abthree


Yeah, I just got an email from American consulate and they said they don't do declarations for this type of document.  They recommend to do apostille for the driver license which means I have to get it in Florida that is where I got driver license from.  It's ridiculous.

*** is excellent if you need to go the apostille route. They do 50 states and D.C ., provide you with a PDF of the apostilled document and ship original to you here. Not inexpensive, but if you need it they are a good option.


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