Opinion, by Sam Flowers
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Are you considering or already pursuing the Investor Visa, to stay in Brazil long term? Then at some point you will likely ask: “How long does it take to get it?” The short answer: it takes much longer than you want it to. Sorry to disappoint you but it’s true.
Lately several people have asked me this exact question and they are quite surprised by my answer. In my case the Investor Visa took ten months from start to finish, and I have yet to meet anyone who made it through the process any faster.
Most people I have met who are here on the Investor Visa actually waited longer than I and suffered more obstacles and delays. I wanted to address this question about the duration of the process since my last article describing the steps to obtain the visa, did not include a specific timeline.
So why does it take so long? Basically, because the process is dependent on several third parties that do not have any real incentive to work faster or more efficiently:
- the Junta Comercial which is the government office that approves the establishment of companies;
- the Federal Police that are the gatekeepers on any type of visa;
- the Ministry of Labor that ultimately approves Investor/Work Visas;
- the bank you choose for your company’s business account;
- the lawyers, accountants, consultants, agents that you hire to help you go through the process.
You are truly dependent on each of these entities and even with lots of money, you have little leverage to induce them to work faster. They will earn well whether you get your visa or not, and whether or not you get it quickly. In fact they may truly earn more when you encounter obstacles to overcome.
Again I repeat, “you will likely need ten months or more to get the Investor Visa.” Plan accordingly so you don’t create other complications. For example, manage your time in Brazil to the maximum 180 days per calendar year so you don’t overstay your current tourist or other temporary visa.
Also, recognize that you will need to operate without a bank account that you legally control for this entire period; generally banks only open accounts for people with permanent visas. These are two key things to address in your up front planning.
I have met a few people now who suffered a lot of complications because they assumed things would move faster. I acknowledge and caveat that my perspective is informed by a small sample and relates specifically to Rio de Janeiro.
That said, I’m pretty confident after four years of talking to all types of foreign business people that I’m on target. If you are interested in more detail about why the process takes so long or how to plan for it, I’m happy to help.
Sam Flowers is an American living in Rio de Janeiro who created and founded the Gringo Café in Ipanema in 2010. A former executive and consultant with twenty years experience in Corporate Strategy, Brand Marketing and Finance, Sam also offers consulting services to foreign businesses and people entering or adapting to Brazil. Contact Sam at firstname.lastname@example.org.