By Jaylan Boyle, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – The long-awaited immigration amnesty is at last a reality, and a canvassing of opinion among Gringoes indicates that an easier time is being had by those outside Rio and São Paulo.
While some in the smaller centers are getting the job done in twenty minutes, others, many in São Paulo, are struggling to identify when the doors will open to the appointed office. Some in Rio have reported that they are not receiving replies from the Policia Federal to application appointment requests, and instances of computer systems down for long periods.
An unforeseen difficulty for some is the requirement of applicant’s parents names to be authenticated by a consulate. For many, including British, Americans, Australians and New Zealanders, this is problematic as not all passports contain this information. The only solution is to make an appointment with one’s consulate to obtain a certificate with parent’s names. A birth certificate is not required by all consulates, including the British, where a self-declaration of one’s parents names is sufficient.
Another issue is the lack of clarification on when an applicant became ‘irregular’; the law states that the prospective resident must be illegal when they apply, however although one must have arrived in Brazil prior to February 1 of this year, the applicant’s status may change to illegal until the amnesty ends in December.
The press office of the Policia Federal has told The Gringo Times that applicant numbers are below expectations, which begs the question of whether many illegal workers see rectifying their situation a necessity. The amnesty is primarily aimed at migrant laborers rather than tourists, many hailing from the likes of Bolivia and Columbia.
The point has been raised that applicants should not expect too much help from their consulates. To give significant assistance would technically be abetting overstays, putting foreign countries in a precarious position with the Brazilian government. It seems that most consulates, besides authenticating documents, are not giving advice on the amnesty.
Jenny Smith from Porto Alegre is an encouraging success story for those about to take the leap. She has been in Brazil for fifteen months, twelve of which she has overstayed her visa. Jenny reports that the process took twenty minutes from start to finish.
“In my case, the process went remarkably and rather unexpectedly smoothly. I had only two minor glitches: my first trip to the Policia Federal was too early and they didn’t have procedures in place yet; the second was the added requirement of the Consular Certificate.”
Now that the amnesty is well underway, procedural difficulties should have been resolved, and it is hoped that the process will get smoother with time. Here in Rio, wildly differing experiences have been reported, with some finding the same level of service as did Jenny Smith in Porto Alegre.
Most Gringoes on the various amnesty blogs agree that almost everyone in an irregular situation will be eligible, but that attention to detail when collecting required documentation is key to avoid trudging home empty-handed and facing the bureaucratic machine all over again.
– 2 passport photos
– Consular document stating parent’s names (essential for passports without parent’s names)
– Passport and authentic copies of all pages of passport (including blank pages)
– Entry card (white paper given to arrivals in Brazil)
– Amnesty registration form (obtainable from the Policia Federal)
– Declaration of a clean criminal record (also available from PF)
– Receipts of the payments of the taxes
Contact your consulate: