Family Members and Marriage for Expats in Brazil

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: June 2014

Family Members

Ideally, when you immigrate to another country, you are able to bring your partner and children with you at the same time. If this is not financially or otherwise possible, you may need to spend some time working in Brazil and possibly sending money to your home country to help support your family. Once you have started to familiarise yourself with Brazil, and found some suitable family accommodation, and perhaps looked into schools and such things, you may find it easier to move the rest of your family into the country.

If you are the spouse, parent or dependant of a Brazilian citizen or permanent resident, you can apply for permanent visas for yourself and any dependants you may have. Dependent parents and any dependent children under 21 (or under 24 if in full-time education) can all apply for permanent visas. In all these cases, application is made to the Ministry of Justice, via the Federal Police. You do not necessarily need to have a permanent visa to get family members into Brazil. A temporary visa can do this too.

Similarly, when applying for a permanent visa, you can simultaneously apply on behalf of your spouse and dependants. In such cases, the family members are not granted permission to work. If they want to do so, they will each need to apply for a work permit. All supporting documents not issued in Brazil must be notarised, and accompanied by a certified translation if they are not in Portuguese.


In Brazil, the minimum age you can marry is 16 for both sexes. However, parental consent is required for parties under 18. In exceptional circumstances such as pregnancy, the authorities may permit marriage under the age of 16. 

With its many attractions, Brazil may be considered a popular destination for non-residents to get married. However, (as is usual for Brazil), the bureaucratic procedures you will need to go through may be off-putting. The first step is to declare your intention to marry at the Civil Registry Office (Cartório de Regístro Civil.) This should be done at least a month before the planned date of the ceremony. In addition to completing the marriage application form, documents you will need to present are typically as follows:

Certified translations must be provided whenever they are necessary; these must be authenticated by a notary (tabelião.) The names and ID numbers of witnesses also need to be provided.

For the next 15 days, notice of the intention to marry is displayed on the walls of the registry office. After this time, the registry office will issue you with a 90-day marriage licence, allowing the wedding ceremony to go ahead. Note that marrying a Brazilian citizen does not automatically confer citizenship.

Marriage is not possible in Brazil for same-sex couples, though since 2011 stable gay and lesbian unions have been recognised and afforded some degree of protection under law regarding rights of inheritance.