Retirement for Expats in Brazil

Author: Jason Zhou
Submitted: July 2014

Brazil is fast becoming a popular retirement destination for people from all over the world, especially for retirees from North America. The warm weather in the north of Brazil and low living cost, especially the low prices of property, attract many people each year.

Brazil is friendly to foreign retirees. There is a retirement visa, called Permanent Residence Visa – Retirement (VIPER). To qualify, you need to be over 50 years old and you should have a monthly passive income of Brazilian Reais 6,000 (BRL6,000). If you want to apply with your spouse, then you need to prepare another BRL2000 per month. You should apply in person and it may take approximately eight weeks for you to gain a visa. For more information about the visa, you can check here:

Health care is a major consideration. For expatriates in Brazil the cost of healthcare may be much cheaper than certain countries, such as the US. There are generally two types of healthcare services, public hospitals and private hospitals. Public hospitals can be found in most major cities, they provide good services and they are free for Brazilian residents, including qualifying expatriates. However, they are often overcrowded and practitioners who can speak foreign languages are not readily available. If you cannot speak Portuguese, it might be easier to seek service from an international hospital. Private hospitals provide excellent services and are considered to be the leading healthcare provider in South America. Many expatriates intend to seek help from private hospitals, even without private medical insurance which is normally required before entering Brazil. The cost of typical medical insurance can be about BRL6,000 per year.

In Brazil, employees, certain self-employed persons and individuals earning business income through a trade activity are obliged to pay contributions into the state pension scheme (Instituto de Seguridade Social- INSS). If you retire from other countries, you do not need to worry about this, but you will need to make sure your pension income can be paid to your account in Brazil if you plan to live there for a long time.

It should be noted that an individual is considered a resident if they have physically been in Brazil for 183 days within a 12 months period.  Resident individuals are liable to pay tax on their worldwide incomes. Non-residents are taxable only on incomes derived from Brazil. Therefore, it is always recommended that you should consider the tax consequences before you retire to Brazil as a long term resident. 

Most people would like to keep their living standards similar to what they had before retirement. However, many studies have shown that people are highly likely find their savings finishing much earlier than expected. It is therefore recommended to establish a detailed retirement plan and start saving now, regardless of your age. A retirement plan should include; your expected retirement age, the lifestyle you would like to have during retirement, the cost of living you would expect, sources of your income, the level of risk from your source of income and a strategy to meet your goals. For a general idea about the cost of living in Brazil, you can check here: .

For further information about where to live in Brazil, see Where To Live for Expats in Brazil.