International Relocation for Expats in Brazil

Author: Jim Newham
Submitted: February 2015

Moving to a new country is an exciting prospect. However, you will quickly find yourself with a near endless to do list: apply for a visa, obtain a work permit, look for work, find accommodation, move belongings to your new home... It can be wearisome indeed dealing with bureaucracy in two countries  – especially with one of them being Brazil – and trying to arrange everything on time. However, the key is to familiarise yourself with what is required and start planning well in advance! In this respect, Expat Briefing articles on Brazil offer a great starting point.

Relocation Companies

In recent years, relocation companies have become very popular with expats moving to international destinations. Most of these companies do a lot more than merely arrange the removal of your belongings. For example, they can also help you to apply for visas and look for accommodation, fulfil administrative requirements and advise you how best to settle into your new environment. Using the services of a relocation company will save you a great deal of bureaucratic legwork and ensure that your relocation meets all rules and regulations in the destination country. Of course, they do want remuneration for their services, but they are certainly an option worth considering.

You can either look for a relocation company in your home country or for one in Brazil. It is best to take some time to shop around, getting quotes from different companies, as prices may vary significantly. In addition, make sure to check which additional services are included in the price, and whether company is registered with an international network such as the Federation of International Furniture Removers, FIDI. Some companies that offer relocation services to Brazil are:

Moving your Belongings

Packing is never much fun, so before you start, take a long hard look at your possessions. What do you really need? The more belongings you have, the more likely you are to need a removal firm. As these companies charge by volume (and by weight, for air removals), the more stuff you have, the more it will cost to move. So remember the old adage: if in doubt, chuck it out! Easy methods of lightening the load include donating to charity shops and selling goods online or to second-hand dealers.

For a cheaper option, you can simply use a relocation company to do the removal alone. Equally, you can use the services of a specialist removal company to move your belongings. These companies are also able to move any pets and vehicles you have. It is highly advisable to make an inventory and take out independent insurance. Specialist international removal companies operating in Brazil include:

For short distances, an even more budget-friendly option is moving to Brazil by car. This may involve multiple trips, which will raise the total cost somewhat. Hiring a van is also likely to be economical, provided you have less than a vanful of belongings or the distance you are moving is not too great.

If you still have some items left over, you could consider sending them. Most airlines will only allow one free piece of luggage when travelling into the country. Sending items via post or express delivery services such as DHL or UPS is only feasible for small items, as heavy parcels tend to have high price tags. Then again, parcels do normally have a maximum delivery cost.

Note that the belongings you can move may be restricted, or they may be subject to import duty, port charges and broker fees. In general, to be allowed into Brazil duty free, most household items and personal belongings must not be new. For information on how to move to Brazil with your family and pets, see Relocating with Families and Pets.

Importing your Vehicle

If you are thinking about permanently moving your vehicle into Brazil, be aware that there are some big hurdles to overcome. First of all, only new and vintage cars (over 30 years old) may be imported into the country. More importantly, there is a welter of bureaucratic procedures you have to negotiate to get your vehicle imported. Put very briefly, this is as follows:

All the above websites are in Portuguese only. The vehicle import process is so Byzantine that you can hire a specific person, a despachante, to help guide you through it. You may also want to hire a lawyer to assist you further. Alternatively, as it may cost more to import your vehicle than it is worth, you could forget the whole thing and just buy a car in Brazil. Or even, considering the way many Brazilians drive, take public transport instead! For more information on driving and public transport in Brazil, see Driving and Public Transport.

Arriving in Brazil

After successfully relocating to Brazil, you will have to take care of several administrative matters, such as opening a bank account, registering with a doctor and declare your presence to the police. To find out more, have a look at other sections of our Expat Briefing Website and consult the website for the Federal Police (the Brazilian Immigration Authority.)