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This moving guide is written for expats by expats. It covers key points you’ll need to think of when moving to Brazil, from choosing a reputable international removal company and the details of the move itself to the first day in your new home. It’s been designed to help make your relocation to Brazil as easy as possible, starting with some key facts about the country.
Covering 8.5 million square kilometres, Brazil is a nation of superlatives. South America’s largest country is also the world’s longest, the fifth-largest nation in terms of area, and the sixth-most populous. Unsurprisingly, it’s a land of huge geographical contrasts. The populations of so many of Brazil’s largest cities, concentrated in the south and east, are counted in millions. Yet venture north and you can lose yourself in remote communities in the astonishing landscapes of the Amazon Rainforest. Besides geographical opposites, Brazil is also a country of diverse cultures and communities. Immigration has been a theme running through its history. So many nations are represented, particularly in the big cities, and if you join them in moving there, you’ll be part of this trend.
While the national language is Portuguese, around 7% of Brazil’s population is of Spanish origin, and the two countries have long and close links going back to the Middle Ages, when Portugal and Spain colonised South America. Today, there are still strong connections. Spain is one of Brazil’s most important foreign investors, and several big-name Spanish companies have a presence in Brazil. And they share cultural and linguistic connections, which will help make finding a job and settling-in that little bit easier.
Brazil borders every country in South America with the exception of Chile and Ecuador, which makes travel (with the correct visa permissions) a great possibility.
Brazil has the largest economy in South America; as one of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries, it is emerging as a new global economic leader. So many of its cities have a boomtown feel, and the number of big-investment infrastructure projects has surged. Brazil enjoys the benefits of being rich in resources, and the economy is also boosted by the powerhouse of São Paulo. The world’s fourth-largest city by population, this huge metropolis is the country’s financial hub. You’ll find many big global names represented in the large urban centres, where numerous international professionals have set up home.
Brazil is home to some of the world’s most iconic attractions:
Landmarks: Rio de Janeiro is famous for the twin landmarks of the Christ the Redeemer statue and Sugar Loaf Mountain, symbols of Brazil.On the Argentinian border, you’ll find the spectacular Iguaçu Falls.
Carnival: Rio also hosts the famous Carnival.
Music and art: The home of samba, bossa nova and sertanejo. Indulge yourself in the art scene and galleries in the cities.
Architecture: Brazil’s cities are known for their beautiful Neoclassical and Baroque style and their jaw dropping brutalist structures.
Rainforests cover almost 60% of the entire area of Brazil. The Amazon Rainforest is the most famous, approximately 10 times the size of Spain and covering approximately 5 million square kilometres, boasts an incredible array of wildlife.
Finally, Brazil is famous for its beaches, and the country has such a long coastline, there are plenty to choose from. You’ll be spoilt for choice. Besides the famous sands at Copacabana and Ipanema, Caraiva in Bahia and Praia da Fazenda in São Paulo State are all iconic beaches.
Key questions and things to consider before your move to Brazil from Spain:
Yes. Brazil’s restrictions are some of the world’s most liberal, and you’ll be able to move. COVID-19 measures still apply in Spain though, so you’ll need to take some extra factors into account when travelling.
Regulations are regularly changing. A reputable international moving company will be able to provide the latest update on requirements.
Travel advice: The Brazilian Government’s travel advice website for people travelling to Brazil from the EU and Schengen states has additional and detailed advice. If in doubt, you should contact your international moving company to discuss the requirements.
The COVID-19 restrictions and regulations are regularly changing. Please therefore confirm with us today. You will need to complete a health declaration form before entering.
There are a few. As for other countries, you’ll need to show that you’ve taken a PCR test with a negative result, within 72 hours of boarding. You’ll also need to fill in a passenger locator form.
Yes, unless you’re a returning Brazilian citizen. In general, before you can move to Brazil, you’ll need permission to live there. However, citizens of certain countries, including Spain and other EU nations, can stay in Brazil for up to 90 days visa-free.
Types of work Spanish citizens moving to Brazil: If you’re staying in Brazil for work purposes, you’ll require a work permit and a work visa. The temporary Vitem V Visa is issued to foreign nationals working in Brazil. After two years, certain Vitem V Visa holders can apply for Permanent Work Visa.
Brazilian citizens: If you’re a Brazilian citizen, you’re automatically entitled to travel to Brazil to work there.
Family members and accompanying adults: If you’re moving to Brazil as a family unit or as a couple, check that each member can live, study or work legitimately. Accompanying partners, for example, may not be permitted to work.
Documents commonly required: A valid passport, an up-to-date CV/resume, educational/professional qualification, certificates, marriage certificates, birth certificates for accompanying children.
Have you already started your application? If yes, please ask for a move quote. Get a free quote here. If not, please, why not check Sterling Lexicon’s immigration updates or talk to a Visa Consultant. Sterling Lexicon provides the first 30 mins free to help you understand what is required. Contact the team here.
*The information above is for general purposes and should not be used as legal advice. Please consult a qualified immigration lawyer.
You’ll need an address, whether temporary or permanent. You should specify where you’ll be staying upon entering the country.
Temporary accommodation: when you arrive in Brazil, you’ll need somewhere to stay, either a temporary or permanent address. Firms such as Sterling Lexicon can assist with accommodation at great rates.
Rental property: For a rental property, you’ll need a signed lease showing the property address.
Home purchase: If you’ve purchased a property, a copy of the lease agreement and mortgage statement will be required, together with address details.
Public healthcare exists, but many people have private insurance: Brazil’s publicly-funded healthcare system, the Sistema Único de Saúde or SUS, is available to everyone. However, many expats have experienced gaps in provision or other issues such as waiting times. They therefore recommend taking out private health insurance.
Get a health insurance quote for Brazil: If you’re thinking of health insurance, we recommend getting a competitive quote. Sterling Lexicon has an arrangement with William Russell, who will be happy to provide a competitive quote. Get a health insurance quote today.
Personal income is subject to tax on a progressive basis, and you’ll also pay security contributions, which are deducted from your salary. A double taxation treaty exists between Spain and Brazil, which means that income earned in Brazil won’t be taxed in Spain.
*Information provided above is for awareness purposes only and should not be used as tax advice. Please ensure you consult with a qualified tax advisor.
The checklist below will help you plan each stage of your move to Brazil.
Moving to Brazil is very different to moving house within Spain, so it is advisable to find a reputable specialist international moving company to help you navigate the key stages of your move to Brazil.
Remember that your international moving company will be responsible for moving all your household goods to Brazil and guaranteeing the payment of carrier charges. So check that the international moving company is certified, with all the correct insurance.
You should start by obtaining an international move; the easiest method is through an online Move Quote Form.
A reputable international mover will normally want to discuss your move with you . Doing so will give your company an accurate idea of all your needs, so it will be able to advise you correctly. Any potential challenges can be identified at this early stage, enabling you to address them sooner rather than later.
You may be asked to take part in a pre-move survey of your home contents, which makes certain that you receive an accurate move quote. Some movers do this via an app, which works on your mobile and is very similar to a standard video call, in which you walk around your home and point out what you want to move.
When you speak to the moving company, you may like to ask about the following during the video survey:
Delicate items, antiques, and fine art should be highlighted to ensure they receive particular treatment such as casing and additional protection and meet specific handling requirements. Fine art will also have precise customs requirements.
Your International Move Summary and Quote will usually be issued shortly after the survey. Check the details to make sure that everything is clear. If you receive more than one quote, you should check that you’re getting a like-for-like comparison.
Important note about “ballpark quotes” over the phone. You may be offered a quick international move quote by phone with the option of making a reservation there and then, with a small deposit. Please remember that without a full assessment, the final price may be very different from the original quote, and you’ll have to pay extra charges. As standard, Sterling Lexicon gathers all the information for an accurate price and thus minimises the potential for additional charges.
Just review your move summary and quote, then reply to book your move date. If you’ve any questions, simply call your Move Specialist.
Review your quote: when you check your quote, confirm that it includes everything you requested.
Sterling Lexicon Price Promise: if you’re comparing quotes, contact your Sterling Lexicon Move Specialist to get the best possible price.
In some cases, you may be asked to pay a deposit to book your move. You can pay by credit card over the phone, the safest method, or your mover may enable online payment.
Usually, you can save time by using the international moving company’s web portal to track progress of your move, access information and receive notifications. Ask if your international moving company offers this option.
Once you secure your move date, you can start to prepare your home for your move to Brazil. Check out this Ultimate Guide to International House Removals.
Your selected removals company should confirm key dates. If you book with Sterling Lexicon, your Move Specialist will provide you with a detailed summary, with packing dates and estimated shipping times. Be sure to add these dates to your diary!
You’ll have to complete some paperwork at this stage, mostly concerning customs, insurance, and service instructions. Check the list below.
Brazil is known for requiring a bit more paperwork than other countries so be prepared. Luckily if you have selected a decent international moving company they will be able to help you through this process. They can assist you with filling out the Brazilian customs documentation correctly, which includes a copy - in Portuguese - of all the items you are bringing into the country.
You should start by getting your home ready for the packing crews. First, sort out those items you want to take with you and store those that will stay. Items transported by air should be put to one side. If you’ve any pictures, you can take them down and place them on the floor, against the wall, ready for packing. Large items can be set aside for the moving company to dismantle, or you can do this. Place all small parts in a dedicated box so they can be put together at your destination.
Work through your home. Any items that can’t be taken (e.g. prohibited items) should be set aside. Your moving company may provide you with stickers to label items ready for the packing crews. Make sure you clear the loft, basement, and any outhouses.
Put all the nuts and bolts from dismantled furniture, remote controls, etc. into a single box, which should be marked accordingly. Also, you should set aside a box for cutlery, plates, cups, blankets, etc. for your first evening at your new place. These boxes should be clearly identified and the last things to be loaded, to make them easy to find.
Put your passport, visa, phone, charger, power pack, adaptor, documents, and jewellery and medicine aside in a clearly identifiable container so that they aren’t packed. Also, keep your important documents such as insurance contract(s), lease contract for your new home, mortgage letter, etc. in a wallet – and you must have physical and digital copies available.
If your pets are moving with you, please talk to your Move Specialist regarding the specific requirements for your pet. For example, if you have a cat or dog, it will have different requirements to a reptile or an exotic pet. If you choose to move with Sterling Lexicon, the team will provide a consultation and can arrange a suitable time and date to collect your pet(s). For more details, read here.
On the first day of your move, you can expect the packing team to arrive at your home at the agreed time. Companies like Sterling Lexicon will ensure that the packing team introduce themselves for security purposes. Usually, you’ll then walk through your home and discuss what you’re packing for transport by sea or air, items for storage or special care, and possessions that you won’t be taking.
Professionally trained international packing crews
Sterling Lexicon’s professional international packing crews are some of the best in the business and have been working for the company for many years. We only use people we would trust in our own home, so we know they will be professional and respectful in yours too. Their experience ensures all your personal possessions are packed perfectly to withstand being handled and transported over thousands of miles.
Check the packing materials being used are sustainable and are of the required standard. Reputable companies will use packing materials that offer the highest level of protection and are environmentally-friendly. For example, they’ll use sustainable and 4-6 ply export wrap, thick-walled specific packing boxes, acid-free tissue paper, cornering for furniture and thick carding. Expect the packing crews to use specialist export wrapping techniques to work safely and take measures to protect your home from damage. The crews should also recycle as much as possible.
Inform your Move Specialist of all the items that you intend to take so that they can advise you on any restricted items and on anything that could incur customs duties. You’ll thus be able to talk to them before the move and find the most cost-effective way to handle your move and keep costs down.
Here is the current list of prohibited and restricted items, as defined by the Brazilian customs authorities. If in doubt, speak to your Move Specialist.
Once the packing has been completed, a packing inventory list is generated, itemising everything that has been packed. Keep hold of this until your possessions have arrived in Brazil and are unpacked in your new home.
Your belongings will be transported approximately 8,200 kilometres between Spain and Brazil. You can protect your move by taking out an insurance policy, which will cover your personal items, furniture, art collections, etc. Ask your Move Specialist to help get you covered.
In some cases it may be advantageous to put items into storage, you should ask your international mover for secure storage in Spain before shipping. Your mover should also be able to offer storage in Brazil.
Your international removals company will prepare your possessions for transportation. For the least environmental impact, sea freight is the best way to move your household goods to Brazil. In addition, an air shipment of your most essential items will normally be required. air.
It should take at least 6 to 8 weeks for your sea shipment to arrive. Bear in mind that this will vary, depending on customs clearance and which part of Brazil you’re moving to.
Household goods being moved to Brazil will be subject to customs clearance checks. Your international mover will normally provide this as part of their service, but you should check this is the case. If you use Sterling Lexicon, it will help you complete the forms in advance and manage the clearance process.
Give yourself enough time to get to the airport. Before you travel, check you’ve all your documents ready and to hand. And double-check you’ve done everything to travel legally in terms of visa, COVID and travel arrangements.
Until your belongings arrive, you’ll probably stay in temporary accommodation or a hotel. Please let your Move Specialist know when you’ve arrived at the airport and gone through customs. Some companies can help you find temporary accommodation in Brazil. Contact Sterling Lexicon for a temporary accommodation quote.
Your international moving company should handle the customs clearance process for you. They will notify you when your household goods have cleared customs and will discuss the delivery date to your new home.
You’ll need to get all your utilities set up, register for a local doctor and dentist, open a bank account (if not already organised) and attend to any other practical matters. Do speak to your international mover at the beginning of the move process, because often you can arrange a lot of this in advance.
Welcome to your new home! It’s time to get to explore your new neighbourhood.
Settling-in and orientation support
If you have moved with Sterling Lexicon and would like any local advice on places to help you settle-in, or you need additional support for the practical things such as utilities, local expat club introductions, schools, or anything else. Simply contact your Sterling Lexicon Move Specialist.
If you need to discuss the process of applying for a Brazilian visa, our specialists can help. The first 30 minutes are free and will help you get a better idea of or reconfirm what you need. Speak to our immigration team.
Since 1990, we’ve been moving classic cars and motorcycles. Speak to us today about a quote for importing your car or motorcycle to Brazil.
We operate a network of temporary accommodation providers across Brazil and work with them to offer you the best rates. Speak to your Move Specialist to help them offer you the best price. They can also handle the booking for you. Get a temporary accommodation quote.
If you’ve fine art you wish to take as part of your move, we can offer the assistance of art technicians, specialist art crating and fine art shipping services. Your art collection will receive exceptional care. Please contact us for a consultation.
Why not speak to one of our team today so they can answer your questions clearly and simply. Call today.
The top city destinations for expats in Brazil are:
Brazil’s largest city is also the world’s fourth-largest population centre by population, with 12 million inhabitants. A sea of skyscrapers, the metropolis is also the Brazilian financial capital and a political, administrative, and cultural centre. In addition, São Paulo is famed for its diversity, and residents from all four corners of the earth have made it their home.
This sprawling seaside city of around 6 million people is where you’ll find some of Brazil’s most iconic sights, including the Christ the Redeemer statue and the Copacabana and Ipanema Beaches. Rio is also famous for the raucous Carnaval festival, regarded as the largest event of its kind. As well as being a leading tourist destination, Rio de Janeiro is also a leading business centre and home to multinationals, as well as being a significant centre for R&D.
Salvador is the capital city of the state of Bahia. It is one of the oldest cities of South America and famous for its Portuguese architecture, afro-Brazilian culture and its location on the coast of the Bay of saints. It is famous for its Carnival.
The Capital city of Brazil. Less familiar and smaller than Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, the Brazilian capital is a new city, founded in 1960, which gives it a very different atmosphere from its larger rivals. Brazil’s capital is famed for its daring modern architecture and open spaces, and as well as being the political centre of Brazil, Brasilia plays an important economic role.
Wherever you want to move to in Brazil, Sterling Lexicon offers competitive move quotes. Speak to the team and get a free quote today.
For a free moving quote to Brazil from Spain, complete this moving quote form. One of our Move Specialists will then be in contact within 24 hours.
Get ahead and book your free video survey. This allows Sterling Lexicon to accurately estimate the weight and volume of your household goods and get you the best price for your move. All you need is a smart phone and a Move Specialist will guide you through everything at a time that is most convenient for you. To book your video survey, speak to your Move Specialist.
Payment can be made by credit card over the phone or you can pay online.
Each year we help many returning residents, diplomats and professionals moving for work and with their families to move to Brazil. We help them with their visas, finding homes, schools, moving and support at their destination. Everything needed to start a new life chapter of living and working in Brazil.