Your first step is to acquire a passport. Passports are easily obtained at a post office or passport agency, but expect to pay about $100 if you are a first-time applicant. You will need to provide proof of U.S. citizenship (such as a birth certificate), proof of identity (such as a driver's license, military ID or government employee ID), and two recent (within the last 6 months) color photographs no larger than 2"x2". Many post offices are equipped to take passport photos, but independent photo establishments also exist. Your passport is valid for 10 years and you should receive it in 6-8 weeks unless requesting expedited service.
Once you've obtained a passport, you must acquire a visa from a Brazilian consular office which authorizes you to live and work in the country, which is really just a stamp on a page in your passport. Immigration authorities will refuse entry to Brazil to anyone not possessing a valid visa. All Brazilian visas, regardless of the length of validity, must initially be used within 90 days of the issuance date or will no longer be valid. Visas are usually processed within one business week, not including postal delivery time.
The Brazilian Embassy has a list of consular offices based outside Washington D.C. You will need to send the following to the regional office that has jurisdiction over your state:
Your visa application;
1 passport-style photograph;
a copy of your round-trip ticket or travel itinerary containing your name;
a copy of your driver's license;
(and if you have visited certain countries in the last 90 days, sometimes a Yellow Fever vaccination report.
Additionally, for a work visa (or VITEM-V), you will need to submit a business letter on company letterhead, which meets the following requirements:
* The name of a reference/visiting firm in Brazil.
* Detailed explanation of the nature of business to be performed as well as duration of stay.
* Company guarantee of financial responsibility for all travel expenses incurred by you.
Expect to pay about $100 for your application, a $130 "reciprocity" fee (an identical fee is paid by Brazilian citizens who apply for a visa to travel to the U.S.), and a $20 fee if you are not applying in person.
As shown, in order to work in Brazil you will need to meet certain requirements. Specifically, you must already have an employment contract with a corporation "or other legal entity based in Brazil", or be involved in some form of professional or educational training immediately after graduation from a vocational school or university.
Because you must, in most cases, already have a job offer waiting in Brazil before you are eligible to receive a business visa, it's likely you'll be doing your job search from the U.S. Depending on your field of expertise, your success may vary. Some places to start are:
The greatest number and variety of employment opportunities are to be found in the major urban areas such as Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, or São Paulo. And while it would not only be practically useful but a sparkling resume item to speak conversational Portuguese, these are also the areas you are most likely to find positions to accommodate a native English speaker. Portuguese is the official language of Brazil and is used for many business purposes and media.
In May 2008, it was reported that the unemployment rate is about 8%. By comparison, the unemployment rate in the U.S. for June 2008 as reported by the Dept of Labor is about 5.5%. According to Wikipedia, Brazilian exports are "booming" with major exports including aircraft, automobiles, ethanol, textiles, and electrical equipment. Biofuels and deep-water oil are also beginning to provide energy independence. There are a number of U.S. companies with sites based in Brazil; of the 500 largest American companies listed in Fortune magazine in mid-2007, 193 (37%) have business in Brazil.
INCOME AND TAXES
A full-time work week is 44 hours, for which you can expect an average monthly middle-class income of a little more than R$1000 (US$635). One U.S. dollar is equal to 1.6 Brazilian Reals. Because your business visa gives you residency status in Brazil, you will also be required to pay income tax of about 15% per annum.
Tips & Warnings
Any trans-national relocation is an exciting and major life event and can easily become overwhelming. Take the time to review all information available and speak with informed officials about the best course of action for your specific situation.