Country Facts – Brazil | Living and working in Brazil Sign up to our mailing list
best live chat
Quick Quote
  • (inc. country & area code)
  • Please note this service is only available during London office hours. If your call is urgent we will endeavour to get back to you at the earliest possible opportunity.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Country Facts – Brazil

This information is provided to offer guidance to those seeking to live and work overseas. Whilst this information has been compiled by the UK FCO and is therefore aimed at UK nationals, the advice may be appropriate to many nationalities looking to find additional information on a particular country.


Colourful, vibrant and diverse, Brazil is making its mark as an up and coming destination for Brits looking to move abroad. We speak to Steve Giannandrea, Vice Consul for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to get his inside tips.

“Brazil is often described as a continent within a continent. All of Western Europe would comfortably fit into Brazil with room to spare. São Paulo state alone is about the size of Great Britain. I would say that people can easily find their ideal location in Brazil given the diversity of the country – from quiet coastal towns in the northeast like Fortaleza to the busier cities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The cost of living and excellent weather make it a perfect retirement destination. Some of Brazil’s larger cities can have issues with crime, but being sensible with your belongings and the places you visit will greatly reduce the chances of falling victim to this.

A growing number of resorts are springing up in the north east of Brazil and this is increasingly popular with expats. The Brazilian north east contains nine states: Alagoas, Bahia, Ceara, Maranhao, Paraiba, Pernambuco, Piaui, Rio Grande do Norte and Sergipe and one territory, the Fernando de Noronha Island. All of these states of the “Golden Coast” are bathed by the Atlantic Ocean along their 3,500 kilometres (2,175 miles) of palm-fringed, sandy-white beaches blessed by a continuous summer climate – so it’s easy to see the attraction. It’s also only around 7 hours flying time from mainland Europe.

Wherever you decide to settle, make sure you really research your destination by visiting FCO travel advice”

Economy and finance

“As a country, Brazil is part of the BRIC nations, the acronym that describes the world’s four emerging powerhouse economies. Living up to this, Brazil does seem to be bucking the downward economic trend that other western nations are experiencing. Brazil has been hit less hard by the global economic crisis and has a tightly regulated, domestically focussed, cash-rich economy. Brazil has relatively little foreign debt and its banks are profitable and well capitalised. The Government also introduced a number of measures aimed at stimulating the domestic economy including tax cuts on the purchase of cars, construction materials and white goods and a large housing project aimed at constructing one million houses for low-income families. Investment has historically been low but the Government’s Accelerated Growth Plan (PAC), launched in January 2007, aims to rectify this by aiming at a minimum of 5% growth each year.

However, the heavily regulated banking system can sometimes be seen as a hurdle for foreign buyers. The banking system is actually quite advanced, but you cannot do anything in Brazil without a CPF number (Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas – Natural Persons Register) which is similar to a UK National Insurance Card. Getting a CPF number in Brazil is a lot easier than most people think.

If you are overseas, you just have to go to a Brazilian Diplomatic Representation in your country (Embassy or Consulate).

If you are in Brazil, all you need is to go to a “Banco do Brasil” Agency or “Correios” (post office) or “Caixa Econômica Federal”. I would recommend going to “Correios”, as there is a better chance of avoiding queues. There you will fill in a form and pay a tax (about R$ 5,00, equivalent of £2). Once you have a CPF number, opening a bank account is usually a piece of cake. Some UK banks are present in Brazil, so check if you have the option where you can open up an overseas account with them.”

Local laws and customs

“Whether you are investing or relocating to Brazil, it’s imperative to know the local laws and customs before you do anything. Brazil loves bureaucracy so Brits need to be very patient when purchasing property or investing. Form filling and documentation can be excessive. You can be asked for many forms and once you submit them they may then ask for something else. It can be frustrating. As with moving anywhere in the world, make sure you receive appropriate independent legal advice before buying property. For more tips, visit”


“Foreign nationals are entitled to unforeseen emergency medical treatment in Brazilian public hospitals. However, you are not obliged to treatment for existing illnesses or care after you have been stabilised. Public hospitals in Brazil, especially in major cities, tend to be crowded. Private hospitals will not accept you unless you can present evidence of sufficient funds or insurance.

Due to the rainy season (December – March) and the elevated temperatures in the summer it is common for the number of dengue cases to increase. Dengue fever is common in many other parts of the world including South America, Central American, the Caribbean and the Western Pacific. There is no vaccine to prevent dengue, but you can reduce the risk of infection by taking precautions to avoid mosquito bites such as using insect repellents, wearing appropriate clothing to cover up and taking appropriate advice from your doctor or a travel health clinic at least 6-8 weeks before you travel.

We always advise to seek medical advice before travelling and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date, as well as acquiring good travel insurance.. For further information visit the websites of the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) and NHS Scotland’s Fit for Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.”

For more information on moving abroad visit

South AmericaNorth AmericaAfricaAustralia & New ZealandAsiaEurope