New rule improves visa conversion process

23 Feb 15

BRAZIL

IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? A new decree simplifies the process for foreign nationals who are converting from a temporary work visa to a permanent visa.

What does the change mean? Foreign nationals may now submit their application to convert from a temporary work visa to a permanent work visa directly to the Ministry of Justice, as long as it is submitted at least 30 days before the expiration date on their temporary work visa.

In another provision of the decree, Brazilian passports (regular, official and diplomatic) will now be valid for 10 years instead of five, requiring less frequent renewals. This extended expiration for regular passports will be available after some modifications to the passports and digital certification.

  • Implementation timeframe:The decree has been approved and is in effect.
  • Who is affected:Foreign employees applying for conversion of their temporary work visas (issued under Normative Resolution #99) into permanent visas.
  • Impact on processing times: The new procedures should improve overall times.
  • Business impact: The change removes a step in the process and makes it more convenient for foreigners seeking to convert to permanent visas.
  • Next steps: The conversion application now can be submitted directly at the Ministry of Justice, until 30 days prior to the visa’s expiration.

Background: In the past, foreign nationals were required to submit their conversion application along with their passport at the appropriate Federal Police office. The police stamped the passport and forwarded the application to the Ministry of Justice for final approval.

Under the new decree, the application can now be submitted directly to the ministry at least 30 days before expiration of the temporary work visa. In addition, foreign nationals do not need to submit their passport and can submit a current, notarized copy instead. The ministry will immediately issue a document confirming that the application was timely submitted. Foreign employees must keep this document affixed to their passport along with their expired RNE identification card, as proof of their timely conversion application. After the ministry approves the conversion application, applicants must visit the Federal Police office with jurisdiction over their residence in order to officially update their registration as a permanent-visa holder.

BAL Analysis: The changes should streamline the overall process to convert to permanent visas, which previously could take more than one year from submission of the application until final approval. BAL will keep monitoring the processing time frames with the Brazilian authorities and update clients on further developments.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in Brazil. For additional information, please contact brazil@balglobal.com.

Copyright © 2016 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact copyright@balglobal.com.