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General country information

Brazil comprises 8.5m square km, roughly 35 times the area of the UK. The largest country in South America and the fifth largest country in the world, it comprises a federation of 26 states, each having considerable autonomy.

Brazil has borders with Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela. It also has a 7,500km Atlantic seaboard.

The massive River Amazon flows through the northern half of the country (the Amazon basin covers more than half of the country) and the impressive Paraná through the south.

Rio de Janeiro is on the Atlantic coast to the south, as is Sao Paulo. Brasilia, the capital, is inland.The country has a number of climatic zones ranging from the Amazon region where the temperature averages 27º C, to the dry north east where temperatures can exceed 40º C, and the south near Uruguay where average temperatures are 17 to 19º C .Brazil’s economy has recently climbed to become the sixth largest in the world by nominal GDP and seventh largest by purchasing power parity. It has the largest economy of the Latin American nations, and is among the fastest growing economies in the world with an annual GDP growth rate of approximately 5 per cent. It is predicted that Brazil will soon be among the five largest economies in the world.

The threat of terrorism in Brazil is rated as ‘low’ by the Foreign Office. However, ‘there are frequent violent clashes between the Police and drug gangs in the slum areas of Rio de Janeiro. ‘You should avoid these areas, remain alert and aware of local conditions at all times’, says the FO. Also ‘drug trafficking and use is widespread, with severe penalties in Brazil’.

Thefts from cars are common, and cases of car-jacking occur, sometimes with the occupants being taken and forced to withdraw money at cash machines. ‘Avoid venturing out after dark in quiet streets except under reliable local advice’, advises the FO. ‘The threat of personal attack is lower outside the cities. However, incidents can occur anywhere, even in holiday destinations that appear relatively secure’.

In relation to same sex couples, there is no law against homosexuality in Brazil, and since May 2011 homosexual stable unions have been recognised by Brazilian law, thus giving them equal rights. However, in recent years some attacks on homosexual couples have been noted.

The FO also warns against the widespread nature of ‘sexual abuse of children’ in Brazil. It also says that credit card fraud is common ‘and you should never lose sight of your cards’.
British nationals are normally admitted to Brazil without a visa as tourists or business visitors for an initial maximum stay of 90 days, although Brazilian immigration officials can exercise their right to give less than this. The Foreign Office advises visitors who wish to stay for longer to apply to the Federal Police for an extension in advance of the 90 day period.

Those who overstay their visa entitlements are likely to be given 8 days notice to leave the country at their own expense and risk fines or deportation.Foreigners can buy and own property in Brazil.

The Brazilian Government encourages overseas investment, and a foreigner has rights to own properties 100% freehold.UK property investors may buy Brazilian property subject to some specific restrictions applying, for example, to islands and rural land. However, a pre-requisite is to obtain a Cadastro de Pessoa Física – an official tax identification number issued by the Brazilian federal tax authorities and required for a range of formal transaction. Obtaining this can be longwinded and involves obtaining Portuguese translation of the applicant’s birth certificate authenticated by the Brazilian consulate in the applicant’s home country. However, some developers will assist buyers to obtain CPFs.

The property buying process is similar to others involving verification of documentation by a notary public. However, the process is assisted by a reliable national land registry containing details of title and charges. Even so, buyers are advised to appoint their own solicitors.Mortgage finance is difficult if not impossible for overseas investor to obtain in Brazil and is expensive. Payment by instalments for new properties is also likely to be an expensive form of finance.If funds are transferred to Brazil to pay for property this should be done via the Central Bank of Brazil as otherwise there may be problems later in repatriating amounts.


Country stats

Area: 8.5m sq km
Population: 196.65m
Principal cities: Brazilia (capital), Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Bahia Salvador,
Median age of population: 30.5
Language: Portuguese
Employment rate: 94%
Flying time from UK: 11.16 hours
Currency: 1 Real =100 centavos
Time difference from UK: – 3 hours Rate of inflation: 5.24%
International dialling code: +55
GDP per person: $12,594
Climate: Mostly tropical, temporate in the south


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