Brazilian nationality law

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Brazilian nationality law is based on both the principles of jus soli and of jus sanguinis. As a general rule, any person born in Brazil acquires Brazilian nationality at birth, irrespective of status of parents. Nationality law is regulated by Article 12 of the Brazilian Federal Constitution.

Birth in Brazil[edit]

A person born in Brazil acquires Brazilian nationality at birth. The only exception applies to children of persons in the service of a foreign government (such as a foreign diplomats). This means that parents and siblings of the Brazilian child are eligible to apply for permanent residency in Brazil, regardless of their nationality or where subsequent siblings were/are born. [1]

Natural Brazilians born abroad[edit]

Brazilian law considers as Brazilian citizens people born abroad in two cases:

  • a person born outside Brazil of a Brazilian parent who is in the service of the Brazilian government; or
  • a person born outside Brazil of a Brazilian parent, provided that that person either be registered with a Brazilian consular office or later move to Brazil and confirm one's nationality before a federal judge.

Between 1994 and 2007, registration with a Brazilian consular office did not confer Brazilian nationality. In September 2007, a constitutional amendment reinstituted consular registration as a means of acquiring Brazilian nationality.

Naturalization as a Brazilian citizen[edit]

Foreigners may apply for Brazilian nationality if they meet the following criteria:[2][3][4]

  • permanent residence in Brazil
  • four years of uninterrupted residence in Brazil
  • ability to speak and write Portuguese
  • sufficient personal or family resources to support themselves
  • no criminal conviction or indictment

The residence requirement may be reduced in certain circumstances:

  • only 30 days of residence are required for those married to a Brazilian diplomat for more than five years, or for those who worked for more than 10 years in a Brazilian diplomatic mission
  • only one year of residence is required for those who have a Brazilian spouse, parent or child, for nationals of Portuguese-speaking countries, or for those who provide "relevant services" to the country
  • those with "professional, scientific, or artistic ability" may apply after two years
  • persons of higher net worth may apply after three years

Those who have lived in Brazil for more than 15 years and have no criminal conviction do not have to satisfy any other condition for naturalization.[2] There are also lower requirements for those who moved to Brazil as minors.[3][4]

Since 10 May 2016, Brazil does not require naturalized citizens to renounce their previous nationality.[5][6]

Dual nationality and loss of Brazilian nationality[edit]

According to the Brazilian constitution, in principle, Brazilian citizens who voluntarily acquire another nationality by naturalization lose Brazilian nationality. However, since 1994 a constitutional amendment allows two exceptions where Brazilians may maintain Brazilian nationality while acquiring another one. The first exception is in the case of recognition of "originary nationality" by foreign law. Contrary to a popular misconception, this term does not refer to recognition of original Brazilian nationality by the other country, but to cases where the acquisition of the other nationality is done by jus sanguinis (by descent or family origin).[7] Whether the other country recognizes dual nationality is irrelevant. The second exception is in case the other country requires naturalization for the person to remain residing or to exercise civil rights there.

In 1995, the Brazilian government decided to apply these exceptions broadly, and in practice it only revokes Brazilian nationality if the person formally requests so.[8][9] However, in 2013 the Brazilian government revoked the nationality of a Brazilian citizen who had naturalized in the United States, to extradite her to that country (the Brazilian constitution does not allow extradition of its own citizens). The decision was confirmed by the Supreme Federal Court in 2016, but as of May 2017 it is pending further appeal. It is unclear whether this case means a change in the Brazilian government's decision to allow dual nationality in practice, or only an exception due to its unique circumstances.[9]

Those who lose Brazilian nationality may apply for its reacquisition.[8]

Brazil also permits dual nationality for those who acquired it involuntarily, such as by birth, and for foreigners who become naturalized Brazilians.[5][6] However, all Brazilian citizens must enter and leave Brazil on a Brazilian passport or Brazilian identity card, even if they also hold a passport of another country.[10]

Visa-free travel[edit]

Visa requirements for Brazilian citizens
  Passport not required. Travel with a Brazilian identity card
  Visa free countries
  Electronic Visa (eVisa)Travel visa#Electronic visas
  Visa on arrival (VoA)
  Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA)Visa policy of Canada

Visa requirements for Brazilian citizens are administrative entry restrictions by the authorities of other states placed on citizens of Brazil. As of May 1, 2017, Brazilian citizens had Visa-free, Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) or Visa on Arrival (VoA) access to 157 countries and territories, ranking the Brazilian passport 17th in the world in terms of travel freedom.

Military service[edit]

Male Brazilian citizens have a 12-month military service obligation, unless the citizen has a physical or psychological condition (though registering for the army is mandatory, the large majority of people do not serve).

See also[edit]


  1. ^, Why Give Birth In Brazil?
  2. ^ a b Brazilian Citizenship through Naturalization, Embassy of Brazil in Canberra.
  3. ^ a b Types of naturalization, Ministry of Justice of Brazil. (in Portuguese)
  4. ^ a b Law no. 6815, of 19 August 1980, Government of Brazil. (in Portuguese)
  5. ^ a b ACNUR: New decree facilitates naturalization of foreigners in Brazil and fights statelessness, United Nations in Brazil, 20 May 2016. (in Portuguese)
  6. ^ a b Decree no. 86715, of 10 December 1981, Government of Brazil. (in Portuguese)
  7. ^ Ruling number 172 of the Ministry of Justice, of 4 August 1995, 26th Notary Office of São Paulo. (in Portuguese)
  8. ^ a b Loss of nationality, Ministry of External Relations of Brazil. (in Portuguese)
  9. ^ a b A Brazilian may lose original nationality while becoming a citizen of another country, Gazeta Brazilian News, 20 April 2017. (in Portuguese)
  10. ^ Tourist Visa, Consulate-General of Brazil in Houston.

External links[edit]