Customs regulations and required documents
Personal effects import regulations
Drug trafficking is widespread in Brazil. If you are caught trafficking the penalties are severe, often involving long prison sentences in a Brazilian prison. The penalties for possession of drugs for personal use range from educational classes to community service.
Some British nationals have been targeted through email scams in which online fraudsters offer a financial reward for them to travel to Brazil, where they are then asked to carry some items/gifts out of Brazil, including to the UK. These items are often illegal drugs and anyone caught will face detention for drug trafficking regardless of the circumstances.
The sexual abuse of children is a serious crime and widespread in Brazil. The UK and Brazilian authorities are committed to combatting travelling child sex offenders and the Brazilian government continues to crack down on those who commit such offences. If you commit sex offences against children abroad you can be prosecuted in the UK.
There is no legislation against homosexuality in Brazil. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Brazil since 2013, and LGBT couples have equal rights in law. Human rights are protected by the Brazilian Constitution, and Brazil is a signatory to international and regional agreements protecting LGBT rights. Name changes on official documents for transgender people are also provided for by law, although this right is not always applied consistently across the country.
Sao Paulo holds the world’s largest Pride celebration, which typically passes off very peacefully – incidents of violence at the event are rare. Rio’s Pride and those of other cities also attract large numbers. Brazil generally has had a tradition of tolerance. However, Brazilian society is quite conservative, particularly outside the larger towns and cities, and LGBT-phobic violence is a concern – you should exercise discretion.
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IAM Note: Before initiating shipping procedures at origin destined for Brazil, the owner of the goods must receive confirmation of approval to begin shipping procedures to Brazil.
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Flower, plants and plants products will require permission from the Ministry of Agriculture before being granted admission into the country.
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Within 15 days prior to the issue date of the International Veterinary Certificate/Pet Passport cats and dogs must be submitted to a broad-spectrum treatment against internal and external parasites with products authorized by the Veterinary Authority, identifying the active ingredients.
The animal must be examined within 10 days prior to the date of issue of the International Veterinary Certificate/Pet Passport showing no clinical signs of infectious or parasitic diseases and is fit for transport.
The International Veterinary Certificate/Pet Passport is valid for 60 days from the date of issuance.
The Health Certificate, if not in Portuguese, may be required to be translated by a sworn translator. For further information see: animais de companhia .
Animals older than 90 days must have a rabies vaccination certificate issued 30 days prior to the intended date of arrival. The certificate must be valid and the validity period must be specified in the certificate. Not applicable if arriving from countries declared rabies free by the OIE (World Organization for animal health). Pets may enter as passenger’s checked baggage, in the cabin or as cargo. Copy of airwaybill for animals arriving as cargo is required.
Non-compliance will result in deportation to country of origin at the expense of the importer.
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Same regulations as for export apply.
Local currency (Brazilian Real-BRL) and foreign currency: no restrictions up to BRL 10,000. – or equivalent.
Amounts higher than BRL 10,000. – or equivalent: must be declared.
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No airport tax is levied on passengers upon embarkation at the airport
There are high levels of crime, particularly robberies, within Brazil’s cities and the murder rate can be very high. This can vary greatly within a city, so familiarise yourself with the geography of a city and take local advice to identify the riskier areas. Crime, including violent crime, can occur anywhere and often involves firearms or other weapons.
Pickpocketing is common. You should be vigilant, in particular before and during the festive and carnival periods. Do not go on to city beaches after dark.
If threatened, hand over your valuables without resistance. Attackers may be armed and under the influence of drugs. Do not attempt to resist attackers this increases the risk of injury or worse.
Thefts are particularly common on public beaches and include ‘arrastões’ where large groups of thieves run through an area of the beach grabbing possessions. Keep your possessions close and avoid taking valuables to the beach.
The most common incidents affecting British nationals in Rio de Janeiro are thefts and pick pocketing around Copacabana Beach, Ipanema Beach and the areas of Lapa and Santa Theresa.
Tourists in Rio de Janeiro have reported armed robberies on the Corcovado walking trail to the Christ the Redeemer statue. You’re advised not to use the trail at this time.
The most common incidents affecting British nationals in Sao Paulo are thefts or pickpocketing around Avenida Paulista and the historical downtown area. The red light districts located on Rua Augusta (north of Avenida Paulista) Catedral da Sé, Praça da República and the Estacao de Luz metro area (where Cracolandia is located), are especially dangerous.
In Brasilia, the central bus station area has the highest incidence of robberies and robbery of pedestrians occurs in the Federal District area. Take particular care at these locations.
The most common incidents affecting British nationals in the north-east of Brazil are theft from hotel and motel rooms and muggings. Reduce the risk of being mugged by avoiding quiet or deserted streets and / or areas and by using taxis after sunset instead of walking.
Robberies on buses are common in many cities. According to police statistics the most stolen items are mobile phones and the period in which the greatest number of robberies occur is between 4pm and 9pm.
Thefts from cars are common; keep valuables out of sight.
Carjacking can occur, particularly on major thoroughfares and in tunnels. Approach your car with your keys in hand so you can get into your car quicker. When driving, keep doors locked and windows closed, and take particular care at traffic lights. Where possible, use the middle lane. Avoid deserted or poorly lit areas, except under reliable local advice. Be aware of people approaching to ask for information, especially at night. If driving at night outside the city, avoid stopping at the roadside – if you need to do so try to find a petrol station/other well lit area in which to stop.
Rape and other sexual offences against tourists are rare, but there have been attacks against both men and women. Some have involved ‘date rape’ drugs. Buy your own drinks and keep them within sight at all times.
Bank and credit card fraud is common, including card cloning from ATMs and in shops. Keep sight of your card at all times and do not use an ATM if you notice anything suspicious. Notify your bank in advance of your trip to avoid your card being blocked.
If you withdraw cash at an ATM and it has any sort of pink marks, speak to the bank (or police) straight away to get it changed as it may have been marked as damaged or counterfeit.
If you or another British citizen becomes the victim of crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest British embassy or consulate. You can find more information on how we can support you in our Support for British Nationals Abroad guide.
Favelas (Portuguese for ‘slum’ or ‘shanty town’) are urban neighbourhoods of high density informal or unplanned housing. They exist in all major Brazilian cities, range in size from a few blocks to large sprawling areas, and can border areas frequented by tourists and visitors.
The security situation is many favelas is unpredictable, particularly in Rio de Janeiro. Any visit to a favela can be dangerous. You’re advised to avoid these areas in all cities, including ‘favela tours’ marketed to tourists and any accommodation, restaurants or bars advertised as being within a favela.
In Rio de Janeiro, there are favelas located around the city, including close to the tourist area of Zona Sul, as displayed in this map showing approximate locations of many favelas. If you’re unsure about a location, seek local advice from your hotel or the local authorities.
Violence in Rio de Janeiro favelas increased in 2017. Armed clashes and shootouts between police forces and gangs are a regular and unpredictable occurrence, and in October 2017 a tourist on a favela tour in Rio de Janeiro was accidentally shot dead by police. Armed clashes have also occurred on major thoroughfares, including the main highway to and from the international airport in Rio de Janeiro which runs alongside a large favela.
There is a risk of violence spilling over into nearby areas, including those popular with tourists. There have been injuries and deaths as a result of stray bullets in and near favelas.
Take extra care in all Brazilian towns and cities, especially Rio de Janeiro. If you’re using GPS navigation, whether by car or on foot, make sure that the suggested route doesn’t take you into a favela. Avoid entering unpaved, cobbled or narrow streets which may lead into a favela. Tourists have been shot after accidentally entering a favela. Check with your hotel or the local authorities if unsure.
Demonstrations and occasionally strikes take place in cities across Brazil with reports of arrests and clashes between police and protesters. More common in urban areas, they can disrupt transport. Even events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. Police have used rubber bullets and tear gas extensively to disperse protesters. The effects of tear gas can be felt several hundred metres beyond the immediate site of demonstrations.
In Sao Paulo, protests take place regularly and often without warning. Roads and public transport are frequently disrupted and there can be delays along the main road to Guarulhos International Airport.
Popular locations for demonstrations in major cities are: Avenida Paulista, Largo da Batata and the historic downtown area in Sao Paulo, Esplanada dos Ministerios in Brasilia and Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro.
If you’re travelling or live in Brazil, take common sense precautions, follow local news reports, avoid large gatherings, political rallies or other events where crowds have congregated to demonstration or protest, and comply with the instructions of local authorities. If you encounter a demonstration, leave the area immediately.
Check the integrity and safety standards of any adventure travel companies before you use them.
Public transport is likely to be disrupted during demonstrations or civil unrest. Be vigilant when using public transport, especially during rush-hour as petty crime is common. Generally, the metro systems in Rio and São Paulo are safer than buses. Criminals often work in gangs robbing large numbers of people concentrated in the same place: public transport hubs can be particular hotspots. There have been incidents of hijacking and robbery of tour buses in recent years.
Only use licensed taxis. You can pick up a licensed taxi from the many recognised taxi ranks around Brazilian cities. Always check your taxi has the company details on the outside. Taxi apps are also a useful way to call a registered taxi; request your taxi inside if possible to avoid displaying your smartphone on the street. If your app allows this, share your journey with friends or family so they can track you.
Be aware that some taxi apps are reliant on GPS and run the risk of entering a more dangerous area of the city, in particular favelas.
Most airports have licensed taxi desks inside the baggage reclaim areas. You can pay for your taxi in advance using a credit card or cash inside the airport rather than in the street.
Most major cities in Brazil have facilities adapted for disabled travellers, including easy-access public buses and lifts to tube stations and platforms.
You can use your UK driving licence to drive in Brazil for 180 days, but an international driving permit is recommended. After 180 days you need to apply for a Brazilian driving license. When driving on federal motorways (BR roads) you must turn on your headlights or face a penalty. Always observe the speed limit.
Brazil has a high road accident rate. Overall standards of driving are poor. Travellers should be vigilant on the roads and avoid riding bicycles. In many rural areas the quality of roads away from the main highways is poor. Bus and coach crashes are frequent.
Brazil has a zero tolerance policy on drink driving and check points are often set up. If you’re caught driving under the influence of alcohol, you will be prosecuted. Penalties range from fines and a suspension from driving for 12 months, to imprisonment for up to 3 years.
All accidents involving personal injury should be reported immediately to the police by calling 190 or by attending to a police station to file a police report. Medical help can be obtained with the fire and rescue brigade at 193 or with the local emergency services (SAMU) at 192.
Call the police on 190 if the vehicles involved are obstructing traffic and you need help.
In Rio de Janeiro, go directly to the nearest police station (DEAT – Tourist Police station call 2332-2924 or 3399-7170 or 2334-6804) to register the accident.
Always use recognised national air carriers. There have been accidents involving light aircraft, which sometimes have poor maintenance standards. A list of recent incidents and accidents can be found on the website of the Aviation Safety Network.
We can’t offer advice on the safety of individual airlines. However, the International Air Transport Association publishes list of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices. This list is not exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list does not necessarily mean that it is unsafe.
Allow plenty of time to arrive at the airport for your flight. Traffic in the main cities, especially São Paulo and Rio, can be very heavy, particularly during rush hour.
Foreign nationals can travel on domestic flights with a valid photo ID or a police report in case of a lost or stolen passport.
The railway infrastructure is limited and there have been safety and security incidents on this system.
Be aware of safety procedures on board vessels and check the location of life jackets, including for children if travelling with them. Boat accidents on the Amazon river are not uncommon.
Southwest river routes in the Amazon & Solimões river basin are commonly used for drug trafficking and by pirates. Both drug traffickers and pirates are likely to be armed and you should avoid travelling by river in this area. If travel is necessary seek the advice of the local authorities and take an escort.
There have been armed and unarmed attacks on merchant vessels, including British flag vessels off the Brazilian coast and in some Brazilian ports.
Strong currents can be a danger off some beaches. Take local advice before swimming including paying attention to warning flags on beaches and the location of lifeguards if present on the beach. Shark attacks are a danger particularly on the beaches around the north eastern city of Recife. You should pay attention to warning signs and consult lifeguards if unsure. Do not enter the water where warning signs are present; sharks have been known to attack in waist deep water and fatalities have occurred.
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The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
Entry rules in response to coronavirus
Entry by air
As of 25 December 2020, Brazil has temporarily suspended all direct flights from or via the UK, and has temporarily suspended permission for foreigners who have been in the UK during the previous 14 days to board flights to Brazil. There are exemptions, including for resident foreigners, close family members of Brazilian nationals (partners/spouses, children, and parents/guardians), accredited government officials, and professionals working for international organisations. This exemption is subject to a requirement to quarantine on arrival in Brazil for 14 days. Some British nationals have been denied boarding by airlines. You should check with the airline before buying a ticket to confirm you will be allowed to board.
Entry is subject to regular entry requirements. In addition, with effect from 30/12/20, anyone travelling to Brazil by air needs to present to the airline company at check-in documentary evidence of a negative PCR test for COVID-19 taken within 72 hours of boarding in English, Spanish or Portuguese. All children under the age of 2 are exempt from the requirement to present a negative test. Children under the age of 12 who are accompanied by adult(s) who have proof of a negative test are also exempt.
With effect from 30 December 2020, all travellers to Brazil are required to complete a Travelers Health Declaration form within 72 hours of boarding. This can be done online. The English version is available here.
Further information is available on the website of Brazil’s Consulate General.
Entry by land
Brazil has closed some of its land borders, except to Brazilian citizens, resident foreign nationals and foreign spouses, children, parents or guardians of a Brazilian national. The land border with Paraguay is now open.
Transiting: If you’re in a bordering country and need to cross the land border to board a flight back to your country of residence, you should get in touch with the British Embassy or Consular. You will be permitted to enter Brazil with authorisation from the Federal Police following an official request from the Embassy and on presentation of flight tickets. You should travel straight to the airport once in Brazil.
The Brazilian government has also imposed a ban on foreigners disembarking in any port or other maritime location on Brazilian territory regardless of their nationality. The restriction does not apply to resident foreigners and foreign spouses, children, parents or custodians of a Brazilian national.
Disembarking will only be permitted when medical assistance is required or to catch a connecting flight back to the country of residence.
Passengers are allowed to freely transit as long as they do not leave the international airport area and have a ticket for onward travel. If you intend to transit by land, please read Entry by land.
From 3 November 2020, the Brazilian government resumed counting visitor length of stay. They had previously suspended this at the start of the pandemic. Anyone whose 90 days immigration deadline would have fallen between the suspension period of 16 March 2020 to 2 November 2020 will not be fined. If your 90 days expired on 3 November 2020 or later, you might be fined for overstaying. If you wish to extend your tourist visa, you should contact the Policia Federal.
British nationals can normally enter Brazil without a visa as a tourist. For further information about visas, see the website of the Brazilian Consulate in London.
Make sure you comply with Brazilian immigration laws on arrival in the country. You must satisfy the Federal Police (the Brazilian immigration authority) of your intended purpose of visit. You will need to be able to demonstrate that you have enough money for the duration of your stay, and provide details of your accommodation and evidence of return or onward travel. Make sure your passport is stamped. If it is not, you may be fined on departure.
If you wish to extend your stay while in Brazil, you should apply to the Federal Police for an extension. If you overstay your visa, you are likely to be given notice to leave the country at your own expense and you may be fined or deported.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Brazil.
The Brazilian immigration authorities often require dual British/Brazilian nationals visiting Brazil to travel on Brazilian (rather than British) passports.
Travelling with children
There are additional requirements for British-Brazilian dual nationals under 18 entering or transiting through Brazil without their parents or legal guardian, or travelling with one parent only. These requirements don’t usually apply to foreign nationals, but as a precaution and to avoid any possible delays, British nationals under 18 entering or transiting through Brazil without their parents or legal guardian, or travelling with one parent only, are advised to bring a letter of authorisation to travel from any parent(s) not travelling. This applies particularly to children with a Brazilian parent, even if the child only holds a British passport. Contact the Brazilian Consulate in London for more information and advice.
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
UK Emergency travel documents (ETDs) are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Brazil. Your ETD must be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Brazil.