About Brazil

Brazil has become a global benchmark thanks to its sustainable economic growth, social inclusion combined with income distribution, environmental protection, sound institutions, expressive infrastructure investments and an industry which is under constant modernization. The increase of purchasing power and the investment opportunities in sectors like oil & gas, real estate, agribusiness as well as upcoming major sport events (the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games) help make the world's sixth largest economy a safe investment destination and rank Brazil among investors' top choices on the global level.


SOUND AND STABLE ECONOMY Brazil has become a global benchmark thanks to its sustainable economic growth.

The Brazilian model of sustainable development – based on robust growth with income distribution and social inclusion, job creation, as well as environmental protection – has transformed the country into an economic powerhouse and a global reference.

Relying on abundant natural resources, a diversified industrial base, a thriving service sector and the world´s most competitive agribusiness, Brazil has experienced an average annual growth of 4.2% in 2007-2011. The country´s international reserves expanded 21.9% in 2011, totaling a record sum of US$ 352.01 billion.

The combination of a growing domestic demand, innovative social policies, strict control of inflation, fiscal policy soundness, massive investments in infrastructure projects and the generation of jobs saved Brazil from the worst effects of the current global economic crisis. Endowed with natural resources, a diverse industrial base, a flourishing services sector and arguably the most competitive agribusiness in the world, Brazil grew an annual average of 4.2 percent in the 2007-2011 period.

The improvements in Brazil´s macroeconomic foundations, the record level of international reserves, the inflow of foreign exchange, the improvements in social indicators, the decline of the country´s risk, the control of public accounts, the increase in the availability of credit lines and the internationalization of Brazilian companies and major public investments in infrastructure are some of the factors that help lift the Brazilian economy and rank it upwards in the international scene.

Thanks to its sound economy, modern cities and good infrastructure, Brazil has become an attractive destination for international investments. Furthermore, the country´s entrepreneurial community increasingly seeks to expand their business abroad.

In 2011, Brazil´s foreign trade registered a record trade flow of US$ 482.3 billion, a 25.7% increase on the results achieved in 2010, when it reached US$ 383.7 billion. The country´s exports and imports also reached record levels in that period, totaling US$ 256 billion and US$ 226.2 billion, respectively. In 2010, Brazil´s exports grew 26.8% and imports, 24.5%. Such expressive figures indicate the soundness of Brazil´s continuous insertion in the international market.

The world´s fifth economy by 2014

The world's fifth economy by 2014

Over the past decade, 40 million Brazilians have climbed the social ladder. For the first time in Brazil´s history, more than half of its population has joined the middle class, a phenomenon which adds to the robustness of the domestic market. According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), the current unemployment rate oscillates around 5%, a record low.

According to World Bank forecasts, Brazil should become the fifth largest economy by 2014.


The new cycle of economic development results in an expanded mass consumer market and increased social equality, an environment of institutional stability and increased social cohesion.

Nearly 40 million Brazilians experienced significant improvements in their life conditions. Today, more than half of the population belongs to the middle class. No country with the same territorial dimensions as Brazil has promoted social mobility in such levels.

Economic development has been accompanied by significant gains in the social area, with a strong reduction of poverty and inequality. In the last decade, the per capita income of the poorest grew at a rate of more than 7 percent per year, while the income of the 10 percent richest increased by 1.5 percent per year. The decline in extreme poverty rates was three times faster than necessary to achieve the first Millennium Development Goal.

The reduction of poverty and inequality, and the expansion of the middle class are anchored in the implementation of public policies for protection and social promotion, allied to the opportunities that sustained economic growth has brought to Brazilians. The country invests in a wide and multidimensional social agenda, built in partnership among the three levels of government: federal, state, and municipal.


Brazil has been attracting increasing volumes of investment in economic sectors that are crucial to the sustained expansion of the economy, such as transport, energy, sanitation and housing infrastructure. Besides expanding productive capacity, this process stimulates job creation and increases domestic consumption.

A favorable business environment coupled with a positive outlook on the domestic market and the export sector has contributed to increase productive investment.

On the international scene, a report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) shows Brazil among the five top destinations for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the coming years. In 2011, the net flow of FDI in Brazil reached a record volume of US$ 66.7 billion dollars, an increase of 37.8 percent compared with the previous year and of 157 percent compared with 2009. According to estimates from Brazil’s Central Bank, FDI inflows are expected to reach US$ 50 billion dollars in 2012, demonstrating a continuously high market confidence in the Brazilian economy.

Brazil wil also host the next two sporting mega-events – the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games –,opening a wide range of services and major infrastructure projects.


The Brazilian industry, which is under constant modernization, ranges from motor vehicles, steel and petrochemicals to computers, aircrafts and durable consumer goods. Both Brazilian companies and multinationals based in Brazil have been heavily investing in innovation, new equipment and technology. A leader in deep-water oil drilling, in the manufacturing of mid-sized aircrafts, in agricultural technology for tropical weather and in the use of ethanol on a commercial and sustainable scale, Brazil also counts on a diversified and sophisticated services industry.

Brazil congregates potential, creativity and innovation, also relying on the dynamism of its industry and on socially and environmentally sustained development.

Plano Brasil Maior encourages innovation
Plano Brasil Maior is the government´s industrial, technological and foreign trade policy which aims at promoting innovation and the productive strengthening of Brazil´s industrial parks, securing sustained productivity gains.

Monetary stability, recovery of investment and growth, job creation, real wage appreciation and the drastic poverty reduction have paved the way for the country to advance towards an enhanced development stage.

The Plan comprises relevant measures for credit growth and improves the regulatory framework for innovation, increasing the scope of fiscal incentives and facilitating credit lines in order to add value and competitiveness to Brazil´s productive chains.

Relying on a large and vigorous market, the country mobilizes its productive forces in order to innovate, compete and grow. The purchasing power strengthened by inclusive policies, the untapped potential of energy resources, the young labor force and the entrepreneurial creativity are institutional assets which, combined with unique natural and social resources, add to the development of a Bigger Brazil.

BRAZIL IN FIGURES  Brazil vast size is reflected in its creative and abundant workforce.
Labor force

Data released by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) report that:

  • Brazil has more than 90 million people in the labor market.
  • 65% of Brazil's workers are employees, 22% are self-employed and the remaining 8% include trainees and volunteers.
  • The Southeast region, the most populous region of Brazil, concentrates 52% of the country's workforce.
  • Formal employment is concentrated in the manufacturing sector (65.34%), services sector (27.96%) and agriculture (6.7%).


Brazilian workers are entitled to a statutory minimum wage, currently at R$ 622.00. However, the average wage varies according to the economic sector in which the worker is placed. According to the Ministry of Labor, the average wage paid to Brazilian workers has increased at an annual rate of 3% over the years as a result of economic growth and the consequent increase in the industrial, commercial and service activities.


  • Brazil has 2,252 institutions of higher education.
  • 1,069 institutions of higher education are located at the Southeast region, 432 in the Northeast, 370 in the South, 242 in the Central-West and 139 in the North.
  • The above-listed institutions deliver 24,719 undergraduate courses.

The chart below divides undergraduate courses by area of expertise:

Education in Brazil

Seeking improvements in Brazilian logistics, the Ministry of Transportation developed the National Plan for Transport Logistics (PNLT) composed of public and private investments. This strategic tool is aimed at balancing Brazil's transport matrix (based primarily on highways), increasing the use of railroads and waterways.

According to the PNLT, by 2025 Brazil should experience:

  • An increase of 38% in energy efficiency.
  • A reduction of 41% in fuel consumption.
  • A reduction of 32% in CO2 emissions.
  • An increase from 851 to 1,510 tons carried per kilometer (TKU).



Brazil's port system is subject to constant public investment inflows. The sector received investments of R$ 1.5 billion in 2007-2010.

  • Brazil has 50 public ports.
  • 42 terminals for private use.
  • 3 port complexes which operate under concession for the private sector.
  • Ports currently move 700 million tons of merchandise which account for 90% of Brazilian exports.
  • 31 international airports
  • 38 national airports
  • 2,500 small airports with capacity for small aircrafts

Additionally, Brazil counts on four industrial airports:

  • Galeão, in Rio de Janeiro (RJ).
  • Tancredo Neves International Airport, in Belo Horizonte (MG).
  • São José dos Campos Airport (SP).
  • Petrolina Airport (PE).

Companies located in these areas are in a zone of fiscal neutrality, under a special customs clearance regimen and exempt from paying taxes when importing components or exporting goods. Exceptions may apply to the imports of finished goods.


With nearly 30 thousand kilometers in length, the railroad system in Brazil is the largest in Latin America and the 11th worldwide in terms of cargo transport, accounting for 162.2 billion tons carried per kilometer (TKU).


With 1.7 million kilometers of roads, the Brazilian highway system crosses all Brazilian states and is currently the third largest in the world, according to estimates from the Ministry of Transportation. Development and modernization projects are supported by Federal Government investments and Public-Private partnerships (PPPs).


Brazilian energy is abundant and diverse. The country is self-sufficient in oil and possesses several sources of clean and renewable energy such as hydropower, ethanol and biodiesel.

  • 95% of the Brazilian population has access to electricity.
  • 99% of Brazilian municipalities are served by energy distribution networks.
  • There are over 61.5 million connection points of energy.
  • Residential customers account for 85% of the above mentioned points and commercial and/or industrial customers, for 15%.
  • Commercial/Industrial customers account for 46.7% of the electricity consumed in Brazil.

The Brazilian telephone system is operated by both foreign and domestic companies.

  • 41 million landline phones (21.3 installed lines per each 100 inhabitants);
  • 150.6 million cell phones (78.1 lines per each 100 inhabitants);
  • The world's 3rd largest cell phone market;
  • Prepaid services account for 85% of mobile devices operating in the country.

Currently, Brazil is the world's 5th country in terms of number of internet connections.

  • 44% of the Brazilian population is connected to the internet;
  • 97% of local business companies have access to the internet;
  • 24% of households have access to the internet.


Economic Outlook 

Brazil's Economic Outlook and Infrastructure Investment Opportunities.

BRAZILIAN STATES Meet Brazil by states.

The map below comprises relevant information on Brazilian states, including the following:

  • Area
  • Population
  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
  • Imports
  • Number of industrial enterprises

CULTURAL DIVERSITY AND NATURAL RESOURCES Brazil has 18 cultural and natural properties.

Brazil’s population includes a combination of people with indigenous, European, African and Asian roots, and their diverse origins are reflected in the national culture. Food, music, crafts, architecture and popular feasts create a mixture of cultural values that extend beyond the country’s borders. Brazil has 18 cultural and natural properties listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List – including the city of Rio de Janeiro, which became the first city in the world to receive World Heritage status for its cultural landscape.

The integration of distinct cultures explains the richness and diversity in cuisine, music, handicraft, architecture, art productions and popular celebrations. Additionally, the joyful and warm-hearted spirit of Brazilian people adds to their hospitality and openness to what´s new.

The combination of these natural, human and cultural factors with a sound economy, modern cities and good infrastructure make Brazil a relevant actor in the international scene.

Brazil has many cultural influences and roots
  • Brazil has many cultural influences and roots

    Brazil is a country of racial, cultural, religious and social tolerance. This peaceful coexistence of different cultures encourages original, popular cultural manifestations. Diversity also sets the tone for Brazil’s rich architectural heritage, which ranges from structures in the colonial baroque style to the architectural modernism of the federal capital, Brasília.

Immigration was of extreme importance in the formation of the national culture. Brazilians have incorporated different elements from a multitude of global cultures during the past five centuries since the Portuguese arrived in Brazil in 1500. In addition to the contributions of native Indians, Africans and Portuguese settlers, the significant arrival of immigrants from all parts of Europe, the Middle East and Asia has influenced the formation of a national identity.

Despite Brazil’s large territory, the same language is spoken throughout all regions. Portuguese is the fifth most spoken language in the world and the third among Western languages after English and Spanish.

Besides enjoying a rich and diversified culture, Brazil is a country of continental proportions, offering 8,000 kilometers of sun and beautiful beaches in addition to countless natural attractions for eco-tourism and entertainment. Brazil has the potential to attract tourists from all segments and walks of life; Brazilian hospitality coupled with beautiful landscapes allows the country to compete in the international tourism market.

Brazil’s biggest asset is the Brazilian people, made up of various cultures living in harmony. Brazil has more than 200 million people and is the fifth most populous nation on the planet.

A COUNTRY INTEGRATED WITH THE WORLD Brazil keeps trade relations with over 200 countries thanks to the focus of its foreign policy on the diversification of markets.

Brazil has the largest economy in Latin America and its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) accounts for approximately 50% of the regional economy. Over the past years, the country has consolidated its role as a relevant platform for the American continent and Southern Africa.

Peace, development, human rights and multilateralism

  • Peace, development, human rights and multilarelalism

    Brazilian foreign policy has a long tradition in the defense of peace, the pursuit of sustainable development, the promotion of human rights and the strengthening of multilateralism.

    Brazil is now a key player in all major issues on the international agenda. Brazil has focused on generating dialogues and international collaboration to contribute to a more balanced and socially just global order; this is consistent with the county’s domestic efforts to fight poverty and hunger. Brazil’s collaboration efforts are grounded in unconditional solidarity and shared responsibilities.

LIVING IN BRAZIL Located in South America, Brazil is a Federal Republic with a presidential system of government.

Brazil has 5,565 municipalities distributed in 26 states and the Federal District, where the capital, Brasília, is located. With a population of 201 million inhabitans, the country's economy is the 6th largest in the world, forecasted to rank 5th in coming years. Ranking as investment grade, the Brazilian economy is diversified, comprising agribusiness, numerous industries and various services.

Brazil counts on a wide transport infrastructure (highways, railroads, ports and airports), abundant, clean and diversified energy, comprehensive telecommunication network, public and private schools and universities, and public and private hospitals. The Federal Government has given full priority to investments in infrastructure projects.

Brazil is also a culturally rich country, thanks to its continental size and the diversity of the ethnic groups that form Brazilian population. Such mix is reflected in Brazilian cuisine, music, architecture, art productions and popular celebrations, such as the Brazilian Carnival and June festivals.

  • Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, with an area of 8.5 million square kilometers, equivalent to almost half of the South American territory. Distances within the country are continental: 4,420 kilometers from north to south, and 4,328 kilometers from east to west. With 23,102 kilometers of borders, it is neighbor to all South American countries, except for Chile and Ecuador. The country has over 8,000 kilometers of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, which facilitate the access to its many regions, and the largest hydrographic network in the world, with 55,457 square meters of area. The largest and longest river in the world, the Amazon, with 6,937.08 kilometers in length is located in Brazil, as is the largest rain forest in the world, the Amazon rainforest, with about 5 million square kilometers in area.


The vast territory, varied topography, altitude and air-mass dynamics turn Brazil into a country with a great diversity in climate, with pleasant temperatures. Most of Brazil lies in the tropical zone, with prevailing hot and humid climate and average temperatures of 20°C. The thermal amplitude – the difference of minimum and maximum temperatures in the long run of the year – is low, in other words, there is a small variation of temperature within the Brazilian territory.

Besides the tropical climate, which covers most of Brazil's territory, areas of subtropical (South region – hot, humid summers and cold, dry winters), semi-arid (Northeast backland – low humidity, high temperatures and little rain) and equatorial (Amazon forest – high temperatures and heavy rain throughout the year) climates are also found in the country.

This diverse climate results in quite varied vegetable landscapes, which turn Brazil into the country with the largest biodiversity in the planet (approximately 20% of all living species), and secures several benefits, such as extensive fertile arable areas and absence of severe weather conditions.

  • According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), the Brazilian population accounted for 201 million people in 2010.

    About 50% of Brazilians are first, second or third-generation descendants of foreign immigrants. During its 512 years of history, Brazil blended races and cultures of its first peoples – Native Indian, Portuguese and African – and immigrants from all over the world. Today, there are over six million immigrants, with the predominance of Europeans and Asians, in particular Italians, Germans, Spaniards, Syrians, Lebanese, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. This strong interaction among cultures characterizes the Brazilian people: deeply mixed, joyful, affective, open to novelties and very welcoming.

According to IBGE population estimates for 2010, the major capital cities of Brazil, its states and respective population are:

Capital Population (million) State Population (million)
São Paulo 11,03 São Paulo 41,38
Rio de Janeiro 6,18 Rio de Janeiro 16,01
Salvador 2,99 Bahia 14,63
Brasília 2,60 Distrito Federal 2,60
Fortaleza 2,50 Ceará 8,54
Belo Horizonte 2,45 Minas Gerais 20,03
Curitiba 1,85 Paraná 10,68
Manaus 1,73 Amazonas 3,39
Recife 1,56 Pernambuco 8,81

According to the Ministry of Education, Brazil has 2.25 thousand higher education institutions, which deliver approximately 25 thousand on-site undergraduate courses, and 197.5 thousand public and private basic schools, which cover regular education (kindergarten, elementary, secondary and high school education), special education and young adult education (called EJA in Brazil).

Tourism and short term business visas

Citizens of certain countries need a visa to enter Brazil for both tourism and short term business trips. Holders of business or tourism visa are not allowed to work, offer technical assistance or receive any payment in the country. Any company which employs a professional with these characteristics is subject to a fine and the foreigner is subject to deportation.

Business visa must be applied for at the Brazilian consulate in the applicant's home country. Generally, a business visa application form must be attached to an invitation letter from a Brazilian or foreign company. The document must include the following information:

  • Purpose of the trip and the activities to be performed by the foreigner in Brazil;
  • Names, addresses, phone numbers of commercial contacts in Brazil;
  • Intended departure and return dates;
  • Moral and financial responsibility during the applicant's stay in Brazil should be evidenced.

The business visa allows the foreigner to take part in meetings, conferences, fairs and seminaries, to visit potential clients, conduct market research and perform similar activities.

Usually, the tourist visa is issued after presentation of the round-trip ticket and documents displaying enough funds to finance the stay in Brazil. The visa is usually issued within 24 hours. It is valid for 90 days, from the visitor's first arrival in Brazil, and allows several entries during this period. An extension for a more than 90-days stay must be requested to Brazilian immigration authorities before the visa expires.

The tourist cannot stay in Brazil for over 180 days in a 365-day period.

Temporary work visa

For foreigners who come to work in Brazil on a temporary basis, several types of visas can be issued, according to the circumstances. Check below the list of eligible professional categories for the temporary work visa:

  • Professionals employed by Brazilian companies;
  • Technicians without an employment contract;
  • Artists and athletes;
  • Foreign journalists;
  • Ship crew members under charter or lease agreement;
  • Scientists and researchers;
  • Welfare professionals.
Permanent visa for foreign investors

In February 2009, the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MTE) changed rules to issue a permanent visa for foreign investors (as individuals). According to the Law No. 6,815, MTE can authorize the grant of a permanent visa for the applicant who intends to establish permanent residency in Brazil with the purpose of investing his/her own foreign capital in productive activities.

The permanent visa is granted to foreign investors who prove foreign investments worth BRL 150 thousand or more. In analyzing the submitted application, its social relevance will be considered a priority, being characterized by the creation of jobs and income in Brazil, increase in production, assimilation of technology and attraction of investments into specific sectors.

The National Immigration Council may grant a permanent visa to an entrepreneur who intends to settle down in Brazil to invest in a productive sector even though the amount of money invested is less than BRL 150 thousand. In this case, the social interest of the investment will be analyzed according to specific criteria.

After the permanent visa is granted, the General Immigration Coordination will assess the progress of the informed Investment Plan on an annual basis, particularly in terms of job and income generation. If it is proved that the Investment Plan is not being followed, the granted visa will be cancelled.

The necessary documents and related information are available at:

Specialized call center

+55 61 3317-6554
+55 61 3317-6883
+55 61 3317-6958
+55 61 3317-6470

Documents in Brazil

Some documents will be necessary for the daily activities of a foreigner in Brazil. Take a look at a brief description of each one of them:

  • Foreigners Identity Card (RNE): it must be requested at the Federal Police within 30 days after the arrival in Brazil; or a temporary or permanent residency visa must be applied for. It is the main document of the foreigner in Brazil and it is used to obtain other documents. The foreigner must always carry the original document or a notarized copy.
  • Individual Taxpayer's Identification Number (CPF): it is the card of the Brazilian taxpayer. It is obtained at the Secretariat of the Federal Revenue of Brazil, and it is necessary to open bank accounts, rent properties and sign contracts. It is necessary to have the RNE to obtain this document.
  • Work and Social Security Card (CTPS): all the workers must have a Work and Social Security Card, which can be obtained at the closest Labor Office. No company can legally hire an employee without this document.
  • Driver's license: to request a temporary driver's license, valid for the same period of the visa, the foreigner must hold an international driver's license stamped by Detran [Brazilian State Traffic Department] and the driver's license in his/her home country. It is suggested that, during this period, the Brazilian driver's license be applied for. While it is not granted, one must drive carrying the stamped international driver's license, the driver's license of his/her home country (with its respective sworn translation) and the passport.
Working hours, public holidays and vacation

The ordinary working week in the industrial sector in Brazil is 44 working hours (eight hours from Monday to Friday and four hours on Saturday). Workers have the right to seven paid public holidays and five paid municipal and religious holidays, besides three days of marriage leave, two days of bereavement leave and 15 days of sick leave annually. For every 12 working months, workers are entitled to have 30 days of paid vacation.