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Brazil: Foreigners Statute Amended

(May 9, 2014) Brazil’s Law No. 12,968 of May 7, 2014 (Lei No. 12.968, de 7 de Maio de 2014, PLANALTO) amended articles 9, 10 and 56 of the Brazilian Foreigners Statute (Estatuto do Estrangeiro, Lei No. 6.815, de 19 de Agosto de 1980, PLANALTO).

Starting May 7, 2014, tourist visas may alternatively be requested and delivered by electronic means, in accordance with a regulation that will be enacted (Law No. 12,968, art. 9 §1). Paragraph 3 of article 9 establishes the procedures to obtain a tourist visa electronically, which may include the need for the applicant to submit original documents at the request of the Brazilian authorities (id. art. 9 §4).

Law No. 12,968 included a provision revising article 9 of Law No. 6,815 and establishing that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs may issue rules to

· simplify the procedures involving reciprocity cases or for other reasons the Ministry deems appropriate (id. art. 9 §5 (I)); and
· without prejudice to the security system and other applicable legal sanctions, issue rules for obtaining visas physically detached from the applicant’s passport (id. art. 9 §5 (II)).

Law No. 12,968 added paragraph 6 to article 9 of Law No. 6,815; the new paragraph determines that an alien who provides false information or fails to comply with the rules established in article 9 sections 3 and 4, and other relevant legal norms will be subject to the penalties provided for in articles 125 and 126 of Law No. 6,815, which include a fine, detention, and deportation.

The revised law determines that aliens who wish to come to Brazil on business, as an artist, or as an athlete do not need to obtain a tourist or temporary visa, provided that the foreigner’s country gives the same treatment to Brazilian citizens or has an international agreement with Brazil (id. art. 10).

According to article 56 of Law No. 6,815, a laissez-passer may be issued, in Brazil or abroad, to a foreigner who holds a travel document issued by a government not recognized by the Brazilian government or not valid for Brazil. Law No. 12,968 added a second paragraph to article 56, determining that a visa issued by the consular authority may be affixed to any travel document issued under standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization and that this action does not imply any endorsement or the recognition of a state or government by the Brazilian Government.