A vast majority of countries around the world do not require US citizens to obtain a visa before traveling there, but Brazil is one of those that do. However, there is no fee, just a simple application process. On a standard visa, an individual is allowed to remain in the country for 90 days at a time, with another 90 days renewable after that. After this six-month period, however, it becomes more difficult to stay for longer.
Brazilian law states that a nonresident can only be in the country for 180 days out of every year, a similar system to Europe’s Schengen region. Other options are available that would be useful for staying longer, but might not be applicable to your situation:
If you are hired by a Brazilian company, then you would be allowed to stay for longer than 180 days with a work visa. However, obtaining a work visa is difficult, as companies must prove that a Brazilian citizen cannot perform the task.
Obtaining an educational visa (or student visa) to study at a university in Brazil is likely your best bet for staying long-term. If you plan to take this route, do your homework. Visa requirements state that you must prove your enrollment in the university as well as provide proof of sufficient income.
If you start or invest in a business in Brazil, then you would be allowed to stay for longer. However, rules state that you must hire 5 full-time workers with full benefits. The visa would be valid for five years but reviewed each year by government officials to ensure that the requirements are being met. In addition, the cost is around 100,000 USD.
If you are over 55 years of age and draw a pension or retirement plan of more than 2000 per month, you are eligible for a retirement visa. However, take note that you would be taxed in both the United States and Brazil for the duration of your stay.
The easiest solution for staying long-term in Brazil is to marry a local or to father a child. However, I would advise against it, for obvious reasons.
To prepare, make sure you have all the paperwork needed for a visa application. This includes your passport, driver’s license, two recent 2 x2 passport-style photographs, proof of departure and hotel confirmation, and proof of sufficient funds for the duration of your stay. Your most recent bank statement should show a minimum balance of at least $1,000.
You must meet certain medical requirements, as well. If you have been to an area endemic to yellow fever within the last 90 days, you must provide proof of vaccination. This area includes most of Africa and areas in South America. For a full list, visit the Brazilian visa website.