By law in Brazil, all foreigners who are not tourists are required to register with the Federal Police within 30 days of arriving in the country. (In my case, my family and I have what is known as a “Vitem-I” visa. It allows me to work on my research in Brazil, but does not allow Brazilian companies to pay me for my work.)
Luckily, the Brazilian Fulbright Commission prepared a handbook, in English, that describes the overall requirements for this process, but it still left a lot of details open, especially in terms of where I needed to actually go to register with the Federal Police. As there doesn’t appear to be any information in English on how this specifically works in Recife, I thought I’d share my experience to help others who need to go through this process.
Here are the instructions for registering with the Federal Police if you will be working in Recife, Brazil
Disclaimer: Some of this information may have changed since I posted it; in addition I am not the authority on these requirements so use at your own risk. Officially, this information is located on the Federal Police web site.
Where to go
The Federal Police office (“Atendimento a Estrangeiro”) where you need to register is located at the Recife International Airport at the arrivals level. It is clearly labeled. Any of the information desks in the airport can help you find the office.
The current posted hours (as of August 27, 2015) are: 9:00 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. The hours of this office seem to change quite frequently, based on web pages I’ve found (in Portuguese) that provide instructions. I’d recommend calling ahead of time to confirm when they are open.
(81) 3322-4729. Most of the employees appear to speak English and a human being will answer the phone (no phone tree voice prompts, which is very nice).
No appointment required
In Recife, the Federal Police office does not use appointments. Just show up when the office is open.
How long the process will take
I arrived at the office at 9:30 am, and it took about two hours. Time will most likely depend on how busy they are. Because you’re in the airport, however, the environment is air conditioned and there are clean bathrooms and food nearby.
What to bring
- Your passport
- Photocopies from your passport:
- identification and signature pages
- visa page
- pages that contain Federal Police stamps in your passport made when you entered and left Brazil, including your most recent entry into the country. (This includes previous times you may have visited Brazil.)
- The copy of your visa application form (“Formulário de Pedido de Visto”) that your regional Brazilian consulate gave you when you applied for your visa.
- The “Registro Nacional de Estrangeiro/Agendamento de Estrangeiro” form. Go to https://servicos.dpf.gov.br/sincreWeb/, enter the requested data, and print a copy. This form does not work in Google Chrome (at least, not on the Mac). If you try to use this web browser you will receive the rather unhelpful error message, “Erro – tente novamente mais tarde!” (“Error – Try again later!”). I used the Mac version of Firefox without a problem and I would imagine that Internet Explorer probably works as well. Also, it appears that there is something wrong with the certificate authority, so your browser may give you an error that the site cannot be trusted. Follow the instructions in your browser to bypass the error and go to the “unsafe” web site. I also found it helpful to have a Google translate page open when I filled out the form so I could copy and paste Portuguese words I did not know into the translate page. Note that you only need to complete the items marked with a red box.
- Two 3 cm x 4 cm photos of yourself. These are essentially like passport photos, but smaller and in a rectangular rather than square format. The Federal Police will use one photo for your “Registro Nacional de Estrangeiro” form and the other photo for your temporary Federal Police ID (the “protocolo”).
- Proof that you have paid the two fees necessary for this process, which will consist of two forms with payment proof attached. These fees are the “Taxa Registro de Estrangeiros/Reestabelecimento de Registro”, which is about R$106, and the “Carteria de Estrangeiro Primeira Via”, which is about R$204. (You will get the exact amount you need to pay when you complete the online forms.) The web site that you will need to access has the same issue with the “unsafe web site” warnings; I didn’t try this site with Google Chrome, but would recommend using Firefox or Internet Explorer, just in case, to avoid problems. Proof for these payments consists of a printed online form with a payment receipt. Here’s the required steps:
- To generate the payment stub for the “Taxa Registro de Estrangeiros”, go to https://servicos.dpf.gov.br/gru/gru?nac=1&rec=2 and complete the form. In the option for “Unidade Arrecadadora”, choose “PE (019-1) SUPERINTENDENCIA REGIONAL NO ESTADO PERNAMBUCO”. In the option for “Código da Receita STN”, choose the option for “Taxa Registro de Estrangeiros/Reestabelecimento de Registro” (this will be code 140082). Print the form.
- To generate the payment stub for the “Carteria de Estrangeiro Primeira Via”, repeat the same steps, but for the option for “Código da Receita STN”, instead choose “Carteria de Estrangeiro Primeira Via” (this will be code 140120). Print the form.
- Take the two forms that you printed to a bank. In the bank, find the “Caixa” (the cashier), show her/him the forms and pay the fee. (The fee needs to be in reais and in cash.) In my case, the cashier ran my form through a printer, which printed a receipt at the edge of the form. Regardless, make sure that you get some kind of payment receipt printed on or attached to the form.
- You might also want to take an official copy of your birth certificate and a document from your employer indicating that you have been hired to work in Brazil with you. Although I was not asked for these records, it may be needed if there are typos in your documents or to confirm your employment status.
Notes for workers traveling with their families
In my case, my family (wife and two toddlers) are living with me in Brazil; they also have Vitem-I visas. The exact same process described above also applies to them, which means every member of your family must come with you when you register. Even babies need to be registered with the Federal Police, which means that they will also need to be fingerprinted.
Thoughts on this process
Some information I read, including my Fulbright instructions, indicated that I would have to fill out another form when I arrived at the Federal Police office. This was not the case in Recife.
While the paperwork and figuring out how this process works was both time and resource intensive, and at times, frustrating, all of the Federal Police employees in person and on the phone were very pleasant and helpful. It definitely helped make the experience bearable.
Although I went through the registration process after I had been living in Recife for a couple of weeks, it might make sense to do it when you arrive on your plane at the airport. I would recommend bringing as much documentation with you as possible. You can make photocopies at the airport at the Brazilnet store that is on the same level at the Federal Police office. You should also be able to pay your fees at a bank located in the airport. (I did not do this myself, so I cannot confirm this option.)
Let me know if you found this helpful!