UK Club updates members on Brazilian visa requirements for seafarers

Correspondent Proinde has updated UK P&I Club on Brazil’s new migration law, implemented in November 2017, and its impact on seafarers.

The new Brazilian Migration Law, which was enacted in May 2017, replaced the Alien’s Statute, which harked back to the days of military rule. The new law eliminated criminal sanctions for immigration offences, it substantially increased the potential fines for infraction. They now range from about $30 to $3,030 for individuals, and from about $303 to $303,000 for corporations that violate the immigration regulations.

New categories of visas have been created, each with multiple types to serve specific purposes. The permanent visa has been discontinued and long-term visitors who wish to live in or work in Brazil can now apply for residency in the country, regardless of their immigration status or visa type.

Visitors and immigrants in the maritime and offshore sectors will be issued with a visit visa for business (non-remunerated, short-term visitors) or a temporary work visa (with or without a contract of employment in Brazil) if they remain in the country for more than 90 days. Citizens of some countries will continue to be exempted from a visa if the stay does not exceed 90 days.

Proinde said that seafarers entering the country on a deep-sea going ships or a cruise ship sailing along the Brazilian coast for up to 90 days would be exempt from visa provided they carried a valid seaman’s book in accordance with the ILO Convention.

Those intending to work on a Brazilian ship or platform, irrespective of the length of the employment contract, or work on board a foreign vessel without a contract of employment in Brazil for more than 90 days, will need to obtain a temporary visa at a Brazilian consulate abroad.

Resolutions issued by the National Immigration Council (CNIg) in December 2017 to regulate the new legal framework reiterated the obligation of foreign ships and platforms to hire an increasing percentage of Brazilian seafarers “at all levels of qualifications and departments” when operating in Brazilian waters for specific periods.