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By No owner — last modified Aug 30, 2018 05:36 PM

 Brazil - Formalities


Formalities can be very time-consuming everywhere, although officials are generally polite and helpful. Start early as government offices close for lunch from 11:30 to 14:00. Normally yachts are not boarded and the captain has to go into town to find the various offices. The order of visits is important, as certain forms have to be taken from one office to another.

First go to the Immigration office (Police Federal) with all the crew and passports. They will issue the "Passe de Entrada de embarcação"  (Entry pass for a ship). Do not lose it as it will have to be returned when you leave that port.

Next, go to Customs (Receita Federal). They will issue a TECAT (Termo de concessao de admission temporaria).  This document gives you the right to enter your yacht without paying tax because you are transiting and not staying or running a business. Although the Receita Federal only needs to be visited on first entry and on exit from Brazil, it is likely that you will need to produce this document many times.

Then, the Health Authorities (Vigilancia Sanitaria)- with the compilation of everything plus vaccination docs if any.

Finally, visit the Port Captain (Capitania dos Portos) with all the forms and documentation previously produced. Here yet another form has to be filled in. This is a cruising permit (passe de saida) and will be issued at the port of entry by the Port Captain. This form is another 'do not loose' one as it will then be stamped at every port you enter.  If staying longer than 90 days, ensure that this permit is renewed in time. It is also particularly important to conform to the dress code at this office.

Remember, all the crew has to be present at these offices.

It is also a good idea to have a copy of the resolution which exempts non-commercial private yachts from needing a Health Certificate, as the Coast Guard and/or Health offices often still wish to see such a certificate. See Brazilian Health Controls for the full text(in Portuguese and English).

Some yachts have reported having to use a special officially approved agent (despachante), whom one is introduced to on arrival. The agent takes passports and ship's papers and does the entry formalities for a fee. This usually only applies to the first entry into the country and also depends on local officials. It is more likely to occur at a commercial port like Natal.

There are some ports where it is best for yachts to make their initial check in; Recife, Salvador, Rio de Janeiro, Paranagua and Rio Grande. These harbours are used to yachts checking in, while other harbours are more used to ships which use an agent. This can cost between 500 & 1000R. Cruisers report that Angra dos Reis (South of Rio) or Capodelo (North of Recife) have the most friendly officials.

After having completed the initial clearance at a port of entry, it is necessary to obtain clearance to the next port, although is allowable to cruise and stop on the way. Request clearance to the next port with stops (con escala). At every major port en route, port authority and Federal Police offices must be visited. This is particularly important on entering a new state. This clearance is strictly enforced, and failure to do so can lead to on the spot fines of up to US$5000.

A new 2009 law requests that all yachts in transit not flying a Mercosul flag (i.e. one from Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay or Uruguay) be registered with Customs and file a "Simplified Temporary Importation." This entails a "despachante" and at least 24 hours of waiting for documentation.

On leaving the country, all these officials (excluding Health), must be visited in the reverse order.

It is helpful to use the correct Portuguese names for officials and paperwork as it avoids confusion.

NOTE: Smart dress must be worn to visit official offices (no shorts, t-shirts or casual shirts are allowed). See Restrictions

US cruising boat SY Two Fish cleared into Brazil in October 2014. Their blog has excellent detail and a step by step guide.

Last updated March 2018.


Passports must be valid for six months from arrival date except Argentinians and Uruguayans, who only require a national identity card.

A 90 day visa is issued initially, which may be renewable on request for another 90 days (although this is not guaranteed) from the Federal Police on payment of a fee.

Note - Dec 2013: Noosite has received reports that some Federal Police officers are enforcing a 90 day stay only (in any 6 month period) where this is applied to Brazilians visiting the cruiser's home country. In these circumstances, the visitors are given only a day or two to leave Brazil.

To extend your visa, you go to the Policia Federal website section for Estrangeiros (currently only in Portuguese).  Print out a payslip, one per person, take them to the Banco de Brasil and make payment. Take the receipt with the usual passport/papers to Federal Police, along with “proof of funds” (bank or credit card statement).

A maximum of 90 days only (or 180 if an extension has been granted) per year may be spent in Brazil. It is important that the renewal is done before the visa expires, but be aware that the extension will be dated from the date of application for the extension and any time remaining on the original visa will be lost.

See also the Noonsite report Procedure to Request an Extension of Visa in Brazil for some very useful detailed instructions on how to do this at Salvador International Airport.

Visas are not required by nationals of some countries for stays of up to 90 days in a 180 day period.

Other nationalities, including Australian, US and Canadian citizens, need to obtain a visa before arrival.

See Consulate General website- updated Sept 2015 for the latest list.

Visas are normally only be valid for 90 days from the date of issue. US citizens may be able to obtain a five year multiple-entry visa in advance which is a good alternative if you plan to leave the yacht in Brazil and then return, but it appears it is not easy to obtain.

Important Notes for Yacht Crews

Visa regulations are designed for visitors arriving by air, and in some ports the authorities insist on everyone having a visa, even nationalities that are normally exempt.

According to the Brazilian Consul in Las Palmas, visas are no longer required by UK and US citizens arriving on their yachts, but the actual situation is not clear and Consulate in San Francisco contradicts this.
In June 2012 a cruiser reported that U.K. citizens arriving at Salvador in a U.K. registered yacht had no problem getting a visa on arrival.

If, therefore, there is any doubt, it is advisable for everyone arriving by yacht to obtain a visa in advance, but you must enter Brazil within 90 days of the visa being issued.

Another important point to note, is that if a delivery crew is used, the owner must be at the Port of Entry when the yacht arrives. Failure to do this might incur a heavy fine and other complications.

Cruisers report being given 72 hours to leave the country when arriving without a visa and having to pay an agent $600 for clearance papers.

It is mandatory to carry ID at ALL times in Brazil. If you are not carrying ID you may be arrested.

Last updated October 2016.

Brazil Government - Visa Section
For enquiries about visa requirements.


Firearms are retained by Customs, until authorisation for their possession is given by the military authorities. The firearms should then be registered with the police. In some places, such as Belem, firearms may be left on board.

Yachts are permitted to stay a maximum of 24 months. A letter of permission is required from the Port Captain and this is usually faxed to The Recita (Customs) who are responsible for enforcing the rule.

The amount of time permitted for crew remains the same as for other tourists (generally 90 days with 90 day extension).

If you want to take advantage of the "Temporary Absence Allowance for Yachts" read more about it in this Noonsite report from 2008.

Although the yacht may stay for 24 months, the crew aboard may not be able to do so. This means that the captain may need to find a marina or buoy where someone guarantees to look after your boat, which also requires official forms to be filed. A form called A Alfandega Da Receita Federal Do Brasil No Porto De Itaguai from the Receita Federal. The guardian or marina will need to fill out their part. It needs to be signed by the capitain (and/or the boat owner), the marina or buoy owner, acknowledge by the Capitano dos Portes, and finally by Receita Federal. Take the form with you when you leave the country. On return to Brazil from abroad, you need to go to Receita Federal and “free” your boat with a form called Termo De Liberacao Veleiro issued by Receita Federal.

Parts sent to a yacht via a carrier (e,g, Fedex, UPS) are subject to duty as the Authorities do not recognise that they represent a yacht in transit. If sent by normal post direct to the yacht, no duty is charged.

Last updated September 2018.


YELLOW FEVER ALERT - Rio de Janeiro and Angra:

The outbreak of yellow fever is a serious problem and all tourists heading to Brazil should be vaccinated prior to arrival. During your time in Brazil, preventative measures should also be employed: repellent, mosquito net, insecticide, trousers and long sleeves, etc.

Updated map of the risk areas:

Yellow fever vaccination certificates are (anyway) required by those arriving from the following countries :- Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and French Guiana, Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Sudan.

Those who arrive either without a certificate or who have not been vaccinated will have to be vaccinated in Brazil, which is not always done under the most hygienic conditions.

ZIKA VIRUS: There is growing concern about the rapid spread of the ZIKA Virus and the impact of the virus on pregnant women and babies. ZIKA is transmitted by mosquitos in tropical and sub-tropical climates, and there is currently no cure or vaccine. Cases have been reported in Brazil, so please refer to the CDC’s dedicated website if you are intending to cruise in one of the affected areas.

DENGUE FEVER: The number of dengue fever cases in Brazil has increased considerably since 2015, especially in the south-east and central-west. Cases of Chikunyunga virus have been confirmed in Brazil and the number of reported cases in the region is increasing.

In rural areas especially, there is also the risk of malaria, cholera, typhoid and hepatitis, so vaccination or prophylactic treatment is recommended.

Other Health Advice

Lunch and snacks are safest if freshly cooked and served hot. Always wash fruit and vegetables.

Swimming pools are chlorinated, but Bilharzia is present along riverbanks so keep your footwear on.

In fresh water (i.e. in the Amazon) be aware of the danger of shoals of piranha fish. They are voracious!

Before filling up with water in Brazil, always make sure that you are using the correct water. Some water is only meant for wash-down and is not potable.

Last updated February 2018.


It is mandatory to carry ID at ALL times in Brazil. If you are not carrying ID you may be arrested.

It is not advisable to carry your passport other than for official business and a photocopy does not last and does not look 'official'.
One suggestion is to have a colour scan or copy made of the photo page of your passport and the front cover. Have this reduced to slightly larger than a standard business card. Place the two images back to back and have them laminated. You now have a very official looking, waterproof ID card that will last years. It is common to be asked for ID/Passport when making a credit card purchase.


Overtime is charged for clearance outside of office hours on weekdays, and all day on weekends. There are harbour fees and light dues.

On Fernando de Noronha, anchoring and environmental fees are also payable. See the Fernando de Noronha port page for details.


As with ALL official places in Brazil, the wearing of slacks is mandatory and arriving in shorts or bermudas is likely to entail have access refused. It is also advisable to a wear a reasonably plain collared polo shirt or similar.

In banks it is forbidden to enter with a cap, hat or sunglasses. Also, in the revolving doors there is a metal detector that blocks the turn, so "the suspect" is stuck inside the door if entering with a lot of coins, metal buckles, etc. The metals and cell phone must be passed through a side window to the door. If you have a multitool on you, it will be retained by the police until you exit.

A boat may only be occupied or moved if the owner is on board.


Dogs, cats and birds can enter Brazil only on presentation of of the following documents, duly authenticated by the Consular Service:

- A sanitory certificate (for pets) issued by a veterinarian and must be endorsed by Veterinary Services (APHIS/VS) and legalized at a Brazilian Consulate.

- It must be dated within one week prior to pets' departure. Sanitary Certificate must also certify that, up to 40 days prior to boarding, no contagious disease had been detected in place of origin.

- The animal must be inoculated against rabies and have a current rabies vaccination certificate. - Admittance of animals other than dogs, cats and birds require prior approval by the Ministry of Agriculture. There are no quarantine period on arrival in Brazil.

- Pets are not permitted to land on Fernando de Noronha.

See this Brazilian Government website for the full details.

Omar Sanchez Wetdoc
Omar Sanchez Wetdoc says:
May 11, 2018 10:50 PM

New website to download the official nautical charts in Raster format:
And new web for the notice to the navigators, in English and Portuguese:
Omar Sanchez, Wetdoc

Omar Sanchez
Omar Sanchez says:
Feb 20, 2018 02:06 PM

Yellow Fever in Brazil:
Alert in Rio de Janeiro and Angra.
The outbreak of yellow fever is no longer a health alert and has become a real problem. Therefore, the vaccine should be included in the plans of the tourists, without diminishing the use of other measures: repellent, mosquito net, insecticide, trousers and long sleeves, etc.
The evolution is so rapid that the usual sources of information like the CDC of the USA or the travelers medicine websites and their maps are outdated. The news portals of Brazil follow the problem more closely. The area of ​​Rio de Janeiro and Angra dos Reis, historical nautical destinations, have been punished punctually in recent days.
Mortality in Angra is the data of the day: 7 out of 12 reported cases.
The overall mortality in the state of Rio de Janeiro is 45%.
The rest of the statistics:
Minas Gerais 225 cases with 76 deaths.
São Paulo with 181 cases and 53 deaths.
Rio de Janeiro with 74 cases and 33 fatal.
Updated map of the risk areas:
Omar Wetdoc

banuD says:
Oct 03, 2016 01:23 PM

We're on anchor in ıtaparica for almost 4 months now, and havent been anywhere else so comfortable so far. You can leave your dinghy at marina, get fresh water for free, and people are very friendly if you're friendly. Had no safety problems so far, however we lock the boat as been warned by many people. It's also lovely to sail around, to Rio Paraguacu, Tororo waterfall etc..Nature is amazing, loved it all...Just finding yatching equipments even in Salvador is very very difficult. So if anyone has any experience finding rigging materials, would be great to learn.
banu, S/Y Gezi says:
Jul 16, 2015 01:28 AM

We spend 5 months in Brazil and thoroughly enjoyed it! Three months at Terminal Nautico, Salvador, two weeks in Recife and four weeks at Jacare Village Marina in Cabedelo. Nor once did we feel threatened in any way nor did we encounter any difficulties. Everybody was helpful and mostly went out of their way to be of assistance. We extensively sailed around the Salvador (Bahia de Todos Santos) area and visited many popular and remote anchorages. We hired a vehicle and drove over 2400 kilometers visiting many inland towns and villages. Everywhere we went, we met generous and helpful people across the entire spectrum - rich and poor, old and young. Marcello Brochini from Bahia Boats in Salvador went out of his way to show us more of Brazilian life - he can also assist in importing spare parts and yacht equipment duty free. Crime is certainly not as common some people would want you to believe and we have seen far worse in some sophisticated first world countries. Learn a few Portuguese words (hardly anybody can speak English), relax, take it easy, mix with the laid back Brazilian people, don't expect things done in a rush, make sure to stock up on their Cachaca - you will have a great time and then some more!

kathmcnulty says:
May 18, 2015 02:34 AM

Salvador and Bahia de Todos Santos are brilliant. Everyone is friendly, welcoming and helpful. We have been here two months and loved every minute. We have stayed at the Terminal Nautica in Salvador and sailed to many places in the bay. We have visited many places in Salvador by bus and on foot and been to Chapada Diamantina NP. We have felt safe and had no problems - only friendship and generosity. Come to Brazil, you'll love it. Don't let the security column put you off, just take the precautions you would anywhere. And learn a bit of Brazilian on the crossing, it will go a long way. Kath, Caramor, Salvador de Bahia

Thomas Rupp
Thomas Rupp says:
Mar 30, 2015 11:20 AM

I'm in Itiparica since one week. During this time one boat was boarded during the night and robbed (the owners and their dog were on the boat sleeping and the boat was open, they noticed the theft the next morning),
one couple were attacked by 4 locals with machetes whilst on the beach to the left of the marina during the afternoon, and their bag was stolen and one boat was boarded during the day while the owners were at the marina. Luckily another boat noticed the thieves on board and chased them in their dinghy.
Whilst these thieves were caught and hopefully the nightmare is over, cruisers should be careful.
All of the involved boats are in the anchorfield directly outside the marina.
I will tell the 3 couples about noonsite and see if they can send in first-hand reports.
Itiparica, 30.03.2015

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