If, like many of us, you're utterly succumbing to the lure of Brazil, here's some basic info to consider: 1. RESIDENCE: As a visitor, you're allowed to be in Brazil up to 180 days within each calendar year, and each entry as a tourist is good for 90 days. You can extend for another 90 days by going to the Polícia Federal, going through some minor bureaucracy and paying a small fee. Alternatively, you can just leave the country (like by flying to Buenos Aires for a few days) and then return for a new 90 days. For longer stays, you would need to look into permanent residence, if you want to be legal. Right now, the only ways to do get a permanent resident visa are to be sponsored by a Brazilian employer, to obtain a visa as a retiree, or to marry a Brazilian. (In the latter case, the Brazilian courts have started to recognize the right of same-sex partners of Brazilian citizens to obtain permanent residence.) You can also look into non-permanent, longer-stay visas like student visas. 2. TAXES: Permanent residence exposes you to Brazilian income tax, which, to put it mildly, is outrageously high. (In my own case, on an utterly middle-of-the-middle class U.S. retirement income, my Brazilian tax would be TWICE as high as my U.S. tax!) Brazil taxes your world-wide income, so it doesn't matter that you aren't working or earning money in Brazil. You still have to pay Brazilian tax, plus any taxes you owe in your home country. Brazil doesn't impose double taxation, so depending on the tax laws of your own country you may only have to pay tax in one or the other, but not both. However, check with a good tax adviser. Brazil has tax treaties with many countries, but NOT with the U.S. If there is a tax treaty, check with your own tax authorities for a copy to see if there are provisions that might be favorable to you. (For example, typical U.S. tax treaties exempt public pensions from being taxed in both countries; the recipient only pays taxes in the country of which s/he's a citizen. In the case of Brazil, such a treaty would be advantageous to me, because my pension is a public one.) Non-residents don't have to pay taxes in Brazil, so maintaining two homes and "commuting" between Brazil and your home country (or anywhere else, for that matter) for part of the year may make good tax sense. If you can read Portuguese, you can get lots of info at the Receita's website, http://www.receita.fazenda.gov.br 3. TAKING THE PLUNGE: If you decide to spend longer periods of time in Brazil you'll need to be able to do business there. Here's the recommended Trilingual process for doing that. I strongly suggest going in the following order, because one thing leads to another: A) Rent a temporary furnished apartment. Get a written rental agreement. Later on in the process, you may need a notarized copy of the rental agreement and a copy of a utility bill for that address. The rental agency should be able to help you with that. I rented a temporary apartment from Copacabana Holiday, r. Barata Ribeiro, 80 and they were cool about helping me with the documents. If you rent a place through Carlo or Miketur or one of the other sources here, you also shouldn't have any problems. B) Before you can do ANYTHING in Brazil, you need to obtain a CPF (Brazilian Tax ID Number). In Brazil, this is the equivalent of a U.S. social security or driver's license number. Without one, you're a non-person and you can't do a thing. Non-residents can obtain a CPF. To get one, you have to begin the process at a Banco do Brasil branch. (If you don't speak Portuguese, take someone who does with you.) The easiest branch to use, because they process CPF requests every day (not all branches do) is the large one on Av. Copacabana between Siqueira Campos and Figueiredo Magalhães. You'll need to show your passport and a copy of the rental agreement for your temporary apartment. You'll then pay a fee of R$4,50 and will be given a receipt and a temporary slip of paper with your CPF number on it. BE SURE TO WRITE THE NUMBER DOWN IN PLACES YOU'LL BE SURE TO FIND IT AND TRY TO MEMORIZE IT, BECAUSE YOU'LL NEED IT ALL THE TIME. The next day, after the info has been entered into the computer system, you will have to take your receipt to the Receita office, either in Ipanema or downtown. In Ipanema, the office is on Barão da Torre (parallel to Visc. de Pirajá) about half-a-block on the right before getting to Praça da Paz (coming from Copacabana). Downtown, the Receita is in an imposing old building on Av. Pres. Antônio Carlos. Eventually, you'll receive an official-looking blue plastic card with your name and CPF on it. This will be mailed to the address on file with the Banco do Brasil/Receita. Once you have a CPF, you need to maintain it and keep your data up to date. Once you have a permanent address, you should provide that to the Receita. You have to go through the same process described above to change your address. Also, if you're a non-resident, you have to file an annual "Declaração de Isento" (Declaration of Exemption) stating that you're a non-resident. This can be done on-line at the Receita site, from August through November of each year. Don't forget, because otherwise your CPF number can be cancelled and you have to start all over again! Bring a book or magazine when you apply for your CPF; lines at Banco do Brasil and the Receita can sometimes be long. However, they use a "take-a-number" system and the process doesn't take very long once your number is called. C) Buy a post-paid cell phone. (The rates are cheaper than the pre-paids.) You'll need a phone for any number of reasons, not the least of which is for it's phone number! There are several companies. I chose TIM, because it's a GSM provider, so I can use the tri-band phone I purchased in Brazil in any country with GSM service. When I'm in the U.S., I just have to switch the memory chip (very easy to do) in order to use my U.S. cell phone company. I don't need two different phones. D) Open a bank account. This a bit trickier, because it seems that it's technically not legal for non-residents to open accounts in Brazil right now. However, just ask at various banks. The Banco Itaú branch on Av. Atlântica across from the Copacabana Palace hotel was willing to open an account for me, but required either a permanent lease or a notarized statement from a Brazilian friend that I was living at his address. They wouldn't accept the rental agreement on a temporary apartment. I was able to open an account just using the temporary rental agreement at a Bradesco branch downtown, on the corner of r. do Ouvidor and r. Gonçalves Dias, very near the Confeitaria Colombo. Sr. Cristiano was the official who opened the account for me; just ask for him. He sits upstairs on the second floor. However, ask at other Bradesco branches in Copacabana, which may be more convenient. Keep asking until someone says "yes." It probably would help to go with a Brazilian friend/acquaintance who also has an account at that bank. An advantage to opening an account at Bradesco or Itaú is that they are the largest Brazilian banks, with branches and ATMs on virtually every street corner of the country. If you plan to travel within Brazil, that can be very useful! Also, Brazilian banks have very sophisticated and well-developed online banking systems, so it's easy to take care of paying bills online when you're out of the country, but again you'll need some Portuguese to do that! To open the account at Bradesco, I had to show my passport, CPF, a notarized copy of my temporary rental agreement and a copy of a utility bill for that address (even though the account wasn't in my name). The account came with a Visa debit card, and I also got a Gold Visa credit card. The credit card is probably not really necessary, unless you plan to buy airline tickets on GOL, which only accepts Brazilian issued credit cards in payment. You also may want to think about keeping your home-country bank account with HSBC, Fleet (BankBoston) or Citibank. HSBC, in particular, has lots of branches in Brazil. Brazil's Banco Real is a subsidiary of ABN-Amro and also has quite a few branches, but I don't know how much relationship there is between the parent and the Brazilian operations. E) Rent or purchase a permanent place. There are many ways to do this. Carlo Romano can be very helpful in advising you about the process. You can also use a realtor, or go through the classified ads, or just "cold-call" at buildings you're interested in (i.e., ask the porter if there are any apartments for rent/sale in the building and, if there are, how to contact the owner). Real estate law in Brazil is similar to that in other Western countries, so there shouldn't be many surprises. Procedurally, it's extremely important for everything to be written, and written properly, because oral agreements count for zero in the Brazilian justice system when it comes to real estate deals. You'll need to line up an attorney who's familiar with real estate matters to assist you. Again, Carlo can be helpful in this area, but there are plenty of other sources, too, for finding an attorney. Just remember that there's no such thing as title insurance in Brazil. If you are purchasing you will need an attorney who represents your interest to do the title search to be sure there are no impediments to the sale! If you read Portuguese, there's a good guide to these issues called something like "Guia dos seus direitos" in the law section of most large bookstores. There are also good consumer-oriented titles covering consumer, real estate and landlord/tenant law, and I'd recommend buying and reading some. Once you have a better feel for how Brazilian law works, you'll be more comfortable with what you're doing. Once you have a permanent address, be sure to change the address on your CPF, bank account and cell phone account. F) Change the gas and light accounts to your name. Light (the electric company) has an office on Av. Copacabana right across from the Cassino Atlântico shopping center (at the end of Copacabana, near the Sofitel). CEG, the gas company, is on one of the side streets in Copacabana. I've forgotten the exact address, but the porter in your building will know where it is, or you can just look it up in the phone book! G) To simplify life, have the gas, electric, phone and other utility accounts put on automatic debit. You can do this online or at your bank branch. H) Start furnishing and decorating and start turning into a "Brazilian!" I) Please add to this thread with your own experiences and tips for getting established in Brazil!