terça-feira, 20 de novembro de 2012

Brazilian Law on Love - marriage, stable union and visas

Love is always in the air when we talk about Brazil. At times when Brazilian economy is excellent, good, all right, better than others, this love tends to materialize in subsequent relocations to Brazil.

So you married a Brazilian and now you both want to come live in Brazil. Or you live with a Brazilian in a stable union and want to come to here.

But how does your marriage becomes fully efficient in Brazil? How do you prove a stable union? How can you get a visa to live in Brazil? These are some of the issues we will address today.

Marriage issues

Pursuant to Statute no. 6.015/73, which regulates public registries, the marriage of a Brazilian celebrated in a foreign country is considered authentic pursuant to the laws of this country after the certificate of marriage is legalized at the competent Brazilian Consulate (article 32). However, the marriage can only produce effects in Brazil if the legalized certificate of marriage is transcribed into the books of the 1stRegistry of the domicile of the Brazilian spouse (That is, a Cartorio. A detailed regulation can be found in my other blog, in Portuguese)

Therefore, in order to have a fully effective marriage in Brazil, the first step is to legalize the certificate of marriage (at the consulate) and the second is to submit it to the Registry (at a Brazilian cartório).

Note that the issue of whether homosexual marriages are accepted under Brazilian Law is not completely settled, although the Supreme Court of Justice understanding has made decision that recognizes this possibility.

Therefore, registering the certificate of a homosexual marriage in a Brazilian Registry may present problems, even if the marriage is officially recognized by the laws of the country in which it was celebrated.

Stable unions

For many purposes, Brazilian law equals marriage and stable unions. A stable union is defined as a family entity living together in a public, continuous and lasting manner and with the aim of constituting a family. There is no time requirement for a stable union, though courts are more incline to recognize them when they exist for a longer period of time (a year or more).

In 2011, the Federal Supreme Court recognized the validity of stable unions between homosexual couples.

But how do you prove a stable union?

For visa purposes, this condition can be proved with:

(1)  one of the following documents (Art. 2 of Resolution CNIg no. 77/2008)

(a) certificate of stable union issue by a government entity of the country of origin; or
(b) proof of stable union issue by a competent Brazilian court or similar foreign authority.


(2)  by presenting the following documents (Art. 3 of Resolution CNIg no. 77/2008):

(a) certificate of civil registration of the Foreigner (in case, the Foreigner’s National Registration number and the Taxpayer’s Registry (CPF) or foreign equivalent (including passaport);
(b) declaration of two people which attests the existence of the stable union; and
(c) at least two of the following documents:
(i) proof of economic dependency issued by the fiscal authority or an entity equivalent to the Brazilian Revenue Office;
(ii) certificate of religious marriage;
(iii) will declaration which proves the union;
(iv) life insurance contracted by one of the interested parties which appoints the other person as beneficiary;
(v) duly registered deed of sale of real estate which appoints both interested parties as owners or lease signed by both; or
(vi) joint bank account.

NOTE: Documents number ii to vi must be at least one year old before they can be accepted. So, no lightning speed civil unions!

How to request the permanent visa

After obtaining proof of your marriage or stable union, you can request a family reunion visa. In Brazil, family is a constitutionally upheld value and so Brazilian authorities tend to grant this type of visa with relative ease.

If you are outside Brazil, you can request this visa at the Brazilian Consulate which has jurisdiction over your domicile. If you are already in Brazil, you should address your request to the nearest Federal Police office.

Pursuant to Resolution CNIg no. 36/1999, Brazilian authorities may grant permanent visas to foreigners married to Brazilians.

With this visa, you are allowed to stay and work in Brazilian territory and you may enter and leave the country as you wish.

However, if you stay over two years outside the country, you may lose your visa and, thus, you would have to either request a new one or ask for the revalidation of the previous one.

Note that pursuant to art. 75 of Statute no. 6.815/1980 (which regulates the legal status of foreigners in Brazil), a foreigner with a Brazilian spouse or companion cannot be expelled from Brazilian territory if the marriage and/or stable union exists for over 5 years. Accordingly, after this period, the foreigner can request the transformation of its permanent visa into a kind of permanent stay permission.

We discussed on a previous occasion what happens to the permanent visa when the marriage ends (tip: they are not so permanent, after all).

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