segunda-feira, 10 de dezembro de 2012

Border control in Brazil

Today the blog is launching a new weekly column. We will be counting on the invaluable contribution from Ms. Gringa da Silva, a foreigner who lives in Brazil and has some sharp-witted remarks to make about the country. 

The law part of the Brazilian Law Blog will remain under my responsibility. But Ms. Gringa's comments will certainly add some flavor to the usual FDI, IOF, Taxation, Importation and other legal conundrums that we all have learned to love. 



Welcome to Brazil - Bem-vindo ao Brasil 

Ah, the first post. It's always so exciting to begin something new.

So, you are about to arrive in Brazil, good for you. Have you got your paperwork in order? Got your vaccinations in order? Is your passport pretty and neat and without marks? Did you fill out your customs declaration form correctly?

You are about to enter the realm of The Brazilian Border (insert Twilight Zone music here), which is controlled by the Federal Police of Brazil. (We will be revisiting them many times as time goes on, so we'll just leave the summaries for later.)

Good things to know:

1) It is illegal to be rude to a bureaucrat in Brazil.
2) You can be denied entry to the country for being inconvenient.
3) No one (you actually need to speak English) speaks English.
4) No one at the border cares who you are; though they might care what your football team is.
5) It will take a while, so make friends in the line, stay calm and whatever you do, don't be iconvenient.
6) The line will be long, the instructions will be confusing, and the pressure of your bladder will be annoying.

You cannot escape the visa requirements, the paperwork, the possible fees incurred and customs regulations while entering Brazil and if you try, you might be denied entry.

Don't be an idiot by attempting to buy your way in or insult your way in, unless you fancy spending time in jail and a swift deportation with a possible clause prohibiting your return.

Know what is needed before you land. Have it all ready and at hand, and for heavens sake, if your mother packed a salami in your luggage (they have salami in Brazil, mom) tell them about it, don't try to import it illegally.

The Federal Police have no obligation to let you in and the particular flavour of bureaucrat you are about to meet is just looking for reasons to say the dreaded words: Falta! (error/ offence/ irregular/ not allowed)

So, when you find yourself all smelly from that billion hour plane flight, full of the delicious food you were served on the plane and dreaming of a bathroom that is larger than a carry-on bag, stay cool, be calm and for heaven's sake, be polite.

On the caipirinha scale, the border crossing rates a 1.

Until next week, yours in the spirit of cachaça,

Ms. Gringa da Silva

All rights reserved © 2012 by Ms. Gringa da Silva (

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