Unsung IM Programs Part 3: Brazil’s Permanent Residence Investor Visa (VIPER)

The Brazil Permanent Residence Investor Visa (also known as VIPER) enables foreign citizens to obtain permanent residence in Brazil by investing in certain projects, businesses, or real estate. The program offers numerous benefits for investors, including visa-free travel within most MERCOSUR countries, the right to live permanently in Brazil, as well as a three or four-year path to citizenship in a country that enjoys excellent visa-free travel privileges.

The Unsung IM Programs series

About two dozen “core” programs dominate investment migration marketing materials – and news sites like this one. But there are literally hundreds of capital-based immigration programs out there. We intentionally use the term “capital-based” because not all the programs covered in this series are based on investments. Many are, but others are based on donations, or income, or net worth.

But they are all, one way or another, based on capital. Capital that you must either invest, donate, earn, or simply have.

Hence, capital-based immigration programs.

The great bulk of capital-based immigration programs rarely gets any attention. That’s regrettable because there’s a smorgasbord of high-quality ones in all price ranges; many practically free.

In this series, therefore, we’re highlighting a number of more obscure programs that we think have merit for some demographic groups.

We’ll go through programs in each of the IMI Program Pages categories:

  • Direct Citizenship Programs
    Programs that offer citizenship within months in exchange for investments or donations, with minor/no physical presence requirements.
  • Semi-Direct Citizenship Programs
    Programs that offer citizenship in exchange for investments following a 1-2 year period, with minor/no physical presence requirements. 
  • Golden Visa Programs
    Programs that offer residence permits within months in exchange for passive investments, with limited physical presence requirements.
  • Independent Means Visas
    Programs that offer residence permits within months to those who can demonstrate income or personal wealth above a certain level, usually requiring that the holder not take up employment locally.
  • Active Investor Visas
    Programs that offer residence permits within months to those who physically relocate to start and/or run a business. Startup and entrepreneur visas fall under this category.

In Unsung IM Programs Part 1, we discussed Andorra’s Residence Without Lucrative Activity. In Part 2, we headed a stone’s throw northward to explore the French Talent Passport for Business Investors. In this third installment, we’ll take a closer look at the residence by investment program of the Southern hemisphere’s largest country.

Brazilian residence and citizenship as a springboard to nearly all of Latin-America

The investor visa program was created in 2009 as a part of the Brazilian government’s efforts to attract foreign capital to the country and stimulate economic growth.

Brazil is the 12th-largest economy in the world by nominal gross domestic product (GDP) and the eighth-largest by purchasing power parity (PPP). As of 2021, the country’s GDP was approximately US$2.055 trillion, and its GDP per capita was US$10,208. The largest and most populous country in Latin America, Brazil covers an area of approximately 8.515 million square kilometers and is home to over 212 million people, composed of a wide array of ethnic and cultural groups, including Portuguese, German, Italian, African, and indigenous peoples.

Brazil is a member of MERCOSUR, the South American Common Market, a trading bloc that generates a nominal GDP of about US$2.7 trillion (US$5.2 trillion in PPP terms), making it the world’s 6th largest economy.

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Crucially, Brazil is a signatory to the MERCOSUR Residence Agreement, which permits citizens of signatory countries to live and work in any other signatory country for two years with only proof of citizenship and a clean criminal record. After two years, temporary residence can be converted to permanent residence with evidence of the ability to support oneself and any accompanying family members. The agreement’s current signatory countries are Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay.

Eligibility requirements for Brazil's Investor Visa

To qualify for Brazil’s permanent residency for investors, applicants must invest either in Brazilian real estate or businesses.

Business investment options:

  • BRL 500,000 ($96,000) investment in a business in Brazil.
  • BRL 150,00 ($29,000) investment in innovative activities to boost the local economy (create 10 local jobs).

Though a business investment of just US$29,000 is technically the minimum investment, this option is only feasible under very particular circumstances.

Under the business investment options, the applicant must show proof of subsistence and de facto residence. In this category, the business plan must obtain approval from the National Council of Immigration (CNI) to be eligible. The applicant must prove that the company is in good standing and employs local residents to renew their permanent residence after three years.

Real estate investment options:

  • BRL 700,000 ($135,000) investment in real estate in the North and North Eastern regions of Brazil; or
  • BRL 1 million ($192,000) investment in real estate in other regions within Brazil.

The investment must be maintained to retain residency, at least until/if citizenship is obtained.

Path to Brazilian (and MERCOSUR) citizenship

In order to obtain permanent residency in Brazil as an investor, the applicant must obtain approval under the business investment category and must do so before arriving in the country. The business-based Investor Visa, once approved, grants immediate permanent residence. "Permanent," in this case, does not mean unconditional: If the applicant chooses the business investment option, authorities will review the business after three years. To maintain permanent residency, the applicant must not be absent for more than six consecutive months. After four years of continuous residency, the applicant may apply for citizenship.

Under the real estate route, the residence permit is initially issued for two years and can be renewed indefinitely if the investment is maintained. To retain residency, the applicant must physically be present in Brazil for 30 days per year. Those who invest more than US$200,000 in real estate are eligible to apply for citizenship after just three years rather than the normal four. Brazil permits dual citizenship.

Any child born in Brazil, regardless of the parents' nationality, has the automatic right to citizenship in the country.

Ahmad Abbas AdministratorAuthorSubscriberParticipant
Director of Content Services , Investment Migration Insider

Ahmad Abbas is Director of Content Services at Investment Migration Insider and an 8-year veteran of the investment migration industry.

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