Brazil/Same-Sex Marriage/Perm. Residence Visa
QUESTION: Hi Sandra,
I currently live in Philadelphia and am soon planning to go to Brazil to be with my boyfriend who lives in Fortaleza, CE as well as teach English for awhile.
We met last March while he was here studying English at the university i used to attend; we were together for 5 months while he was still in America and we have been together through the distance since August. He is absolutely my world; the thought of living in Brazil is daunting at times but completely manageable and worth it to be with him.
I do have a few questions regarding the process of acquiring a permanent residence visa however, especially since we are a same-sex couple I didn't know if there was more "red-tape" than there was for the average couple.
My first question is,
1-How can we go about getting married as a same-sex couple in Brazil? Is it completely legal throughout the entire country or only in certain states/municipalities?
2-Are there any documents or statements that we need to have in order to prove that we've been together for a certain period of time?
3-Is there a minimum amount of time I must be in Brazil before applying for a permanent residence visa? What is the exact process for acquiring this kind of visa?
4-Once I apply for a perm. res. visa, can I legally live and work in Brazil while the application is being processed or would I need to wait until I actually receive cards/documents approving my application to live there legally?
I appreciate any response in advance. This information is very valuable to me because I don't want to go to Brazil for a few months only to be ripped away from him again. A long-distance relationship for us has proved very challenging so we'd like to finally be able to have the security of knowing that we can be together indefinitely and not have to worry about bureaucratic things being the reason for our unhappiness. Thanks a bunch!
ANSWER: Hi Jordan.
There is no gay ‘marriage’ anywhere in Brazil. What exists is called Uniao Estavel, which can be applied to both same or different sex couples.
Iirc the couple needs to document/prove (with rent receipts, bills, joint bank accounts, etc) they have been together for 2 years.
After you have established your relationship legally in Brazil, the Brazilian citizen can apply for a permanent visa from your home country (if the Brazilian is present there—faster, about 4 months, and more expensive) or at the PF that handles that issue nearest to your residence in Brazil. Have your partner check with them for process details (these “burro-cratic” things tend to vary slightly between locations in Brazil—get used to it :-) and the exact documents required. One required document is a police report, no more than 6 months old, which first needs to be stamped and “recognized” at the Brazilian Consulate with jurisdiction over where it was emitted. (If FBI report, this is Washington.) In country, it might take 2 years to complete the process and will involve a surprise home visit.
You should receive a temporary paper giving permission to work while you wait for the process to be completed.
Note: All documents issued in the U.S. (or other foreign country) must be stamped and “recognized” at the Brazilian Consulate with jurisdiction over where each was emitted; this is to have someone familiar with docs form that country insure they are legitimate and legal, not fraudulent, falsified or forged. The Brazilian Consulate with jurisdiction may be a different place for each. Each document in English must then be translated in Brazil by an officially government recognized translator. (There is a list available for most cities.) The document process at the Consulate should be done while you are still in the U.S. It might be worth drawing up a power-of-attorney (procuracao) in Portuguese, made official at the Brazilian Consulate with jurisdiction over your U.S. home, to allow your partner to act on your behalf in getting the translations started (and any other details to do with the process) before you arrive, to maximize the short time (relative to the bureaucratic process) you have in Brazil on a tourist visa.
I suggest taking a look at some past posts about Uniao Estavel on the forum of the expat-in-Brazil site www.gringoes.com, where (among the idiots, trolls and troll baiters) there are some very well informed posters, including a very helpful budding lawyer. What I may not have addressed here, they will certainly be able to.
Best wishes for a happy future in Brazil and with your partner.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thanks so much for your help Sandra.
One final question-so since we have only been together for about a year and half of that year was long-distance, is there absolutely no way of us receiving an Uniao Estavel?
Having never gone through the process personally, I am not completely certain of the time period a couple has to be together to prove Stable Union or what other proof of a committed relationship might be acceptable. Mention to your partner the words "jeitinho brasileiro".
This page on the Stable Union visa from the Brazilian Consulate in London might be helpful to clarify the situation.
Also, have your partner check the Ministério do Trabalho e Emprego (M.T.E.) page with the law on Uniao Estavel itself. Perhaps he could check in person with them in Brazil as well.