There are only seven cases in which a foreigner can obtain a permanent residence visa for Brazil:
As an administrator or manager of a start-up company
A start-up company refers to a non-Brazilian company which has been in business outside Brazil for at least five years preceding the application. In order to set up the company, it must give power of attorney to its new legal representatives in Brazil.
Companies can apply for a maximum of three visas which will be issued initially for two years. After this period of time the company has to meet certain criteria, like the proof that it has created 10 new positions for Brazilian employees.
As an administrator or manager of a corporation
This type of visa is meant for administrators, managers or directors who intend to take over the position of an executive in a Brazilian company. The foreign or the parent company has to prove that it has invested an amount of minimum US$ 200,000 per applicant. In addition, the Brazilian company has to provide proof of the technical and social benefits which it will gain by hiring the new executive.
As an investor
You can also obtain a permanent visa if you invest a minimum of US$ 50,000 in productive activities or, alternatively, invest less but employ 10 Brazilians. You will have to provide a financing and investment plan. This visa is initially issued for five years and can be changed into a regular work permit if the foreigner can prove the accomplishment of his plan.
The application for the three cases just mentioned has first to be submitted at the Ministry of Labour in Brazil (Ministério do Trabalho e Emprego). After the application has been granted, all further steps have then to be taken at the Brazilian embassy or consulate in your home country.
As a researcher or high level professional specialist
The applicant for this type of visa has to submit a document from a Brazilian research institution stating its interest in the services of the researcher. Furthermore, the applicant has to provide a CV and appropriate academic references and diplomas.
As a pensioner
If you are a foreign pensioner with a monthly income of over US$ 2,000 you are entitled to a permanent visa in Brazil. You can also obtain a visa for two other dependants provided that you can demonstrate an additional income of minimum US$ 1,000 per dependent.
Apply for this visa at a Brazilian embassy or consulate in your home country by presenting a statement of the foreign agency responsible for the pension and a bank declaration proving a monthly remittance of US$ 2,000.
As a spouse to a Brazilian citizen
If you are married to a Brazilian citizen you can apply for a permanent residence visa at the Ministry of Justice (via Federal Police offices) or a Brazilian embassy or consulate in your home country. You have to submit your marriage certificate and a statement from your witnesses. Be prepared for a possible surprise visit of immigration officials who want to make sure that the matrimonial union is not a fictitious marriage for the purpose of obtaining a residence permit.
As a foreign parent to a Brazilian child
If you have a child who is a Brazilian national you can apply for a permanent visa at the Ministry of Justice (via Federal Police offices) or a Brazilian embassy or consulate in your home country. The child should be economically dependent on the applicant and be under his guardianship.
Permanent visa for family members
A visto de permanência can also cover dependent family members such as the applicant's spouse, children under 21 years or 24 if in higher education or the applicant's parents. The family members will be issued the same visa as the applicant.
However, note that the dependent family members will not be allowed to obtain work permits in Brazil. In this case you should consult a professional advisor who will be able to help you with your dependant's application.
The process of applying for a permanent visa in Brazil is very complex and long. It includes an enormous amount of paperwork and many documents have to be certificated by government officials. Therefore, it is almost inevitable to consult Brazilian experts on that matter.
There are special consultancy offices for foreigners in Brazil, the so called Despachantes, who are specialised in such matters as visa application. The Despachantes dispose of relevant experience and contacts to responsible authorities. The cost for such services can amount to US$ 2,000 but depending on the type of visa and your individual situation, this investment usually pays off.