Can a foreigner open a business in Brazil?

Today’s post (written by our team at SRC Lawyers) is about this frequently asked question in a time of high mobility of people and companies: “can a foreigner open a startup / business in Brazil? How does it work?”.

NOTICE: THIS POST IS STRICTLY INFORMATIVE AND DOESN’T SUBSTITUTE A CONSULTATION WITH A LAWYER.

Let’s start: Yes, a foreigner can open a business in Brazil. A foreigner can create or have shares in companies in Brazil, living there or not. But before that, he/she needs to be compliant with some requirements and also perform some paperwork. Please find below some useful information about the subject:

a) Foreigner living in Brazil through an Investor Visa (permanente visa, obtention of a “RNE permanente”).

A foreign investor can pledge an investor visa in case he/she wants to have a permament residence in Brazil. The category of this visa is “permanent”.

The Foreigner will be asked to prove an investment of a minimum of R$ 150.000,00 (a hundred and fifty thousand reais) on the company (existing or new) that he/she intend to invest on, besides presenting an Investment Plan that proves the social interest of the investment.

The general rules of this type of Visa can be found at Resolução Normativa nº 84 from the National Immigration Council.

b) Foreigner living in another country:

A foreigner can be partner or shareholder of a Brazilian company without living in Brazil. He/she will need to be registered in the Receita Federal (to get a CPF – a national identity document) and in the Central Bank of Brazil (Bacen) through the Registro Declaratório Eletrônico (RDE), besides mandatorily having an attorney-in-fact (also called agent) with specific powers. After that a foreigner will be able to invest in Brazilian companies.

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Important to mention that Brazilian Law states a few prohibitions on foreign investment on specific economic activities, such as investments in activities related to nuclear energy, health services, postal and telegraph services and aeroespacial industry.

There are also restrictions in the participation of the foreigner in financial institutions, mining sector, public air services, property and management of newspapers, magazines and other publishing vehicles, as well radio and television. 

Therefore if you want to open or invest in a startup in Brazil, check out the possibilities above and talk with a lawyer about the procedure for your specific case.

This post was written by our team at SRC Lawyers.

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Luiza S. Rezende
Corporate lawyer specialized in startups

Foto: Syda Productions / CrayonStock