From the Amazon basin to the beautiful beaches along its northern and eastern shores, Brazil is South America's largest country and holds much for expats to explore and discover. Whether heading to glamorous Rio de Janeiro or bustling São Paulo, expats are in for an exciting experience.

Living in Brazil as an expat

Brazil is home to an ever-expanding expat population. With a resource-rich economy and booming mining, agricultural and manufacturing sectors, there is an extensive range of job opportunities for expats moving to Brazil. Sadly, Brazil also has a vastly unequal income distribution and this can be plainly seen throughout the country. Despite these issues, this relatively young democracy has become one of South America’s leading economic powers. On a global platform, it is a resource-rich BRIC country.

Brasília, the country's capital and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the seat of Brazil’s government. It's home to over 100 embassies and consulates as well as the headquarters of numerous multinational companies, drawing expats from all around the globe. Vibrant cities, pristine beaches, exotic jungles and massive rivers add further allure to make Brazil an exhilarating destination full of exciting travel and career potential.

Speaking at least basic Portuguese will vital for expats wanting to make a life in the country. Without it, one will undoubtedly encounter problems when conducting business and taking care of everyday affairs.

Due to its sprawling size, the easiest way to travel between cities in Brazil is by air. Long-distance buses, trains and boats also keep the country connected. Within cities, there are generally extensive bus services and a range of bus companies to choose from. Major cities, such as São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília, all have efficient metros.

Cost of living in Brazil

Economic inequality is a major problem in Brazil, with a wide gap between the poor and the wealthy. In comparison to many other expat destinations around the world, the cost of living in Brazil is inexpensive, especially if earning in a foreign currency such as the US Dollar. However, those earning in the local currency will find they have far less purchasing power and might have a harder time budgeting.

Expat families and children

All of Brazil's major cities have numerous English-language international schools servicing the diplomatic, expat and immigrant populations. Brazil also has an extensive network of both public and private healthcare options available.


Fast facts

Population: 212 million

Capital city: Brasília

Neighbouring countries: Brazil is bordered by Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana to the north; Colombia to the northwest; Bolivia and Peru to the west; Argentina and Paraguay to the southwest; and Uruguay to the south.

Geography: Brazil occupies about half of South America with a long coastal region to the east. It has a vast and complex network of rivers, including the famous Amazon River. About two-thirds of the massive Amazon rainforest is within Brazil's borders. The rest of the country has a diverse landscape ranging from plateaus and plains to mountains, hills and highlands.

Political system: Federal presidential constitutional republic

Major religions: Roman Catholicism with

Main language: Portuguese

Money: The Brazilian Real (BRL) is divided into 100 centavos. Expats will need a residence visa to open a bank account. ATMs are widely available, although some only operate during certain hours for safety reasons.

Tipping: Standard 10 percent

Time: Brazil has four time zones: GMT-2, GMT-3, GMT-4 and GMT-5.

Electricity: 110V/220V, 60Hz. Plugs with two or three round pins are generally used.

Internet domain: .br

International dialling code: +55

Emergency contacts: 190 (police), 192 (ambulance), 193 (fire)

Transport and driving: Motorists drive on the right-hand side of the road. The types and extent of public transport services available vary widely from city to city.