Brazil: A Wake-Up Call for International Travellers

An announcement made on Tuesday, 28 June 2017, by Brazil’s Federal Police alerted citizens that anyone requesting a new passport after Monday, 27 June 2017 would no longer be issued one.

This passport suspension follows significant budget cuts, and, in particular, what the Federal Police described as “a dearth of funds earmarked to the activities of migratory control and the issuance of travel documents.” Brazilians holding ordinary status (i.e. non-diplomats or foreign officials) will thus find themselves unable to apply for the only Brazilian document currently accepted for overseas travel.

Brazil’s Congress is due to debate the release of additional funds to address the passport crisis, with a vote being pushed by the Budget Ministry for the week starting 3 July. Brazilians, who are used to receiving new passports within six business days, will be even more affected by the fact that the suspension has come at the end of school term – one of the most popular times in the year for families to travel abroad.

In effect, those without a passport, with an expired passport, or with less than six months remaining until their passports expire, will remain stranded in Brazil unless they can rely on a second citizenship – and a second passport – to leave the country and be awarded entry abroad.

For certain businesspersons, a simple solution is made available by today’s CBI programmes

Not everyone is lucky enough to be born with a second citizenship, and to be able to rely on an alternative government to provide them with a valid travel document. For certain businesspersons and high net worth individuals however, a simple solution is made available by today’s citizenship by investment programmes. These programmes enable individuals from all across the globe to apply for citizenship in return for a significant investment in the economy of a country.

Citizenship by investment is especially prized by those who value efficiency, as many programmes offer direct citizenship in as little as three months. Additionally, it is an important insurance against future uncertainty.

Brazilians today are facing an unforeseen predicament, with the Federal Police stating that “there is no provision for delivery of the requested passport until the budgetary situation is normalised” and providing no definite date for the reinstatement of passport procedures. Many are probably wishing they had taken the time to apply for a second citizenship – others, we hope, will see this as a cautionary tale, and inquire into second citizenship to prevent, rather than react to, a time of crisis.