Brazil – Immigration Controls for Seafarers

28 June 2021

Members calling at ports in Brazil should note that the new Migration Law (Law 13,445 of May 2017) that entered into force in Brazil in November 2017 is now being implemented strictly.

The new Law allows seafarers entering Brazil on ocean-going vessels to stay up to 90 days (non-extendable) in each migratory year without a visa provided they carry a C185 Seafarer Identity Document (SID) that is issued by the seafarers’ State of nationality or permanent residence where such country is signatory to the International Labour Organization (ILO) Identity Documents Convention 185 of 2003 (ILO C185). Note that:
  1. a Seaman’s Book (Seafarer’s Service Book or Discharge Book) is not the same document as a C185 SID. The Seaman’s Book is a proof of qualification and experience and is not acceptable as a proof of identity.
  2. SIDs that are issued under ILO Convention 108 are no longer accepted as valid identification documents for visa exemptions in Brazil.
  3. Crewmembers whose country of nationality have not ratified the ILO C185 Convention will need a visitor visa to enter Brazil. Click here for details of the 36 countries that have ratified the ILO C185 so far. For example, as China has not ratified the ILO C185, visitor visas are required for Chinese crewmembers on non-Chinese flagged vessels. For Chinese crewmembers on Chinese flagged vessels, a bilateral trade agreement applies allowing limited shore leave within the city limits.
  4. The period of stay is counted from the date of the first entry into Brazil to the date when the vessel leaves the last national port or the date when the seafarer is repatriated.

For periods exceeding 90 days, a temporary work visa must be obtained and registered with the Federal Police. Different rules apply for seafarers that enter Brazil to work onboard a Brazilian flagged ship or platform on a ship, as they must obtain a temporary work visa.

For more information on how the new immigration regulations apply to seafarers, please see the detailed guide from Representações Proinde Ltda, a correspondent in Brazil, which is available here. This includes information on the visa categories and validity, immigration controls on foreign seafarers and Brazilian crewmembers, offences and penalties imposed.

Members and Assureds should take note of the above and liaise with local agents and correspondents, where appropriate, to allow sufficient time for any visa applications to be submitted to ensure compliance with Brazil’s immigration laws and avoid being fined.