A vast country of over 200 million people will open its borders to digital nomads and remote workers who have sources of income outside the country. Prior to this development, Brazil — like many many large countries — made it very difficult to work legally in the country without a strict employment visa.
Brazil launched a one-year digital nomad visa that is renewable for a second year. This opens significant possibilities for digital nomads who want to work in a large country with a lot of options with respect to the variety of accommodation and time zones that allow for working effectively with colleagues on US Eastern Time or European time.
Beyond that, Brazil offers up a rich civilization, many metropolitan areas, beaches, and generally favorable, warm weather for most of the year. With a landmass that lies across the equator, there are parts of Brazil that are equatorial and tropical as well as milder climates as you travel further south.
What You Need To Know About Brazil's Digital Nomad Visa
As with many digital nomad visas, there is an income requirement. The income requirement for the Brazil Digital Nomad visa is proving that you make $1500 USD per month. You can also prove cash on hand with a bank deposit showing a minimum of $18,000. These numbers are for a single applicant and it is as yet unclear what the requirements will be for partners and dependents
Brazil is a Portuguese-speaking nation, and digital nomads will want to be aware that even in large, famous cities like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, it is not a guarantee that English or Spanish will be spoken or known by locals, as one might expect across other parts of South America.
There are four standard time zones in Brazil. They are (moving from west to east): Acre Time (ACT), Amazon Time (AMT), Brasília Time (BRT), and Fernando de Noronha Time (FNT).
Acre Time corresponds with Eastern Standard Time in North America (so when Daylight Saving Time or EDT is in effect, ACT is one hour behind)
AMT is one hour ahead of ACT and EST and generally applies to the Amazonian interior.
BRT, another hour ahead, applies to much of the urbanized and populated part of Brazil and all its major cities including São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasília, Belo Horizonte, Florianópolis, and more.
FNT is a time zone that applies to a small but popular digital nomad destination, the island of Fernando de Noronha.
One thing that travelers, digital nomads, and remote workers should be aware of is urban safety. It is important to understand that travelers from North America or Europe who are used to walking alone or walking through cities at night may want to exercise more caution in Brazil than they might elsewhere.
While some areas like Florianópolis have low crime rates, some neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo can be dangerous. It's a good idea to do some research on what specific neighborhoods you might want to stay in.
Using Uber can be inexpensive (especially against currencies like the dollar or euro)
Internet and Phone
Generally, this is a country that is modern but not quite as developed as other countries. Wi-Fi should generally be fast in various coworking spaces that specialize in supporting remote workers.
SIM cards may present a specific challenge for travelers who are used to simply landing at the airport and grabbing a local SIM card at the airport in a new country. In Brazil, the central ID number — the "CPF" — rules all individual transactions and is necessary to get a SIM. You may want to either have other options if you are simply visiting. If you are on an official visa, you are likely able to obtain your own CPF, but it may take some time, so plan ahead.
If you are staying in an Airbnb or other short-term rental, you can ask ahead of your host to confirm the WiFi speed with a photo from a speed test service.
Digital Nomad Cities
So the question is — in a gigantic country which is between the USA and Australia in landmass size — where should you go?
Here are a few ideas:
Florianópolis is honestly probably underrated as a tropical destination. Within Brazil it is known by its nickname ‘Floripa,’ Dozens of beaches, a city center, and hilly mountains come together to create a beautiful paradise with a low cost of living. Brazilians know it well, as it is one of the most visited places in Brazil.
If you want to go to Brazil, but staying in a major metropolis or the tropical northern regions is not up your alley, Floripa might be the choice for you.
2. Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro, or "Rio" is not the biggest city in Brazil or the capital, but it has been the most famous and photographed for decades. Who doesn't know the famous view down into the famous beaches of Rio with the Christ the Redeemer statue looking down from the mountains?
If you are looking for a teeming metropolis, Rio might be the right adventure for you. You must be cautious, though, as much of the inland and higher elevation areas contain 'favelas' where poverty and crime, unfortunately, make it less safe to visit.
3. São Paulo
This is a big city. If you tend to think about the USA and your mind goes straight for New York, or think about the UK and dream of the big city of London, São Paulo may be the big metropolis at the center of business and commerce that's right for you. If, as a remote worker or digital nomad, you want to be in the heart of finance, business, and cultural institutions, this could be a great choice to work remotely and build business connections.
Traffic and pollution can be bad. This is a big city, with a truly awe-inspiring population size and a sprawling urban setting. This is not a city that is sitting right on the beach, being an hour inland, so don't expect it to be exactly like Rio — but if you want the biggest opportunities, the most restaurants, the most city culture, and the most startups/businesses/possible collaborators — SP is where it's at.
4. Belo Horizonte
In the state of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte is a major city in Brazil that would suit a traveler who is looking to venture outside the more famous locales of SP and Rio. This town boasts a lot of bars but it is possibly less advanced in accommodating coworking spaces and desks.
This northern windsurfers' and kite surfers' paradise is a kind of hippie village in Ceará in the north of Brazil, 300 km west of Fortaleza. "Jeri" is the kind of place, like Byron Bay or Tofino, where a small population and good vibes help it punch above its weight as a target destination for nomads.
If you are looking for near year-round great weather and the ability to participate in beach sports, Jeri might be for you.
6. Fernando de Noronha
And finally, for the adventurous travelers out there, there is the archipelago off the northeast coast — 21 islands, including one that is inhabited. Satellite internet arrived in December 2021, and the possibilities for travelers looking to get off the beaten path are tempting. This is a UNESCO world heritage site and tourist destination, so proceed with caution around committing too much time. You may want to swim with the turtles and then head somewhere else if you are looking to work long-term.