Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Updated November 2019.
Brazil is a favoured destination for visitors to South America. It conjures up images of Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain, sunbathing on Inpanema Beach, attending a soccer match, exploring the Amazon Jungle and dancing in the streets at the Rio Carnival. And now you are considering an extended stay there. Here’s how you can live, work and play in Brazil on a working holiday.
Visas available to work in Brazil
Brazil, like most other countries has a variety of visas for people to apply for to visit the country. They include, but are not limited to, a visitor visa for stays of up to 90 days. The student visa which allows a few hours work per week to help support yourself while you study. A work permit if you are lucky enough to find a sponsored job such as Teaching English in an English Language School. And the Working Holiday Visa which is available to citizens of France, Germany, South Korea and New Zealand. This visa allows citizens from these countries who are 18-30 years inclusive a stay in Brazil of up to 12 months. During this time participants can undertake work to help fund their travels. There are other visas available and to get the lowdown on all the visas available contact your nearest Embassy or Consulate of Brazil.
Things to do before you leave on your working holiday in Brazil
Before you leave you might want to print a copy of LiveWorkPlayTravel’s Checklist. This checklist lists the useful things to do before you leave home. Tick them off as you complete them.
One thing that is highly recommended you do before heading to Brazil is to get a yellow fever vaccination. So is having a hepatitis A and B vaccinations as well as typhoid and rabies. Have these at least 6 weeks before you leave for Brazil. Contact a doctor and discuss vaccinations and other health risks in advance of your new life in Brazil. The last thing you want is to get sick. And definitely take out insurance. I recommend World Nomads, they have helped me a couple of times. If you don’t go with them make sure you get your travel insurance with someone else.
How will you get to Brazil?
It will depend on where you are coming from as to how you get to Brazil. Many fly into one of the international airports located in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo or Brasilia. If this is how you will be arriving you will want an airfare. For a great deal on an airfare compare and choose one at Skyscanner.
You could also enter Brazil by coach as there are many coach services from other South American countries that link to and within Brazil. The excellent coach network, particularly its long-distance buses are an economical way to travel.
Things to do when you arrive in Brazil (before you can work)
After your arrival in Brazil you will need to do a couple of things. If you are planning to stay over 90 days then you will need to register at Policia Federal for your Foreigner’s ID. Then you will need to register for a Brazilian Tax Number at the local tax office which is required so you can work, rent an apartment and also to open a bank account.
To apply for the tax number you take your passport and the receipt you will obtain when applying for your Foreigners ID. After 2 or 3 weeks your tax card should be ready for collection.
Living in Brazil – Types of accommodation in Brazil
Before you begin the search for a job you might want to find somewhere to live. There are many large cities to choose from but many travellers set up in Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia (the capital) or another major centre. No matter which city or area you choose you will need short-term accommodation arranged for your arrival. I suggest you book short-term accommodation for one week but preferably two. I suggest two as by the time you have arrived, maybe adjusted your body clock to the local time, done some sightseeing and got sorted the things you need to sort when you arrive, the two weeks will probably be up. And you don’t want the added pressure of finding more short-term accommodation when you are trying to find a job, long-term accommodation and doing other things.
If you are happy for your initial stay to be in a hostel then check out HostelWorld as there are many cheap options available. If you want a budget hotel room or small apartment then visit Booking.com. Once you know where you want to be you will need to find longer-term accommodation. Some travellers like to housesit while others find an apartment or a room in a share house. Read my blog on being a house sitter or if you are ready to find a housesit click on the link.
Types of jobs for travellers in Brazil, where they are and how to find them
About 80% of Brazilians live in the cities, so setting yourself up in a city such as Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro or the capital Brasilia may yield the most work opportunities. Unless you speak fluent Portuguese, the local language, the jobs available to you are limited. Here is a rundown on what types of jobs many travellers find in Brazil.
Teach English in Brazil
The most common job for native English speakers is to teach English either giving private lessons or in a school. You don’t necessarily need a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) qualification either though being qualified should see you with a better paying position. If you want to obtain a qualification check out the i-to-i website for on-line courses available. In fact, if you don’t qualify for a working holiday visa often Brazilian Language Schools will organise to sponsor you to work. To find an English Teaching job you can contact the schools directly or do an internet search of teaching English jobs in Brazil. Further information on Teaching English in Brazil and other South American countries can be found in our Teach English ebook.
Find work in a Brazilian Ski Resort
Travellers have found work in the ski resorts – yes, there are ski resorts. The ski resort of Ski Mountain Park – Sao Roque is the best known. The ski season is during the winter months of June, July and August, but it does depend on the white stuff how long jobs might be available. There is also an indoor ski centre located in Gramado, in Brazil’s Serra Gaucha region. Types of ski work available is in hospitality and on the slopes.
Work in the hostel
You might find work in the hostel you are staying in. Jobs can be at reception welcoming and checking in and out guests, housekeeping and/or cleaning or if the hostel has a bar or cafe they might need a bar tender or barista. It will depend on the services the hostel has. Check out the booking engine HostelWorld to see what hostels are around in the area you want to stay and what services they offer. They usually list all the services they provide so you will be able to ascertain potential jobs. Once you have chosen a hostel you would like to work in contact them before you arrive or if you are already there ask at reception.
Digital Nomads, if you don’t already know are basically travellers who make their money on-line. Brazil is a great place to do this. You only need your tech equipment and have access to good wi-fi in a co-working space or in your accommodation and away you go. Digital Nomads undertake different jobs on-line such as bookkeeping, social media management, graphic design, travel blogging (or blogging on other subjects) and doing paid on-line surveys.
Other types of work for travellers in Brazil
You might need to be innovative when it comes to work. People busk, read my blog on Busking and / or Street Performing, make and sell things at markets, become a local English speaking tour guide or becoming a WWOOFer. WWOOF stands for Willing Workers on Organic Farms and in exchange for your work you will receive accommodation, food and an insight in to your hosts way of life – a great way to gain a different Brazilian cultural experience on your working holiday in Brazil.
How to find work
Work can be found in a variety of ways. From searching the Internet to asking in hostels, bars, cafes, etc. to using popular job sites such as Catho www.catho.com.br.
What to see, do and visit in Brazil
You will have it in your mind what you might want to see, do and visit while in Brazil. As the largest country in South America it ranges from dense, exotic rainforest to dynamic cities to glorious beaches. There is Foz do Iguaçu, one of the largest waterfalls in the world. Christ the Redeemer, Brazil’s most iconic monuments. Sugarloaf Mountain, a natural wonder surrounded by the sea. The Amazon Rainforest one of the most ecologically complex regions in the world with extraordinary natural wonders of dense forest with thousands of species of animals. These are just a few of the things you can do, click on the link following and find out loads more options.
Living, working and playing in Brazil is a unique opportunity that most people don’t get the chance to experience, but you have chosen to. There will be challenges and cultural differences but I hope, after reading this guide, that your next port of call is your nearest Brazilian Consulate to get the ball rolling. Enjoy your working holiday in Brazil.
Sharyn has travelled most of her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. In her 20’s she went overseas and spent 4 years living, working, playing and travelling through many countries. Her travels inspire her ‘Live Work and Play’ series of working holiday guides and LiveWorkPlayTravel where she shares her knowledge of travel, being a digital nomad and blogging. Sharyn continues to travel and currently calls Melbourne home.