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FAMILY REUNIFICATION PRINCIPLES UNDER THE BRAZILIAN IMMIGRATION SYSTEM

by Rene Ramos

 

One of the most discussed issues after the publication of the new Brazilian Immigration Law (Federal Law 13.445/2017) and its Regulatory Decree (Federal Decree 9.199/2017) is family reunion.

 

When the old immigration law (Federal Law 6.815/1980), its Regulatory Decree, and other regulations were in place, it was simple to highlight the rules and procedures for processing family reunifications.

 

However, since the publication of the new law, there are ambiguities as to how family reunification is granted.

 

The new Brazilian immigration law (Federal Law 13.445/2017) came into force in November 2017 and the regulation on family reunion applications was published on June 14, 2018. Therefore, for about seven months, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Federal Police were able to grant or deny this right without any regulatory framework that defined procedures in a specific way.

 

This situation has generated many doubts, misinterpretations, divergent decisions depending on where the immigrant claimed their right, as well as excessive fines. In short, it created a legal insecurity that is has finally been addressed with the introduction of a regulation on the family reunification procedures.

 

This new regulation on family reunion, the Interministerial Ordinance 12/2017 was published on June 13, 2018. This regulation has made it clarified that a request for family reunification can be made through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Consulates or Embassies abroad) as well as through the Federal Police (in Brazilian territory).

 

Temporary visas or residence for family reunification may be granted to the following immigrants:

 

I - spouse or partner, without any discrimination, under the terms of the Brazilian legal system;

 

II - the child of a Brazilian or of an immigrant who has been granted a residence permit;

 

III - stepchild of a Brazilian or of an immigrant who is a beneficiary of a residence permit, provided that he is under the age of eighteen years, or up to twenty-four years of age, if he is proven to be a student, or of any age, if economic dependence on the sponsor can be proved;

 

IV - who has a Brazilian child;

 

V - who has an immigrant child who has been granted a residence permit;

 

VI - up to the second degree of Brazilian or immigrant beneficiary of residence permit;

 

VII - descending to the second degree of Brazilian or immigrant beneficiary of residence permit;

 

VIII - a Brazilian or immigrant sibling who is a beneficiary of a residence permit, provided that he or she is under the age of eighteen years, or up to the age of twenty-four, if proven to be a student, or of any age, if economic dependence on the sponsor can be proved; or

 

IX - who has Brazilian citizen under his/her tutelage, curate or guard.

 

It is important to emphasize that an immigrant who receives a residence permit as a result of family reunification, may carry out any work activity in the country, including remunerated activities, under equal conditions as a Brazilian national, as per the terms of current legislation.

 

With the centralization of the rules of family reunion set forth in the Interministerial Ordinance 12/2017 of June 13, 2018, we hope that a greater uniformity of the decisions of the Brazilian authorities will occur in order to give interested immigrants greater legal certainty.

 
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