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flag Brazil Brazil: Living

In this page: Communities of Expatriates | Ranking of Cities | Renting an Apartment | School System | Health System | Tourism and Culture | Individual and Civic Freedoms | Religion


Communities of Expatriates

Blogs For Expats
For Further Information
Websites for expats
Immigration Authority
Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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Ranking of Cities

Cost of Living
Brazilian cities, once ranked among the most expensive places in the world, are now considered to be significantly cheap due to the depreciation of real. Rio de Janeiro now ranks 156th while Sao Paulo is 128th out of 209 cities surveyed by Mercer.
Quality of Life
Mercer's 2017 Quality of Living Survey ranks Rio de Janeiro 118th and Sao Paulo 121st out of 231.
Sanitary Conditions
Conditions of hygiene in town are acceptable, but not for all the population. Tap water is not drinkable, but filtering it is enough, or you can buy 10 liter carboys in all small shops.
For Further Information
Quality of Living Worldwide City Rankings –Survey - Mercer
Cost of Living Worldwide City Rankings –Survey - Mercer

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Renting an Apartment

Description of apartments
Apartments (« apartamento ») in all price ranges according to town, district, comfort. Many apartments in town have security services, swimming pool, gym.
Normal Lease Term
The shorter and more flexible the lease, the more you will pay. « Temporadas » are short term furnished rentals (a few months at most). Leases are usually for 1 year, and can be terminated with notice of one month minimum.
Rental Costs
A deposit is required. The price will depend on the type of apartment, on the town, the district and on your situation (whether you have guarantees or not).
Agencies or Private Rentals
Going through an agency: gains time but may be expensive. It is preferable to rent from private individuals.
Rental Agency Websites
Directory of real estate agencies
Other Possibilities For Accommodation
You can stay with local people; get information on the spot.
For Further Information
Expat Focus

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School System

School Level
Universities are public, generally excellent and free, but only children whose parents have been able to send them to elementary school, secondary school and a private prep school for university called "vestibular" can be admitted. Public education at elementary and secondary schools is of a distinctly lower level than that of private schools.
Infant education (from 3 to 5)
Fundamental education (from 6 to 14)
Middle education (from 15 to 17)
Vestibular (18/19 )
First University cycle (4 years)
Second University cycle (2/3 years)
Third University cycle (3/4 years)
International Schools
Network of American and French schools in Brazil.
List of international schools in Brazil.
For Further Information
Ministry of Education

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Health System

Quality of Healthcare
Healthcare is of very varying quality in Brazil. The universal healthcare system is accessible to everyone, but it is of basic quality and there are long waiting times. However, private clinics have an excellent reputation and the country is also a place for "medical tourism", especially for cosmetic surgery.
International Hospitals
It is not advisable to go to a public hospital in Brazil. Apart from the language barrier, the quality of healthcare is only average and the waiting times are endless. It is better to go to a doctor for slight problems or to a private clinic if the problem is more serious, such as The American Hospital in São Paulo.
Health Insurance
Theoretically, the social security system gives all citizens free access to healthcare, but private complementary insurance has to be paid for.
Accessibility of the Health Insurance Network to Foreigners
Health System Insurance Body
Medical insurers
Health Ministry
Health Ministry
Ministry of Health ( in portugese)

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Tourism and Culture

Different Forms of Tourism

Brazil's rich history is on display throughout the country. Those interested in colonial history can find much in the northeast region of the country (Salvador, Recife, Olinda, São Luis).
Brazil’s main museums are located in São Paulo, where one can find a more contemporary artistic dynamism. Modern architecture can be found in the works of Lucio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer in Brasilia. Musical wealth is expressed across the country. Rio de Janeiro’s celebration of Carnival- held before Lent every year- is not to be missed. It is considered the biggest carnival in the world, with two million people per day on the street.
There are many natural parks. Some examples include: the Amazon basin, the "Chapada Diamantina" in Bahia, the "Chapada dos Veadeiros" around the Federal District and the magnificent Pantanal region in the west of the country.
Churches dating from colonial times can be found in the historic towns of the northeast region of the country.

Niemeyer's famous Cathedral in Brasilia is a beautiful example of his modern architectural style.

There are several hot springs, such as: Caldas Novas, Rio Quente, Águas Mornas and Santo Amaro da Imperatriz.
There are thousands of kilometres of beach in the country. Beaches range from crowded and urban to family friendly. Seaside resorts are developing and providing a pleasant, simple lifestyle for those who visit- some examples include Pipa (Rio Grande do Norte) and Jericoacoara (Ceara).
Outdoor Activities
Sport is widespread (jogging, body building, football, volleyball), as well as seaside activities (surfing, fishing, sailing) or walking in the natural parks.
Beautiful craftsmanship can be found in the north and northeast. Tourists often purchase wooden decorative items, stone jewelry, musical instruments, cloth, hammocks and off-the-rack beachwear.

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Individual and Civic Freedoms

Political Freedom
Civil Liberty
World Ranking of Freedom of the Press According to "Reporters sans Frontières", 2021 report : 111/180
Free Access to the Internet
Rule of Law
Personal Autonomy and Individual Rights
Women's Condition
The law protects women from domestic violence, rape and prostitution.Gender inequality remains however a persisting social issue (workplace promotion and wages inequaities).

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Degree of Freedom
Despite a very strong Catholic tradition, religious freedom has been recognised and practiced for several decades. Religions of African origin were legalised in the 1950s and many Neo-Pentacostal churches have been opened since the end of the 1980s.
Role of Religion in Society
Catholicism exerts strong social control and influeance on social values. There also exists large rotation between the various movements, and the success of the Neo-Pentecostal Churches created or influenced by their American sister-churches, in particular in the favelas, neglected by social services and the authorities. In general it is recommended to avoid jokes about religion.

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Latest Update: June 2023