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Citizenship by Descent in Brazil

Citizenship by Descent in Brazil

Foreign citizens who immigrate to Brazil have several pathways through which they can gain citizenship. Those who have ties to the country are the most advantaged from this point of view as they can obtain the so-called citizenship by descent in Brazil.

Below, our immigration lawyers explain the concept of descent and whom it applies to, as well as how to obtain citizenship by birth in Brazil, which is the easiest way to secure a passport.

Who can apply for Brazilian citizenship by descent?

Ancestry or descent is a direct way to obtain citizenship in Brazil, as it does not require one to reside in the country to gain nationality. Given that this type of passport can be obtained by those who have ties to the country in the form of relatives who live or have lived in the country, it is easy to understand that it is not accessible to any person.

Who exactly can obtain Brazilian citizenship by descent? According to Article 12 in the Constitution:

  • anyone born in Brazil, regardless of their parents’ nationality, as long as they are not in the armed forces;
  • people who were born overseas to Brazilian parents, as long as one of them is employed by a Brazil-registered company;
  • Brazilian nationals born abroad, as long as they register at a competent Brazilian consular office or settle in Brazil and decide, at any time after turning 18 they want to apply for citizenship.

Apart from this, there is also the concept of Brazil citizenship by birth which is slightly different than ancestry and which can be explained by our lawyers in Brazil.

Citizenship by birth in Brazil

According to the law, it is possible to acquire Brazilian citizenship by birth if:

  • a person is born in Brazil, regardless of their parents’ nationality, as long as they are not serving their home country;
  • a person born overseas, with a Brazilian father or mother, as long as one of them is serving Brazil;
  • a person born abroad, with a Brazilian father or mother, as long as they register with a competent Brazilian authority, move to Brazil, and choose to become Brazilian citizens whenever they reach majority.

Please consider that the differences between ancestry and birth in terms of citizenship are very slight, which is why in order to establish the category you fall under you should rely on our Brazilian lawyers. Then again, if you do not want to complicate things, naturalization is always an option.

Two options when applying for Brazilian citizenship by descent

If you did not decide to move and obtain Brazilian residency which enables you to secure nationality through naturalization because you qualify for citizenship by descent, here are the main ways to obtain it:

  • the first concerns individuals who were registered at Brazilian consular offices;
  • the second relates to individuals who were not registered at consular offices, were born outside of the country, and had their foreign birth certificate directly transcribed at a Brazilian notary public’s office.

According to the law, consular birth registration is sufficient to ensure the recognition of Brazil citizenship by birth and all of its rights. The only action necessary in this instance is the transcription of the consular birth registration certificate at a Brazilian registry office. Our Brazilian law firm can assist in this case.

For those in the second category, the law establishes two requirements for them to be regarded as Brazilians:

  • they must reside in Brazil;
  • once they turn 18 of age, confirm their Brazilian nationality through the “nationality option” process.

You can also rely on our law firm in Brazil for the steps related to obtaining citizenship by descent in the second scenario.

Immigration statistics

According to data collected by the government:

  • at the level of 2022, there were 1.3 million immigrants living in Brazil;
  • in March 2021, the government issued a total of 101 visas and humanitarian residence permits to Ukrainian citizens;
  • between 2010 and 2020, the number of immigrants grew by 24.4%.

If you want to know more or apply for citizenship by descent in Brazil, please contact us.