Refugees and Asylum Seekers Rights

If you prefer, watch the video that talks about the basic rights of refugees and refugees:


Non-refoulement

Refugees and asylum seekers cannot be returned or expelled to a country where their lives or physical integrity are at risk of being violated and in no circumstances shall be returned to their country of origin. The recognition of refugee status also interrupts any process of extradition and prevents the expulsion of the refugee, except for reasons of national security or public order. If you are prosecuted and face an extradition or expulsion procedure, you have the right to free legal assistance, provided by a Federal Public Defender (DPU).


Non-penalization

While their asylum claim is under analysis, asylum seekers have the right not to be investigated or fined for their irregular entry into the Brazilian territory.


Non-discrimination

No one can have their rights restricted due to their skin colour, gender, age, sexual orientation, social situation, economic conditions or religion. Racism is a crime in Brazil.

For more information, see Section Racism and Xenophobia.


Legal Assistance

Refugees and asylum seekers have the right to free legal assistance on certain conditions.

For more information on legal assistance, please click here.


Work

Refugees have the right to have a work permit, which allows them to formally work in the country. They are entitled to the same labour rights as any other worker in Brazil. It is important to note that Brazil forbids children under 14 years of age to work and also prohibits sexual exploitation and work in slavery-like conditions.

For more information on this topic, please click here.


Protection against sexual or gender-based violence

In Brazil, men and women have the same rights. Thus, any form of violence against women, based on gender identity or sexual orientation, is crime. Women who are victims of violence have the right to medical assistance and to report the criminal act through the hotline 180, or by going to police stations specialized in combating violence against women.

For more information on protection against sexual or gender-based violence, please click here.


Health

Refugees, like any other foreigner, can and should be assisted in any public hospitals or health centres in national territory.

For more information on access to health services, please click here.


Education

Refugees have the right to attend public schools – Basic, Middle or High schools – as well as to take part in professional and technical capacity building public programs. Refugees can also attend higher education institutions accessing the same procedures as Brazilian citizens or through admission programs specifically designed for the refugee population in Brazil.

For more information on education, please click here.


Flexibility regarding country of origin required documents

According to article 43 of the Brazilian Refuge Law, Brazilian institutions should consider the difficulty of refugees in obtaining and presenting documents issued in their countries of origin and/or consular and diplomatic representations.


Freedom of Movement

Refugees and asylum seekers have the right to move freely throughout the Brazilian territory.


Documentation

Refugees recognized in Brazil have the right to obtain the  National Migration Registration Card (Carteira de Registro Nacional Migratório, former RNE); a definitive work permit (CTPS); a Brazilian Individual Taxpayer Number (CPF) and a travel document.

Asylum seekers have the right to obtain the Provisional Protocol (Protocolo Provisório) valid for a year and renewable for the same period; a temporary work permit (CTPS) which expiration date is the same of the protocol’s, as well as a Brazilian tax number (CPF).

For more information on documentation, please click here.


Permanent Residence

Recognized refugees in Brazil may apply for permanent residence after 4 (four) years in the country, counting from the date of the recognition of their refugee status. You can also apply for residence under other conditions.

For more information on permanent residence, please click here.


Family Reunification

Refugees recognized in Brazil are entitled to family reunion. This means that if you have family members living in Brazil, they can apply for family reunion and receive refugee status in Brazil without having to go through interviews.

If your family members are not in Brazil, you can apply for a family reunion visa through CONARE, which will review your application and, if so, coordinate with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue a visa to your family member (s). However, the Brazilian government does not have any programs to fund the arrival of refugee families to Brazil.
According to Brazilian law, family members entitled to family reunion are:
• Spouse or Partner;
• Ascendants;
• descendants;
• Other family members who are economically dependent on the refugee

For more information about family reunion, visit here.

It is important to keep in mind that all travel costs, such as airfare, are your responsibility. The Brazilian government will not bear the costs of your family coming to Brazil.


Travelling Abroad

Refugees recognized in Brazil are entitled to apply for a passport, valid for two years from the date of issue. Asylum seekers are not entitled to this passport and, as applicants, must wait for refugee status to be able to request a travel document.

To request a passport you have to:

1) Fill out the application form
2) Pay the fees
3) Schedule a date to go to the Federal Police Station
4) Present at the Federal Police on the date scheduled with your refugee identity card (Card/RNE), tax payment receipt and proof of scheduling.

You can check the application process of your passport here.

The passport will be delivered personally to its owner.

What do I have to do to travel abroad?

As an asylum seeker: If you are a refugee petitioner and need to travel abroad, you must tell CONARE about your travel plans by following the step-by-step below. A refugee applicant can stay up to 90 days out of the country within a year. If the 90-day limit is exceeded, the refugee request will be archived. In addition, before returning to Brazil, the applicant must apply for a new Brazilian visa.

As a recognized refugee: In most cases, you may travel abroad without an official authorization from CONARE, provided you have an emergency passport (yellow passport) issued by the Federal Police. There are, however, three cases where you must apply for this authorization:

  • When you travel to your home country
  • When you intend to travel, to any destination, for more than 12 (twelve) months
  • In case the refugee uses the passport of his/her country of nationality

In the cases above, it is required an express authorization from CONARE. The request must be made at least 60 days before the scheduled date of travel. In case of emergency, you should contact CONARE and explain the details of your situation.

To request authorization follow the step-by-step below:

Step 1 – Register as a SEI user according to the manual instructions available at the link.

Step 2 – After gaining access to SEI, log in with your login and password.

Step 3 – On the left side, under “peticionamento”, choose “Processo Novo”.

Step 4 – After clicking “validar”, the SEI will fill in the “Tipo” field with the information “Refúgio: Autorização/Comunicação de Viagem”. Click on “adicionar”.

Step 5 – After choosing this type of process, a specific form will open and you can attach any other important documents.

Step 6 – If you are already a recognized refugee, be sure to include a copy of your RNE / RNM.

Step 7 – After adding the form, click “peticionar”.

After this registration your registration will be reviewed by the Conare General Coordination.

If you purchased your ticket without knowing you needed a travel authorization, contact CONARE as soon as possible.

For more information on travel authorization procedures, consult UNHCR or one of our civil society partners.

Should you require support please contact us at [email protected] or by phone at (61) 2025 9734

If you prefer, watch the video about foreign travel:


Passport for Foreigners

According to Brazilian Law, every recognized refugee in Brazil may request a passport (Brazilian passport for foreigners). While valid, this document serves as a travel authorization for the refugee to leave the country.

Double check if you need a visa to travel for any country.  Note that, although you will travel with a Brazilian document, the visa requirements will still depend on your nationality of origin.

For more information, click here.

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