[ENGLISH] How to move to Brazil on a student visa

Portuguese part

Esse texto foi escrito para estrangeiros que querem descobrir como é possível morar no Brasil com um visto de estudante. Se você conhece alguém que tem vontade de se mudar pra terra que tem palmeiras onde canta o sabiá, compartilhe as dicas e vamos ajudar a gringaiada!

End of the portuguese part

Hello! If you got to this point, it means that you want to come and live in Brazil and that's great. I assume you already analyzed the pros and cons and are still in love with our culture and people, but would like to know how it is possible to move here for a year.

After a lot of research, you probably think it's not so easy to come to Brazil as a student if you don't speak any portuguese at all, but you thought wrong: it is still possible.

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Only a few universities in Brazil offer an opportunity for people to come to the country and study portuguese for up to 2 years on a student visa. The Federal University of Bahia (Ufba), in the city of Salvador, northeast of Brazil, is one of those - and it happens to be my own university. I will be talking about the necessary procedures to come and study here.

1. How to start?

First thing to do is to have a correspondent in Brazil whom you trust. This person will deal with your money, so try not to find some random Brazilian on the internet, ok? haha In order to get the one year visa, you will need to pay for three semesters of the course. That's simply because the amount of hours of the course is not enough to explain the need for the visa, so they give you a document saying that you'll be studying for the amount of hours referring to three semesters of the Portuguese course. You can also pay just for two semesters, but then your visa will last only for eight months.

2. What are the requirements?

  • Valid Passport
  • Application form (you'll find it in the consulate website)
  • International health insurance coverage
  • Letter of invitation (the university will provide after you pay for the course)
  • Clean criminal records
  • Minors (under 18) must submit notarized copy of the birth certificate and Letter of Consent signed by each parent listed on the birth certificate (or legal guardian)
  • Financial requirements (I will talk about it later)
  • Check for more informations on this link or go to Brazilian consulate in your country website

3. How much will it cost?
  • Each semester costs R$ 450 (what means US$ 125 at the current exchange rate) for a 4 month, part time course (4 hours a week) so, for a year visa, you will need to invest around R$ 1.350 on the course.
  • To send the document from the course from Brazil to your contry, you'll need to research either with DHL or Fedex. To send my boyfriend's documents, I spent around US$ 75.
  • At the consulate, it's necessary to prove that you have US$ 1.000 dollars for each month you want to stay in the country, so it means US$ 12.000 dollars for the whole year. This is a bit of a ridiculous amount to live in Salvador, since the dollar is worth more than three times our currency (real) at the moment. To live here on your own, paying for rent, food, internet, power, transportation, cellphone and going out, I calculate that you can live a wealthy live using only around US$ 600. Anyway, it's better safe than sorry! :P Also a good opportunity to use the extra money you saved is to get to know a bit more about the country and its other states.
  • Your tickets to Brazil will vary a lot depending where you're coming from, but I suggest that you look at different websites and try to come after the carnival party (if you're not much of a party animal), because the prices tend to drop after that.
  • The cost of the visa itself depends a lot on which country you're coming from. My advice would be for you to try and find the Brazilian consulates website for your country. There you'll find the forms you need to complete, the times when the consulates open (week days only) and how much the student visa costs.

The final investment will be around US$ 14.000, but remember this is for you to come to Brazil for a whole year, live here on a student visa, learn the language and also travel about and get to know the culture and the language. No other costs added, unless you want to.

4. When would the classes start?

For 2016, the classes start in february, 17th. Therefore, your visa would start to be valid on that date. Since our summer goes from december to february, here in Brazil, that's when we have our summer vacations. If you can't come so soon, there are classes starting in the beginning of august as well.

5. Where exactly is the university and how do I get there?

The place responsible for the portuguese classes (and documents that you'll need to take to the consulate) are placed in the neighbourhood of Ondina, in Salvador. Their phone number is: +55 71 32836346. The exact address is:  Av. Ademar de Barros 147, Campus Universitário de Ondina. - Salvador.-Bahia, Zip Code: 40170-290. And you can also send them an e-mail to: nupelilufba@gmail.com. To get to know more about the city itself, I recomend you google a bit about Salvador, Bahia.

6. What are the bad news?

The bad news are that you can't pay using your credit or debit card. The only way to pay for the course is transfering the money to someone's account and asking this person to go there and pay in cash. A week after the payment, they will give this correspondant the documents necessary and ask him/her to notarize it in a place that's not so far from the university. After notarizing it, it's necessary to find the DHL or Fedex to send to your country so you can go to the consulate. Don't forget to go to the consulate's website and check what needs to be done before you just knock at their door, okay? :P

I hope this text helped you and that now you have a better understanding of how to come to Brazil (and more specifically Salvador) on a student visa. If you still have any questions or need in any way, I have a Facebook page for the blog that you can follow by clicking here. Another option is to comment on the form bellow and leave your impressions of this texts and questions that may appear.  If there are enough people interested, there will be other posts about how to experience an exchange in Brazil. Hope to hear from you soon! :D
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