Foreign seafarers entering Brazil required to have a valid Seafarer Identity Document

Specifically, Williams Brothers Ltda and Representações Proinde Ltda report that according to the Migration Law (Law 13,445 of May 2017), that entered into force in Brazil in November 2017, new visa categories were created, each with multiple types to serve specific purposes and some affecting seafarers entering the country.

In general, all foreign seafarers are required to enter Brazil by a visa. A visitor visa allows a seafarer to stay for a period of up to 90 days per year and for periods exceeding 90 days, a temporary work visa must be obtained and registered with the Federal Police.

However, keep in mind the following exemptions and clarifications relevant for seafarers:

  • As previously, seafarers holding a valid passport from a country that Brazil has visa exemption agreement with can stay for a period of up to 90 days per year without a visa (non-extendable).
  • Seafarers that enter Brazil on a ship, or for the purpose of embarking on a foreign ship or platform, and carry a valid Seafarer Identity Document (SID) issued in accordance with the ILO Seafarers’ Identity Documents Convention No.185 (C185), are permitted to stay for a period of up to 180 days per year without a visa. Those staying longer than the 180 days must obtain a temporary work visa.
  • The period of stay is counted from the date of the first entry into Brazil to the date when the vessel leaves the last national port or the date when the seafarer is repatriated.
  • Seafarers that enter Brazil to work onboard a Brazilian flagged ship or platform must, regardless of the term of employment and irrespective of him/her holding a C185 SID, obtain a temporary work visa.
  • The Federal Police emphasizes that a Seaman’s Book (Seafarer’s Service Book or Discharge Book) is not the same document as a C185 SID. The Seaman’s Book represents a proof of qualification and experience rather than a proof of identity as it may not attain the security level of identity documents, e.g. regarding protection against forgery.
  • The Federal Police also makes it clear that SIDs issued under ILO Convention 108 (C108), are no longer accepted as valid identification documents for visa exemptions.

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