Brazilian Citizenship Through Naturalization and the Proof of the Ability To Communicate in Portuguese Language

By Juliana Mitico Valente Riccardi
Lawyer & Global Mobility Expert
Partner at Mitico Advogados and BR-Visa

Requirements for Naturalization

Naturalized Brazilians are those who, as set forth by law (Law no. 13.445, of May 24, 2017, and Decree no. 9.199, of November 20, 2017), acquire Brazilian nationality.

There are four types of naturalization:

  • ordinary;
  • extraordinary;
  • special;
  • provisional.

Ordinary naturalization

Ordinary naturalization may be granted to those who fulfill the following conditions:

  • have civil capacity, according to Brazilian law;
  • have a permanent residence status, for a minimum period of 4 years immediately prior to the naturalization request (or 1 year if married to Brazilian or if has Brazilian children);
  • communicate in Portuguese language; and
  • have no criminal conviction or is rehabilitated, under the terms of the law.

Extraordinary naturalization

Extraordinary naturalization will be granted to a person of any nationality established in Brazil for more than 15 uninterrupted years and without criminal conviction, provided that they request the Brazilian nationality.

Special naturalization

Special naturalization may be granted to a foreigner who is in one of the following situations:

  • is spouse or partner, for more than 5 years, of a member of the Brazilian Foreign Service in activity or a person in the service of the Brazilian State abroad; or
  • is or has been employed in a diplomatic mission or in a consular post in Brazil for more than 10 uninterrupted years.

The requirements for granting special naturalization are:

  • to have civil capacity, according to Brazilian law;
  • to communicate in Portuguese; and
  • to have no criminal conviction or is rehabilitated, under the terms of the law.

Provisional naturalization

Provisional naturalization may be granted to migrant children or adolescents who have taken up residence in national territory before completing 10 years of age and must be requested through their legal representative.

The Proof of the Ability to Communicate in Portuguese Language

The assessment of the naturalizing person’s ability to communicate in Portuguese is regulated by an act of the Ministry of Justice.

In this sense, Ordinance 623 provides that it is indicative of the ability to communicate in Portuguese, considering the conditions of the applicant, the presentation of one of the following documents:

1. certificate of:

  • a) proficiency in Portuguese for foreigners obtained through the Celpe-Bras exam, carried out by the National Institute of Educational Studies and Research Anísio Teixeira – INEP (Instituto Nacional de Estudos e Pesquisas Educacionais Anísio Teixeira – INEP);
  • b) completion of a higher education or postgraduate course, held at a Brazilian educational institution, accredited by the Ministry of Education;
  • c) approval in the Bar Examination, carried out by the Federal Council of the Brazilian Bar Association; or
  • d) completion, with satisfactory performance, of a Portuguese language course aimed at immigrants held at a higher education institution accredited by the Ministry of Education;

2. proof of completion of primary or secondary education through the National Examination for Certification of Youth and Adult Skills – ENCCEJA (Certificação de Competências de Jovens e Adultos – ENCCEJA);

3. appointment to the position of professor, technician or scientist due to approval in a contest promoted by a Brazilian public university;

4. school transcript or equivalent document proving completion of a primary, secondary or supplementary education course, carried out in a Brazilian educational institution, recognized by the competent Department of Education; or

5. medical course diploma revalidated by a public higher education institution after passing the National Examination for Revalidation of Medical Diplomas Issued by Foreign Higher Education Institutions – REVALIDA (Exame Nacional de Revalidação de Diplomas Médicos Expedidos por Instituições de Educação Superior Estrangeira – REVALIDA) applied by INEP. With regards to item “1, d” above, the course may be carried out in the online modality, provided that the student, previously identified, is submitted to at least one face-to-face evaluation at the responsible establishment or, in the case of a student domiciled in a different location headquarters, in an institution of higher education associated with it and also accredited by the Ministry of Education. The certificate of completion of said course must be accompanied by the academic record and the syllabus of the training carried out.