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Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 10/29/2003 10:14 AM

Brazil, with a land area of 3.29 million square miles, is slightly larger than the continental U.S. It extends from the Amazonian equatorial plains at latitude 4 degrees N. to cool uplands at 30 degrees S., where frost occurs frequently. Brazil borders all South American countries, except Chile and Ecuador. To the east, the Brazilian coastline extends 4,600 miles along the Atlantic Ocean.

The vast regions of the Amazon and La Plata River basins occupy about three-fifths of the total area. The country’s main physical feature is the huge plateau that rises from 1,000 to 3,000 feet above sea level between São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul. This is intersected by two mountain ranges. The highest, 9,823 feet is near Rio de Janeiro. The second mountain system, located in central Brazil, has an eastern range with a maximum altitude of 4,206 feet and a western peak of 4,500 feet near the city of Goiánia. Due to its great plains and basins, 40% of the country has an average altitude of only 650 feet.

Although Brazil is immense in size and varies in topography from the sweeping sea-level Amazon basin in the north to the mountainous areas of São Paulo and Porto Alegre in the south, the temperature range is slight.

Summer runs from December to February, as seasons are the reverse of those of the U.S. The rainy season runs from October to March, but varies greatly by region.

Population Last Updated: 2/4/2004 1:36 PM

Brazil’s population of roughly 179 million is composed of four major groups: indigenous Indians, the Portuguese, Africans brought to Brazil as slaves, and various European and Asian immigrant groups. The Portuguese navigator Pedro Alvares Cabral discovered Brazil in 1500, and the country was subsequently colonized by the Portuguese. A strong African influence exists in the northeast, the legacy of slaves brought to Brazil. The population in the southern half of the country reflects various waves of immigration, with many Brazilians of German and Italian descent in Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. A large Japanese population is concentrated in the agricultural and industrial area around Sao Paulo, and Brazil also has a significant population of Arab descent. Travelers to Brazil will note a distinct atmosphere and population in each region—the result of the wide diversity in Brazil’s ethnic composition.

Brazilians are warm and friendly people eager to know foreigners and their habits and customs. In large cities, many Brazilians speak some English, but appreciate Americans who speak Portuguese. A knowledge of the language is necessary to understand and enjoy the people and their intriguing culture.

Some 90% of the population live in the central plateau and the narrow coastal plain along the Atlantic. The tropical Amazon River basin, comprising almost half of Brazil’s total area, is sparsely settled. The Trans-Amazonian Highway Project, as well as several large development projects such as Carajas, are aimed at developing the local economy and encouraging migration into the less populated regions of northern Brazil.

Almost every religion is represented in Brazil, but Roman Catholics are predominant (89%). Animism is widespread and is practiced alongside Catholicism. Religious freedom and separation of church and state prevail.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 2/4/2004 1:41 PM

Brazil is a constitutional federal republic with broad powers granted to the federal government. The 1988 constitution establishes, at the national level, a presidential system with three branches — executive, legislative, and judicial. Brazilians elected President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his Vice-President, Jose Alencar, to a four-year term beginning January 1, 2003.

The bicameral national Congress consists of 81 senators (three from each state and the Federal District) elected to eight-year terms, and 513 federal deputies elected at large in each state to four-year terms, based on a complex proportional representation system, weighted in favor of less populous states. The apex of the judicial system is the Supreme Federal Tribunal, whose 11 justices are appointed by the president to serve until age 70.

Brazil is divided administratively into 26 states and a federal district, which includes the capital, Brasília. The structure of state and local governments closely parallels that of the federal government. Governors are elected for four-year terms. A federal revenue-sharing system, in place since the 1988 constitution, provides states with considerable resources.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 2/25/2004 12:21 AM

Brazil’s tremendous ethnic and regional diversity makes for a vibrant and varied cultural scene. São Paulo and Rio audiences enjoy a constant menu of outstanding national music and art events, and a steady diet of top international fare as well. Brasília and Recife are less tied into the international circuit, but local and national cultural options are regularly available.

Brazil’s federal and state higher education institutions include some of the finest in Latin America, a product of heavy government investment in graduate-level programs and university research capacity since the 1960s. Of the 68 major universities in Brazil, 35 are federal, 20 are private or church-related, two are municipal and 11 are state supported. Every state but one (Tocantins) and the Federal District of Brasília has one or more federal universities, all of which operate directly under the Ministry of Education. In many states there are also one or more state universities and one or more Catholic universities. In addition to the universities, there are approximately 800 other degree-granting colleges and institutions of higher education in such areas as engineering, medicine, agriculture, law, economics and business administration. While bloated payrolls and an innovation-stifling bureaucracy have come to pose a serious challenge to the health and quality of the system, a number of reforms stressing greater teacher and student performance-based accountability and more streamlined budgetary processes promise to address many concerns.

The Lula da Silva Administration recognizes that to be competitive in today’s more open and service-driven economy places greater demands on workforce education at all levels, and resources are being shifted to the long-neglected primary and secondary levels. Both access and quality are showing improvement. Although eight years of schooling have been legally compulsory since 1973, 1992 figures revealed that the average Brazilian worker had fewer than five years of formal education.

During the ’70s and ’80s, the poor quality of public schools prompted almost all Brazilian middle- and upper-class families to send their children to private or church-affiliated schools. Those children were then better prepared to pass the difficult entry exams for the public universities, creating a paradox in which the less affluent Brazilians were the least able to benefit from the free public universities. Today that trend is showing some signs of softening as quality improvements and economic pressures lead an increasing number of middle-class families to opt again for public schools.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 10/29/2003 10:28 AM

Brazil’s gross domestic product (GDP) of US$800 billion in 1998 makes it the world’s ninth largest economy. Brazil’s population of 160 million makes it the fourth most populous country, and its territory is the fifth largest. Rich resources make Brazil a country of tremendous potential. Per capita income averages US$5,000, with sharp disparities; in general, the south and southeast are more prosperous, while the northeast is much poorer.

Brazil’s economy is highly diversified both agriculturally and industrially. Brazil is a major exporter of manufactured products (73 percent of total exports). It is the world’s largest exporter of coffee and orange juice concentrate and a major exporter of soybeans, sugar, cocoa, meat and cotton. Mining is also important, particularly iron ore production.

After many years of high inflation, Brazil achieved its most sustained period of stability, beginning in July 1994 with the introduction of a new currency, the real (plural is reais; abbreviation is R$). This stabilization plan was developed when current President Fernando Henrique Cardoso was Finance Minister (May 1993– April 1994). The inflation rate, which had reached 50 percent per month by June 1994, declined to less than two percent per month throughout 1995. Inflation came down as a result of a strongly valued currency bolstered by very high real interest rates.

In order to consolidate the stabilization program, attract more long-term investment, and put Brazil on the path to long-term sustainable growth, the government must implement wide-ranging structural reforms. Over the years, Brazil has built a cumbersome government-dominated economy that has benefited a few special interests at the expense of the overall society. Many of the necessary reforms require amendment of Brazil’s 1988 Constitution. The Congress passed in 1995 five reforms opening the economy to greater investment by the private sector, including foreign investors. Since then some US$80 billion of mostly federally owned assets have been privatized with another US$20 billion of state and local enterprises set for the auction block in 1999.

The GOB has been engaged in a multifaceted program to stabilize its economy in the face of a global financial crisis which began in Asia in late 1997 and was further aggravated with Russia’s default and the devaluation of its currency in September 1998. Brazil’s vulnerability was its high fiscal deficit. To address this, the Brazilian government has cut spending modestly while simultaneously raising taxes. In early 1999, it abandoned its foreign exchange policy which had closely bound the real to the dollar in a “crawling peg,” embracing, instead, a floating exchange. There was strong consensus that the real has been overvalued for some time. The result was a nearly 50 percent devaluation against the dollar in its first month. To further address the fundamental causes of fiscal deficit, Brazil continues to make structural reforms, primarily in the area of social security and public sector retirement programs. Other reforms currently under consideration include an overhaul of its tax system, labor reform, and political reform to strengthen party organization and discipline.


Automobiles Last Updated: 10/29/2003 10:36 AM

All U.S. employees assigned to Brazil may either import a car duty-free or purchase a Brazilian-manufactured car. Diplomatic personnel assigned to the Embassy in Brasília may import one vehicle and buy one vehicle locally, or buy two locally. An imported vehicle purchased from another duty-free person who has served less than 3 years in country counts as one imported vehicle for the employee.

Although bus lines and taxi services are available, you need a car in Brasília. If you decide to ship a vehicle, you must advise the Embassy by cable of the make, model, VIN, options, year of manufacture, color, and price as soon as possible. You must have specific authorization from the Embassy before you can ship your car to post. Additionally, your arrival in country must precede arrival of your car. Please advise us of your estimated time of arrival (ETA) at post so that the Embassy or consulate can authorize the shipment of your privately owned vehicle (POV) so that it can arrive at post on a date near to that of your arrival at post. Upon arrival at post, you must provided a copy of the POV's bill of sale and title to the general service’s office (GSO) customs and shipping unit of the Embassy or Consulate General.

Although many members of the Embassy staff have chosen to ship cars to Brazil and have successfully managed to keep them in good mechanical condition, you should consider the following factors before deciding whether to import or purchase a vehicle locally:

Parts for cars not produced in Brazil must be ordered from abroad. Few mechanics are trained for repair of imported vehicles. Brazil manufactures gasoline, alcohol, and some service-type, diesel-powered vehicles. Gasoline available is only a 72-octane gasohol mixture. Nearly all gasoline sold in Brazil contains up to 25% anhydrous alcohol. Non-Brazilian-manufactured vehicles run well on the local gasohol. But low-compression engines, either imported or produced locally, are recommended. The gasoline is non-leaded and therefore it is not necessary to remove the catalytic converter.

The Embassy Special Services Association (ESSA), the commissary and recreation association, operates one gas pump on the Embassy compound at designated hours on weekdays.

An imported, personally-owned vehicle may be sold without payment of taxes and duties only after it has been in country 3 years. If sold earlier, duties and taxes are charged at the rate of 100% during the first year, 70% the second year, 30% the third year, and 0% after 3 years. Taxes are not prorated.

You may purchase a locally manufactured vehicle tax free and sell it after 1 year without payment of tax. But it can only be replaced after 12 months for diplomatic and consular personnel. Staff and consular employees are authorized only one tax-free car during their assignment. Normal delivery time can take up to 3 months after an order is placed.

To avoid high storage costs, despatch agents and Foreign Service posts are requested to make shipping arrangements with the employee to ensure that vehicles arrive shortly after your scheduled arrival. An ocean bill of lading, a bill of sale or a pro forma invoice, and an authorization of the Ministry of External Relations are required to clear a car through customs.

Purchase marine insurance before shipping a car to protect it during shipment to Brazil. Check collision policies written by U.S. companies to see if marine insurance is included before purchasing a separate policy. Most people purchase collision insurance through a U.S. company, as insurance rates for both comprehensive collision and liability coverage are higher in Brazil and provide low coverage.

Ford, Chevrolet, Fiat and VW manufacture full lines of vehicles in Brazil. Most models are based on the companies’ European models, but a few are similar to models sold in the U.S. Toyota, Honda and Renault manufacture a limited selection of models in Brazil. Brazilians overwhelmingly prefer vehicles with manual transmissions; automatic transmission is available on a few models, though not all. Official Americans with tax exemption can purchase new vehicles at a price about 35% lower than the normal Brazilian market. If tax-exempt, new Brazilian-made vehicles may still be more expensive than comparable U.S.-made vehicles. Diplomatic price lists can be obtained from each post’s GSO section. Used cars are readily available.

The number of imported cars in Brazil is increasing, and dealers are improving service and parts availability. However, it would still be prudent to bring a shop/repair manual and some make/model-specific spare parts. There are several competent mechanics in town who have done satisfactory repair work for Embassy employees.

The time required to obtain permanent license plates depends on the Brazilian issuing office (in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and may take from 1 to 2 weeks. Employees assigned to the Embassy are issued CD plates, and consular officers are issued CC plates by the Brazilian Government at no charge. Cars with CD and CC plates may only be driven by the owner, family, or a licensed chauffeur employed by the owner. Currently, employees without diplomatic status at the consulates are issued regular license plates at a $25.50 charge.

All POVs must carry mandatory and third-party insurance. The mandatory insurance covers personal medical expenses resulting from an accident and costs about R$60 a year. The third-party insurance may be obtained from a Brazilian or a U.S. firm. The minimum required coverage is $400,000 for property damage and $400,000 for personal injury or death. Insurance should include coverage for all persons who may, with permission, operate the vehicle.

The Brazilian Transit Department (DETRAN) issues Brazilian drivers licenses, and you can obtain one through the General Services Office (GSO) of the Embassy or consulate if you have a valid drivers license and pay a small fee. Those without a valid U.S. or other foreign license are required to have an eye exam. Only eligible family members (EFMs) 18 years old or older are eligible to obtain a Brazilian license.

Brasília. Taxis are available and offer adequate transportation, particularly for short runs. They are, however, expensive. Municipal governments set metered taxi rates, with higher rates being charged after 11 p.m. on weekends and holidays. All cabs have red license plates with white numbers. Tips are not required, but 10% of the metered fare is appropriate for excellent service.

Bus transportation passes through the center of the city, as well as on other major thoroughfares and is good. Bus service is also available to Brasília’s many satellite cities.

Rio de Janeiro. Many metered taxis are available at reasonable prices, depending on the distance to be traveled. Radio controlled taxis which can be requested by phone are also available. Drivers have a reputation for being reckless. The Security Office advises personnel to avoid riding public buses because of the high incidence of theft. The Metro is also another form of transportation from Copacabana to downtown. The Metro is reasonably priced at R$1.00 each way. Air-conditioned buses are widely available and the price ranges from R$3.00 to R$5.00. The air-conditioned buses are generally safer than the public buses. Public bus price is R$.70 each way if you choose to take this route of transportation.

São Paulo. Metered taxis are available at reasonable prices. Although you should not use public buses, some employees at post have found the special Executivo express buses a comfortable and safe means to and from the Consulate General.

Recife. Recife’s extensive bus system is efficient and inexpensive. Taxis are abundant and inexpensive. Although we recommend against their use, inexpensive gypsy cab vans ply regular routes.

Belo Horizonte. The rapid growth of this city has overburdened the city’s transportation system. Bus lines are extensive and inexpensive, but some knowledge of the city is required. The bus system is chaotic, with most lines ending in the downtown area requiring a change of bus for cross-town trips. Although economical, city buses are overcrowded and offer only minimal comfort.

Taxis are plentiful and can be found at stands situated throughout the downtown and principal residential areas. Taxi fares are moderate. Trips to outlying areas require a fare supplement. Taxi companies provide radio-controlled service.

Crowded traffic conditions and a limited number of parking spaces in the downtown and adjacent commercial areas of the city make the use of private cars impractical at times. Trips to this area during business hours are best taken on foot or by taxi.


Regional Transportation Last Updated: 10/29/2003 10:40 AM

Direct international air service is available to and from the U.S., Africa, and Europe. Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo are the primary entry airports for U.S. flag carriers. However, some international flights terminate in Manaus, Belem, Recife, Brasília, Belo Horizonte, and other Brazilian cities. Intracountry connections to Brazil’s major cities by national airlines are excellent, but airfares are high. Air transportation to and from Belo Horizonte is excellent, as the city is served by all four Brazilian commercial air carriers and American and United Airlines. Air transportation to and from Porto Alegre is also excellent, although most destinations require an intervening stop in Rio or São Paulo.

Bus transportation between cities is inexpensive and widely used. Some of the longer routes have air-conditioned buses with sleeper chairs (leito), coffee service, and toilets. Most intracity buses are not air-conditioned and are crowded during rush hours, but run frequently and are inexpensive. Metro service operates in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.

The highway system in southeastern Brazil and as far north as Salvador is good. Brasília is connected directly to Foz do Iguacu, Belem, Goi nia, and to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Gas stations, restaurants, and hotel accommodations are scarce on some highways.

The Amazon and Plata Rivers with their tributaries provide 25,600 miles of navigable rivers. Regular water transportation is available from Rio de Janeiro south to Buenos Aires and up the Amazon to Iquitos on the Peruvian border. You can obtain information in Belem on ships traveling up the Amazon.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 10/29/2003 10:41 AM

Brazil’s telephone service is good. Local rates are higher than in the U.S., however. Reception on incoming international calls is excellent; for outgoing calls reception varies considerably. Direct dialing is available internationally and throughout Brazil. After hours, employees can make calls from post to the U.S. on special lines called IVG. With these lines, you pay long distance charges based from the DC area, not Brazil. Hence, a telephone calling card from a major carrier (AT&T, Sprint, MCI, etc.) is quite useful.


Telephones and Telecommunications

Wireless Service Last Updated: 10/29/2003 10:41 AM Cellular phone service is Brazil is popular. Through a special agreement with Americel, a limited number of cellular phones instruments are provided for free and embassy personnel only pay the monthly line charge and per call usage.


Internet Last Updated: 2/25/2004 1:47 PM

Internet use has grown rapidly in Brazil. As of 2002, nearly 14 million Brazilians were surfing the net and Brazilian web sites are proliferating daily. Internet service providers are multiplying throughout the country, and prices have become quite competitive. You can expect to pay $20 to $35 for monthly service, depending on the amount of usage and your location. AOL is coming into Brazil shortly, so the U.S. standby will also be an option. Phone lines have historically been the limiting factor with Internet service, as 56k modems were wasted on bad lines. With the privatization of phone companies throughout Brazil, the future looks brighter (and faster).

Personal Computer Support/Internet. Surfing the Internet is an excellent way to keep in touch with the outside world — especially given the lack of English newspapers in Brazil. Internet access is available within the workplace; Internet Service Providers are available locally for about $25/month; the associated local telephone line charges can run up to $80/month under heavy usage. The embassy Intranet provides additional post-specific information.

Internet Support. Most persons bring a computer and laser or color printer to post. Computers and associated hardware are more expensive in Brazil than in the U.S. Parts for personal computers made by international vendors (Dell, Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, etc.) are usually available. Qualified repair personnel can be difficult to find. Be sure to bring power and telephone line protection for computer equipment.


Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 10/29/2003 10:44 AM

Personal mail for official mission personnel arrives via Army Post Office (APO) facilities. The APO for all posts in Brazil is located in Rio de Janeiro. The Rio APO offers a full range of U.S. postal services such as insured, certified and registered mail.

Incoming Mail: First class letter mail delivery from the U.S. to Rio is 3–6 days. Priority parcel mail takes 1–2 weeks, and parcel post (space available mail) can take up to 6 weeks for delivery. Air pouch service from Rio to in-country posts is via air and takes 2 days for delivery. Parcels may not exceed 72 inches in girth and length combined nor 48 inches maximum length. Maximum weight is 70 pounds.

Outgoing Mail: Transit times are about the same as incoming mail. Size limit is 108 inches girth and length combined, not to exceed 48 inches in length. Maximum weight is 70 pounds.

Proper address format for APO mail service is provided below:

Name Post, (e.g., American Embassy Brasília) Unit Number APO AA 34030

Each post has been designated a unit number for APO use only:

American Embassy Brasília – 3500 American Consulate General Rio de Janeiro – 3501 American Consulate General São Paulo – 3502 American Consulate Recife – 3503 Foreign Commercial Service Belo Horizonte – 3505

Registered mail service is available at Rio de Janeiro only. It is handled by the military Air Mobility Command and takes much longer (up to 60 days) for delivery. Size and weight limits for registered mail is 108 inches girth and length combined and up to 70 pounds.

Prohibited materials for mailing include explosives, firearms, ammunition, incendiary material, corrosives, caustics, poisons, radioactive substances, magnetic material, liquids (including paints), items packed in glass containers larger than 6”, illegal narcotics and dangerous drugs. Use of the APO service for personal business is strictly prohibited.

Particular mail inquiries should be addressed to the APO supervisor in Rio de Janeiro.


Radio and TV Last Updated: 2/25/2004 2:43 PM

Brazil has almost 2,000 radio stations and more than 100 television broadcast stations. For most Brazilians, TV and radio act as the principal source of news, sports and entertainment. TV Globo is known throughout the world for its telenovelas (soap operas), which bring Brazilian stories to TV fans throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.

Unlike the U.S. standard NTSC system, Brazil television is broadcast with the PAL-M system. A U.S.-purchased NTSC set can receive the PAL-M signal, but only in black and white. NTSC-PAL-M converters that will allow you to use your NTSC set and receive the normal color transmission are available in large cities for prices that range between $60 and $100. Multisystem TVs are available in Brazil, as well; as of February 1999, a 29-inch SONY multisystem set was selling for about $600.

While Brazil’s commercial and public networks provide an ample selection of Portuguese-language news, talk shows, soap operas, sports and variety programs, most Embassy personnel also subscribe to one of the cable systems. Since the launch of cable service in 1993, it has grown rapidly. The major companies are Direct TV, Mais TV, and SKY. Monthly fees range from about $25 to $40, depending on the package selected. CNN, ESPN, HBO, Cartoon Network, Discovery Kids and similar cable fare are available.

Video rental outlets, including U.S. giant Blockbuster, are common throughout Brazil. American-made films for children are generally dubbed into Portuguese; those for adults generally carry subtitles. Video rental prices range from $1 to $3 at February 1999 exchange rates.

Radio fare runs the gamut from MPB (Brazilian Popular Music) and Bossa Nova to Motown and classical music. U.S. music fans can easily identify several stations that focus on music from back home, and Portuguese-speaking news hounds will find a growing selection of all-news or mostly news formats. The Brazilian Government continues to require all commercial broadcasters to air the government-run Radiobras news program from 7 to 8 p.m. During election time, the public airwaves are also dedicated to a couple of hours a day of free campaign spots for candidates.

Those who would like to practice their Portuguese from the U.S. can start by accessing dozens of Brazilian newspapers via or listen to Brazilian radio stations via the Internet at

You can also preview U.S.-Brazil issues and the mission via the embassy homepage,


Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 10/29/2003 10:47 AM

Brazilian newsstands are jammed with an array of newspaper and magazines, ranging from the serious to the frivolous. Major dailies such as Folha de São Paulo, Jornal do Brasil, O Estado de São Paulo, and O Globo are great sources for information about Brazilian politics, society and culture. They and many smaller, regional newspapers can be accessed on-line via Veja, the most widely circulated weekly magazine in Brazil, offers both newcomers and veterans an excellent overview of the country.

International newspapers such as the International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, The Miami Herald and The New York Times are available at major newsstands, but the news will be at least a day — and sometimes a week — old. Single editions sell for the equivalent of USD 2.50 to USD 4.00, and subscriptions are available. For timely news from the U.S., most mission personnel rely on Internet access to The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal or hometown dailies.

Latin American editions of Time and Newsweek, which focus more on international events and issues, are available both at newsstands and via subscription. As of February 1999, annual subscriptions ranged from R$90 for Newsweek to R$157 for Time. Subscriptions to U.S. editions are possible via APO, though editions often arrive two weeks to a month late.

National bookstore chains such as Saraiva and Livraria Siciliano carry a selection of English-language paperbacks alongside their Brazilian titles, but prices tend to be significantly higher than what readers can find via or other U.S. providers.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 10/29/2003 10:49 AM

The Embassy in Brasília and each of the Consulates General and Consulates, with the exception of Recife, have Health Unit (HU) facilities located within the premises of the post. Additionally, at each location, there are designated Post Medical Advisers (PMA) as well as a listing of referral physicians who have been selected on the basis of medical training credentials, English language skills, and previous satisfactory encounters by post personnel. In addition to providing acute care and referral services, each of the HU’s can provide immunizations. The HU staff will also facilitate obtaining consultant physician office appointments, diagnostic laboratory and radiographic studies when requested. Dental care, particularly acute restorations, is satisfactory in all locations. Medical care and dental care costs are the equivalent or somewhat higher than in the United States. Payment for services is expected at the time of the visit. The HU staff will find out what the anticipated charges will be and convey that information to the employee prior to the visit. In each of the constituent posts, the Regional Medical Officer (RMO) has designated hospitals that have been evaluated and deemed satisfactory for outpatient as well as inpatient care. The Foreign Service Health Practitioner (FSHP) and the RMO make the decision regarding the appropriateness of locally provided inpatient medical care on individualized basis.

Miami is the designated regional medical evacuation site for medical, surgical and complex dental care. Recommendation for medical/dental evacuation is at the discretion of the FSHP and/or the RMO. Authorization and funding for such evacuation comes from MED in Washington. As of September 1999, the RMO for posts located in Brazil will be resident in Santiago, Chile.

Obstetrical care is considered satisfactory at all Brazilian posts. Obstetrical medical evacuation is available to any American spouse who wishes to have the birth of her baby in the United States. The evacuation point will be Miami. Any travel beyond this port of entry will be paid in a cost constructive manner. The decision concerning delivery at post or stateside, naturally, is individualized and will be discussed and made mutually by the expectant woman, the FSHP and/or RMO. Travel regulations, medical per diem, and MED directives define optimal travel dates.

Most of the pharmaceuticals used in the United States are available in the Brazilian post cities. In some cases the identical brand name medication is marketed locally. However, in some instances, the quality or availability of locally marketed medication is suboptimal. If an individual is using a medication on a regular basis (including birth control medication) that person should bring along a good supply (4-6 months’ worth) to post and also make arrangements for or identify Stateside sources for future refills. Medication refill supplies can be mailed through the APO mail system.

The testing of blood products for transfusion purposes in Brazil has improved considerably over the past several years and blood supplies are considered safe. Nevertheless, each post maintains a listing of voluntary blood donors and directed donations are accepted in the approved local hospitals.

Brasília. The FSHP, with regional responsibilities, is resident in Brasília. There are several very adequate hospitals available and the level of competence and technical sophistication among the local health care providers is very good. Dental, orthodontic, and prosthodontic care is available and of good quality. Supplies of medications are good. There is an abundance of specialist consultant physicians available, many of whom are English speaking and have had training in the United States. There are two PMA’s, one for pediatric care, the other, an American Board-certified internist, for adult care. Both are fluent in English.

Rio de Janeiro. In the Rio de Janeiro HU there is a full-time secretary/receptionist as well as a contracted local physician. The physician attends the clinic two half-days per week. As in Brasília, there are inspected and satisfactory hospitals, well-trained specialist physicians, and other medical support services are readily available. Likewise, dental, orthodontic, and prosthodontic care is available and of good quality. Supplies of medications are good.

São Paulo. The HU in São Paulo is staffed by a locally contracted registered nurse who is present for half days daily. There is a PMA as well. São Paulo is the largest city in Brazil and as such has a very sophisticated and excellent medical infrastructure. The HU staff has developed good contacts with several excellent hospitals making access to care comparable to the United States available to Consulate employees and family members.

Recife. There is no HU in the Recife Consulate. A listing of local physicians whose credentials have been reviewed and judged satisfactory by the RMO is available. Supplies of medications are variable, as is the quality of these products. Acute dental care is available but limited in scope. The RMO has designated two hospitals as acceptable for emergency inpatient care. Elective hospitalization and surgery locally is considered inadvisable.

Health and Medicine

Community Health Last Updated: 10/29/2003 10:51 AM

Bottled water, available on a post-reimbursable basis, is recommended for direct consumption, at all locations. Municipality supplied water is treated and considered acceptable for bathing, laundering, and cooking. Fluoride content is variable and not directly added to bottled water and so fluoride supplementation is advised, for children under the age of twelve. The HUs maintain supplies of fluoride supplement.

Food inspection and cleanliness of marketed meats and produce is very variable. Fruits and vegetables that are eaten uncooked and or unpeeled should be thoroughly washed and soaked in a disinfecting solution prior to consumption. Meats should be cooked thoroughly. Adequate pasteurization of dairy products is much improved but still variable and “long life” milk is recommended. Likewise, restaurant inspection is less enforced than in the United States. It is advisable to keep this constantly in mind and use discretion in ordering choices, and particularly to be careful with buffet type presentations in regard to freshness and adequacy of food chilling.

Several insect borne diseases are a problem in different areas of Brazil. In the Amazon and Northern regions malaria and Chagas disease are endemic. Dengue fever, a mosquito-transmitted viral illness, is becoming more disseminated throughout the country. To date, Brasília and São Paulo are still considered nonendemic cities. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever. The malaria in Brazil is considered chloroquine-resistant. When travel into endemic regions is contemplated, you are advised to contact the HU in Brasília regarding current recommendations regarding prophylactic medication. As important, is to make provision for avoidance of mosquito bites by means of protective clothing, bed netting, and insect repellants. Schistosomiasis, a tissue-invasive worm infestation, is present throughout the countryside. The parasite is transmitted by a microscopic water dwelling larval form, which can invade through the skin unnoticed. Bathing in lakes and river pools is inadvisable because of this organism.

Viral hepatitis, both A and B types, is a significant danger in Brazil and immunization for both is strongly recommended. Tuberculosis is a widespread illness in the country and biannual skin testing for the disease is appropriate. The incidence of HIV-AIDS is rapidly increasing in Brazil. Appropriate protective measures and diligent awareness of the problem are essential. Education of potentially at-risk individuals is well advised.

Rabies is present in the country, but not in sufficient intensity to warrant universal immunization for individuals. Pets accompanying the employee should be current in rabies vaccination.

Environmental hazards include heat prostration, air pollution in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, dehydration during the dry season (May–October) particularly in Brasília, and sun exposure-related skin problems. Liberal use of sun screens lotions/creams while outdoors along with wearing protective clothing and headgear is a good habit to develop.

Health and Medicine

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 10/29/2003 10:52 AM

The Department of State requires all personnel to be immunized against yellow fever. Likewise, immunization against polio, typhoid fever, tetanus, diphtheria, and hepatitis A and B should be current for personnel coming to Brazil. Due to Brasília’s elevation and proximity to the equator, the sun’s ultraviolet rays are more intense and hence more dangerous to skin exposed to the sun. It is important to protect against this hazard with clothing, hats, and sunscreen application.

Persons with ongoing health problems requiring medication or medical appliances and equipment should bring several months’ supply of the prescribed drugs along with them. Spares or at least an identified APO-compliant source for any specific equipment requirements, for example the supplies for self-test blood sugar instruments, should be arranged before leaving the U.S. If you use corrective lenses, bring an extra pair of glasses as well as the lens prescription with you, the same applies to contact lenses. The local supply of these items is actually quite adequate, but some delay may be involved in the replacement process.

The FSHP in Brasília and the RMO in Santiago are always available to discuss medical situations or answer questions from personnel throughout the country.

Assistance is just a phone call away.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 10/29/2003 10:53 AM

Large posts may have clerical, secretarial, administrative, consular, or community liaison officer (CLO) positions available on a part or full-time basis. Clerical and/or accounting skills are useful. The commissaries in Brasília and São Paulo employ spouses as managers and clerks. American schools employ spouses and eligible family members (EFMs) in teaching and clerical positions when needed. Some spouses and EFMs teach English at binational centers, language institutes, and as tutors. Numerous volunteer opportunities exist through local churches, orphanages, and hospitals.

A bilateral work agreement between Brazil and the U.S. went into effect on July 8, 1987. This agreement allows EFMs of a member of a diplomatic mission, consular office, or mission to an international organization to receive authorization to work in Brazil. For the purpose of this agreement EFMs are: a) spouse; b) single children under age 21; c) single children under age 25 who are studying full time at universities; and d) single children with physical or mental handicaps. Before a dependent can begin working for pay, a formal request by the Embassy must be made to the Ministry of External Relations. In cases of professions that require special qualifications, the dependent will not be exempt. The EFMs will also not be exempt from fulfilling local tax and social security obligations. This agreement does not affect EFMs’ employment by the Embassy, Consulates, or Consulates General. It is possible for spouses to locate interesting opportunities for professional growth and development in their field, particularly in the larger cities with competent professionals, many of whom have studied in the U.S.

There are often opportunities for eligible family members (EFMs) to serve as Consular Assistants or Consular Associates in the Non-Immigrant Visa Unit of the Consular Section, especially during peak periods (traditionally May–August and November–February). Eligible Family Members already in Washington, or able to travel via Washington, should consider taking the ConGen Rosslyn Consular Training Course at the Foreign Service Institute. Successful completion of the course is required for appointment as a Consular Associate and authorization to perform visa adjudication functions, and will enhance one’s employability in the Consular Section. Post also participates in the Professional Associate Program.

American Embassy - Brasilia

Post City Last Updated: 12/2/2003 10:13 AM

The American Embassy is located in the city of Brasília, one of the wonders of the modern world. Modern buildings, a futuristic city design and road system, rolling landscape, and a lake are features of the city. Brasília, 600 air miles northwest of Rio de Janeiro in the central plateau of Brazil, is similar in topography and vegetation to western Texas. The Federal District, home of Brasília and its satellite cities, lies within the State of Goiás and comprises some 2,200 square miles. The District lies at the junction of the headwaters of three major Brazilian river systems, with an elevation of about 3,700 feet.

Brasília is growing steadily but retains many U.S. small-town characteristics, such as an emphasis on family life. People are friendly and lifestyles tend to be informal.

Construction of Brasília began in 1957. In 1960, the city formally became the capital of Brazil. Over the next decade, the President, Congress, Federal Supreme Court, Foreign Ministry, and most other government agencies moved to Brasília from the former capital, Rio de Janeiro. All official acts are signed in Brasília, and all embassies are here.

Brasília’s demographics and economy make it a unique city. Brasília’s standard of living (the highest in Brazil) is stable due to regular employment in the government. Indeed, most of the population depends either directly or indirectly on government employment. Locals consider Brasília as being on the Plano Piloto, while other cities in the Federal District are satellite cities. Satellite cities, originally created to house construction workers early in Brasília’s history and intended to disappear after construction was completed, have remained to be Brasília’s suburbs. Although construction workers originally populated them, skilled and semi-skilled workers and government bureaucrats now mostly populate satellite cities.

The city’s population comes from all parts of Brazil and is heterogeneous. The native population is small. The appearance, thinking, and idiosyncrasies common to each area within Brazil are present in Brasília. People consider themselves state citizens and form close associations with state groups.

Brazilians rely heavily on the family unit, spend their free time together, and depend on one another for assistance. The big Sunday family dinner is far more common here than in the U.S. Although some Brasilienses speak English, Portuguese is important for dealing with any stratum of Brazilian society. Limited recreational facilities and cultural activities, close living, and isolation can be problems, unless you develop hobbies or other leisure-time activities. Most who have served here have found life in Brasília pleasant.

Outside the official Embassy community, most Americans living in Brasília are missionaries, farmers who only work part of the year within the Federal District, and teachers employed by the American School.

Brasília’s moderate temperatures make the climate pleasant. Winter temperatures drop as low as 55°F at night and reach about 80°F during the day. Summer temperatures average from 65°F to 85°F. Average relative humidity varies from 50% to 70% during the summer’s rainy season. Rainfall averages 60 inches annually, falling mostly between October and April. During this period, mildew is sometimes a problem. During the rainy season, flash storms bring several inches of rain in a short time. It rains in the morning or afternoon, followed by clear skies. Brasília has spectacular sunrises; the sunsets are equally breathtaking.

The dry season, from April to September, has little or no rainfall, with humidity as low as 10%. Days are warm, but nights are cool.

Although pests do not plague Brasília, ants, roaches, mosquitoes, flies, lizards and spiders are sometimes plentiful. Snakes are not generally found in populated areas.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 10/29/2003 2:29 PM

The Embassy was established in 1960 after Brasília was inaugurated as the new capital. The U.S. Ambassador established his principal residence in Brasília in 1970.

The American Embassy in Brasília consists of Political, Economic, Consular, Public Affairs, and Administrative Sections. Defense Attach‚ Office, Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Foreign Commercial Service (USCS), Military Liaison Group (MLO), Bureau of Reclamation (BUREC), and a USAID office are also integral parts of the Embassy operation. A Marine Detachment guards the Embassy.

The Public Affairs Office maintains a complete installation in Brasília, including a computerized information center. Three binational centers, known as the Casa Thomas Jefferson, exist in Brasília. They house cultural centers and non-profit English-language teaching institutes.

The chancery houses all U.S. agencies represented in Brasília, except BUREC and part of MLO, and is located at:

SES 801 – Lote 3 Avenida das Nações C.E.P. 70403–900 Brasília, D. F.

The Embassy telephone numbers are 061–321–7272 and 321–5224.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:05 AM

In most instances, permanent quarters are available for occupancy on arrival. Every effort is made to move people into their permanent quarters within 30 days of arrival. Transient quarters and/or hotels are used in the event quarters are not immediately available.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:06 AM

The U.S. Government owns approximately 90 apartments and houses in Brasília. However, one entire building and part of another are being sold; therefore, employees are increasingly housed in short-term lease (STL) apartments and houses. The Mission uses A-171 guidelines to assign housing through the Embassy Interagency Housing Board (IAHB). Quarters are assigned based on family size and position rank.

All houses and apartments have servants’ quarters of varying sizes.

Parking is available at all apartment buildings. Some have basement garages, but some use carports or a public parking lot.

Although Brasília is a limited-shipment post, many apartments will not accommodate 7,200 pounds of household effects (HHE); you must pay any local storage. Accordingly, you may wish to store more items than usual in the United States.

Brazilian TVs receive NTSC transmissions only in black and white. In order for a Brazilian TV (which operates on the PAL-M system) to receive NTSC transmission in color, you must install an individual transcoder, which costs about $130 (borne by the employee). If you buy a Brazilian PAL-M TV, the AFRTS will be received in black and white and Brazilian TV in color. Dual system TVs (NTSC/PAL-M) are available from local stores or at the duty-free store.

The U.S. Government owns 12 houses in Brasília. Other houses are leased. Of the 12 government-owned houses, 6 have swimming pools; most have carports. Furnishings are provided, including lawn furniture. At government-owned houses, all maintenance and repair work except lawn and garden care is handled by the Embassy. At leased houses, the Embassy handles routine repairs, but major repairs are the landlord’s responsibility.


Furnishings Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:07 AM

Residential furnishings are provided. In addition to full sets of furniture, furnishings include curtains, draperies, and rugs.

Most people bring some furniture and other household items in their limited shipment, such as foot stools, a vacuum cleaner, pictures, wastebaskets, fans, a full-length mirror, bric-a-brac, and those personal items that make a house a home. Some families have hired carpenters to build bookshelves, extra coffee tables, and other items. Due to the considerable variation between the dry and wet seasons, veneers prepared for temperate zones may separate; softwoods warp. Small household items may be ordered through mail-order houses. Artificial Christmas trees are also useful items to bring in your shipment.

GSO has bridge tables and chairs, china, and glassware that may be borrowed for specific occasions.

The Embassy reimburses gardening fees for heads of agencies. All other employees assigned to houses who hire gardeners do so at their own expense. Bring a lawnmower and other garden tools if you have them. Gardeners rarely have their own equipment, and they expect these tools to be provided. All routine swimming pool care and maintenance is the responsibility of the occupant. Major repairs or maintenance, except for USG-owned houses, are the responsibility of the landlord, who is contacted by GSO.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:08 AM

Electrical power in the city is 220v, 60 cycles, single phase. Transformers are available locally, but are expensive. Bring your 110v, 60-cycle appliances. Most wall sockets accept either U.S. or European-style plugs. Government-owned- and -leased homes and apartments are transformed by the Embassy to 110v, 60-cycles. Those few persons in private leases arrange to transform their own houses and are reimbursed through their allowances. The Embassy services and repairs only Embassy-provided equipment and appliances.

Each residential unit is furnished with a refrigerator and freezer, a gas range, a washer and gas dryer. Air conditioners are installed in each occupied bedroom, and at those apartments with high levels of outside ambient noise, also in each living/dining room. Houses do not have air conditioners in living/dining rooms. The government pays for reasonable costs of gas, electricity, and water at all government-owned or -leased homes. One telephone per house is authorized, but extensions can be installed. The monthly telephone charges are the personal responsibility of the occupant.

Those persons aware in advance that they will be assigned to a house with a pool may wish to include a skimmer with a long handle in their HHE. These are available locally, but are costly. If possible, correspond with previous occupants of the house regarding pool equipment needed. Individuals may contract with weekly pool cleaning services that include chemicals. Few pools have filtration systems.

Food Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:09 AM

Brasília has several well-stocked, large supermarkets. Vegetables and fruits are in good supply. They can also be purchased in small shops, Japanese markets, or from large, open, suburban markets where fruits and vegetables are fresher, cheaper, and found in greater quantity and variety. Frozen meats and prepared foods are available.

Almost all American-type fresh fruits and vegetables are available. Tropical fruits such as papaya, pineapple, mango, tamarind, passion fruit, sweetsop, Chinese gooseberry, and even more exotic fruits are available seasonally. Other fruits such as strawberries, apples, grapes, pears, peaches and nectarines are imported. Standard U.S. beef cuts are not widely available, but Brazilian cuts are acceptable. Beef filet, chicken, and fresh pork are excellent. Lamb is also available. Fresh and frozen fish are abundant, but shellfish is expensive. Local fresh, pasteurized, powdered, and long-life milk are available. Dairy products, such as butter, cream, yogurt, and cheese, are available in grocery stores, cheese stores, health food stores, delicatessens, and bakeries.

Brasília has many good restaurants. Chinese, French and Mexican cuisine is available, as well as outstanding, traditional Brazilian barbecued meat (churrasco), and other national and international dishes. The American fast-food chains McDonald’s and Arby’s have representation here, too.


Men Last Updated: 12/2/2003 10:15 AM

Summer and spring suits are worn year round. Bring primarily lightweight suits and one or two medium weight suits for the cool season. Generally, the quality of dry-cleaners is good, but expensive. Slacks and sports shirts (short- or long-sleeved) are suitable for off-duty hours. Bring a variety of clothes for a warm climate, from casual to semi-formal. Sport jackets, sweaters, light jackets, and windbreakers are comfortable during the cool season. Local clothing prices vary from city to city and U.S. sizes are not always available. Styles are more European than American.

Senior officers need a tuxedo; other officers rarely need one for official functions. Most men wear a tuxedo to the Marine Ball, and these can be rented locally, although dark business suits are equally acceptable. You do not need white tie or morning clothes. All officers should have a dark business suit. White dinner jackets are not worn in Brasília. Bring a supply of socks, shirts, shoes, and underwear.


Women Last Updated: 12/2/2003 10:15 AM

Fashion-conscious Brazilian women follow all the latest trends abroad, and have some of their own. Although entertaining is informal, elegant sports clothes are often worn. You can buy chic well-made clothing, but prices are high. Cotton suits and lightweight knit dresses can be worn during the cool and rainy seasons and evenings. Some warmer clothing is occasionally necessary. Except for the rainy period, days are often hot, so bring cotton and synthetic blends. If you are planning to travel to Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, or south of Brasília during winter, you will need winter clothes. Generally, informality prevails in Brasília. However, eveningwear is often considered “elegant casual.” Formal evening gowns are worn to the yearly Marine Ball. They are also required at the few official state receptions and diplomatic black-tie dinners given each year. Bring appropriate clothes for cocktail parties, luncheons, teas, and small dinner parties. Bring patterns, fabric, and notions if you sew or would like to utilize the excellent tailoring services available. A variety of fabrics and some notions are available locally, but in general they are inferior and expensive.

Bring sweaters or lightweight jackets for occasional cooler days and nights of the rainy season and the evenings of the dry season. A raincoat may be too warm, but an umbrella is essential. Wool slacks and long-sleeved blouses or dresses for cool, rainy days and a warm robe are welcome.

Bring plenty of sportswear, including washable slacks and shorts. Local prices for underwear and beach ensembles are high. Women’s and girl’s swimwear is available in all sizes, but run small. Brazilian swimwear, even one-piece suits, exposes more than U.S. styles. Sun hats are advisable.

Bring shoes or leave shoe size with a U.S. store and order as needed. All types of shoes, sandals, and tennis shoes are found in Bras¡lia, but it is difficult to find good fits, particularly for half and narrow sizes. Brazil manufactures many kinds of footwear available at a variety of prices, though for the most part the quality is inferior to shoes found in the U.S.


Children Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:13 AM

Bring washable children’s clothing, swimwear, and shoes. Include sweaters and lightweight jackets for cool nights and mornings. Blue jeans are a must for outside play. Light-colored play clothes stain easily from Brasília’s red clay. Dress at the American School is informal; both boys and girls may wear jeans. Elementary school-aged children wear shorts with short-sleeved shirts or T-shirts most of the year. Clothing may be ordered through catalogs from the U.S. and shipped via APO.

Supplies and Services Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:14 AM

The Embassy Special Services Association (ESSA)

ESSA provides various services to American personnel at the Embassy. A modest post commissary sells beverages, cigarettes, canned and packaged goods, housekeeping items and commonly used toiletries. Special orders are possible and can be arranged by contacting the commissary manager. However, given order lead-time, you cannot be sure special needs will be in stock. The commissary does not stock baby food and has a limited variety/supply of diapers, so it is wise to bring a supply to post or order from suppliers in the States. Almost all these items are available on the local market, though brands and quality vary and prices are generally more expensive.

Rental cars are also available for newly arrived direct hires.

ESSA has a video club with a large collection of VHS tapes. It also has five TV/VCR set for rent. The nonrefundable membership fee is $25. Video club cards are then purchased against which rentals are deducted. If you are interested in joining, bring your own TV and VCR. Your American color TV will only transmit Brazilian stations in black and white. If you want to watch Brazilian TV in color, you can buy a Brazilian-made TV or have your American TV converted. Movies are also available for rent at local video shops.

All personnel pay an ESSA deposit, refundable on departure, plus an initial amount into the commissary working fund as follows:

Refundable Deposit: $175 for single persons; and $225 for married couples/families

Commissary Working Fund: $200 per person/family. Initial purchases are made against this initial deposit. Subsequently, you are required to keep a positive balance in your commissary account.

Video club rental requires a $175 deposit.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 12/2/2003 10:16 AM

Toiletries and patent medicines of Brazilian manufacture may be bought locally. Many are U.S. brands manufactured under license and are expensive. Bring or order specialty items from the U.S. Bring all essential store items with you such as Tylenol, children’s cough syrup, toothpaste, suntan lotion, contact lens solution, etc. If you have a baby or are expecting, bring all items with you. These items are imported to Brasília and the costs are about double that in the U.S. Baby food and diapers can be ordered through the commissary or the internet Netgrocer shopping service.

You may wish to ship canned pet food to post or order from American supply houses. Litter boxes are not available in Brasília, but the commissary stocks kitty litter. Pet supply stores sell leashes, brushes, flea collars, and a few toys. Pet treats and rawhide chewsticks are available. Fleas are prevalent year round. Consult your veterinarian regarding flea repellants and flea collars. Anti-flea sprays and lotions, shampoos, etc. are roughly twice the price here than they are in the States. Program is also sold here, although it is more expensive than in the States.

Supplies and Services

Basic Services Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:17 AM

Laundry and drycleaning services are available throughout Brasilia. Embassy employees currently have access to shirt laundering/drycleaning through a concession on the Embassy compound. Customers judge the quality to be good, although prices are higher than in the U.S. and in shops outside the Embassy. Bring clothes hangers and, if desired, clothespins.

There is gas available at reasonable prices on the Embassy compound. This gas tends to be better quality than most gas sold locally.

Beauty shops and barbershops do acceptable work and some are reasonably priced. Specialty services such as hair coloring/frosting and perms are generally more expensive than in the U.S. Massages, manicures, and pedicures are available at varying prices. The Embassy has a cafeteria style facility, the Tucano Club, located on the Embassy compound. Along with daily lunches and snacks, the Tucano Club is used for Friday Happy Hour as well as other parties throughout the year.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:18 AM

Part-time servants usually suffice, although full-time and live-in help are desired by some. Generally, employees occupying houses also employ part-time gardeners and pool cleaners. Although servants can provide an added measure of security, all homes are equipped with alarm systems. Wages vary from USD 150–200 (at an exchange rate of R$ 2 to USD 1) a month for live-in maids, plus the cost of various benefits guaranteed them under Brazil’s Constitution.

In addition to wages, the employer of a live-in servant provides bed linens, towels, food, and, if desired, uniforms. Live-in maids are sometimes scarce, as many prefer to work during the day only. Housekeeping and laundry services are fair, but you must train the maids to use modern appliances. Departing Americans often refer to incoming U.S. personnel well-trained servants who are accustomed to appliances and food preferences of Americans.

Day cleaning personnel currently charge USD 15–20 per day (again, with an exchange rate of R$ 2 to USD 1). They are generally available for 1 or 2 days a week per family, with services divided among two or three employers. Single employees use this plan, and it is becoming the most popular source of domestic help for many families. Most personnel require only one maid to perform necessary services. Couples with children may need more than one or additional part-time help for babysitting. The CLO also maintains a list of available embassy teenagers.

If requested, the Embassy will obtain a police clearance on domestics, but use caution in protecting your valuables. Health clearances are recommended during a trial period. Many servants suffer from intestinal and other infectious diseases.

The 1988 Constitution guarantees various rights to domestic workers. These are explained at length in the literature on “How to Hire a Domestic Employee” found in the Embassy Personnel Department. It is imperative that all employees who plan to hire fulltime servants check with the Personnel Office for a briefing on liability under Brazilian law.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:23 AM

Brasília has many Catholic churches. An English-language mass is conducted each Saturday at one of the churches. Several Protestant churches and a Greek Orthodox church have congregations in Brasília. English-language worship services and religious instruction are held Sunday mornings by an interdenominational Protestant group and a Baptist church. A small Jewish cultural association welcomes members from the official and diplomatic communities. Services are conducted weekly and on all holidays at the local synagogue.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:25 AM The American School of Brasília (EAB) was founded in 1964 and offers preschool through grade 12 based on a U.S. public school curriculum. Instruction is in English, but English-speaking students are required to study Portuguese. The school has about 600 students from about 40 countries. Facilities include a soccer/softball field, a library with 10,000 volumes, a science lab, a computer classroom, a gym, and a canteen.

Enrollment is close to school capacity. Personnel planning to send children to this school should notify the Embassy Community Liaison Office (CLO) of their children’s date of birth, current grade level and arrival date as soon as possible.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools of the U.S. accredits the school. The lower school is recognized by the Secretary of Education in the Federal District. The educational allowance currently covers all school expenses for grades K–12. Preschool is not covered by the educational allowance. The school year runs from early August to early June, with a 1-week vacation at Carnaval and a 4-week vacation during the Christmas season.

Some supervised extracurricular sports, as well as other after-school activities including band, are available, though they are quite limited, especially for the lower grades. Bring music materials, as they are expensive in Brasília.

EAB participates in sports and some academic competitions along with other American schools in Brazil and the region, giving students the opportunity to travel and take part in these events while meeting a variety of South American and international students.

The School of Nations. Another school that is used by the diplomatic community in Brasília is the School of Nations, a B’hai school. Only a few Embassy families have used this school, mainly because class instruction is bilingual, one-half in English and one-half in Portuguese. The school is not accredited. The School of Nations offers instruction from pre-kindergarten through 11th grade and offers a US-based curriculum with a strong emphasis on diversity and values.

The Affinity Arts School. Most preschool-aged children from the Embassy attend the Affinity Arts pre-school. There is a strong emphasis on music in the program along with other activities such as language, science, theater, swimming, cooking and playground.

Other schools in the Federal District include public, private, and parochial institutions. Instruction is given from nursery school through grade 12, but not in English. Children with a good background in Portuguese may attend these schools. Note: the Brazilian school year has summer vacation during December, January, and February, with a mid-term break in July.


Dependent Education

Away From Post Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:26 AM The Department of State has deemed the American School of Brasília adequate. Therefore, the “school at post” and “school away from post” rates are identical.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:27 AM

An Embassy recreation area at the Chancery includes a swimming pool and wading pool, volleyball, an exercise room, four tennis courts (two lighted), a playground, and a social clubhouse, the Tucano Club.

Golf Club. Membership is open to diplomatic and staff personnel. Introduction by a member is required. A 6-month nonrenewable membership is available. The club offers an 18-hole golf course, driving range, barbecue facilities, pool, volleyball court, clubhouse, and services of a golf professional. Golfers should bring clubs and carts. The ESSA owns several shares that are available on a first-come-first-served basis. Currently, the initial costs consist of a nonrefundable transfer fee, a refundable deposit, and the first month’s membership fee for a total of approximately $1,000; and then a monthly membership fee of $220.

Sociedade Hipica de Brasília (Horse Riding Club). This is the most complete and centrally located horse-riding club in Brasília. Horses are rented. Nonmembers can ride on weekends at scheduled times. Other facilities include a social clubhouse with bar and restaurant, two swimming pools, tennis court, basketball, volleyball, soccer, and a large riding pavilion. Riding lessons are available.

Other Clubs. The following clubs are available for membership, but memberships are extremely expensive, and thus Embassy personnel tend not to patronize them: the Yacht Club of Brasília (Iate Clube), the Club of Nations (Clube das Nações), and the Bras¡lia Country Club, Cota Mil Yacht Club, and the Academia de Tenis (Tennis Academy). There are numerous commercial health clubs (called academias) whose fees are similar to health-club fees in the U.S.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:31 AM

Brasília’s Lake Parano is beautiful. However, floating debris and raw sewage make all water-related activities in the lake unsafe. Swimming in pools is a popular pastime. Bring diving masks, goggles, and flippers if desired.

Brazil’s national sport is soccer. Numerous games are played in Brasília between various amateur teams, and a small professional league. Brasília has a team in the national league.

Hunting for birds and small game is prohibited in all states except Rio Grande do Sul. Fishing for any but the smallest kinds of fish requires a 3- to 4-hour drive to the Verde River or an 8-hour drive to the Araguaia River in Goiás State. Excellent fishing is found on the Island of Bananal, accessible only by 1½ hours’ flight by small plane.

Brasília offers limited sightseeing with few museums and galleries. A well-laid out zoo houses several species of Brazilian wildlife and is continually expanding. You can view various types of vegetation and plant life can be seen at the botanical reserve.

Brasília’s TV tower is the fourth tallest in the world at 715 feet. Oscar Niemeyer, the famous architect who designed much of Brasília, designed it. The top of the tower is 4,403 feet above sea level, and a lookout platform provides a panoramic view of the city and surrounding countryside. A “hippie” fair, featuring handicrafts, clothes, shoes, and wood and leather items, is held at the foot of the tower on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. There is a lovely gem museum located on the Center level of the TV tower. At Christmas, the tower is strung with lights to resemble an enormous Christmas tree.

An outstanding landmark in Brasília is the national flag flown on Three Powers Square. The enormous 286-square meter flag flies from a 100-meter high flagpole that consists of 22 joined staffs representing the states of Brazil. A different Brazilian state donates a new flag on the first Sunday of every third month. The new flag is raised amidst a colorful ceremony with music and traditional folk dancing.

In late June, Bras¡lia hosts the “Feira dos Estados,” a charity state fair including state displays, local products, regional cuisine for sale, folk dancing performances, and a midway. Representatives of foreign countries also participate.

In May, one of the liveliest and most colorful festivals is the Cavalhadas in Pirenópolis, about 2 hours from Brasília. During this brilliant pageant, richly caparisoned horses and riders simulate ancient Iberian Peninsula tournaments. Both fine horsemanship and wild stunt riding by masked riders are displayed in this fascinating folk festival.

Driving outside Brasília can be a pleasant pastime. The town of Cristalina, a gem seeker’s paradise, is about 2 hours south of Brasília. The shops located around the town-square offer Brazilian precious and semiprecious stones and other gifts or souvenirs. You can visit some working pit mines a short drive out of town. A quaint country restaurant serving local fare is located in Luziania, mid-way between Brasília and Cristalina, and is a popular place to stop for lunch when returning from a shopping expedition.

Goiánia, about 2–3 hours southwest of Brasília, is the capital of Goiás and its largest city. The city, founded in 1933, is a planned city like Brasília. With an altitude much lower than Brasília’s, it is warmer and more humid. Goiánia is a pretty town with tree-lined streets, interesting 1930s architecture, a centralized shopping center, good hotels, tall apartment buildings, and some excellent restaurants. On weekends, a “hippie fair” offers a variety of goods and crafts.

The beautiful Itiquira waterfalls, amid a rugged terrain, are located 2 hours north of Brasília over newly paved roads. For those interested in a health spa, a first-class resort hotel and several warm, natural pools are located near Caldas Novas, about 5 hours from Brasília in Goiás. Visit this resort for a relaxing 3-day weekend.

Travel to São Paulo—Brazil’s largest city, or to Rio de Janeiro—world famous for its natural beauty—for a real change of pace and scenery. By highway, Rio is 753 miles and 15–20 hours away; São Paulo is 627 miles from Brasília with driving time of 14–17 hours. Frequent air connections to both cities are available. Air travel time is about 1½ hours.

If you want to leave the main road, secondary roads are often unpaved and difficult. Four-wheel-drive vehicles are useful, especially for camping.

There are two softball seasons, and several co-ed teams, with participants from the American and international community. Bowling is available at Park Shopping.

The Parque da Cidade (City Park), located in Asa Sul, offers opportunities for outdoor activities such as bicycle riding, jogging, walking, paddleboats, children’s amusement park, barbecue sites, etc. Additionally, one of the main highways is closed on Sundays and made available to bicyclists and joggers.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:32 AM

Dinner parties, cookouts, and casual buffets are popular forms of home entertainment. The American Embassy has a weekly happy hour at the embassy dining facility (The Tucano Club), as do the British and Canadian embassies. The Marines host several events at the Marine House including picnics with volleyball and swimming, and also happy hours with darts and pool available. Groups meet for bridge and poker. The American Women’s Club International (AWCI) organizes monthly meetings with speakers on various topics. Weekly and monthly AWCI activity groups meet to enjoy such things as tennis, bridge, playgroup, Portuguese conversation and social services work, to name just a few. The AWCI book clubs buy a wide selection of current bestsellers with membership fees. The American School sponsors a Christmas Bazaar, Fun Run, International Fair, Flea Market, and two stage productions which are attended by the Brasília community at large. The Casa Thomas Jefferson, which is actually three Brazilian-American binational centers, sponsors art exhibits and musical events that feature both American and Brazilian artists and performers.

Brasília has many movie theaters. Admission costs are comparable to the U.S. English-language films are popular. Most films are American originals with Portuguese subtitles. Children’s films tend to be dubbed. Some French and Italian films are also shown in the respective embassies as well as in Brazilian theaters.

The National Theater presents concerts and occasionally has ballet or other dance performances. The circus comes to town once a year, as do various foreign performers. The University of Brasília holds interesting performances by staff members in its music school. Military and police groups hold parades and other activities on various national holidays. Americans are welcome at all cultural and national celebrations.

Brasília has some nightclubs; most have dancing, some have floorshows. Several popular discotheques attract various age groups. Outdoor cafes featuring drinks and snacks are popular evening meeting places.

Shopping malls have movie theaters, a variety of shops and eateries. Park Shopping, adjacent to one of the largest supermarkets in the area, has eleven movie theaters, a 24 lane bowling alley built by Brunswick, a McDonald’s, an international food court, and approximately 175 shops. Many other new malls have been built recently, including Brasília Shopping and Patio Brasil, each with stores, eateries and move theaters. There is an arcade with small amusement rides and video games, and an indoor skating rink during the Christmas holidays.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:33 AM The Embassy community sponsors children’s Halloween, Christmas and Easter parties and a family Fourth of July picnic. The annual November Marine Ball is one of the more popular functions.

Also, Embassy officers sponsor numerous representational functions to which Embassy staff members are often invited.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

International Contacts Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:33 AM Numerous opportunities exist for meeting Brazilians and third country nationals. Most Brazilians are interested in knowing Americans and are willing to establish friendships. Brazilians are met both officially in connection with work and unofficially at various clubs and social functions.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:34 AM

Embassy staff members assist the Chief of Mission in entertaining guests at official or semiofficial functions, ensuring that they have a pleasant and rewarding experience. At official or semiofficial functions, guests from all agencies and at all levels are encouraged to meet and mingle with people from all levels of the Brazilian community.

Official Functions

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:35 AM

The number of calling cards varies according to type and amount of social activity. Bring at least 100 personal cards. Married officers may wish to include a small supply of “Mr. and Mrs.” cards. Foldover cards (informal) may be useful. Additional cards can be acquired locally upon arrival.

Special Information Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:46 AM

U.S. Defense Attaché‚ Office — PRIVATE. The principal U.S. Defense Attaché‚ Office (DAO) is located in the American Embassy. A branch office is located in the Consulate General at Rio de Janeiro.

Mailing addresses are as follows:

USDAO Brasília UNIT 3500 American Embassy APO AA 34030

USDAO Rio de Janeiro UNIT 3501 American Consulate Rio APO AA 34030

Attachés are assigned as follows: Brasília — the Defense and Army Attaché, Air Attaché‚ Naval Attaché‚ Assistant Army Attaché‚ and Assistant Air Attaché; Rio de Janeiro Assistant Naval Attaché‚ (the attaché‚ in Rio de Janeiro is not accredited).

Attachés and staff are authorized to wear civilian clothing (shirt and tie or ladies equivalent) at the office. Attachés are required to wear uniforms when visiting military installations and at special functions. Bring adequate civilian clothing; local prices are expensive. Clothes can be ordered from U.S. catalog stores; uniforms can be ordered from AAFES catalog services.

Officers accredited to the host government must arrive on Station with the following uniforms:

Army: 1 green uniform, with extra slacks and shirts, 1 blue uniform, 1 set of BDU’s

Air Force: 1 blue service uniform, 1 blue ceremonial uniform, 4 short sleeve blue combo

Navy: 4 summer whites, 2 service dress whites, 1 dinner dress white mess jacket, 1 service dress blue

One dinner dress blue mess jacket and trousers with formal shirt, black bow tie, sword, miniature medals, gloves, large medals, ribbons are all required.

The Operations Coordinator and Non-Commissioned Officers must wear uniforms when they visit host nation installations. The Operations Coordinator should bring a blue uniform in addition to greens and several Class B uniforms. NCO’s must have one complete winter and summer uniform. OpsCo and Staff “work” VIP visits to include official receptions, the Marine Corps Ball and other events that require dress uniform with ribbons and badges.

Accredited personnel must arrive on Station with complete service and dress uniforms with accessories, including miniature medals and service and dress aiguillettes, available for immediate use. All assigned military personnel should arrive on Station in civilian clothing unless otherwise notified that honors will be rendered at the airport. Military full dress uniforms can take the place of formal civilian clothing. Spouses of principal and assistant attach‚s should arrive on Station with an adequate supply of formal and informal attire. Normally, cocktail functions are dressy; short dresses are acceptable. The trend is to dress well even though the invitation reads “informal.” Eveningwear is long skirts or long dresses.


In both Brasília and Rio de Janeiro DAO personnel are assigned to a combination government owned, government-leased or private-leased residences. Personnel in the pipeline must contact the DAO Operations Coordinator to obtain information on Housing Board assignments.

Types of leases and amount of furnishings available for DAO personnel continue to change on a yearly basis. Personnel should contact the DAO for current information concerning furnishings and appliances that will be available. DIA (DHA) usually has a housing file on each residence assigned to DAO personnel. The file contains a furnishings list and usually has a floor plan and photographs of the residence. Personnel on a private lease will be authorized a full JFTR shipment of HHE; personnel in government owned or government leased quarters are on a case-by-case basis.

Start-Up Costs/Finances/Currency

Families traveling to DAO Brazil should have at least $3,000 for initial expenses. Initial expenses include, but are not limited to temporary lodging expenses, meals, car rental, local transport. Temporary Lodging Allowance claims are processed at the Financial Management Center in Brasília. A family of four can expect to seek reimbursement for hotel costs every ten days, a cycle that ties up as much as $200.00 a day in lodging costs. TLA reimbursement vouchers are processed as quickly as possible.

Personnel going into private lease quarters should obtain a full desk side briefing from their finance clerk CONUS in before departure. There is a series of reports to be submitted in order to draw housing allowances, advance rent, moving in housing allowances, etc. It is the responsibility of the newcomer to be aware of the bureaucratic process.

It is suggested that all personnel participate in a direct deposit program and have their major credit card paid automatically by their servicing financial institution. The mail service is such that credit card invoices often arrive after the due date.

Calling Cards

Attachés should bring about 100 calling cards for immediate use upon arrival. Printing should be done in English and in the style on file at the Attaché School. Only diplomatic personnel have an official need for cards. “Mr. (rank) and Mrs.” cards and informal are used socially. A minimum of 100 each is useful. Additional cards can be acquired locally after arrival. Official invitations are printed on DAO laser printers using stock furnished by each individual attach‚ (invitation card with Service seal and matching envelope required).

Household Effects and Airfreight

Shipment of HHE and UAB to Brazil takes about 4–6 weeks. All HHE and UAB come to Brazil via military air. Forward copies of any shipping documents to the DAO in order to expedite customs declarations.

Privately Owned Conveyance (POC) (aka the family car)

There is a prohibition against shipping diesel-powered cars (off the road vehicles, four wheel drive, trucks are permitted — if in doubt send a message or FAX to the DAO). Obtain prior permission from the Embassy General Services Officer to ship your POC. The GSO will reply by message or FAX with approval or disapproval.

If approved, drop your POC off at the MTMC outport and proceed to Brazil. After your arrival in Brazil, when your duty free status is being normalized, a message will be sent to the outport authorizing shipment of your POC to the port of entry (Rio de Janeiro). If your duty Station is other than Rio de Janeiro the POC will be shipped overland to your duty location. It is imperative that you retain in your possession any and all documents showing value of the POC, engine size, displacement of the cylinders in cubic centimeters, color, VIN, etc. This data must be provided to the GSO when you request authority to import a vehicle and the documents, in conjunction with the Ocean Bill of Lading, are very important when in-processing.

Post Orientation Program

Briefings are arranged for new arrivals on general conditions in Brasília and on necessary procedures for getting a driver’s license, a diplomatic identity card, and other administrative matters. Each new arrival receives a welcome kit that includes information on health-related matters, shopping, protocol, activities, Portuguese vocabulary for food and other necessities, school materials, and points of interest in and near the city. Periodically, a special orientation program is conducted for all newcomers, including eligible family members (EFMs), to provide an overview of the Embassy and its functions.

Post-language classes are subject to availability of funds by the agency that sends the student to language class. Employees with language-designated positions should ensure that they are enrolled for an adequate amount of training at NFATC. Other employees and EFMs are strongly encouraged to enroll in the eight week FAST course, time and classroom space permitting.

Consulate General - Rio de Janeiro

Post City Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:48 AM

Rio de Janeiro, the center of a metropolitan area of about 14 million people, offers one of the world’s most beautiful physical settings. Set adjacent to an ocean bay off the Atlantic Ocean and facing south, Rio is surrounded by mountains with spectacular formations and tropical greenery, and is truly what its residents, the Cariocas, call the Cidade Maravilhosa (marvelous city). Its landmarks are the striking Sugar Loaf Mountain (Pão de Açucar) and Corcovado Mountain with its famous Christ Statue overlooking the city. Brazil’s seasons are the reverse of those in the U.S., with summer from December to March. Rio’s normal temperatures range from 75 to 95ºF. Extremes vary from 40ºF during winter to 105ºF in the hot, humid summer. Intense rainfall also occurs throughout the year and may occasionally cause severe flooding within the city itself. Infrequent landslides affect housing on mountain slopes in densely populated slum areas known as favelas.

The city was Brazil’s capital until 1960, and many government offices are located here. Rio is a focus of transportation, communications, military, cultural, and journalistic activity. However, its history is as a seashore resort famous for its beaches, Carnaval, and its outgoing people. But the continued population increase within Rio has created other problems common to a megalopolis: traffic congestion, air and noise pollution, and a high crime rate. Pollution and crime have, in fact, jeopardized the traditional tourist industry. The Department of State has designated the crime threat rating level for Rio as critical.

While Rio is cosmopolitan, Portuguese is necessary for everyday use (shopping, newspapers, and social events). Its beaches are often a focal point for recreational activities but they can be overcrowded and polluted. Few Consulate General personnel can pass for Cariocas on the beach because of dress and mannerisms, yet mix easily with the community.

Cariocas commonly refer to Rio being divided into three residential areas: Zona Sul (South Zone) and Zona Norte (North Zone) and Barra da Tijuca. There is a mountain range, which forms a spectacular, scenic separation between the zones. The Zona Sul area is significantly smaller, less than 1 million people, and is also the area where virtually all official Americans reside. The sparsely populated area known as Centro, locale of the Consulate General, separates the relatively more affluent south zone from poorer neighborhoods in the north zone. Most visiting personnel know little about Zona Norte except for the transit glimpses on the roads to the international airport.

Another fast-growing and relatively new part of Rio de Janeiro is the southern suburb of Barra da Tijuca. This area which was once considered out of town is the fastest growing district in the city. Barra da Tijuca features several large shopping centers as well as large megamarkets, which include everything from groceries to clothes to hardware to car supplies (i.e., similar to Super Walmarts in the States). In addition to the shopping, dozens of new condominiums have sprung up. American fast food outlets are common. Office parks are also being built, not to mention major amusement parks. Barra da Tijuca is also home to the cleanest beaches in the city of Rio de Janeiro.

The American community in Rio is fairly large, with about 6,000 registered at the Consulate General. Only a relatively small number participate in activities that bring the expatriate community together. Rio’s American Society organization is active and welcomes Consulate General support. The American business community in Rio is strongly represented with Fortune 500 firms. The American Chamber of Commerce meets regularly and maintains full-time offices. However, significant reductions in the presence of American businessmen have had a marked affect on community life, including reduced enrollment by American students at the American School of Rio.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:50 AM

The Rio Consular District includes Brazilian states of Bahia, Espirito Santo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, and Sergipe — some 50 million people and an economy exceeding $200 billion. The Consulate General has an economic/political, management, public affairs, and large consular section. The Library of Congress also has a major presence. The Department of Defense includes the Assistant Defense Attaché‚ Office (DAO), and various officers assigned under military exchange programs. Other agencies include the Foreign Commercial Service (USCS), and Voice of America (VOA). The Consulate General has a cafeteria providing breakfast and lunch options at reasonable prices to complement downtown area restaurants. Citibank operates a branch office onsite offering currency exchange and other financial services.

The official staffing complement is 45 direct-hire American Positions and roughly 140 Foreign Service Nationals serving all agencies. While the military component in these numbers is significant, many are assigned as students or teachers in cooperative agreements with the Brazilian military. All offices, except VOA’s are located in the 13 story Consulate General in downtown Rio. This building was the site of the Embassy until 1972 and overlooks Guanabara Bay. However, the Consulate General will be moving to a newly built facility sometime at some point in the future. Current office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., Monday through Friday. The address is Avenida Presidente Wilson, 147; telephone 2292–7117 (from U.S. use prefix 011–55–21); fax is 2220–0439.

A designated sponsor and/or a representative of their agency meet newcomers on arrival. Please inform Management Office of arrival time and flight number and accompanying dependents and pets. Please be aware that visas are required before arrival; the Brazilian Government does not authorize airport or temporary visas. The Management Section assists new arrivals with issuance of identity cards, customs clearance or personal effects, and for certain employees, housing. The Community Liaison Officer (CLO) is a key resource for an introduction to Rio, including information on schools and domestic help. The International Newcomers Club and the American Society of Rio de Janeiro also have information on things of interest when moving to Rio de Janeiro.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 10/28/2003 10:42 AM

New arrivals being provided USG leased apartments (State and USCS) are generally assigned directly into their permanent housing, as designated by the Consulate General Housing Board. Hospitality kits, including dishes, kitchen utensils, and linens, are available or such personnel until their baggage and household effects arrive. Military and other civilian personnel are required to find their own apartments under post policy and are provided living quarters allowances (LQA) rather than housing support by the Administrative Section. New arrivals under LQA will require hotel accommodations. All LQA housing must be approved in advance of contract negotiation by the Interagency Housing Board and requires management review with focus on size, location and security concerns.

Hotels in Rio vary greatly in price, but acceptable accommodations within temporary lodging allowances are generally available. Almost no hotels accept pets; boarding kennels charge about $20 daily, but rates vary.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:51 AM

All housing in Rio, except for the USG-owned residence of the consul general and USG-leased Marine residence, are leased apartments. Private houses are not an option due to security considerations. Almost all USG leased apartments are in the Zona Sul neighborhoods such as Botafogo, Flamengo, Ipanema, Lagoa and Leblon. No leased residences are designated for specific employees. Privately leased apartments sometimes are located in the more remote suburbs of Barra da Tijuca and São Conrado but receive reduced support from the Management Section, under ICASS. Apartments typically are in high-rise buildings that sometimes have small bedrooms and kitchens, and offer limited storage space. Apartments are generally leased with a minimum of one parking space within the premises. The Consulate General Housing Board makes housing assignments according to rank and family size. Certain apartment buildings, including some of those within the USG leased apartment inventory, will not accept pets.


Furnishings Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:52 AM

The standard for government-leased apartments is basic furniture, gas stove, refrigerator, washer and dryer. Air-conditioners are provided for each occupied bedroom. Curtains are also provided but carpeting may be limited (or not desirable for use on marble or decorative wood floors.)

Most furniture styles are suitable for Rio with small-scale sectional or apartment-style pieces particularly useful. Rio’s humidity and saltwater cause rapid rusting, tarnishing, and mildew; avoid bringing metal or upholstered furniture and heavy rugs. Good ready-made and custom-made furniture is available locally, but prices are currently quite expensive. Upholstered material is also expensive but workmanship is good and comparably priced.

Kitchen utensils, appliances, and linens are available locally, although bed linens are not U.S. standard sizes. Many items are manufactured in Brazil but may cost more than similar U.S. made products.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:52 AM

Electrical current in the Consulate General and Consulate General housing is 110v, 60 cycles as in the U.S. (but is different in some other cities in Brazil). Electricity and water supplies are normally adequate; however, interruptions of water service in residential areas sometimes occur. Water is generally provided by large underground cisterns in apartment buildings. Hot water supply may be central to the apartment or from small gas boilers in kitchens and bathrooms.

Gas stoves are normally serviced by a direct city supply although in some instances, bottles are used. City gas supply within buildings often drops during peak usage so oven temperatures may need to be monitored. Brazilian stoves are typically smaller and some kitchens will not accommodate a U.S. stove. Bathrooms are generally modern with bathtub and/or separate shower and bidet; however, plumbing systems sometimes require extensive upgrading. The warmer climate eliminates the need for central heating, but in the damp winter months, small heaters may be useful. Extended hot summer days and nights require air-conditioners or ceiling fans, at least for bedrooms. Circulating fans can be used in other rooms (but not provided by the USG). Dehumidifiers are helpful throughout the year. High-speed band lines are available for Internet use in most Rio’s districts.

Food Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:53 AM

Rio has many large supermarkets. Selection is generally good. Many employees purchase fresh produce from weekly markets (feiras) that rotate through residential areas; costs can be higher but the quality is better. Each neighborhood has its own smaller grocery store, butcher, bakery, and other specialty shops which results in decentralized frequent shopping (Brazilians often shop on a daily basis). Local beef is not aged and lacks tenderness but is reasonably priced; lamb is generally not available. Fish and seafood are plentiful, but expensive. The COBAL in Leblon is another market similar to the feiras, but is covered. It is open Tuesday through Sunday. Fresh fruits, vegetables, fresh cut flowers, meat, seafood and poultry are available. The prices vary from stand to stand, but the quality is similar to those at the feiras or (better).

Recognized international and U.S. food companies manufacture many of their products in Brazil but retail prices are higher than in the U.S. Employees are supplied bottled drinking water. One and a half liter plastic bottles are now available at the supermarket; larger size containers can be home-delivered.

The Rio commissary was recently closed after years of poor sales and minimal profits. It was determined that the size of the membership, combined with the availability of most items on the local economy made a commissary nonviable. U.S. products are available in limited supplies, but very expensive. However, limited unavailable items can be ordered and shipped in through the APO.

Clothing Last Updated: 10/29/2003 2:34 PM

Bring lightweight, washable, comfortable clothing. Dry-cleaning is available but is expensive and not always reliable. Small clothing stores line shopping malls and shopping areas with reasonable selections and often focus on designer clothing. During summer days, beachwear is frequently the norm in shopping areas and restaurants. Shoes available here may not conform to U.S. sizes or durability. Good sandals and casual shoes are available locally. Shoe repair workmanship is good and reasonably priced.


Men Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:54 AM

Heavy wool suits are never necessary. Suits of lightweight wool, linen, or other natural fiber are comfortable and practical. Dark suits are useful for evening events. The need for formal clothing is negligible in Rio.

Raincoats or overcoats are rarely seen on men except during a cool winter’s rain. Ready-made suits in various materials are available locally, but cuts differ from the U.S. Tailors are expensive but offer quality continental-style tailoring.

Sports clothing is necessary. Long-sleeved sports shirts in conservative colors and sports jackets are commonly worn to social functions and restaurants. A wide variety of good-quality sports clothes, including jeans, is available locally at prices roughly comparable to those in the U.S. Bring cheap, generic baseball caps for use on the beach. Cotton sweaters and light jackets are useful on cooler days.


Women Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:55 AM

Although temperature differences between summer and winter are not wide, seasonal differences in dress are noticed. In summer, bright, gay colors, and patterns in lightweight materials predominate; in winter, lightweight woolens and knits in darker tones appear. A light jacket is occasionally needed, and during damp, rainy weather, a sweater or sweatshirt would be comfortable. Slacks and jogging suits are worn year round. Hose is rarely worn, except on dressier occasions or in office settings. Locally produced panty hose is of variable quality, so bring a supply from the U.S. A good selection of casual wear is a must for both seasons.

Bikinis dominate beach wear (Cariocas actually prefer the even briefer tanga), but all styles are worn. Frequent swimmers or sunbathers should have several changes of beachwear to avoid drying problems. All styles of swimsuits and beach cover-ups are available locally, but larger sizes (above a US size 10) may be difficult to find. Evening social events require dressier clothing. Brazilian women favor long or very short dresses of silk and other fine materials. Dressy cottons and synthetics are practical. Other than the Marine Ball, black-tie events are rare.

Many seamstresses are available, but finding the right one is difficult. Some prefer to work in their own homes; others will work in a customer’s home and must be provided a sewing machine. U.S. patterns are not available locally; some seamstresses make their own patterns, use those in Brazilian fashion magazines, or copy from ready made clothing or pictures. If you sew, bring a supply of U.S. patterns. A wide variety of Brazilian textiles, some in wash-and-wear materials, is available. Many fabrics are not preshrunk. Quality materials cost more than U.S. goods.

Stylish belts, costume jewelry, purses and other accessories are available in Rio. Brazilian gems and jewelry designs are world renown. The quality of Brazilian ready-made clothing is adequate, but expensive. Women’s sizes are not comparable to those in the U.S., particularly undergarments. Bring an ample supply of hot weather clothes, as during the long summer, repeated laundering and intense sun cause fabrics to fade and lose body.


Children Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:56 AM

Children’s shoes and clothes are more expensive . Most families order clothes from U.S. catalog companies.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:57 AM

Rio has several large shopping areas and malls where one can find both local and imported products. The variety is impressive. More specialized malls include the São Conrado Fashion Mall, emphasizing clothing, and the Rio Design Center in Leblon, with beautiful furniture and decorative accent pieces for the home. Many international pharmaceutical and cosmetic companies manufacture locally under license. Suntan lotion is an expensive item in Brazil. Appliances, household tools, electrical supplies, plastic ware, and a wide range of consumer goods are manufactured locally. In most instances, prices are higher than comparable U.S. items.

Beauty shops and barbershops abound. Prices are generally higher than U.S. levels, depending on location and reputation of the shop. Quality is good if language is no barrier. Some hairdressers for both men and women have trained in either the U.S. or Europe. Repair costs for electrical equipment and appliances, such as radios and TVs, are higher than U.S. prices. Reliable service is a problem.

Print film can be developed locally and 1-hour processing is available. Several good automobile repair shops exist. General bodywork is adequate but more sophisticated electronic repairs are difficult to obtain. Costs are sometimes high, especially for spare parts, and estimates should be requested before repairs are authorized. Spare parts for U.S. cars must be imported; tires are available locally for U.S. cars. Repair services for Brazilian-made cars (Chevrolet, Ford, Fiat and VW) are good.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:57 AM

The quality of domestic help varies and turnover is high. Domestics who have worked for other Americans are helpful, but few understand English, and you need at least a rudimentary knowledge of Portuguese. Some employees, and especially those without children, prefer occasional day help (faixineiras) and avoid legal complications that may be associated with a full-time, live-in employee. Most apartments have domestic quarters that are located off of the kitchen area. Employees furnish room and board, uniforms, and linens. A cook or housekeeper currently receives about $200–$400 monthly, plus the Brazilian Social Security contribution, currently 12% of salary. Day workers are paid from $20 to $40 per day plus lunch. Occasionally transportation cost will be assessed.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 10/29/2003 11:58 AM

Brazil is the most populous Roman Catholic nation in the world. Many Catholic churches are found in Rio. The Chapel of Our Lady of Mercy has services in English.

Protestant churches with English language services include the Union Church, a Protestant nondenominational church; the Christ Church (American Episcopal Church of England), which has an international membership; the International Baptist Church; the Christian Science; and the English Lutheran.

Jewish services are held at the Sinagoga Copacabana (Orthodox), the Associação Religiosa Israelita (Conservative), and the Centro Israelita Brasileiro (highly Conservative, Sephardic). All services are in Hebrew.

Education Last Updated: 10/29/2003 12:00 AM

The American School, Escola Americana of Rio de Janeiro (EARJ), is a coeducational school offering a U.S. curriculum from preschool through grade 12, including the International Baccalaureate degree. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools of the U.S., it is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools. Its enrollment is about 1,000, and U.S. colleges readily accept its graduates. The faculty numbers 118 (37 Americans). Students with American citizenship make up about 10% of the student body with about 85% being Brazilian students.

The first semester begins in early August and runs to mid-December; the second term runs from early February to mid-June. Tuition is within the U.S. Government educational allowance; it includes minimum medical services (School Nurse). Extracurricular activities are at an extra expense. Classes are 5 days weekly, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., in a modern, hillside complex of 9 interconnected buildings. Full cafeteria facilities are available; extracurricular activities are similar to those in U.S. schools. School buses serve most residential areas.

Arrangements for enrollment can be made directly with the:

Escola Americana Estrada da Gavea, 132, Gavea Rio de Janeiro, RJ 22451–260 Brazil

or through assistance from the CLO.

Our Lady of Mercy School, a coeducational Catholic school, follows an American curriculum for grades 1 through 12. The U.S. Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools accredits the school. The school is sponsored by the Society of Our Lady of Mercy and provides a chapel for English-speaking Catholics. Graduates have been readily accepted in U.S. colleges. Our Lady of Mercy also offers a pre-nursery school program for children age 2 and up.

The school term is similar to the American School. Tuition is within educational allowance and the school can arrange school bus transportation. Hot lunches are available. Extracurricular activities are similar to those in U.S. Schools. Make enrollment arrangements directly with the

Headmaster Rua Visconde de Caravelas 48, Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro RJ 22271–030, Brazil

The British School is coeducational and offers instruction from pre-nursery through age 13. Following a British curriculum, it qualifies students for the British common entrance examinations. School terms are from February to July and August to December. Tuition is within the U.S. educational allowance. Lunch is provided for all, except pre-nursery and kindergarten children who go home at noon. Large playground and playing fields are available for sports. School bus transportation is available. Average class size is 24. Enrollment is arranged through the Headmaster,

The British School Rua da Matriz, 76, Botafogo Rio de Janeiro, RJ 22260–100 Brazil

Several pre-schools accept children as young as 1 year old. One such institution, St. Patrick’s, teaches in English. All are more expensive than comparable U.S. facilities. Bus service is available for many. Arrangements for these schools may be made after you arrive at post. Generally, St. Patrick’s accepts children age 2 and up. Classes are taught in English through the 4th grade.

Working knowledge of Portuguese greatly enhances any assignment to Rio. Portuguese language training is available through various institutions. The Brazilian-U.S. Institute offers frequent Portuguese language courses. Tutors for private lessons are available. Portuguese courses are also available at any of several local universities. There are no programs of higher learning in the English language in Rio.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 10/29/2003 12:01 AM

The main recreational activities relate to the beach. The popular beach promenades have all been illuminated and are now enjoyed by many both day and night. Games of soccer, volleyball and that incredible combination of the two, fute volley, seem to be going on 24 hours of the day. There are no public recreational facilities with swimming pools or golf courses. Club memberships within Rio range in price from the nicely affordable (Clube Flamengo) to the extravagantly expensive (Country Clube). While a few apartment buildings have facilities reserved for tenants, most buildings do not. The city does have a bicycle path that follows along certain beach areas. On Sundays and holidays, half of the primary beach avenue is closed to normal traffic to the great enjoyment of walkers, joggers, cyclists, and rollerbladers.

Soccer is the national sport. Brazil won the 1994 and 2002 World Cup; the popularity of the sport is reflected by the size of Rio’s Maracaña Stadium. It is one of the world’s largest, originally configured to seat 200,000 people. The nearby smaller Maracañazinho Stadium is used for special events, such as ice shows and basketball games. Neighborhood soccer and volleyball games are also played frequently, as are weekend games on nearly every beach.

Rio’s extensive beaches are popular for swimming, boogyboarding, and surfing but one must be alert to publicized, regular health warnings and avoid dangerous levels of water pollution. The advisability of beach swimming is published daily in the local newspapers. Strong undertow is also a common hazard. Many people with their own transportation travel to cleaner, less heavily populated beaches south of the city.

Sports equipment is manufactured locally and imported, but prices are generally higher than U.S. prices. Be sure to bring your bicycles and rollerblades.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 10/29/2003 12:02 AM

As a transportation and communications center, Rio offers excellent opportunities for touring all parts of Brazil. The cost of domestic air transportation is high. If possible, try to purchase the special Brazil Air Pass from the Brazilian carrier Varig prior to your arrival (not all travel agents can/will sell these since one purchase requirement may be the possession of a round trip ticket to Brazil from the U.S.).

For overland travel, many highways are good but sometimes crowded. Brazilian drivers are impatient in heavy traffic. Highway fatality rates are among the highest in the world. Night highway driving is exceptionally dangerous and is not recommended. Bus service, including the sleeper bus, is frequent, and not overly expensive. The bus conditions are varied but can be cramped.

An automobile trip of about an hour and a half will lead you to cooler mountain areas. Quaint colonial cities, lovely seaside communities, and modern industrial centers are all within a 3–6 hour drive. Few roadside motel accommodations are available; lodgings at major destinations are satisfactory.

Camping, hang-gliding, surfing, surf fishing, mountain climbing, and water skiing are other activities available within Rio's vicinity. Deep-sea fishing is fair but expensive; freshwater fishing is available in the mountains. Hunting is prohibited in Brazil, except in Rio Grande do Sul. Approval for importation of weapons is handled through the Embassy (see section “Firearms and Ammunition”).

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 10/29/2003 12:03 AM

The greatest single annual entertainment event in Rio is its famed Carnaval. During the 4 nights and 3 days preceding Ash Wednesday, commercial and official activities come to a complete standstill. Then samba schools, street parades, and nightlong parties dominate Rio’s scene. Carnaval also attracts many foreign visitors. Tickets for Carnaval balls and main parade seating are relatively expensive but the events, especially the parades, are exceptional and should not be missed.

Throughout the entire year, outstanding Brazilian and foreign artists offer varied programs of music, opera, and dance at several theaters. The Brazilian theater season is year round; both original Brazilian works and foreign plays are presented in Portuguese, and in an informal off-Broadway style. Children’s plays are offered regularly in Portuguese. An English-language small theater group offers productions and performance opportunities on an irregular basis.

Nightclubs and small boats offer shows of varying quality; many feature jazz, samba music, and dancers. Well-known foreign entertainers and groups appear occasionally at some larger theaters and nightclubs.

Movie theaters are numerous and good. First-run American and European films are shown with original dialogue and Portuguese subtitles at prices comparable to the U.S. Late-night network TV sometimes features programs in English. Rio has several good TV stations, which can help improve Portuguese language abilities. Many neighborhoods offer cable TV for a monthly fee with programs such as CNN, ESPN, and MTV. Excellent FM radio broadcasting is also available.

Restaurants offer varied national and international cuisine at comparable U.S. prices. A churrascaria (specializing in barbecued meat) is a popular type of Rio restaurant. Another popular type is the “per kilo” restaurant, where food is sold by weight.

Many art and historical museums are available. Rio also has interesting and photogenic churches, a large botanical garden, a major tropical forest park (Tijuca National Park), and a zoological park. Art galleries abound, and although prices of established Brazilian artists are high by U.S. standards, new painters always await discovery. Art courses in Portuguese are available at the Parque Lage, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Catholic University.

Rio has no English-language newspapers. Local newsstands regularly offer the Miami Herald and the International Herald Tribune; individual subscriptions can be arranged at reduced cost, but are still expensive. English language editions of some leading U.S. news magazines are also available.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 10/29/2003 12:03 AM The official U.S. Government community in Rio represents only a small part of the 6,000 Americans present. The American Society and the International Newcomers Club help integrate the social activities of the American community. Another organization, “The Players,” has periodic English language performances that provide opportunities related to the theater.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

International Contacts Last Updated: 10/29/2003 12:04 AM Contacts with Brazilians and with members of a large and active international community are developed through job-related activities, social clubs, service organizations, welfare activities, church groups, and common cultural interests. However, the diplomatic community itself offers limited opportunities for social contact since the consulates in Rio are typically very small with many represented only by a single consul.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 10/29/2003 12:04 AM

Official functions in Rio are similar to those at many consular posts with the consul general being the only participant in protocol and social functions involving the consular corps and State government officials. Formal attire is rarely worn.

Official Functions

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 10/29/2003 12:05 AM

Calling cards and courtesy cards cost less in the U.S. than in Rio.

All personnel occupying officer-level positions who have professional contact with Brazilian officials or the general public should bring cards. Other employees also find cards useful for normal social purposes. Bring an initial supply of about 100 cards. Spouses do not make formal calls at post, but cards are very handy for exchanging addresses and phone numbers when meeting new friends.

Special Information Last Updated: 10/29/2003 12:05 AM

Post Orientation Program Sponsors will provide new arrivals with a welcome kit that includes guidance and information related to the Consulate General and Rio.

The kit includes material on personal security, economic development, culture, dining, shopping, and entertainment.

An orientation presentation sponsored by the CLO is offered periodically by the Consulate General for new arrivals. The program outlines the organization of the U.S. Government in Rio. In addition, it provides information on agency programs, security, health issues, and community organizations.

Consulate General - Sao Paulo

Post City Last Updated: 3/2/2005 1:59 PM

São Paulo is the largest and one of the fastest growing cities in South America. It is a thriving metropolis of contrasts, with skyscrapers built alongside small, residential houses; narrow cobblestone streets feed wide avenues; street vendors hawk their wares near five star hotels. A dynamic city rich in historic and modern culture, it boasts three symphony orchestras, many fine art galleries, and an international selection of museums. Thousands of avid spectators follow everything from soccer matches to horseraces. São Paulo is the industrial and financial heart of Brazil, and the bustling city sets a pace that resembles New York City. It is also home to fine restaurants, theaters, nightclubs, first-run movie theatres, and performances by major international stars. With something of appeal from every point of view, these inviting contrasts make living and working in São Paulo exciting, interesting and challenging.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 3/2/2005 2:01 PM

U.S. Government agencies are located on a compound in Santo Amaro, a neighborhood in the southern zone of Sao Paulo.. The address is Rua Henri Dunant, 700, Chacara Santo Antonio São Paulo, SP 04709-110. The move to this new site was completed in January of 2004, and placed all of the U.S. Government agencies, including the Agriculture Trade Office and the Foreign Commercial Service, onto one government-owned compound. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with one hour for lunch. The Consulate General telephone number is 011-55-11-5186-7000. After hours, the Marine on duty will contact the duty officer if you need assistance. Because of the consular district's economic and political importance, the post is one of the largest Consulates General in the world. It is larger than 40 embassies and serves a five-state area as large as Texas and California combined, containing a population of over 65 million, of which over 18 million are in metropolitan São Paulo. The Consular Section is one of the busiest in the world, and São Paulo now ranks as one of the largest non-immigrant visa-issuing posts handling over one hundred thousand visa requests per year. In addition, the Consulate General provides necessary services for over 30,000 American citizens in the consular district, and numerous tourists and business travelers. Economic and commercial work is equally important as the Consulate General supports over 400 of the Fortune 500 companies that have investments in São Paulo. It also promotes U.S. exports through the U.S. Commercial Service. Sao Paulo presents a challenging and rewarding work environment for Public Affairs officers, as most of Brazil's national media outlets are headquartered here, along with the country's best universities and numerous cultural and non-governmental organizations.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 3/2/2005 2:02 PM

The post makes every effort to place all incoming officers into permanent housing as soon as possible. However, in the event that temporary quarters are needed, post utilizes existing housing pool units for temporary housing and when not available utilizes a hotel near the Consulate General as transient quarters.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 3/2/2005 2:03 PM

All personnel are housed in U.S. Government-leased quarters. Due to the high crime rate in residential neighborhoods, post maintains only two houses, the principal officer's and the Marine's residences; all other quarters are leased apartments (with the exception of four townhouses in a closed high security condominium). All agency personnel are supplied furnished quarters, including appliances. Existing housing is currently within three areas: Santo Amaro, where the Consulate General and Chapel School are located; Morumbi, where the Graded School is located, and in the Jardins area. Most of the housing is in the Jardins neighborhood, which is within walking distance of a variety of restaurants, shops and services but is a 40-60 minute commutes from the Consulate. The neighborhood is predominately apartment buildings, small, high-quality shops and restaurants. Many staff members with school -aged children prefer to live in Morumbi and Santo Amaro where the American schools are located. Morumbi is more of a residential area, but is close to the Graded School, which most of the Consulate children attend. There are a variety of restaurants in this area; however, a car is needed to get around in this part of town. Morumbi is within a 30-40 minute commute from the Consulate. Many Americans and other foreigners affiliated with the business community reside there. The Santo Amaro neighborhood is within 10 minutes of the Consulate site, and offers a new option for employees. This area also has a variety of restaurants and shops, and is close to the Chapel School. Although there are some officers here who do not have a vehicle, most people agree that a car is needed in this city, if for no other reason than to facilitate weekend trips out of the city.


Furnishings Last Updated: 3/2/2005 2:04 PM

Furnished quarters are provided by all agencies and include a complete set of furniture (including two or three bedrooms), range, refrigerator, washer, dryer, microwave, vacuum cleaner, space heaters and air conditioners. Most furnishings and appliances can be found locally for prices comparable to the US. Many homes have built-in closets, most with built-in drawers. The principal officer's home is fully furnished, except for artwork and coffee table items.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 3/2/2005 2:06 PM

The water supply is plentiful in São Paulo. Water pressure is reasonable in all areas of the city. All parts of the city now have fluoridated water, although levels of fluoridation are below recommended U.S. levels. Staff with children may want to bring fluoride supplements. The regional medical officer has determined that tap water is not consistently potable anywhere in Brazil. Accordingly, all households are provided with two initial bottles of potable drinking water (about 20 liters) and a stand. You are responsible for making your own arrangements for continuous delivery of water. With receipts, the Consulate will reimburse for water. Electric current is 110v 60 cycles, AC; 220v, 3-phase, AC, is available for ranges, high-voltage heaters, and dryers. Power interruptions are uncommon, though voltage regulators are recommended for occasional current fluctuations. Electrical outlets vary even within households and you will need several different types of adapters. They are available locally for a reasonable price, but you may want to bring an assortment. In the past, U.S.-made appliances were preferred for quality and price to local products. However, appliances are now increasingly comparable to U.S. products in price, quality and availability. Like any large U.S. city, São Paulo has a wide variety of local radio stations, including several FM stations with continuous (mostly American and Brazilian popular) music, classical music and talk radio. Radio short-wave bands receive VOA and BBC in the evening. Local TV is on the PAL-M system, so U.S.-purchased sets (NTSC or European PAL sets) will only receive in black and white, unless modified - a process that is commonly performed for around 150 Reais. Videocassette recorders and DVD players are popular and video rental stores like Blockbuster are plentiful. However, U.S. VCRs and DVD players are not compatible with PAL-M-only TVs and must be converted, the cost of which is about 100 Reais. In addition, the DVD's in South America are not compatible with U.S. DVD players, unless they are universal players. Cable is available at costs comparable to U.S. prices, with a wide variety of channels, and many popular shows from the U.S. can be found. Seasonal Changes. São Paulo winters can be cold and damp. Although the temperature rarely drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, central heating is nonexistent. Electric blankets and space heaters are recommended. Blankets and comforters are more expensive in São Paulo, so bring a sufficient supply. State Department personnel are currently being provided one space heater for each occupied bedroom. As a side note, pollution tends to be heavier in the winter months. Occasionally, this affects individuals with allergies or respiratory problems The Consulate provides air purifiers. Summers are hot and brief, but they are unpredictable. One air conditioner is currently provided per occupied bedroom. Ceiling fans are in place in some apartments but are not automatically provided. Officers who bring ceiling fans from the states can have them installed into their leased housing by GSO.

Food Last Updated: 10/29/2003 12:30 AM

Most foods are available locally. Pasteurized fresh milk, butter, cheeses, and other products are plentiful. Almost all fresh fruits and vegetables are available year-round in supermarkets, as well as open-air fruit and vegetable markets. Oranges, tangerines, bananas, pineapples, papayas, melons, mangoes, and other fruits are always in season. Locally grown apples, pears, peaches, plums, strawberries, and grapes are available seasonally, and imported varieties, year-round. Ample supplies of meat and fish exist. American-type supermarkets and European-style hypermarkets carry locally made goods that compare with U.S. brands. Some of these supermarkets also offer U.S. cuts of beef (Brazilian cuts differ markedly from U.S. cuts). Local wines and spirits are of good quality.

Clothing Last Updated: 3/2/2005 2:07 PM

Although São Paulo's climate is milder than that of the northeastern U.S., bring clothes for cool and rainy weather, including sweaters, fall suits, raincoats, and umbrellas. Rain is common in São Paulo and during the summer there can be heavy rainstorms each afternoon. Every family member needs at least one good umbrella. Temperatures vary, so layered dressing is important. Fall and winter (June-October) can be chilly. Bring light and warm clothing that can be worn indoors due to of lack of central heating. An all-weather coat with removable lining should meet your outdoor needs. Those accustomed to living in very warm climates may need a pair of gloves, a scarf, and a knit hat.

Local shoes vary in quality and are stylish and abundant, although narrow and wide widths are not readily available. Walking shoes are a must and due to uneven cobblestone sidewalks, occasional heel repair is necessary. Leather is of good quality. São Paulo is a high fashion city; every new fashion can be seen and is acceptable, from conservative to trendy. All types of sports goods and clothing are sold in São Paulo, at prices similar to those found in the U.S. Dress for social functions is often business attire, but depends on the nature of the event. All officers should have a dark business suit. The Consul General and senior officers will occasionally be invited to a black-tie dinner or ball. You need not wear a white dinner jacket, white tie and tails, or morning coat. Tuxedo or formal dress rental places are abundant throughout the city. Long dresses are seldom worn to formal dinners but are useful for balls. For women, local lingerie, hose, and other nylon clothing are of lesser quality than U.S. made products, but are readily available.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 3/2/2005 2:09 PM

It is important to note that the Brazilian economy is drastically changing and therefore it is difficult to state with certainty that Brazilian-made products are higher or lower in cost relative to the U.S., although imported items are generally higher-priced (e.g., some clothing, luxury items). The cost of living is comparable to that in Washington, D.C. Dining out, food purchases, and entertainment (theater, movies, etc.) cost the same or less. For specific questions regarding relative costs and quality contact the management officer or CLO. Miscellaneous toiletries, cosmetics, household needs, cigarettes, tobacco, and liquor products are sold on the Brazilian market. However, not every brand is consistently available. American-style supermarkets and superstores like Wal-Mart and Sam's Club sell all types of household cleaning equipment. Necessary items not available locally can be ordered via APO. Prescription and nonprescription drugs, many made by subsidiaries of U.S. or European companies, are available at reasonable prices. Imported cosmetics are more expensive, but some U.S. brand names (Revlon, Helena Rubinstein, etc.) are manufactured locally. Staff members with infants or small children may want to bring disposable diapers, a supply of baby food, any special baby formula, and a bottle warmer in accompanied airfreight. Disposable diapers are available locally, but are expensive. Initial supplies can be supplemented through the APO.

Supplies and Services

Basic Services Last Updated: 3/2/2005 2:10 PM

Dry-cleaning and laundry services are common and equal to U.S. prices. Shoe repair is inexpensive, workmanship is good, and rubber and leather are used for heels and heel tips. Nylon is not generally available. Hair salons are less expensive than in the U.S.; work is good and reasonably priced. Consider bringing your favorite hair shampoos, rinses, and sprays, as these are not consistently available. Repair work on watches, radios, stereos, televisions, and other electrical appliances is good. Spare parts, not always available locally, can be obtained via APO or imported duty free. The quality of auto maintenance and repair facilities is inconsistent. Repair work is good, but most services take more time than in the U.S. Parts, frequently not available for U.S. cars, can be ordered via APO. GM, Ford, Fiat, and VW produce cars locally at favorable prices. Some consular personnel find it more advantageous to buy a car here than to import one. Some personnel, however, have imported autos and have no complaints regarding either service or fueling. A cable with additional details is sent to all new incoming personnel.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 3/2/2005 2:10 PM

Some personnel employ a daily cleaning maid and/or live-in household employee, depending on personal requirements and preferences. Domestic help is readily available, but trained servants are hard to find and few speak English. Salaries depend on class of servant, i.e., trained cooks earn R$200 to R$250 a week; live-in housekeeper, R$150 and up. Staff with newborns often hire a live-in nurse who has had about 6 months of formal education in pediatric nursing. The live-in nurse earns around R$225 a week. Families with older children often employ a live-in nanny. Daily cleaning service is available at about R$50 per day. The consul general usually has two live-in staff, including a cook, and a part-time daily. Most single officers have cleaning person one or two days a week. Salaries may change as the economy settles. Brazilian houses and apartments are designed with a maid's room and private bath, located near the laundry and kitchen area. Employers can provide uniforms or not and live-ins normally receives bedding, towels, and furniture. Servants get one day off weekly, plus major national and religious holidays. Under the Brazilian Constitution, employers must give servants a 13th-month bonus equal to one month's salary or prorated to the length of employment during the year. Also, the employer must contribute to the local Brazilian retirement system for the domestic employee. See additional information in Brasilia's section of this report. Medical Care Sao Paulo has excellent medical care. The Albert Einstein Hospital is considered the best hospital in South America and hires very competent doctors; many who speak English and were trained in the U.S. Quality dental and orthodontic services are available as well. In general, the costs for an office visit are equal to fees in the U.S. Maternity and other in-hospital care is first-rate and many officers and family members choose to have elective medical procedures while stationed at post. A nurse is on duty at the Consulate General, 40 hours a week, providing first aid, immunizations, and referrals to medical facilities. The health unit compiles and frequently updates a list of preferred physicians and medical practioners in Sao Paulo. In addition, the regional medical officer from La Paz visits quarterly and is available for emergencies.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 3/2/2005 2:11 PM

São Paulo has many churches and synagogues. Many Protestant churches, including the Fellowship Community Church, (interdenominational); St. Paul's (Anglican); Calvary International Church; First Church of Christ Scientist; and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, hold English-translated services. The American priests of the Order of the Oblate Fathers conduct services in English at the Chapel School. A Greek Orthodox Cathedral also exists. The city has several synagogues. The largest, Congregacão Israelita Paulista, follows the conservative traditions and has an American Rabbi. Religious-oriented summer camps are available for children.


Dependent Education Last Updated: 3/2/2005 2:12 PM

Three schools in São Paulo follow the U.S. public school curriculum: the São Paulo Graded School (Escola Graduada), the Chapel School (Escola Maria Imaculada), and the Pan American Christian Academy (P.A.C.A.). The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits all three schools. The local Chamber of Commerce established the São Paulo Graded School in 1929. The faculty, though predominantly American, employs teachers of several nationalities. Instruction is from kindergarten through grade 12. There is also a large preschool for 3-year olds and older. The preschool and lower grades are taught on a modified Montessori program. The school follows curriculum standards of New York State. Enrollment is about 1,165; 38% are U.S. citizens. Advanced placement courses and the International Baccalaureate are integral parts of its quality academic program. Most graduates are accepted into universities and colleges of their first choice. Facilities include a gym, auditorium, science labs, computer center, satellite TV, a brand new multi-million dollar arts center, libraries, and a cafeteria serving hot lunches. Buses serve all residential areas. Most sports played in the U.S., except baseball and American football, are offered; teams compete within the school and with other American schools in Brazil. The school is a member of the São Paulo High School League. Twice a year, sports meets are held with American schools in São Paulo, Brasilia, and Rio de Janeiro at alternating locations. Additional extracurricular activities include theater, music and band, yearbook, and scouting. A program for students with very mild learning problems up to the fourth grade is available. For more information about Graded go to the school's website at or contact the CLO at Felician Sisters and lay teachers staff Escola Maria Imaculada (The Chapel School) under the direction of the Oblate Fathers of Mary Immaculate. Instruction is from nursery school through grade 12. Advanced placement and the International Baccalaureate are integral parts of its quality academic program. Most graduates are accepted into universities and colleges of their first choice. The students represent over 30 countries; 40% of the students are non-Catholics. Enrollment is 700; 25% are U.S. citizens. Facilities include: two libraries, a gym, a large playing field, a cafeteria, an auditorium, science labs, a computer center, an audiovisual room, an infirmary staffed by a nurse, and a student union. Organized sports include soccer, basketball, gymnastics, softball, tennis, handball, and volleyball both varsity and junior varsity teams. The school is a member of the São Paulo High School League. Twice a year, sports meets are held with American schools in São Paulo, Brasilia, and Rio de Janeiro at alternating locations. Additional extracurricular activities include judo, cooking, ballet, debating, choral groups, and band. Buses serve all residential areas. Most sports played in the U.S., except American football, are offered; teams compete within the school and with other American schools in Brazil.Formore information about Chapel go to the school's website at or contact the CLO at . The Pan American Christian Academy, founded in 1960, is the Christian, American-style, K-12 school of São Paulo. PACA is dedicated to meeting the educational needs of families in the American, Brazilian and international communities through a dual curriculum program. PACA challenges students with a rigorous college preparatory program in a Christian setting. The school's motto is "Quality Education Built on a Christian Foundation". PACA's campus and facilities place the school alongside the best international schools in South America. The 7.5 acres of lawn, flowering trees, and gardens, as well as attractive buildings with spacious classrooms create a relaxed but studious atmosphere. The maintenance crew provides excellent care to 19 classrooms, science laboratory, library, computer center, learning lab, gymnasium, a regulation-size athletic field, outside courts, cafeteria and a 25-meter swimming pool. Total student population is between 300-320. Thirty percent of the students are American and sixty-one percent of the faculty is American. PACA offers many extra-curricular activities such as, community service, choir, drama, Knowledge Bowl, chapel, student government, service activities, yearbook, AP courses, honors program and National Honor Society. PACA's sports include basketball, soccer, softball, volleyball and cheerleading. PACA organizes varsity teams in all sports and junior varsity teams in some sports. PACA is governed by a school board composed of evangelical Christians and is directed by licensed U.S. administrators. Student Council is elected from grades 9-12 Parents of PACA students (POPS) organize dinners, picnics, fundraising, and other cultural events for the school community. The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and the Brazilian Ministry of Education and Culture (MEC). PACA is located in the Interlagos region of the city about 25 minutes commute from the Santo Amaro area. For more information go to the school's website or contact the CLO at Each school begins in early August and runs through early June, with a 6-week midyear vacation in December and January. Enrollment requirements are similar to those in the U.S. Each school adequately prepares students for entrance into U.S. colleges and universities. Please be advised that the Graded school has a waiting list, therefore early contact is highly advisable to reserve a spot for newcomers. Contact CLO for registration information. Tuition costs vary according to school and grade, with costs escalating from elementary to middle school and senior high school, but the educational allowance fully covers tuition fees, books, and transportation.


Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 3/2/2005 2:12 PM

Although São Paulo has several fine universities, among which are the University of São Paulo, Mackenzie University, and Fundacão Getulio Vargas (FGV), you must be fluent in Portuguese in order to take advantage of their study programs. The Alumni Association and União Cultural, two U.S.-Brazil binational centers in the city, offer Portuguese-language courses that can be used to supplement the post's language training program. However, there are certain opportunities for educational advancement available in English. The University of Pittsburg offers an Executive MBA program at the local American Chamber of Commerce. Information on the program can be found at the AMCHAM website Through the Graded School, graduate level education courses are periodically offered for teachers, parents, and community members, with priority for enrollment in that order. These courses are taught by visiting professors from U.S. universities. The Graded School also offers courses in computers for teachers, parents, and members of the community. Other computer courses, in English and Portuguese, are available at private institutes throughout the city. Many schools of dance, adult exercise classes, and tutors in music, ballet, and painting are available. For more information go to Although São Paulo is the industrial, educational, media and cultural capital of Brazil, serving as home base for hundreds of American and multinational companies, Brazilian law requires that American family members obtain special permission to work. The application process is long, but worth the effort for anyone who would like to work in Brazil. Nine consulate general positions including the Community Liaison Officer position are currently available to Eligible Family Members and become available during rotation cycles. Since three schools in São Paulo offer a kindergarten through grade twelve U.S. curriculums, many positions are available for individuals with a background in education. In addition, numerous private language schools often advertise for native speakers of English to serve as English teachers. Private tutoring is also in demand. Volunteer work is also a possibility. There are exciting opportunities for professional growth and development in most fields since the city is large, modern, and full of competent professionals, many of whom have studied in the U.S. Interesting volunteer opportunities exist through local churches, orphanages, and hospitals.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 3/2/2005 2:13 PM

Like other metropolitan areas, São Paulo has various spectator sports. The most popular sport is soccer. Horse, auto and motorcycle racing, basketball, tennis and golf tournaments, sailing regattas, polo, boxing, and wrestling matches complete the picture. São Paulo has no public golf courses or tennis courts, but many private tennis, squash, and racquetball courts are widely available on a pay-as-you-go basis. Private clubs include facilities for golf, tennis, swimming, horseback riding, boating, and basketball. Membership is expensive, but at some clubs Consulate General personnel can join on a monthly fee basis. Most sporting equipment sold locally is comparable to price and quality of products in the U.S.

The US Consulate compound has a wonderful reaction center available to all employees and their family members. The recreation facility covers about a third of the compound. It is equipped with a swimming pool, tennis court, multipurpose court, soccer field, playground and walking track. The recreation center has a clubhouse featuring a TV room and dance studio. There are two BBQ pits and covered party areas. There is also a well-equipped weight room in the GSO building. The recreation center serves as a sports club for employees who find it difficult to find these resources in their respective living areas.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 3/2/2005 2:13 PM

The area around São Paulo is ideal for weekend excursions. Many beach and mountain resorts are within 100 miles of São Paulo and connected by good roads. Hotel quality and prices vary greatly, though most are reasonable. Weekend houses are sometimes available for rent. The coast between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro has various little towns and pristine beaches where hotel rooms are as little as $15 a night and rental boats will take you to secluded natural pools. Iguaçu Falls (2 hours by air) offers one of Latin America's unique tourist sights. You may want to take an extra day to visit the falls from the Argentine side. The huge Itaipu hydroelectric project is nearby. Other popular outings for weekends or vacations include Rio de Janeiro; Ouro Preto, a Colonial mining town in Minas Gerais, with colonial churches and other old towns nearby; Campos do Jordão a mountain resort, and Brasília, a stunning example of city planning and modern architecture. Local travel agencies can be helpful in obtaining tour packages throughout Brazil and to other South American locations. São Paulo State offers excellent fishing and camping along the coast. Weekly artist fairs are held on Sundays at the Praça da Republica, in the Asian neighborhood of Liberdade, and in Embu, on the outskirts of São Paulo. These fairs offer local artwork, handicrafts, and geological specimens. Sao Paulo has many shopping malls reminiscent of those in American cities.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 3/2/2005 2:14 PM

São Paulo offers excellent, professional theater in Portuguese. During winter, several symphonies offer concerts, some with guest soloists. Operas are presented and local and touring concert groups and ballet companies also perform. Most movie theaters feature first-run American or foreign movies, as well as many Brazilian films. Foreign movies are usually shown with Portuguese subtitles. The city has many world-class art museums and galleries. Every 2 years, São Paulo hosts the Bienal, an internationally important modern art exposition, with extensive multinational representation. With about 25,000 restaurants, cafes, and bars, São Paulo is one of the world's greatest cities for dining out. The city is especially rich in Italian, Japanese, and continental restaurants, and almost all ethnic communities are well represented. Brazilian churrascarias abound, serving a wide variety of richly seasoned, grilled meats accompanied by generous salad bars and side dishes. Fast food branches of American chains or local imitations are increasingly available.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 3/2/2005 2:14 PM There is a wide range of both business and social events, while home entertaining is also common. Much of the entertaining in the American community consists of luncheons and dinners. The opportunities for staff members to enter local social circles are equal to any large U.S. city. The Newcomers Club, an English-speaking club composed of all nationalities, is open to individuals for their first 2 years in Brazil. The club helps newcomers get acquainted and settled, and provides an opportunity for members to exchange information. Social activities include coffees and teas, museum outings, luncheons, dinners, book exchanges, and trips. The American Society, of which the Consul General is honorary vice president, is a social and philanthropic organization for Americans in São Paulo. It organizes an annual field day for American Society members on the Fourth of July, an eggnog party at Christmas, Fourth of July BBQ picnic, a Labor Day Party, and sponsors other social activities during the year. The American Society also issues an annual directory of members, a handy classified shopper's guide in English, and publishes a monthly newspaper with news of the English-speaking community. The American Society has a welfare program that provides financial, medical, and educational assistance to U.S. citizens in distress and also sponsors little league baseball, soccer, and flag football. The São Paulo Women's Club, an international English-speaking club, provides social, cultural, and charitable activities. These include two book clubs, a free circulating library, a chorus, small theater group, current events group, and classes in bookbinding, painting, languages, and gems. The Consul General is honorary president of the American Chamber of Commerce of São Paulo and ex-officio member of its executive committee. In addition, many Consulate staff are prominently involved in AMCHAM activities. Masons, Rotary, and Lions clubs meet regularly in São Paulo and throughout the consular district. Illinois and São Paulo participate in a program called Joint Partners of the Americas. Finally, the PTAs of the three American schools sponsor many children's activities, such as sports teams and competitions, scouting, drama, dances, and school trips.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

International Contacts Last Updated: 3/2/2005 2:15 PM In performing their duties, Consulate General personnel meet both many Brazilians and residents of the international community. One of the advantages to living and working in São Paulo is the opportunity to make many contacts outside of the Consulate General. São Paulo is home to many large companies and industries that recruit worldwide. Day to day contact and social events create many opportunities to mingle with individuals from other countries currently living and working in São Paulo. All career diplomats and honorary consuls may join the Consular Society. The Society membership currently includes representation from over 50 nations. Career officers of various consulates hold monthly luncheon meetings. Two U.S.-founded binational centers in São Paulo, the União Cultural Brasil-Estados Unidos and the Alumni Association, operate independently of the U.S. Government, although the Consul General and the PAO are active in both. Each sponsors English instruction and cultural events year round

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 10/29/2003 12:41 AM

The consul general receives many official invitations. Members of other sections occasionally fill in on ceremonial occasions or attend functions in their fields of interest. In addition, the consul general makes formal calls on São Paulo state and city officials, the Cardinal, the Southeast Army Commander, the dean of the Consular Corps, and the president of the Consular Society. Calls on other Consular Corps members are optional. Most officers find it useful to call on their principal contacts and colleagues.

Official Functions

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 10/29/2003 12:42 AM

The Department of State booklet, Protocol for the Modern Diplomat, provides enough information and guidance for new personnel. Each officer can expect to use at least 200 business cards during an assignment for contacts or on social occasions. Cards and invitations can be printed locally at reasonable prices.

Special Information Last Updated: 3/2/2005 2:18 PM

Post Orientation Program

The post employs a community liaison officer who works 30 hours a week. In addition to coordinating the sponsor program, the CLO organizes periodic recreational and cultural programs to meet the needs and interests of Mission personnel and family members. Programs that have been successful in the past range from movie outings and bake sales to day trips to the beach and adventures in the interior of Brazil.

Prior to arrival, each incoming staff member will receive a welcome letter from the CLO. Soon after arrival, new employees and family members will attend a half-day “Sectional Briefing and Tour” of the Mission’s facilities. In the briefing, newcomers will meet with section/unit heads and be introduced to other employees. Employees and family members may participate in the Portuguese-language training program.

If you are in Washington, D.C., and considering a Post in São Paulo, you are encouraged to visit the Overseas Briefing Center. There you can view the São Paulo DVD and the post folders, which contain additional information regarding schooling, dependent employment, and social and recreational opportunities in São Paulo.

Consulate - Recife

Post City Last Updated: 10/29/2003 12:46 AM

Recife, a city of startling contrasts, stretches 30 miles along Brazil’s east coast. Miles of attractive beaches front the modern, luxury suburbs of Boa Viagem and Piedade at the city’s southern tip. The central city, situated on two islands and the delta formed by the Capibaribe and Beberibe Rivers, is laced with numerous old and new bridges. It is a bustling, dynamic area, with thousands of taxis and small passenger vans clogging the narrow streets. The total absence of a grid system, the rivers winding through the city, and maze of one-way streets (at times unmarked) make finding one’s way a challenge.

The Consulate is located in a downtown area not far from the city’s commercial and administrative center. Recife’s many small parks and plazas are well maintained. The thriving open market, Mercado de São Jose, is a principal tourist attraction, as are feiras (smaller markets) scattered throughout the city. Colonial Portuguese churches abound, the railroad station is a well-restored Victorian marvel, and an adjacent former prison has been converted into the Casa da Cultura, where hundreds of stalls feature local handicrafts. Neighboring Olinda is considered one of Brazil’s greatest colonial treasures and offers a fascinating glimpse into 17th century architecture.

Recife is the capital of Pernambuco and is the principal port city of Brazil’s developing northeast. It is the commercial, cultural, and political center of the consular district, which has about 40 million people. The city has 2 million inhabitants; the greater metropolitan area has 3.5–4 million inhabitants. The city skyline is an impressive jumble of modern skyscrapers and sturdy old church towers. Residential areas along the Boa Viagem, Piedade and Candeias beaches feature kilometers of 20–30 story apartment buildings.

Developing industrialization includes sugar refining, alcohol distillation, truck assembly, aluminum fabrication, and the manufacture of textiles, rum, vegetable oils, leather, glass, ceramics, canned goods, pharmaceuticals, paint, electronic equipment, and synthetic rubber. Tourism is an expanding industry with a growing influx of tourists traveling from southern Brazil during winter and summer and from Europe in winter. Agriculture remains the base of the Pernambuco economy; sugar has been the principal crop for over 300 years. Cotton raised in the interior, sisal, livestock, and fruits, vegetables, and grain crops are also economically important. Over the past few years, Brazil’s largest center for the production of irrigated tropical fruit has developed in Petrolina, about 700 km west of Recife.

The countryside surrounding Recife is tropical, hilly, and fertile; it reaches inland some 20–30 miles. The undulating foothills and low mountains of the drier agreste region offer some relief from the tropical monotony of the coast. The agreste gives way to the semiarid sertão, which stretches far into the central regions of the Northeast. It is dry and desolate most of the year; its cowboy folklore reminds one of the American southwest. Its location on the eastern extremity of Brazil places Recife about 1,500 miles across the south Atlantic from Dakar, Senegal, and about 1,300 miles north of Sao Paulo. Recife’s geographic location makes it an important refueling point for transatlantic flights from South America to Europe. There are currently several non-stop flights a week to Miami as well as to destinations in Europe. Local connections to other Brazilian cities are also widely available and deregulation in recent years has led to a drop in domestic airfares. While few American tourists visit Recife, increasing numbers are visiting other beach cities in the consular district, most notably Natal and Fortaleza. Fernando de Noronha, an archipelago approximately 400 miles northeast of Recife which belongs to Pernambuco State, is rapidly gaining international notoriety as a destination for ecotourism.

Recife is located on the eastern edge of Brazil’s time zone; sun time is over an hour ahead of clock time. Throughout the year it is dark soon after the Consulate closes at 5 pm, and there are never daylight hours for outdoor activities in the evening. Many Brazilians rise with the sun at 4:30 or 5:30 am and exercise on Boa Viagem beach or use the 8-kilometer walkway that stretches the length of the beach. For the late starter, for whom vigorous early morning exercise has little appeal, there are other options, including golf, equestrian sports and sports facilities at local clubs.

Recife has year-round rainfall, but the winter rainy season (May–September) has heavy daily rains that account for most of the annual 77 inches along the Pernambuco coast. Summer (October–April) is drier, with many clear, beautiful days. During the winter rainy season humidity is high and temperature variations are slight; the thermometer rises from 80ºF to almost 90ºF, distinguishing winter from summer. The Northeast averages 250 days of sun per year, and the sun shines at least part of the day even during the rainy season. The climate is not unbearably tropical, due to prevailing trade winds. Nevertheless, many expatriates experience problems with upper respiratory allergies during the rainy season, and post has obtained dehumidifiers to alleviate problems with some success.

Brazilians are a mixture of many ethnic groups: Portuguese, African, and Brazilian Indian backgrounds predominate in the Northeast. The largest foreign community is Portuguese, but small French, German, Israeli, Italian, Japanese, and Middle East groups exist. There are over 2,000 Americans registered in the Consular district and approximately 25% live in Recife. Many of those registered are dual nationals, although there is an important American missionary community.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 10/29/2003 12:54 AM

The U.S. Government-owned Consulate building is located at Rua Goncalves Maia 163, in Boa Vista. The phone number is (081) 421–2441 and the fax number is (081) 231–1906. The Principal Officer can be reached by e-mail at HYPERLINK;; the Vice Consul at HYPERLINK The consular district covers Brazil’s northeastern corner, from Maranhão in the west to Alagoas in the South. The states covered are Maranhao, Piaui, Cear , Rio Grande do Norte, Paraiba, Pernambuco and Alagoas. The staff is comprised of the Principal Officer, a Vice Consul and thirteen national employees.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 10/29/2003 12:55 AM

Post policy is to place employees into permanent housing upon arrival. If this is not possible, employees will be placed in local hotels as temporary lodging and receive temporary quarters allowances. Hotels are adequate.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 10/29/2003 12:56 AM

The principal officer currently resides in a large beachfront apartment in Piedade (about 16 km south of the Consulate) that is suitable for representational entertaining. The vice consul lives in a beachfront apartment approximately 10 kilometers south of the Consulate in Boa Viagem. It is also suitable for entertaining. Both apartments are on short-term government leases (currently three years). While Boa Viagem and Piedade are the preferred residential neighborhoods, other traditional residential areas in the center of the city, such as Casa Forte, also offer attractive options for apartments.

Government homes are furnished and air conditioners are provided for bedrooms. A refrigerator, stove, washer, dryer, dishwasher and freezer are also provided. The principal officer’s home is also supplied with china, glassware, and basic cooking utensils. Electrical current is 220v, 60 cycles. Transformers are provided. All leased apartments have centrally piped cooking gas.

Food Last Updated: 10/29/2003 12:57 AM

Recife’s modern, air-conditioned supermarkets are well stocked and provide all the essentials to meet food and other household requirements of the average American family. In addition, the city is host to several specialty stores that provide oriental and other ethnic foods. Some types of meat, veal for example, are hard to obtain, but aside from this, you can maintain a perfectly adequate nutritional regimen with the food products available locally. Exceptional local tropical fruits and vegetables are available year round. Temperate climate fruits are brought in from southern Brazil and Argentina.

Consulate employees have used internet grocery services with great success to obtain hard to find dry food and household cleaning items.


Men Last Updated: 10/29/2003 12:58 AM

Summer clothes may be worn year round as temperatures seldom fall below 70ºF. Most businessmen are casual in their dress, although some, such as bankers, still prefer suits to sport shirts. Government officials are growing more casual in their dress, but business attire is still the norm for calls outside of the Consulate. Invitations rarely require business attire, and more frequently specify sports attire.

Wash-and-wear items are most practical. Local custom-made linen, tropical worsteds, and Brazilian-made wash-and-wear suits range from $200 to $300, but are of lower quality. Bring at least one or two dark, lightweight suits for business calls and evening social functions.

You do not need hats (although caps for use in outdoor activities are highly recommended), but bring shirts, underwear, socks, and shoes. You can buy good-quality imported shirts in Recife, but they are expensive. Summer-weight washable slacks and shorts are useful, as is beach attire. Dry cleaning is available, but of questionable quality and expensive. Formal attire, such as a tuxedo or smoking jacket, is rarely required (only for the Carnaval ball). Tuxedos can be purchased or rented locally.


Women Last Updated: 10/29/2003 12:58 AM

Clothing stores are plentiful and varied, although Brazilian styles are considerably tighter fitting than U.S. clothing. Bring plenty of comfortable summer clothing: skirts, shorts, shirts, and bathing suits. A good basic evening wardrobe might consist of washable cocktail separates (pants, skirts, blouses, etc.) and a few washable evening dresses. Cotton dresses and separates are preferable for afternoon functions.

Dressmakers range from expensive designers to tailors who take in mending; in between are competent, reasonable dressmakers who can adequately copy the simple lines of current fashions. Fabrics are available locally. Hats are seldom worn (except for informal hats and caps for outdoor activities). Carnaval calls for costumes of fancy dress or shorts and a T-shirt.


Children Last Updated: 10/29/2003 12:59 AM

Bring children’s clothing from the U.S. Given the weather, do not purchase winter clothes. Spring and summer weight clothing can be used year-round. Children rarely require long pants. Local seamstresses can be hired to mend and alter clothing and to make play clothing for children, although inexpensive locally manufactured play clothing is available and of acceptable quality.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 10/29/2003 1:00 PM

Brazilian cosmetics and toiletries, many manufactured under agreements with U.S. firms, resemble U.S. products and are plentiful but more expensive than their U.S. counterparts. Internet buying services offer an excellent option for the purchase of U.S. goods (they are shipped to post via APO).

Supplies and Services

Basic Services Last Updated: 10/29/2003 1:01 PM

Dry-cleaning service is available in Recife, but the quality is not up to U.S. standards. Full- or part-time launderers work in homes. Good beauty shops are available. Men’s haircuts average $10. Women’s cuts and styling range from $20–$40.

Repair work on radios, TVs, and other electrical appliances is not always satisfactory, but authorized service centers are available for most major brands. Parts are available, but expensive. Recife has the second most developed medical infrastructure in Brazil, and as a result medical and dental care is excellent, but more expensive than in the U.S. Note: Check your health insurance before arrival to see if overseas claims are based on an U.S. fee schedule or on a straight percentage of charges.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 10/29/2003 1:02 PM

Servants are necessary in Recife for the American or Brazilian running a household. The system benefits the family in that necessary household help is supplied, and employment and security is provided for semiliterate and untrained persons. Single employees and couples can manage with a combination cook/housekeeper. Nannies are also common and readily available. Current monthly wages (including all benefits are estimated as follows: cook/housekeeper, $200; nanny $200; cook, $150; housekeeper, $150. Fringe benefits include quarters for the live-in cook and housekeeper (all housing, including smallest apartments, provides separate servants quarters and bath), food, uniforms, and social security/health insurance (for those that do not live in, a transportation allowance is also provided). Live-in employees are more common and less expensive. Part-time domestic employees charge on average $200 a month. A note of caution, finding suitable servants can be difficult and challenging.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 10/29/2003 1:02 PM

Recife has churches of almost every denomination including a synagogue, but few English-speaking services. English-language Baptist church services and a children’s Sunday school are held every Sunday. Many beautiful and historical Catholic churches are located in Recife and in the adjoining town of Olinda. Mass is conducted in Portuguese. Many Catholic churches hold special Masses for adults, family, and youth. The youth mass is particularly interesting for young people who bring their guitars for group singing.


Dependent Education Last Updated: 10/29/2003 2:09 PM

The American School of Recife, founded in 1957, is a private, nonsectarian coeducational school that offers an instructional program from prekindergarten through grade 12 for students of all nationalities. The school is governed by a seven-member Board of Directors elected for a 2-year term by the Association, composed of the parents of children enrolled in the School. The Principal Officer is a non-voting member of the school board.

The curriculum is mainly that of U.S. general academic, preparatory, public schools. The Southern Association of Colleges accredits the school. There are 32 full-time and 6 part-time faculty members, of which 13 are U.S. citizens, 20 Brazilians, and 5 of other nationalities. Enrollment is approximately 350 students of which 40 are U.S. citizens, 250 host-country nationals, and 60 third-country nationals.

The school occupies an 8.5-acre site in a beautiful residential area of Recife. The pre-K/Kindergarten, elementary and high schools are in separate buildings. General facilities include classrooms, a science laboratory, two audio/visual rooms, a computer laboratory, a library with 12,000 volumes and a small theater. The school also has an adequate snackbar and lunch area as well as spacious sports and playground facilities.


Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 10/29/2003 2:09 PM

An art academy and a music conservatory are located in Recife. The Federal University of Pernambuco School of Fine Arts offers courses in theory, instrumentation, and ensemble playing. Private instruction is available on musical instruments. Private art instruction and group ballet lessons are also available.

Spouses need a basic command of Portuguese before coming to Recife; all practical day-to-day communications is in Portuguese. Additional language instruction for adult dependents is available.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 10/29/2003 1:04 PM

Many health clubs and fitness centers in the city offer aerobics, gymnastics, dance, and exercise equipment. They are similar to those in the U.S., with trained instructors and such amenities as saunas, steam baths, and optional massages. Membership fees are low by U.S. standards and are paid monthly.

Other social clubs offer recreational facilities in the city. There is also a golf and equestrian club, which offers special membership rates to foreign diplomats.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 10/29/2003 1:05 PM

The Northeast offers some of the best beaches in Brazil, and many are less than a day’s drive from Recife. Beaches range from established resorts to isolated stretches and most are easily accessible by vehicle, although a four-wheel drive vehicle would be preferable. Other one-day sightseeing trips afford visits to sugarcane plantations and mills, forts from the Dutch era in the 17th century, and quaint fishing villages on the coast and inlets. Most major routes are paved, and the remote, adventuresome routes are passable, except during the rainy season.

Several small towns, from 2–3 hours away offer a cooler, drier climate than the coastal region. Satisfactory overnight accommodations are available. Other cities in the consular district, such as Fortaleza, Natal and João Pessoa offer considerable tourist attractions. Salvador, the colorful, historic first capital of Brazil is approximately an hour’s flight south. Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are a 2½-hour flight south.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 10/29/2003 1:08 PM

Recife has several modern mutiplex theaters offering first-run U.S. and Brazilian movies. Several comfortable movie theaters also show other foreign films. Foreign films are in their original language with Portuguese subtitles, although children's films are dubbed. Recife has many restaurants ranging from simple, beachfront seafood houses in Olinda, to luxurious and expensive restaurants in Boa Viagem. Downtown restaurants are patronized mainly at lunchtime. Open-air restaurants along the beach in Boa Viagem are popular for evenings and weekends. Cuisines include Chinese, Italian, and seafood restaurants; churrascarias for grilled meats are also available. Prices vary, but dinner for two with wines is less than in Washington, D.C.

The renovated old city, Recife Antigo, offers an excellent option for nightlife. Open-air bars and sidewalk cafes, along with cultural events sponsored by the city, make Recife Antigo the center of nightlife in the city. There are several large discos and nightclubs (including Brazil’s largest) which are very popular.

Recife also has several large modern shopping centers with many services, including bowling alleys and arcades. One, Shopping Recife, is the largest shopping center in South America.

Several radio stations and five color TV stations broadcast in Recife. An American black-and-white TV operates with a transformer and a voltage regulator. U.S. color sets need a PAL-M to NTSC converter, which can be purchased in the U.S. Local TVs are readily available, although more expensive than U.S. TVs.

Local TV offers numerous variety shows, popular Brazilian novelas (soap operas), daily national news programs, public interest features, Brazilian soccer and, occasionally, world sports events. Direct TV is available as are affordable satellite TV services offering US premium cable channels.

No English-language newspapers are published in Recife; foreign news is sparsely covered in the local press. The Latin American editions of Time and Newsweek are available weekly. However, internet service is readily available and inexpensive (approximately $20 per month for unlimited access).

Recife’s Carnaval is world famous. It is considered the largest street carnival in the world. Two events during Carnaval, the Bloco de Parceria on the Sunday before Carnaval and the Galo de Madrugada the Saturday of Carnaval vie for the title of largest concentration of people in the Guinness Book of World Records (each brings an estimated 2 million people together). Tourists from around the world flock to Olinda and Recife Antigo for more traditional carnivals. Other important celebrations include the Sao Joao festival in June, which offers typical northeastern music and dancing and special Brazilian dishes, and Recifolia, one of the largest out-of-season carnivals in Brazil.

Several libraries are located in Recife for those who can read Portuguese, although books cannot be loaned out. A small library of American books and current periodicals is located at the binational center. The Consulate has an exchange paperback library available to all employees.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities Last Updated: 10/29/2003 1:10 PM

This region of Brazil is known for its hospitality and receptivity to foreigners. Most of the social activity in Recife revolves around the extended family, which often includes close family friends. Dinners are also common. Most entertaining, both in a family or more formal setting, is done at home. Entertaining is also more informal in nature, reflecting this family orientation.

The social life in Recife is active and Americans are readily welcomed into the community. Adults, adolescents and children quickly develop their own social life and meet frequently for parties and various activities.

Official Functions Last Updated: 10/29/2003 1:10 PM

Officers with Brazilian contacts should bring 500 official cards. Personal cards are not needed, but are useful. If needed, more can be printed at post. Spouses will find cards useful, but not indispensable.

Special Information Last Updated: 10/29/2003 2:08 PM

You should bring a supply of stamps to post (probably $100 worth and of various denominations). Stamps are not sold at post, so you must order them from the U.S.

U.S. Commercial Service

Belo Horizonte

Belo Horizonte (Beautiful Horizon), capital of Minas Gerais, is Brazil’s third large city, with a population of over 4 million. Minas Gerais is Brazil’s second most important state economically, after São Paulo. It is a major center of mining, steel production, automobile (Fiat), electronics, heavy machinery, and agriculture.

Minas Gerais maintains a higher economic growth rate than the nation as a whole. The state’s utilities are generally well run providing better than average services, for Brazil. However, investment in basic infrastructure, especially roads, has not kept pace with the state’s economic growth. The effects of rapid economic growth of the past decades are evident in the proliferation of common urban problems, such as air pollution (especially severe during the dry season), a crowded downtown area, and slums. Nevertheless, the city is less crowded and congested than Rio or São Paulo, and seems much smaller than a city of 4 million.

Accelerated economic growth in the past few years has also brought an explosion in the cost of living in Belo Horizonte. Consumer prices and rents are comparable to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Officers stationed in Belo Horizonte do not receive tax-free gasoline privileges.

Belo Horizonte, founded in 1897, is spread out over a rolling terrain and many streets are steep. The crosswork of avenues, streets, and diagonals can be confusing to a newcomer. Belo Horizonte has few landmarks of historical significance. The most interesting features of the city include the Praça da Liberdade, the center for the state government; the Municipal Park with tree-shaded paths, a small recreation area for children, small lake, and the Lagoa da Pampulha area with a larger lake; and the Oscar Niemeyer-designed São Francisco de Assis Church, with murals and frescoes by the internationally famed Brazilian painter, Portinari. Brazil’s colonial past is illustrated by a series of beautifully preserved historical cities such as Ouro Preto and Sabara, within 2 hours’ drive of the capital. The city has an active night life, with many bars, clubs, restaurants and music.

Belo Horizonte enjoys a warm and dry climate. Winters are mild and sunny, with few genuinely cold days. Summers (December–March) are warm with few spells of hot, muggy weather. Most precipitation occurs from November to February with intermittent rain, heavy at times, causing severe, dangerous flooding.

The city is a junction for highways, connecting Rio de Janeiro (4–4½ hours by car), São Paulo (8 hours), and Brasilia (10 hours). Highways are paved and in good condition, although overcrowded with trucks carrying mineral and steel products and agricultural goods. The city’s streets are well kept generally, although the quality of pavement is poor in many areas. Most of the city is paved and has a clean look, although pollution is becoming a problem. Modern shopping centers are located in and around the city, offering many stores, including many international chains.

Two airports, Confins (60 min. downtown) and Pampulha (20–30 min.), provide frequent connections to Brasilia, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and other cities.

The Post and Its Administration

The U.S. Commercial Service office, staffed by a Commercial Attache, two trade specialists, and an administrative assistant, is located at 147 Rua Fernandes Tourinho, 14th floor, in a fashionable commercial and residential district of the city known as Savassi. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Office phone is (31) 281–7271, FAX is (31) 281–6551.


Temporary Quarters

Temporary apartments are available in Belo Horizonte in the form of “flats” hotels. Standard hotels available include the Othon, Del Rey, Real Palace, Braz Hilton, and Classic. Hotel rates in Belo Horizonte are comparable to those in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo for deluxe and first-class hotels. Rates include breakfast.

Permanent Housing

The current FCS officer is housed in a U.S. Government-leased, FCS-furnished house with a full set of Brazilian-made appliances. The house is located outside the city (15 minutes from the FCS office) close to the American school in a guarded condominium community. Adequate hi-rise apartments are available in the city. House and apartment rents are very high, and selection is limited. Furnished houses and apartments are rare. Belo Horizonte is not a “transient” city, and a shortage of suitable houses and apartments is expected to continue.

Crime is not as severe a problem as it is in other Brazilian cities, but remains a concern requiring appropriate caution.

The water supply is adequate in most sections of the city. The local water is evidently properly treated; however, pipes are frequently contaminated by seepage during heavy rains. Drink bottled water and treat unpeeled vegetables and fruits.

Bring basic kitchen utensils, housekeeping items, and electrical appliances. These items are expensive when purchased locally, and quality and styles may not suit you. Bring surge protectors for computers, answering machines, stereos and other sensitive electrical equipment. Adequate lightweight aluminum pans and assorted glassware and dishes are available locally. Good furniture is manufactured locally, but is more expensive than comparable pieces in the U.S.

Electric current is 110–120v, 60 cycles.


Food is available locally in adequate quantity and variety. Fresh meat is plentiful. Fruits and vegetables in season are plentiful. Canned goods, frozen foods, and a growing variety of packaged and convenience foods are available but expensive. The central market and neighborhood markets continue to be important sources of supply for fruit, vegetables, and meats. Large supermarkets carrying a wide variety of merchandise, in addition to food items, are available.


All types of temperate climate clothing are useful, including a limited number of woolens for occasionally chilly winter mornings, evenings, or when traveling in southern Brazil during winter. Styles for men and women are informal, but some business and social occasions call for business suits or formal wear. Brazilian women are style conscious and women coming to post may wish to vary their wardrobe after arrival according to local fashions. Various pants, blouses, and pantsuits will suffice for most occasions, with long dresses used only for formal social events.

Supplies and Services


Basic supplies are available locally. Officers stationed in Belo Horizonte should make arrangements to buy items available at the commissary in Brasília.

Local tailors and dressmakers are adequate. Shoe repair is good. Laundry and drycleaning services are good, but prices are high.


Local physicians, surgeons, and dentists can treat all but the most serious medical problems. Many have studied or done residencies in the U.S. and speak some English. The cost of medical services in Belo Horizonte is high. An office call currently costs about $70. You can obtain advanced and highly specialized medical services in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. Pharmacies carry adequate stocks of Brazilian-produced prescription and nonprescription medicines.

Repair facilities for foreign automobiles, appliances, or electronic items are difficult to find. The reliability of repairs varies. Local carpenters and cabinetmakers are competent, but slow.

Good household help is difficult to find. Increased job opportunities for women in manufacturing industries and businesses have sharply reduced the number interested in domestic employment. Finding and keeping skilled and reliable help is a problem. Personal recommendations are the best way of finding help; employment agencies are not recommended.


American and English-speaking children attend the American School. Classes are from kindergarten through grade 12. Annual tuition is close to the educational allowance.

The Federal University of Minas Gerais and the Catholic University of Minas Gerais provide programs in most subject areas. Foreign students are few. The binational center and the Federal University offer Portuguese courses.

Recreation and Social Life


Free public recreation facilities are limited and crowded. These include the Municipal Park downtown, a zoo in the Pampulha area, Mangabeiras Park, and Minas Gerais and Fernão Dias Parks.

Many local residents join sports and social clubs and memberships cost $2,000 and up. Clubs offer swimming and tennis facilities. Monthly fees cost $200 and up.

Fishing and boating are available on the San Francisco River, some 200 miles from the city. Spectator sports include professional soccer, basketball, and volleyball.

Several colonial cities famous for their baroque architecture and colorful settings are located in Minas Gerais State and are popular tourist attractions. Movie theaters often feature international films with Portuguese subtitles. The Palacio das Artes is home of the Minas Gerais Symphony Orchestra and sponsors performances by local and international musical and theatrical groups. A growing number of art galleries exhibit the works of local artists. The city has an active night life, with many bars, restaurants, nightclubs, concerts, and dancing.

The small American community offers limited opportunities for social contact and activities. It consists of temporary residents working for American firms with local branches, missionaries, and permanent residents, including Americans settling in Minas Gerais after marrying Brazilians. A monthly picnic is held at the American School for all members of the community. The city has a small diplomatic community with consulates from Portugal, Argentina, Italy, and Chile.

Mineiros, as natives of the state are known, are friendly but reserved. Host country and other officials meet through business, commercial, fraternal organizations, country clubs, and artistic and cultural events. Family life centers in the home in Minas Gerais. However, once new acquaintances are established, families welcome friendly relationships in their homes.

Official post social functions vary from formal dinners to buffets, receptions, and cocktail parties. Business cards are helpful and can be printed locally.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 10/29/2003 2:11 PM

Direct Delta, United, and American flights to Brazil are available from New York, Miami, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Usual ports of entry are Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. It may be possible to extend a ticket for a nominal fee to cover a one-way portion to other South American cities. Check with your travel office.

Include sufficient clothes and personal items in accompanying baggage to last several months until HHE arrive. Airfreight takes 4 weeks to arrive and 10 days to clear customs. Surface shipments take 2 months in transit and 2 or 3 weeks to clear customs.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 10/29/2003 2:12 PM

All U.S. Government personnel receive duty-free entry on their personal goods throughout their tour of duty. Use the pouch for miscellaneous items as international mail must be cleared through customs. The bill of lading and packing list are required to clear all surface shipments and should be received by the Embassy well in advance of shipment. All notifications and documents are handled by the U.S. dispatch agent if coming from the U.S. or by GSO at the originating post.

Depending on the destination, consign effects to:

American Embassy Brasília Brazil via Rio de Janeiro (John Doe)

American Consulate General São Paulo Brazil via Santos (vehicles only) (John Doe)

American Consulate General Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (John Doe, Belo Horizonte)

American Consulate General Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

(John Doe, Recife) American Consulate General Recife, Brazil

No special wrappings are required other than waterproofing for overseas shipment. The size of cartons or liftvans is not restricted, except for those sent by pouch. Adequate storage facilities are available and pilferage is minimal. Local packers are competent, but packing and unpacking of fragile or costly objects should be supervised by the owner. Private insurance is recommended against total loss, theft, pilferage, fresh and saltwater damage, and breakage. A government service floater policy provides this kind of insurance.

The U.S. Government does not authorize shipments nor pay expenses of transportation of boats. These expenses must be borne solely by you. The boat can be imported duty free in lieu of a personally owned vehicle; on your departure, it may be sold under the same procedures that apply to sale of automobiles. If it is not sold, it must be shipped out of the country at your own expense.

Importing liquor and cigarettes by individuals is prohibited. Special canned foods required for babies, allergies, etc., can be shipped via the pouch or special ordered through the commissary.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Passage Last Updated: 10/29/2003 2:13 PM

A current Brazilian visa must appear in all passports of new arrivals. Official travelers and their eligible family members (EFMs) should get the appropriate visa through the Department of State. Brazil has no airport visa. Immediately after your arrival, you must submit the passport to the post’s Personnel Section who will submit it to the Foreign Office for a multiple-entry visa if one was not given to you. The visa is good for 2 years in the diplomatic and official passports.

Photographs for identity cards, drivers licenses, and other documents, can be provided by the Security Office after your arrival.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Pets Last Updated: 10/29/2003 2:14 PM

Dogs and cats are required to have the following documentation before their arrival:

certificate of vaccination against rabies, and a U.S. public health certificate issued within 30 days of departure and validated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Veterinarians are familiar with this procedure. The same procedure is followed for pets coming from outside the U.S., i.e., a public health certificate from the country where the pet is located.

If the pet is traveling alone, please advise post of the arrival date and flight number so that Customs authorities can be advised at the airport.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 10/29/2003 2:15 PM

There is a mission-wide firearms policy in effect for personal firearms. The importation of personal firearms is to be for sporting purposes only. The policy applies to all Americans, whether permanently assigned or TDY. Employees wishing to import a personal firearm into Brazil or purchase one locally should be aware of the following restrictions:

no firearm may be imported into Brazil or purchased locally without obtaining advance written approval from the Ambassador.

the Ministry of Foreign Affairs also requires that they approve the importation of personal firearms. They require a copy of the original sales receipt of the weapon(s) to be imported. This is a lengthy process and requires beginning a minimum of 120 days prior to shipping the weapon(s).

there are restrictions on the number and caliber of weapons that can be imported or purchased locally.

all personal weapons must be stored in the Embassy/Consulate General, under the care of the RSO/Principal Officer when not being used for sporting purposes.

all personal firearms must be legally registered with the Brazilian Government.

the focal point for all matters pertaining to personal firearms is the regional security office in Brasília. All questions pertaining to personal firearms should be directed to that office. A written request which includes the make, model, serial number, and a copy of the original sales receipt must be forwarded to that office a minimum of 120 days prior to the intended date for shipping personal firearms to post.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 10/29/2003 2:16 PM

The currency of Brazil is the real. The rate of exchange is determined by market forces and varies from day to day. Employees and their families are cautioned that it is illegal to purchase currency from individuals or entities that are not authorized by the Central Bank of Brazil to perform exchange services.

The Embassy and Consulates General in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo have contracted for accommodation exchange services, which are provided during regular business hours at the Chancery and Consulates General. In Recife and Belo Horizonte, authorized exchange dealers provide these services. The contracted bank accepts U.S. cash, travelers checks and personal checks from U.S. government employees and their eligible family members. A limited number of automated teller machines (ATMs) accept U.S. ATM cards. This service is expanding. As an added convenience, many personal bills for things like residential telephones and cable television services may be paid at banks.

A dollar checking account should be maintained in the U.S. This will enable you to buy items from the U.S. that are unavailable in Brazil and to shop at posts’ liquor/food stores where payments are required in dollars.

You may wish to open a Brazilian real account also, but this is not essential. However, local currency checks do enjoy near universal acceptance and are a convenience. Brazil has many banks, including Citibank and the Bank of Boston. Most banks also offer ATM service for account holders.

International credit cards are beginning to enjoy widespread acceptance in Brazil. Major credit cards include Diner’s Club, American Express, Master Charge, Visa, and Credicard. They may be used for a variety of purchases and for travel expenses. The rates of exchange offered on credit card purchases are competitive at this time. As in other places of the world, employees and their families should exercise extreme care in the use of credit cards in Brazil, ensuring that the numbers are protected at all times. There has been a burgeoning problem of credit card fraud in recent years.

It is essential that all employees have their payroll checks directly deposited to stateside accounts. This avoids the need to ship payroll checks from Washington to post. Payroll checks cannot always be easily replaced if they are lost or stolen in the mails.

The international metric system of weights and measures is standard for Brazil.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 10/29/2003 2:17 PM

U.S. Government employees stationed in Brazil are exempt from local Brazilian income taxes. They are not exempt from document taxes, real estate taxes, sales, or most other taxes. Municipal taxes levied on premises are sometimes paid by the owner, but more often are subject to negotiation between lessor and tenant. All diplomatic personnel, with a Brazilian diplomatic ID card, are exempt from airport taxes.


All items intended for personal use may be purchased duty free by Mission employees and their eligible family members (EFMs). Items may be sold only in accordance with Embassy and Brazilian regulations. In general, no items may be sold until the end of the tour and must have been in the seller’s possession for more than 1 year. An exception is made for leaving post permanently before serving 3 years. In this case, items may be sold 90 days before departure. Before this final 90-day period, items may be sold to another person with duty-free privileges.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 10/29/2003 2:20 PM

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on Malaysia. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Amado, Jorge. Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon. New York: Knopf: 1962.

America’s Watch. The Struggle for Land in Brazil: Rural Violence in Brazil. New York: Human Rights Watch, 1991.

Atkins, G., Editor. South America into the 1990’s: Evolving International Relationships. Boulder, Co.: Westview, 1989.

Baer, Werner and Joseph S. Tulchin. Brazil & the Challenge of Economic Reform. Washington, D.C.: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 1993.

Bastide, Roger. The African Religions of Brazil: Toward a Sociology of the Interpenetrating of Civilizations. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978.

Bishop, Elizabeth. Anthology of 20th Century Brazilian Poetry. Wesleyan University Press, 1971.

Bradbury, Alex. Backcountry Brazil: The Pantanal, Amazon, and the Northeast Coast. Edison, N.J.: Hunter Publishing, 1990.

Bunker, Steven G. Under Developing the Amazon: Extraction, Unequal Exchange, and the Failure of the Modern State. Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1985.

Burns, E. Bradford. History of Brazil. New York: Columbia University Press, 1980.

Costa, Emilia Viotti da. The Brazilian Empire: Myths and Histories. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985.

Costa, Gino F. Brazil’s Foreign Policy: Toward Regional Dominance. Boulder, Co.: Westview, 1989.

DaCunha, Euclides. Rebellion in the Backlands. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957.

Damatta, Roberto. Carnivals, Rogues, & Heroes: An Interpretation of the Brazilian Dilemma. South Bend, Ind: University of Notre Dame Press, 1991.

Degler, Carl L. Neither Black Nor White: Slavery and Race Relations in Brazil and the U.S. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1971.

Dos Passos, John. Brazil on the Move. New York: Paragon, 1963.

Everson, Norma. Two Brazilian Capitols: Architecture and Urbanism in Rio de Janeiro and Brasília. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1973.

Fontaine, Pierre-Michel. Race, Class and Power in Brazil. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1985.

Freyre, Gilberto. The Masters and the Slaves: A Study in the Development of Brazilian Civilization. New York: Knopf, 1964.

Guillermoprieto, Alma. Samba. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1990.

Guimarães, Roberto P. Politics & Environment in Brazil: The Ecopolitics of Development in the Third World. Lynne Rienner Publishers, Inc., 1995.

Hagopian, Frances. Traditional Politics & Regime Change in Brazil. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

Jesus, Carolina Maria de. Child of the Dark. NAL, 1963.

Johnson, Randal and Robert Stam. Brazilian Cinema. East Brunswick, N.J.: Associated University Presses, 1982.

Kanitz, S. Brazil: The Emerging Economic Boom, 1995–2005. New York: McGraw-Hill Publishing, 1995.

Mainwaring, Scott. The Catholic Church in Brazil, 1916–1985. Palo Alto, Ca.: Stanford University Press, 1986.

McCann, Frank. The Brazilian-American Alliance 1937–1945. Princeton University Press: 1973.

Nyrop, Richard F., ed. Brazil: A Country Study. American University, Foreign Area Studies, 1982.

Page, Joseph A. The Brazilians. New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. Inc., 1995.

Parker, Richard. Bodies, Pleasure and Passions: Sexual Culture in Contemporary Brazil. Beacon Press, 1993.

Pang, Eul-Sol. Bahia in the First Republic. Gainesville: University of Florida, 1979.

Penglase, Ben. Final Justice: Police and Death Squad Homicides of Adolescents in Brazil. New York: Human Rights Watch, 1994.

Poppino, Rollie E. Brazil the Land and the People. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973.

Revkin, Andrew. The Burning Season: The Murder of Chico Mendes and the Fight for the Amazon Rain Forest. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990.

Roett, Riordan. Brazil, Politics in a Patrimonial Society. New York: Praeger, 1984.

Schmink, Marianne and Charles H. Wood (eds.). Frontier Expansion in Amazonia. Gainesville, FL: University Presses of Florida, 1985.

Shoumatoff, Alex. The Capital of Hope: Brasília and Its People. New York: Random House, New York, 1980.

Skidmore, Thomas E. Black Into White: Race and Nationality in Brazilian Thought. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1993.

Vianna Moog, Clodomiro. Bandeirantes and Pioneers. New York: George Braziller, 1964.

Updike, John. Brazil. 1991.

Wagley, Charles. Introduction to Brazil. New York: Columbia University Press, 1971.

Local Holidays Last Updated: 10/29/2003 2:26 PM

Brazilian National Holidays

In addition to standard U.S. Government holidays, the Embassy observes the following Brazilian holidays:

New Year’s Day January 1 Carnaval 2 days preceding Ash Wednesday Varies (half day) Good Friday Varies (Friday before Easter) Tiradentes Day April 21 Labor Day May 1 Corpus Christi 60th day after Easter (all posts except Recife) Independence Day September 7 Nossa Senhora Aparecida October 12 All Souls Day November 2 Proclamation of the Republic November 15 Christmas Day December 25

Brazilian City/State Holidays

São Sebastião Day January 20 (Rio de Janeiro only) São Paulo Anniversary January 25 (São Paulo only) São João Day June 24 (Recife only) Assumption Day August 15 (Belo Horizonte only)

Re-Círio October 23 (Belém only)

Zumbi dos Palmares Day November 20 (Rio de Janeiro only)

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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