|The Host Country
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 188.8.131.52 provides additional post-specific
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
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
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
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
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
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
http://www.zaz.com.br/noticias/jornais.chtm 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, www.embaixadaamericana.org.br
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
http://www.zaz.com.br/noticias/jornais.chtm. 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 amazon.com 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
All houses and apartments have servants’ quarters of varying
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Recreation and Social Life
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 www.graded.br or contact the CLO at email@example.com.
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
www.chapel.g12.br or contact the CLO at firstname.lastname@example.org . 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 www.paca.com.br or contact
the CLO at email@example.com. 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 www.amcham.com.br. 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 www.graded.br
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
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
Recreation and Social Life
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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 mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org;
email@example.com; the Vice Consul at HYPERLINK
mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com. 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
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
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
Consulate employees have used internet grocery services with
great success to obtain hard to find dry food and household cleaning
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 (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
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 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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Amado, Jorge. Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon. New York: Knopf:
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,
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
Degler, Carl L. Neither Black Nor White: Slavery and Race
Relations in Brazil and the U.S. New York: The Macmillan Company,
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,
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
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)