On August 26th, 2013 at approximately 3pm, exactly 553 days or roughly a year and a half later. On this historic day after going to the Policia Federal thousands of times, going to the cartório another thousand times and spending roughly a thousand reis. This momentous day marks the suffering of one individual wading through the muck of Brazilian bureaucracy. Yes, the day has come where I finally, FINALLY, received my resident card.
Many of you mat be wondering why so dramatic while others feel my pain. Let me just say that it has been a journey to get my resident card and I’m relieved that it is finally over. As my husband and I were walking out of the Policia Federal I couldn’t help but say, “I feel so accomplished.”
If you are moving to Sao Paulo, Brazil and plan to get your residency card, here are a few tips that would have made my life a little easier (keep in mind that I’m married to a Brazilian, so your process may be slightly different)
1. To get your resident card you can either do it yourself, or higher a firm to complete the process for you which of course comes at a price.
2. DO NOT trust any website information. The only way to get accurate information is to physically go down to the Policia Federal and get the list of documents you need to start your process. Seriously don’t trust them!
3. DO NOT expect anyone at the Policia Federal to know english (or any other language for that matter), they only speak portuguese.
4. Go early because lines start forming fast to get in and by afternoon they are literally out the door. (I’ve heard of people standing in line for three hours).
5. Get your signature registered at a Cartório and expect to visit often. If you are not sure what a Cartório is, see previous post “Down with the Cartórios!
6. DO NOT sweat the interview. The Policia Federal came to our building, we were not home, so they asked the doorman if we lived there and he said yes. Interview done.
7. Follow up. If they give you a date when something might be done, like the publishing of your name in the official government website, keep checking it because they will not alert you that it was published. (Although in my case they did notify me via Telegram, the most archaic form of communication in this day and age.)
8. Be patient. This is Brazil and things move at a different pace so just expect for things to take some time and who knows you may be pleasantly surprise but I doubt it.
Good luck! And maybe I’ll see you in line at the Policia Federal sometime!