Archive for the 'legislation' Category

Visa for Volunteer Work

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

The Brazilian legislation specifies seven different kinds of Visa; read more about all Brazil Visas.

Visitors coming for visitation and recration purposes, just a Tourist Visa is necessary (that’s the easiest one to obtain).

To work as a volunteer in Brazil (even if no payment is involved), it is necessary a Temporary Visa; the volunteer work is considered “cultural trip” or “studies mission”, as qualified in article 13, item I of this Law.

The documentation to be produced when applying for any Temporary Visa includes: passport valid for six months and containing at least two blank pages, two photos, proof of residence, certificate of good conduct, and more. See complete list.

For those traveling to Brazil to provide services, including volunteer work, to charitable or religious entities or to Non Governmental Organizations, without a work contract or employment relationship (if such contract or relationship exists, then a Work Visa will be needed), further documentation is required.

This documentation is determined by Resolution 68, December 7th 2005: the applicant must present an invitation provided by the entity or organization, and the entity or organization must proof legal status and take responsability (upkeeping, health, etc) for the applicant.

See more information about Brazil Visas.

Read also the Law about Volunteer Work in Brazil.

Brazil Tourist Visas

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Brazilian legislation specifies seven different kinds of Travel Visas.

For visitors who come for visitation or recreation purposes only, as is the case of most people coming to attend the World Cup in 2014, the applicable Visa is the Tourist Visa. Those who come for business or work purposes (including journalists and volunteers) must apply for a Temporary Visa.

The Law says (article 10) that, if a country doesn’t require a Visa for Brazilian Tourists, then nationals from that country will not need a Tourist Visa to enter Brazil.

The Ministry for Foreign Relations maintains a page (supposedly up to date) with a list of countries which do not need a Tourist Visa to enter Brazil.  The list includes most European countries with regular presence in World Cups, such as United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, France, Switzerland, Ireland and others. Nationals from Mercosul (Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay) don’t even need a passport.

Among others, the following countries do need a Tourist Visa: USA, Canada, Japan, Australia.

Required documentation is listed at this page. Cost of Visa ranges from US$ 20 to US$ 100; Brazilian authorities claim that the price is based on reciprocity. In June 2010, American Consulates in Brazil increased the application fee to US$ 140, which should reflect in the fee charged from American citizens to enter Brazil.

Visa applications must be submitted to the Brazilian Embassies and Consulates; this page contains links to consulates all over the world (cities in alphabetic order). The Ministry of Tourism maintains a few tourism offices in some major World cities, which may also be helpful.

Validity of Visas is also subject to reciprocity (recently, American citizens became eligible to ten year visas). Regardless of the validity, the following applies (article 12 of the Law): multiple entries are permitted; maximum stay per entry is 90 days; if required withing the first 90 days, an extension may be granted, at discretion of Brazilian authorities; maximum stay per year is 180 days.

Read more about the Brazil Visas.

Brazil Travel Visas

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

In Brazil, the main piece of legislation about Immigration, Visas and related topics is Law nr. 6815, August 19th 1980. The Law remits to other Decrees (particularly Decree 86715, December 10th 1981) and Resolutions which cover more specific situations.

With the World Cup coming to Brazil, it is possible that we see changes and adaptations in the law, so as to reduce bureaucracy for the many tourists and professionals who are coming to watch and participate of the event. Until now, however, nothing has changed.

Article 4 of the Law specifies the seven kinds of Brazilian Visa:

- transit visas (for travelers going to another country, in transit through Brazil; valid for a maximum of ten days; not necessary if the traveler’s carrier is just making a necessary stop over)

- tourist visas

- temporary visas (including Visa for Volunteer Workers)

- permanent visas (for those who want to become a resident in Brazil)

- courtesy visas

- official visas

- diplomatic visas

Article 3 states that all Visas are granted at discretion of the Brazilian authorities, subject to national interests; article 26 states that even if a Visa is granted, the holder may be denied entry, on arrival to the country.

Article 7 lists the cases when a Visa shall not be granted: to minors of 18 years of age, if unaccompanied by parents or without their express permission; to anyone considered harmful to public order or national interests; to anyone who had been expelled from Brazil earlier; to anyone condemned or prosecuted in another country by a crime which may be subject to extradiction, according to the Brazilian law; to anyone who don’t satisfy the requirements of the Ministry of Health of Brazil.

As far as the World Cup is concerned, two kinds of Visa are of particular interest:

Tourism Visas: for those who have no intention of immigrating or working, i.e., the vast majority of people coming to watch the matches. Read more about Tourist Visas to Brazil.

Temporary Visas: applies to anyone who intends to study or work in Brazil, such as volunteers, students, business people, sports people and journalists.

Read more about Immigration Laws to Brazil.

Update, August 6th 2010: Brazil and European Union to sign a visa waiver agreement.

Can FIFA change laws in Brazil?

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Does FIFA have more Power than the Brazilian Congress?

A first demonstration of power came in September of 2009, when FIFA requested to the Federal Government an extension of tax exemptions (Brazil Government had already agreed to exempt FIFA’s revenues, but FIFA said that, to host the Cup, ALL official partners should also be exempt); in May 2010, a law was approved to accommodate FIFA’s demands.

OK, in that case, the Government might say that there was a misunderstanding of the rules imposed by FIFA to all countries which apply to host the World Cup – Brazil knew the rules and should have complied with them from the start.

Then, in November of 2009, FIFA requested the city Government of Sao Paulo to change the Clean City law, so that FIFA’s partners could advertise in billboards near the stadiums (the law isn’t exclusive for those partners, but CBF already showed that will take action against ambush marketing – which means that only official partners would be allowed to adverrtise). The city of Sao Paulo (the only one in Brazil where such restrictive law exists) is still examining the matter.

Now, there is another case where the Brazilian legislation goes against FIFA interests.

Three days ago, a law was amended in Brazil to improve organization and increase safety of Sports events and fans. The law of amendment, in article 13a, reads:

“Article 13-A. These are requirements for access to and permanence in a sports venue, without prejudice of requirements determined by other laws:

II – not to bear objects, drinks or substances which are prohibited or are susceptible of generating or can possibilitate the practicing of acts of violence;”

That means that the law now prohibits alcoholic drinks in stadiums. Even before the law, CBF had already in 2008 signed a letter of compromise with the Public Prosecutors, to ban alcohol from the football matches.

Budweiser is one of the main partners of FIFA, and the corporation which owns Budweiser is also owner of the major Brazilian beer brands, such as Brahma, Skol and Antarctica (that means that Budweiser would sell lots of beer in the stadiums, if it was allowed).

Yesterday, Brazilian journalist Ancelmo Gois, who publishes a column at influential newspaper O Globo, and who is known for having good sources inside CBF and the Government, informed that “FIFA asked the suspension of the law of protection to Sports events, which Lula approved recently – the contract between FIFA and Budweiser demands that the beer is sold in stadiums during the World Cup”.

So, for FIFA to fullfil its obligations with Budweiser, the law must be suspended during the World Cup.

In Brazil, to “suspend a law”, another law is necessary.

It remains to be seen if FIFA will get that law.

Ticket scalping prohibited in Brazil

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Brazilian newspapers are reporting that President Lula approved a law which, supposedly, improves on safety and organization of sports events in Brazil; as commented on this other post, this new law is actually an amendment to an older law, which was already good enough.

The main changes brought about by this new amendment are: rioting is now a crime (it was an infraction, punishable with restrictions to attending events – now it is punishable with imprisonment); frauding results of games is now a crime (with this law, this referee would have been arrested); ticket scalping is now a crime.

Ticket scalping (the action of buying tickets for face value and sell it for market value) is common in Brazil. Given the lack of organization of Brazilian football, it is often better to buy tickets from a scalper, and save the time and headache needed to buy tickets at the official box offices.

The situation in Brazil is different from other countries, where ticket arbitrage is common – stubhub is just an online ticket scalper. In Brazil, it is common that people with privileged rights (for example, the staffs of the clubs involved in an important match) retain batches of tickets and pass them over to the scalpers.

So the law now consider as crimes:
- selling tickets for prices higher than face value: from one to two years in jail
- facilitating ticket scalping (i.e., providing tickets for ticket scalpers to sell): from two to four years in jail
- if the facilitator has privileged access to tickets: from four to six years in jail

Enforcement of this law is unlikely, EXCEPT, of course, during the World Cup, when FIFA will use their power to protect their financial interests.

Law to protect Sports Fans in Brazil

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Many foreigners see Brazil as a country without laws. That is not true. The problem in Brazil is that people do not obey the laws.

Brazil have several laws which are as advanced as their counterparts in developed countries.  The Brazilian Code of Defense of Consumers, for example, dates back to 1990, and has been proven effective to protect many consumers who know how to fight for their rights.

The Brazilian National Transit Code is another example of a modern law. If the nearly 300 articles were obeyed by drivers, Brazil would be one of the best countries in the World to drive. The law imposes duties to the Administration (unsafe cars should not be licensed), to drivers (even change lanes without blinking the lights is an infraction), pedestrians (jaywalking is an infraction in Brazil), the Police (alcohol limit is zero – the Police must fine or arrest drunk drivers), the Justice, etc. Nonetheless, per year, 42,000 people die in transit accidents in Brazil.

Today, Brazilian newspapers inform that President Lula approved a law to decrease violence and improve organization in the Sports events in Brazil.

This new law, Law 12.299, from July 27th 2010, is actually just an amendment to the Law 10.671, from May 15th 2003, which in the first article declares: “This Statute establishes norms for the protection and defense of Sports Fans“.  The law applies to all sports events, and not only football (events like the matches of the Brazilian Volleyball Teams or the Formula One GP should also observe this law).

Just like the Transit Code, the Sports Fans law is very detailed, but has been ignored by everyone.

Some articles of the law:

- all events should have an ombudsman, to whom all fans should have open access, and who should respond to all complaints by the fans;

- every fan must be insured, right from the moment he enters the venue; there must be one doctor, two nurses and one ambulance for every 10,000 fans (article 16); fact: there is not even room for more than two ambulances.

- it is a right of fans to be safe; a plan of action covering safety, transportation and contingencies must be implemented at every sports event (article 17); see here.

- venues with capacity higher than 20,000 must have camera surveillance (article 18);

- it is a right of fans that tickets must be put on sale no later than 72 hours before the starting of the match; a receipt of sale of tickets must be provided (article 20); see here.

- all tickets must be numbered, and there must be a seat matching the ticket number (article 22); in Brazil, this is impossible - see here;

- transportation system must be safe and organized; parking space must be available to all fans, and special means of transportation must be available to people with accessibility deficiencies (articles 26 and 27); fact: parking and accessibility is a major problem for most stadiums – the renovation of Morumbi would cost much less if Sao Paulo hadn’t to purchase lots to turn into parking space.

- food and sanitaries must be clean and hygienic (articles 28 and 29); ah, ah, ah.

- in case of violation of this law, the entities which organize the events will be penalized, and the President of the organizing entity shall be destituted (article 37); in the case of football, such entity is CBF;

- fans who promote riot, practice or incite violence, should be prohibited from attending sports event, for a period no shorter than three months (article 39).

So far, nobody cared about really enforcing this law.

If FIFA and CBF use their powers to oblige the Brazilian authorities to enforce the law, that would be an important legacy for Brazil post-2014.

Law reduces bureaucracy of airports building

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

A few weeks ago, FIFA manifested preoccupation with the delays in the works for the World Cup 2014. The Brazilian Local Committee started an auditing in all host cities, to check out how the works in the stadiums were going.

However, as the Minister of Tourism recently declared, even more than stadiums, the concern is with airports. Stadiums can be shut down during refurbishment, and more money can be pumped into them to speed up the works; however, in airports (most of which are already working above capacity), any move which impacts the existing flow of passengers must be carefully planned.

The Brazilian Government acknowledged the problem, and issue the Provisional Measure 489 – MP 489 – see ful text here (in Brazil, a MP must be confirmed by the Congress, but it is enforced as law since its publishing by the President of the Republic) allowing to Infraero more flexibility to hire contractors.

The MP also created the Olympic Public Authority (APO), a body whose goal is to guarantee tha Brazil and Rio will comply with the demands of the Olympic Committe regarding the Olympic Games of 2016. Article 11 of the MP determines that all biddings related to the APO and to the infrastructure of airports necessary to the realization of the World Cup 2014 shall be regulated by the MP.

The two main changes are: electronic auctions (bids are made over the internet) are now allowed; the bidded price will be ranked first, and only afterwards will the technical and financial qualifications of bidders be evaluated.

According to Infraero, the new legislation “will permit faster bidding process, will alllow fewer appeals to bidders, and will lead to faster conclusion of works”.

Some specialists, however, say that the MP is illegal. For them, the flexibilization of the bidding law is allowed only in cases of emergency or perils, and not in situations caused by the omission of the Government.

In 2007, Rio hosted the Pan American Games. The initial estimative was that the event would cost US$ 200 millions in infrastructure; a few months before the Games, the works were delayed, there were also changes in the bidding process; as a result, the final cost shot up to more than US$ 2 billion (see here and here).

Anyhow, despite the controversies, Infraero can now try to speed up the building and refurbishing of airports.

FIFA wants more publicity freedom

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

A few weeks ago, FIFA asked the Brazilian Government for a full tax exemption not only for the Association, but to all contractors.

This week, another news brought another evidence of how business oriented FIFA is.

clean-citySince Jan 1st 2008, a municipal law has been in force banning outdoors in certain areas of the city, and limiting the size in others. Such law became known as “Lei Cidade Limpa” (Clean City Law).

A report by the New York Times reads:

“All our efforts to negotiate have had no effect because none of the accords and agreements we reached with the advertising sector were ever complied with,” Mayor Gilberto Kassab said in an interview. “A billboard that was forced to come down would be back up a week later in a different spot. There was a climate of impunity.”

Since “it is hard in a city of 11 million to find enough equipment and personnel to determine what was and wasn’t legal, we decided to go all the way, to zero things out,” Kassab said. “When you prohibit everything, society itself becomes your partner in enforcing the law” and reporting violations.

Popular reaction has largely been supportive.

FIFA thinks differently. Using the argument that world sponsors are going to spend US$ 7 billion during the Cup, FIFA wants the city of Sao Paulo to pass a law allowing privileged conditions for the sponsors to use billboards and other means of advertising during the 2014 event.

Mayor Kassab said that a Commission is studying the demand; one of the  Secretaries affirmed that violations of the laws will not be tolerated, but admitted that a law permitting exceptions during the Cup can be passed.

It’s difficult to say no to FIFA.

Sponsors that will be benefited: Coca-Cola, Emirates Airline, Hyundai, Sony and Visa. Don’t be surprised if you visit Sao Paulo during the World Cup 2014 and all the billboards you see carry these brands.

FIFA claims full tax exemption

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

A note published in Brazilian portal Terra informs that FIFA and the Brazilian Government are having a dispute about tax exemptions.

One of the requirements of FIFA to choose a country to host the World Cup is that the Association be exempt of all taxes; according to the Ministry of Sports, this condition was accepted by the Brazilian Government.

However, now  Receita Federal (the powerful Brazilian Tax Service) affirms that the exemption would not be extented to FIFA’s contractors. The note says that Receita is studying limits to the tax rebates that the contractors will be allowed to claim; FIFA, however, wants the contractors to be fully exempted.

This brings to mind an infamous incident between Receita and the Brazilian Federation which happened in 1994, right after the Brazilian team returned from the winning campaign in the United States.

The Brazilian team was led by Ricardo Teixeira, President of CBF. Teixeira used the “clamor of Brazilian people to meet the heroes of the World Cup” as an excuse to not pass through customs; the customs staff felt the pressure and let them pass. The episode became known as “voo da muamba” (smuggle flight).

Later on, it was verified that many of the heroes illegaly imported stuf without paying taxes; Teixeira himself brought an equipment to produce beer, probably the most expensive product in the lot.

Teixeira and the Government have been fighting in courts since. Brazilian public opinion sided eventually with the Government, rather than with “the heroes”. Receita Federal seems to have very few reasons to be complacent with FIFA.

Update, April 24th 2010: the Minister of Sports informed that a law draft will be sent to Congress this month. Every tax exemption must be approved by the Congress. If the law is approved before December 31st 2010, FIFA and all contractors related to the World Cup 2014 will be tax exempted starting on January 1st 2011.

Update, May 26th 2010: the law was approved, as per FIFA requests.