Brazil - Country Commercial Guide
Business Travel
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Business Customs

Business travelers should be aware of several customs specific to Brazil when doing business in the country. Compared to the United States, the negotiating pace tends to be slower and is best facilitated in person. It is rare for important business deals to be concluded by telephone, e-mail, or letter. Many Brazilian executives do not react favorably to quick and infrequent visits by foreign sales representatives, or to changes in the negotiating team. They often prefer a continuous working relationship, ideally involving multiple meetings with the same person or group of people. The Brazilian buyer is also usually interested in receiving after-sales service provided by the exporter.  

Persistent traffic issues in most major Brazilian business centers mean that sufficient time and buffer should be allowed for transportation and other unforeseen delays. It is advisable to be punctual but to also avoid showing signs of frustration or impatience with delays, some of which may be attributed to a less formal cultural approach to time.

During a first visit to a company, it can be customary to give a gift, usually promotional items without great material value. Expensive gifts can be misunderstood as bribes and are not welcome. Be aware that business dress is often formal and conservative despite the apparent informality while conducting business.  Ties are considered optional, but a suit and jacket are standard.

Since the pandemic, utilization of virtual meeting platforms such as Zoom and MS Teams, has become common in Brazil, and is an acceptable medium for meetings, but these should not fully replace in-person interactions.

WhatsApp is the most common mode of communication via mobile phone and is the preferred mode of communication over e-mail or phone calls, even for handling business matters.

Travel Advisory

Find more Brazil travel information at the U.S. Department of State and at the CIA’s World Factbook

Visa requirements

U.S. citizens traveling to Brazil for tourism or business purposes are currently exempt from visas by the government of Brazil. However, as of this writing, beginning January 10, 2024, U.S. citizens traveling to Brazil for tourism or business purposes will need a visa.  For current entry and customs requirements for Brazil, travelers may contact the Brazilian Embassy. Travelers can also find out more about Brazilian consulates in the United States.  

If you are entering the country with a U.S. diplomatic or official passport you must apply for a Brazilian visa before entering Brazil. Your agency should have a designated point of contact to help facilitate this process.

Outside Brazil, questions related to visa requirements should be directed to the nearest Brazilian Consulate or Embassy.  Inside Brazil   the consular division of the Brazilian Foreign Ministry is best suited to answer questions.  

U.S. companies that require travel of foreign businesspersons to the United States should be advised that visa adjudications take place at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where the applicant is located. Visa applicants should visit the U.S. Department of State Visa website or the U.S. Embassy in Brazil to review the process and should apply for a visa well before planned travel.


The Brazilian currency is the real.  Most stores only accept the real, unless a credit card is used. Foreign currencies can be exchanged or obtained at banks or approved foreign exchange shops.  

Most international credit cards such as Mastercard and Visa are widely accepted in cities, and at smaller tourist spots. American Express is not as widely accepted. It is best to advise your bank of any upcoming travel to Brazil and to carry some local currency in case of emergency.    

ATMs are extremely common in Brazil, even in small cities. However, it can be difficult to find an ATM that accepts U.S. bank cards.  Most bank branches in Brazil have ATMs, some inside and some outside. It is recommended to use indoor ATMs and to avoid using ATMs in the evening due to potential crime. It is also advisable to monitor bank and credit card statements since PINs may be stolen at ATMs.  

To locate the nearest ATM, the main brands have locators, found at: VisaMastercard (includes Cirrus and Maestro) and American Express. Traveler’s checks are rarely accepted as a form of direct payment in Brazil. They may be cashed in exchange offices, bank branches, and some travel agencies and hotels, but may incur  high exchange fees.

An alternative to credit cards is to use prepaid travel cards, which are accepted as debit cards and can be used at ATMs for withdrawals.   While credit cards are widely used in Brazil, it is recommended to have some Brazilian reals with you in case your card is not accepted. 


Within metropolitan areas, the telecommunications system is robust and reliable.  The major cell phone service providers in Brazil are Vivo (Telefónica from Spain), TIM (Telecom Italia from Italy), Claro (América Móvil from Mexico), and Oi (Brazil). Cell phone penetration in Brazil is greater than 100%, meaning there are more cell phones than there are people in the country.  Wi-Fi can be easily accessed in most hotels and restaurants in major metropolitan areas. 85 percent of households in Brazil have access to internet.  

In Brazil, the type N socket and plug are standard, along with the type C plug but not socket. Most of the Brazilian states use 110-volt electricity, but some states – mainly in the Northeast – use 220 volts. However, there is no standard voltage and even within  states it may differ. Consult the electrical current information for Brazil before traveling.  You will need an adapter to charge U.S. made electronic products.


Brazil has numerous international and domestic airports. American Airlines, Azul, Delta, Gol, Latam and United Airlines offer direct flights between Brazil and the United States.   The country’s taxi services run very well, although U.S. citizens are recommended, for safety reasons, to use a taxi stand, to call a radio-dispatched taxi, or to request a ride on an app instead of hailing a taxi on the street. Uber is widely used in Brazil and relatively easy to access in urban areas. Public transportation, such as buses and subways, is also available in metropolitan areas.  When using public transportation, it is important to be aware of your surroundings to avoid petty theft.

There are several mobile apps available to hire taxis and personal drivers for transportation inside metropolitan areas, using credit cards (including international), cash or PayPal as methods of payment.  

It is important to note that foreign visitors could face difficulties when using their international credit cards to pay for taxi and transportation services (Uber, 99TaxiCabify) in mobile apps. It is recommended to have cash as an alternative in case any issue is encountered.


The proficiency of English is low in Brazil. Only 4 percent of citizens have English proficiency. Most companies that do business with U.S. companies have some employees with English proficiency. However, the level of proficiency can vary.  The Commercial Service in Brazil recommends hiring an interpreter for a business visit and can facilitate contracting one.

Personal space standards in Brazil are different than those in the United States. Many visitors find that the Brazilian environment allows closer contact than in the United States   regarding speaking, touching, greetings and salutations.   Despite the difference in personal space, it is better to act more formal rather than less during an initial meeting. Conversations may occur simultaneously with frequent interruptions.  This is  a sign of interest in the subject rather than of disrespect.  

Brazilians are very proud of their country, language, and unique culture. To that end, it is better to refrain from making cultural references or comparisons to other countries and cultures.


The U.S. government does not pay medical bills and U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most healthcare providers overseas require payment in full at the time services are rendered. Supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation is strongly recommended. If traveling with prescription medication, check to ensure the medication is legal in Brazil. Carry prescription medication in original packaging that includes the doctor’s prescription.   

The following diseases and ailments are prevalent:  
•    Mosquito, animal and insect-borne diseases include chagas, chikungunya, dengue, zika, visceral leishmaniasis, and rabies
•    Traveler’s diarrhea
•    Tuberculosis
•    Schistosomiasis

In recent years, outbreaks of these diseases have been detected in certain areas of Brazil:  

•    Yellow fever (in several states)
•    Measles (primarily in São Paulo state)

Although Brazil has many elective/cosmetic surgery facilities that are on par with those found in the United States, the quality of care varies widely. If you plan to undergo surgery in Brazil, make sure that emergency medical facilities are available. Some “boutique” plastic surgery operations offer luxurious facilities but are not hospitals and are unable to handle emergencies. U.S. citizens have died while seeking medical care from non-traditional “healers” and practitioners. Ensure you have access to proper medical care if seeking such services. It is advised to be up to date on all vaccinations recommended by the CDC and the World Health Organization.  

Though not required to enter Brazil, travelers wishing to be vaccinated should consider receiving the yellow fever vaccine prior to traveling to Brazil, as local supplies are limited.  It should be noted that the yellow fever vaccine must be administered 10 days prior to travel for it to be effective. It is important to note that while the yellow fever vaccine is not required to enter Brazil, some neighboring countries do require travelers with recent entries into Brazil to show proof of yellow fever vaccination or be denied entry. 
As of August 2023, most establishments in Brazil do not require a COVID vaccine card, or a mask, but it is recommended to have a Covid-19 vaccine card, or a photo of it on your phone, with you in case it is requested.

Find more health information for travelers, including COVID updates for Brazil, at the CDC website.

Local Time, Business Hours, and Holidays

Time in the country is usually noted using the 24-hour clock convention, i.e., 21:00 instead of 9:00 p.m. Brazil has four standard time zones: Brasilia (BRT), Amazon (AMT), Fernando de Noronha Archipelago (FNT), and Acre (ACT). Most cities visited by foreign tourists in the country are in the Brasilia time zone, which is three hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-3). The country does not observe daylight saving time.  

While office hours in Brazil are generally 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., decision-makers begin work later in the morning and stay later in the evening. The best times for calls with Brazilian executives are between 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. as well as 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m., except for the city of Sao Paulo where appointments are common throughout most of the day. Business lunches often last from one to two hours.  

January, February, and July are difficult months to schedule business meetings with high-level decision-makers, as schools are on holiday, and many families choose this time to take vacation.  

Below is a list of all Brazilian and U.S. national holidays that the U.S. Mission in Brazil will observe during the 2024 calendar year:  

Table: list of all Brazilian and U.S. national holidays  observed during the 2024 calendar year




January 1


New Year’s Day (U.S./B)

January 15


Martin Luther King (U.S.)

January 20


Saint Sebastian (B – Rio de Janeiro ONLY)

January 25


São Paulo Foundation Anniversary (B – São Paulo ONLY)

February 2


Our Lady of Navigators (B – Porto Alegre ONLY)

February 12


Carnival (B)

February 13


Carnival (B)

February 14


Ash Wednesday (B)

February 19


President’s Day (U.S.)

March 29


Good Friday (B)

March 31


Easter (B)

April 21


Martyrdom of Tiradentes (B)

Brasilia Foundation Day (B – Brasilia ONLY)

April 23


Saint Jorge (B – Rio de Janeiro ONLY)

May 1


Labor Day (B)

May 27


Memorial Day (U.S.)

May 30


Corpus Christi Day (B)

June 19


Juneteenth (U.S.)

June 24


Saint John Day (B – Recife ONLY)

July 4


Independence Day (U.S.)

July 9


Sao Paulo State Day (B – Sao Paulo ONLY)

July 16


Our Lady of Carmo (B – Recife ONLY)

August 15


Our Lady of the Assumption (B – Belo Horizonte ONLY)

September 2


Labor Day (U.S.)

September 7


Independence Day (B)

September 20


Rio Grande do Sul State Day (B – Porto Alegre ONLY)

October 12


Our Lady Aparecida (B)

October 14


Columbus Day (U.S.)

November 2


All Souls Day (B)

November 11


Veterans Day (U.S.)

November 15


Proclamation of the Republic (B)

November 20


Zumbi dos Palmares Day (B – Rio de Janeiro ONLY)
Black Awareness Day (B - São Paulo ONLY)

November 28



Thanksgiving (U.S.)

November 30


Evangelical Day (B – Brasilia Only)

December 8


Our Lady of Conception (B – Belo Horizonte and Recife ONLY)

December 25


Christmas (U.S. and B)


Temporary Entry of Materials and Personal Belongings

For more information on the temporary admission of goods into Brazil, please access the Brazilian Department of Federal Revenue website (