Brazil Travel Advisory
Security Threat Level: Low
Medical Threat Level: Moderate
Security, Medical, Business & Cultural
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Business & Cultural
Emergency Contacts
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Business & Cultural
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Business and Cultural
Dear Traveler,

My Company

Please read the following pre-trip advisory from International SOS, which contains important security, medical and business & cultural information.

For more detailed information, visit the Brazil Country Guide. If you have any questions, please contact a member of the Your Company's Internal Travel Department.

International SOS provides Your Company employees with security, medical and legal assistance when outside their home country for business reasons. Whether you have questions about the information on this advisory, become seriously ill abroad or need assistance due to a lost or stolen wallet, call any 24-hour alarm center around the world to speak with a doctor, security specialist or coordinator. Remember to carry your International SOS card when traveling, as assistance is always a phone call away.

Emergency Contacts (Available 24-Hours a Day)
SOS Alarm centers (Call the closest alarm center for assistance e.g. medical, security, legal)
Philadelphia, USA 1-800-523-6586 or 1-215-942-8226
Singapore (65) 6338-7800
London (44) (20) 8762-8008
Your Company 24-Hour Security Control Center
Domestic 1-800-###-####
International ###-###-####
Additional Corporate Security Numbers

There are no alerts at this time (Friday May 29, 2015 07:58:52 GMT ). Before you depart, please view the Brazil Country Guide for up to the minute information, or sign up for automated email alerts.

Security Risk Rating: Low
Travel Advisory
Most cities in Brazil face a high rate of street crime. Violent crime is rampant in the country's business and tourism centers, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Other major cities including Campinas, Recife, Santos, Belo Horizonte, and Porto Alegre of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo have been individually classified as "moderate" risk due to high crime rates.

Effective 1 January 2004, US citizens flying into all of Brazil's international airports must be fingerprinted in ink and digitally photographed. This requirement also extends to those US citizens entering Brazil via 15 major seaports. Long delays have been reported, and should be expected, during this process. Visa requirements for US citizens entering Brazil remain unchanged.

Current Situation
Brazil is the largest of the Latin American countries. Covering nearly half (47.3 percent) of the continent of South America, it occupies an area of 3,286,470 sq. miles (8,511,965 sq. km). It is the fifth largest country in the world after the Russian Federation, Canada, China, and the United States.

There are no known terrorist groups operating in the country and there have been no terrorist attacks in Brazil for many years. As a result, the country continues to be considered a low risk from this type of threat.

Crime rates have been rising in Brazil, with the most significant problems in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, especially in the tourist areas, hotel districts and beaches.

Land distribution is a major topic of controversy in Brazil. Organizations such as the Landless Worker's Movement (MST) and the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem- Teto (MTST), or Worker’s Without A Roof, demand faster and more radical land redistribution. These organizations conduct rural land invasions and abandoned metropolitan property seizures to push the government for greater land reform. Occassionally, these seizures erupt into clashes with police forces. Invasions largely occur in the Pernambuco, Parana, and Sao Paulo states. Protests by the MST and MTST tend to manifest in Brasilia, and have been known to insight violence.

Street crime poses the greatest risk to foreign visitors and expatriate businessmen. Street crime is a growing, ever-present threat in the country's major cities, but is particularly acute in Rio de Janeiro. The most common locations for criminal acts to be committed against foreigners in Rio are the popular beaches and neighborhoods of Copacabana and Leme. The incidence of crime against tourists tends to be greater in areas surrounding discotheques, bars, nightclubs and other similar establishments, especially at dusk and during the evening hours. Several Brazilian cities have established specialized tourist police units to patrol areas frequented by tourists. Most of the attacks have occurred in Copacabana but the biggest increase has been seen in Santa Teresa. The following areas have been identified as "high crime" areas: Avenida Atlantica, between Postos 3 and 6; Avenida Rio Branco; Lapa; Santa Teresa and Vista Chinesa.

Sao Paulo has noted an increase in street crime where guns are involved. Additionally, Sao Paulo has reported thefts at Guarulhos International Airport, involving carry-on luggage or briefcases that have been set down, sometimes for only a moment. Arriving and departing travelers should be especially vigilant and take the necessary precautions at this and other Brazilian airports. Sao Paulo also suffers from the same problems of street crime, which appears to be on the rise in nearly every part of the city. Incidents of kidnapping do occur, however the targeted community continues to be wealthy Brazilian families, and this particular crime has not greatly affected the foreign community.

Crimes of opportunity, i.e., larceny, purse-snatching, armed street robbery, car theft and carjackings, pose the greatest threat to foreign visitors in Brazilian cities. Most foreign visitors dress differently and do not speak the local language. This increases their chances of being seen as a foreigner, and therefore perceived as an easier, wealthier target for criminals. Visitors are encouraged to keep in mind the following basic security precautions:

Avoid going out alone, if possible walk with a companion.

Avoid unlit areas, especially alleys and parks.

Do not resist an armed thief. If robbed, never pursue on foot.

Do not carry large sums of money; carry only what you need.

Do not wear ostentatious jewelry of real or apparent value.

Do not overburden yourself with bundles.

When riding in a vehicle, including taxis, keep all doors locked and windows rolled up to within two inches of the top frame.

The level of police assistance in these cities is described as marginal. Police response time is often lengthy due to the limited number of units available for patrol. Investigative efforts often are found lacking due to a high number of daily incidents, and a lack of available manpower needed to investigate those incidents. The local forces suffer from inadequate levels of training, manpower, lack of proper equipment and notoriously low salary levels at nearly every rank. Together, these factors help fuel the low levels of morale among the officers, which is directly reflected in the level of service provided.

Most crime, including violent crime, takes place in the periphery of Sao Paulo. Crimes involving foreigners occur in public areas where there are large numbers of people, such as crowded sidewalks, or on buses. The most serious challenge to the safety and security of expatriates, foreigners and citizens in Sao Paulo are the burglary of offices and staff residences. There is evidence that organized drug gangs have also been growing rapidly in the city.

Crime and murder rates are growing in Rio de Janeiro and tends to affect all areas of the city. Avoid Rio’s favelas, or hillside slums, areas of uncontrolled criminal activity. Rio de Janeiro also has a serious problem with organized crime. Organized crime factions have been responsible for bombings outside of hotels and restaurants frequented by tourists. Additionally the risk from express kidnapping remains a problem. Express kidnapping occurs when an individual or a group of individuals is abducted and immediately released following the receipt of a ransom. Victims may also be taken to an ATM where they are instructed to withdraw all of their money. These victims are typically released following this acquisition. Gang violence is another epidemic in Rio de Janeiro, most of which is fueled by drugs, and largely accounts for the city’s high murder rate. Many members of these gangs (gangues) are children or teenagers. Gangs are also beginning to form in wealthy residential areas by middle-class youth.

Driving Safety
Because of heavy traffic, lack of parking and the somewhat confusing layout of the major cities, travelers are advised not to drive in Brazil. Visitors may wish to consider hiring an experienced chauffeur, who is familiar with the local environs and the security situation.

If you must drive, however, observe the following guidelines: drive on the right and, whenever possible, travel by day. Driving at night can be hazardous because of poor lighting and the sometimes erratic behavior of truck and bus drivers. Always keep the doors locked and windows rolled up to within two inches of the top frame. Travelers should also exercise extreme caution when driving in the cities. City drivers sometimes disregard red lights and other traffic signs. You must have your own license to drive in Brazil. It is also advisable to obtain an international driving permit, which is available through national motoring organizations.

Medical Information
Recommendations may vary for short-term visitors. Always consult your travel health advisor or contact International SOS to discuss your specific needs.

Vaccinations for Brazil

Hepatitis A XX Recommended for all travelers
Hepatitis B XX Recommended for all travelers
Rabies Recommended for expatriates and long-term visitors.

Recommended if quality medical care may not be available within 24 hours of being bitten or scratched by an animal.

Typhoid Recommended for expatriates and long-term visitors.

Recommended for adventurous travelers.

Yellow Fever

Recommended by CDC for all travelers > 9 months of age (arriving from any country) who will go to areas of the country where yellow fever is endemic.

May be required if coming from an infected or endemic country.

May be required for ongoing travel to other countries.

All routine vaccinations should be up-to-date.
These include measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, and polio.
Influenza Consider


Areas of Brazil have chloroquine-resistant P. falciparum malaria.

Present in a large area
There is malaria in:

  • Most forested areas below 900m within the nine states of the "Legal Amazonia" region: Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Maranhão (western part), Mato Grosso (northern part), Pará (except Belém City), Rondônia, Roraima and Tocantins
  • Urban areas in the Amazonia region, including in large cities such as Pôrto Velho, Boa Vista, Macapá, Manaus, Santarém and Maraba.
There is no malaria in:
  • Main cities: Rio de Janeiro, Brasília and São Paulo
  • The Iguassu Falls
  • The coastal states from the horn to the border with Uruguay


If visiting a malarial area:

  • Focus on preventing mosquito bites
  • Use a medication to prevent chloroquine-resistant P. falciparum malaria (as these are not 100 percent effective, preventing mosquito bites is still very important)

Appropriate antimalarial medications include:

  • Atovaquone plus proguanil (Malarone®)
  • Doxycycline (many brands and generics)
  • Mefloquine (Lariam® and generics)

Routine Medical Care
  • Have any necessary routine medical/dental care before you leave.
  • Carry a copy of your personal health record with you when you travel.
  • Include an ample supply of prescription and routine medications in your carry on luggage, and carry copies of the actual prescriptions.
Disease Awareness
Diseases Spread by Unsafe Sex, Dirty Needles, & Contaminated Blood Supplies
HIV/Aids, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C are spread by contact with bodily fluids (especially blood and semen). Genital herpes (HSV), genital warts (HPV), gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis and most sexually transmitted diseases are spread by genital contact.
Prevention: Always use new condoms (preferably brought from your home country), do not share needles, and in hospitals, ensure that needles and syringes are new. Always call International SOS if you are hospitalized and/or before having a blood transfusion.

Diseases Spread by Insect Bites
Dengue Fever, Malaria, Yellow Fever
Prevention: use personal protection measures to prevent insect bites.
Consider the need for anti-malarial drugs.

Diseases Spread by Food and Water:
Cholera, Hepatitis A, Schistosomiasis, Travelers' Diarrhea, Typhoid
Prevention: Use food and water precautions, and do not swim in unsafe lakes and streams. All travelers should be vaccinated against Hepatitis A.

Diseases Spread by Animal Bites:
Prevention: Avoid animals. If bitten, call International SOS and seek medical attention.
Food and Water Precautions
Travelers have a small risk of developing diarrhea in any country; it may be advisable to drink bottled water only, especially on short trips. Always wash your hands before eating.
Water and Beverages in Brazil
Tap water and ice may not be safe. Drink only bottled or boiled water and carbonated drinks.

Food in Brazil
Food served in large hotels should be safe, but always choose food that has been thoroughly cooked while fresh and is served very hot. Heat destroys contaminating bacteria. Fruit that you wash and peel yourself should be safe; avoid pre-peeled fruit. Avoid shellfish.

Avoid street vendors; the standard of hygiene may be low and the food may not be fresh. Milk and other dairy products should be pasteurized.

Standard of Health Care
Brazil has several medical schools of an international standard, and many physicians are trained in the United States and Canada. Excellent medical care is available at private facilities in São Paulo. These include: Albert Einstein Hospital, Hospital Sírio-Libanês and the Instituto Nacional do Coração (INCOR). Other facilities in São Paulo may be inadequate and should be avoided.

Rio de Janeiro and Campinas have good private and public (university) hospitals that provide reasonable care but would not be suitable for critical patients and complicated cases. The better hospitals include: Hospital Barra D'Or, Hospital Copa D'Or, and Clínica São Vicente.

Other large cities in Brazil also have small private hospitals providing reasonable services; however, because well-trained ancillary staff and sufficient medical equipment cannot be guaranteed, these hospitals are not recommended. Outside of the major cities, medical care in Brazil can be poor and unreliable.

Blood Supplies
HIV, as well as hepatitis and other infectious diseases, are highly prevalent in Brazil, and the general blood supply is considered unsafe.

However, major hospitals such as Albert Einstein Hospital and Hospital Sírio-Libanês in São Paulo, and Hospital Barra D'Or, Hospital Copa D'Or, Clínica São Vicente and Hospital Samaritano in Rio, use a special test known as PCR to ensure the safety of blood transfusions.

If possible, avoid blood transfusions; they can transmit diseases, and immune reactions can vary from minor to life-threatening. If a blood transfusion is recommended and circumstances permit, seek a second opinion from SOS or your health advisor.

Paying for Health Care
The majority of physicians and hospitals expect payment in cash at the time services are rendered. Without a deposit or adequate financial guarantee, professionals may withhold even emergency care.

Do not defer medical treatment because of financial concerns. Contact International SOS to assist with financial arrangements on your behalf.

Business and Cultural Information
Cultural Tips

  • Conversations with Brazilians, as with other Latin Americans, may take place at a much closer physical distance than travelers are accustomed to in their home countries.
  • Avoid making the sign of thumb and forefinger forming a circle with other fingers pointing up, known as the "okay" sign in some nations; it has an obscene meaning.
  • If entertained in a home, flowers and a thank you note sent the following day are appropriate. Do not send purple flowers, as this signifies mourning.
  • Brazilians shake hands when greeting and leaving.
  • A souvenir from the visitor's home country is an acceptable gift of appreciation.
  • Casual clothing is acceptable.
  • The Catholic Church is an important part of Brazilian society.

  • Both men and women shake hands when meeting and departing.
  • Women will often exchange kisses with one another by placing their cheeks together and kissing the air.
  • The pace of negotiations may be slow; developing a personal relationship is important.
  • The best time to call a Brazilian executive is between 1000-1200 and 1500-1700.
  • Business is usually not discussed during a meal and will only begin after coffee is served.
  • Business dress for women is important and should be conservative. Manicured nails are also considered very important.

  • It is customary to tip 10% for most services.
  • Gas station attendants, barbers, and restaurant servers receive tips regularly.
  • Parking assistants expect around BRL1.
  • Taxi drivers do not expect tips; however, many people typically round up the fare as a tip.

Business Hours
  • Mon-Fri: 0830-1730.

Public Holidays
Jan. 1 - New Year's Day
Feb. 20-24 - Carnival
Apr. 9 - Good Friday
Apr. 21 - Tiradentes
May 1 - Labor Day
Jun. 10 - Corpus Christi
Sep. 7 - Independence Day
Oct. 12 - Our Lady Aparecida, Patron Saint of Brazil
Nov. 2 - All Souls' Day
Nov. 15 - Proclamation of the Republic Day
Dec. 24 - Christmas Eve
Dec. 25 - Christmas Day
Dec. 31 - New Year's Eve (half day)

Jan. 1 - New Year's Day 
Feb. 19-23 - Carnival
Mar. 25 - Good Friday
Apr. 21 - Tiradentes
May 1 - Labor Day
May 26 - Corpus Christi
Sep. 7 - Independence Day
Oct. 12 - Our Lady Aparecida, Patron Saint of Brazil
Nov. 2 - All Souls' Day
Nov. 15 - Proclamation of the Republic Day
Dec. 24 - Christmas Eve (half day)
Dec. 25 - Christmas Day
Dec. 31 - New Year's Eve (half day)

Brazil Demographics
Capital: Brasilia
Population: 182,032,604 (July 2003 est.)
Ethnicity: white (Portuguese, Italian, German, Spanish, Polish) 55%, mixed white and black 38%, black 6%, other 1%
Religions: Roman Catholic (nominal) 80%
Languages: Portuguese (official); Spanish, English, French.
Local Time: Brazil is split into three time zones, Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) - 5 through GMT - 3 hours (All are subject to Daylight Savings Time).
Brazil Financial
The real (BRL) replaced the former cruzeiro in July of 1994 as the basic monetary unit in Brazil. The real is divided into 100 centavos. Centavo coins are available in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50. Real notes are available in denominations of BRL1, 5, 10, 50 and 100.

Small change is in short supply in Brazil. It is helpful to request small bills when changing money and to ask first if the seller has change before making a purchase with a large bill.

Travelers' Checks
Hotels, banks and tourist agencies in most major cities and towns will usually exchange travelers' checks. It is still a good idea, however, to keep a ready supply of cash on hand just in case.

Credit Cards
Larger hotels, restaurants, and shops usually accept credit cards, but not all merchants accept them. If you are planning to make a purchase with a credit card, ask first.

Taxes: Goods & Services
The 3% goods and services tax is included in displayed prices.

Brazil Telecommunications
Emergency Numbers
Police 190
Fire 193

City Codes
Belem 91
Brasília 61
Recife 81
Rio de Janeiro 21
Salvador 71
São Paulo 11
Dialing Codes
Country Code 55
Outgoing International Calling Code 0021
Code for dialing within country Intelig 023 Embratel 021

Directory Assistance
International 107
National 100
Local 102
Brazil Electricity
Voltage and Frequency
AC 60 Hz; 110 or 220 volts

Additional Electricity Information
The current is not standard across the country. Most hotels provide 110 volt or 220 volt outlets. Transformers and adaptors are usually available.
  • Bahia (Salvador), and Manaus - 110 volts AC, 60 Hz
  • Brasília and Recife - 220 volts AC, 50Hz
  • Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo - 110 or 220 volts AC

Most common plug(s) used with mobile equipment (e.g.notebook computers).
Plug Type A Plug Type C
Brazil Customs Information
Departure Tax
An Embarkation Tax is levied on passengers embarking at Brazilian airports:
  • On international flights:
    • Departing from Belem Airport, Belo Horizonte (Tancredo Neves), Brasilia International Airport, Curitiba (Afonso Pena Airport), Fortaleza (Printo Martins International Airport), Manaus (Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes International Airport), Natal, Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro (Galeao Airport), Salvador and Sao Paulo (Guarulhos International Airport): USD36
    • All other airports: USD30
  • On Domestic flights:
    • Departing from Belem Airport, Brasilia International Airport, Curitiba (Afonso Pena Airport), Fortaleza (Printo Martins International Airport, Manaus (Brigadeiro Eduardo Gomes International Airport), Natal, Porto Alegre and Salvador: USD4 or BRL9.15
    • Departing from Belo Horizonte (Tancredo Neves), Rio de Janeiro (Galeao Airport), Sao Paulo (Guarulhos International Airport): USD4 or BRL8.25
    • All other airports: USD3 or BRL7.20
Emergency Contacts
SOS Alarm centers (In the event you need assistance, call the closest center)
Philadelphia, USA 1-800-523-6586 or 1-215-942-8226
Singapore (65) 6338-7800
London (44) (20) 8762-8008
Your Company 24-Hour Security Control Center
Domestic 1-800-###-####
International ###-###-####
Additional Corporate Security Numbers
Charlotte, NC
Director Name ###-###-####
Manager Name ###-###-####
Manager Name ###-###-####
London, UK
Manager Name ###-###-####
Hong Kong
Manager Name ###-###-####
Additional Brazil Information
Brazil Country Guide
Corporate Links

Business Travel Safety Tips
Corp. Security / Int. Travel
Corporate Travel
Emergency Contact Card

SOS Membership Card
Printable Card
SOS Membership Card

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This material may not be reproduced without the express permission of International SOS