What should you bring to Brazil? What are the
custom rules? Will your cell phone work in São Paulo? What about electricity?
Things You Cannot Bring Into Brazil
Generally, Brazil follows pretty much the same
rules followed by the U.S.A. Especially, you
should make sure not to bring in the following items:
* Drugs of any kind (normally, this does not apply
to prescription drugs)
* Weapons, guns, or ammunition
* Agricultural products (but processed
foods are usually accepted)
If you will be bringing in any of the above, make
sure you are following the Brazilian rules, and that you have previously filed the proper
declarations. Consult more details at the web page on Customs and Immigration.
Hints for your things when you enter Brazil
Computers – only bring one. If you have two, they might think you will be
leaving one in Brazil. If you are
traveling with others, have another person carry your 2nd computer. You are allowed to bring a personal computer
that you will be taking with you when you leave.
Tablets / iPads / cell phones – same as computers.
Cameras, & other electronics – same as
Clothes – you should not have any issues here; however, if your clothes are new, remove any price
Most tourists entering Brazil do not have to
complete a customs form. Unless you are bringing costly new things into Brazil,
or have a large amount of money with your, these are only two reasons you might
have to complete the Brazilian Customs form.
Specific reasons you will be required to complete a customs for are:
* You are bringing goods worth more than $500.00 US
on an airline flight, or an ocean cruise ($300.00 on an entry via land, lake,
or river) that you will be selling or leaving in Brazil – of course, this value
does not apply to personal clothes and belongings.
* You are carrying more than R$5,000.00 (about
US$2,000) in currency, negotiable instruments, or equivalents when you entry
Brazil – of course, this does not apply to credit cards.
More detailed information about Brazilian customs
can be found at this web site:
You need a GSM cell phone in Brazil. There are two
ways you can use your GSM cell phone in Brazil:
* If you have international roaming with your cell
phone provider, you can used your GSM phone in Brazil. However, international roaming can be quite
expensive. You need to check with your
carrier if this is what you are going to do.
* You can arrange with a Brazilian carrier to use
your unlocked GSM phone in Brazil by getting a new SIM contract. Chances are you will only be able to get a
prepaid ("pré-pago" in Portuguese) since you do not live in Brazil.
Brazilian cell phone companies
There are four major GSM cell phone providers in
Brazil: Claro, Oi, Vivo, and TIM. To buy a SIM and a prepaid plan, you should
show your passport. Depending on the specific shop, they might refuse to sell
you the SIM because you do not have a CPF (a Brazilian taxpayer number) – I’m
sorry, but that does occur. The best place to buy it is at the airport.
So you can use a cell phone when you go to Brazil,
but again, you need to remember these basic points:
* An unlocked cell phone (those accepting any new
SIM) is required (inexpensive unlocked cell phones are easy to find at Amazon).
* Some carriers / shops many ask your CPF number
(and you don’t have one), or if your account was not set up correctly, your
service may be interrupted because a CPF number was not entered during the
* Outgoing call are charged, and incoming calls are
* Calls to other cell phone providers, and land
lines will be charged at a higher rate than calls with your cell phone carrier.
* Prepaid GSM chips expire after a certain period
(a few months) if no new credits have been purchased.
More information about the use of cell phones in Brazil:
Brazilian electric outlets in São Paulo and Rio de
Janeiro usually provide 110 volt, except for some hotels where you only find
220 volt outlets. That should not be a problem, in general, as most electronic
devices accept both voltages, nowadays.
There is, however, another problem. Your plugs
probably will not fit into the Brazilian standard sockets. A few years ago,
Brazil adopted a new type of standard electric outlet socket – unfortunately,
one that is not used elsewhere in the world. New buildings have this new socket.
Old ones can have either the new outlet socket, or older types. Yes, this is a
Brazilian standard electric socket and plug
The best solution is buying a two-pin adapter plug,
such as shown in the image below. This will fit both the new and old Brazilian
We DO NOT recommend a three-pin adapter plug, such
as shown below, because it will not fit older Brazilian electric socket. You
might think that the three-pin adapter could be better, because it includes a
neutral ground connection. However, most Brazilian electric outlets do not
really have a working neutral ground connection.
You should try to buy the adapter plug before you
travel to Brazil, since you will use it from your very arrival. Of course, it
is possible to buy an adapter at the Brazilian airport, but it will be more
expensive; and they will probably sell you the three-pin adapter that only fits in the