São Paulo

Moving to São Paulo?

Connect with fellow expats in São Paulo
Join exciting events and groups
Get information in our São Paulo guides
Exchange tips about expat life in São Paulo

Moving to São Paulo

Read our expat guide on moving to São Paulo to get an overview of visa requirements, neighborhoods, accommodation in the city, and other topics of vital importance. With our help you will not plunge into the unknown after making the decision of relocating to São Paulo.
Brazil's most international city is a veritable expat magnet.

Moving to São Paulo remains immensely popular among those seeking new adventures and opportunities abroad. Brazil’s economic growth engine and most international city attracts plenty of expats and international students every year. Those who have dared to make the move agree that you either love your decision to move to São Paulo, or hate it. Many foreigners adore the Brazilian lifestyle, laidback attitude, and cultural diversity. However, the long daily commute, the air pollution, as well as the lack of free space in the city, and worries about safety issues can put a damper on expat life in São Paulo.

Visa Requirements for São Paulo

Familiarizing yourself with visa requirements is one of the first steps for expats moving to São Paulo. Brazil’s authorities distinguish between short-term visas, for vacations and short business trips, and long-term visas, for expats moving to São Paulo.

While policies regarding long-term visas are rather strict, permanent visas are even more difficult to come by. Applicants need to convince authorities that they possess highly specialized skills which will benefit the Brazilian economy. If you are moving to São Paulo as part of an intra-company transfer, you will find that bureaucratic hurdles are usually much lower.

Types of Visa

There are two types of long-term visas which enable the holder to take up work. The first is a visto temporário, a temporary visa (VITERM), which allows foreigners to move to São Paulo for a specific job. To get such a temporary visa, the applicant needs to sign a work contract before moving to São Paulo. The visa expires when the holder leaves that specified employment position. Other types of temporary visas are available, among others, for students, volunteer workers, and media correspondents.

A permanent visa (VIPER), or visto permanente, is much more popular with expats in São Paulo. It allows the holder to stay in the city indefinitely and to change jobs without running the risk of losing their work permit.

Where to Live in São Paulo

Once you have taken care of your visa and other necessary formalities, it is time to give some thought to accommodation. There are some aspects you should take into account when deciding where you’d like to live after moving to São Paulo:

  • the location of your place of work and average commuting time
  • the schools where you would like to enroll your kids
  • availability of public transportation
  • safety issues
  • traffic and noise levels
  • possible flooding during the rainy season

Depending on personal needs and preferences, different areas and neighborhoods may attract expats moving to São Paulo. Mainly, the choice is between wealthy, expat-only residential areas and those with a mixed population and a more Brazilian lifestyle.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Francois Bertrand

"What a thrilling city São Paulo is. With a great international expat community that keeps in touch on InterNations."

Elin Gustavson

"As I already met several expat women on InterNations online, it was great to meet offline and get to know each other in real life."

Global Expat Guide