How To Open A Foreign Company Branch Or Subsidiary In Brazil

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1.1. Overview of Foreign Companies Operating in Brazil

Foreign companies looking to expand their operations often consider Brazil due to its large market and diverse economy. Establishing a branch, subsidiary, or any form of presence in Brazil requires navigating through various legal and administrative processes. This article provides a comprehensive guide to obtaining the necessary authorization for foreign company branches in Brazil.

1.2. Importance of Authorization for Branch Activities

Obtaining authorization is crucial for foreign companies to operate legally in Brazil. This process ensures compliance with local laws and regulations, which helps maintain the integrity of the business environment. Unauthorized operations can lead to significant legal repercussions, including fines and shutdowns.

1.3. Relevant Legal Framework and Governing Bodies

The authorization process is governed by the Brazilian Civil Code and the Normative Instruction DREI 77/2020. Key regulatory bodies involved include the Department of Business Registration and Integration (DREI) and the Federal Government. These entities ensure that foreign businesses meet all necessary legal requirements to operate in Brazil.

Chapter 2. Legal Requirements and Initial Steps

2.1. Understanding the Code of Civil Law and IN DREI 77/2020

The Brazilian Civil Code and IN DREI 77/2020 outline the procedures and documentation required for foreign companies to establish a presence in Brazil. These laws mandate specific steps to ensure legal compliance and proper business conduct within the country.

  • 🏢 Foreign companies must request authorization to operate branches, agencies, or establishments in Brazil from the Federal Government.
  • 🌐 Requests must be submitted through the “” portal with specific documents, including corporate bylaws, shareholder lists, and financial statements.
  • 📑 Documents from foreign countries must be presented in original, authenticated form and translated by a certified public translator.
  • 📉 Failure to meet legal requirements within 60 days can lead to process archiving, which can be reversed by fulfilling the requirements and paying a new service fee.
  • 🗞 Foreign companies must publish financial statements and administrative acts in local newspapers and the Official Gazette.
  • 🛫 Specific rules apply to foreign companies in the international air transport sector, requiring coordination with the National Civil Aviation Agency (ANAC).
  • 📜 The authorization process involves filing several key documents in the appropriate Commercial Registry of the federal unit where the branch or agency is located.
  • ⚖️ Foreign companies operating in Brazil must adhere to Brazilian laws and can use their original business name, with an optional “Brasil” suffix.
  • 🔄 Any changes to the foreign company’s statutes must be approved by the Federal Government and recorded in the Commercial Registry.
  • 🗓 The new regulation revokes previous instructions from 2013, 2014, 2018, and 2019, and has been in effect since April 1, 2020.

2.2. Who Can Request Authorization

Only the legal representative of the foreign company or a duly authorized third party can request authorization. This individual must have a power of attorney granting them the necessary authority to act on behalf of the foreign entity.

2.3. Required Documentation for Authorization

2.3.1. Deliberation Act of the Foreign Company

This document demonstrates the company’s decision to establish a branch in Brazil.

2.3.2. Full Contract or Statute

The complete contract or statute of the foreign company must be provided.

2.3.3. List of Partners or Shareholders

A detailed list including names, professions, addresses, and the number of shares or quotas each partner or shareholder holds.

2.3.4. Proof of Legal Establishment in the Home Country

This verifies that the foreign company is legally constituted in its home country.

2.3.5. Appointment of a Legal Representative in Brazil

The company must appoint a legal representative in Brazil, who will accept the conditions of authorization and manage all legal matters.

2.3.6. Acceptance Declaration from the Representative

The representative must declare their acceptance of the authorization conditions.

2.3.7. Most Recent Balance Sheet

The latest financial statement of the company.

2.3.8. Service Fee Payment (DARF)

Payment proof for the service fee (DARF code 6621).

Chapter 3. Application Process for Authorization

3.1. How to Fill Out the Electronic Form

The legal representative must accurately complete the electronic form available on the relevant government website. Detailed instructions are provided to ensure all necessary fields are filled correctly.

3.2. Steps to Upload Digitalized Documents

All required documents must be digitized and uploaded in PDF format. This step is crucial to ensure the application is processed without delays.

3.3. Common Mistakes to Avoid During Submission

Avoiding common mistakes such as incomplete forms, incorrect document formats, and missing information can expedite the authorization process.

3.4. Review and Follow-Up of Submitted Applications

After submission, the application will be reviewed by DREI. Applicants should regularly check for updates and be prepared to provide additional information if requested.

3.5. Timeline and Expectations

Understanding the typical timeline for the authorization process helps manage expectations. Generally, the process takes a few business days, but this can vary based on the complexity of the application.

Chapter 4. Approval and Publication

4.1. The Role of DREI in the Approval Process

DREI plays a critical role in reviewing and approving the application. They ensure that all legal requirements are met before granting authorization.

4.2. Publication in the Diário Oficial da União

Once approved, the authorization is published in the Diário Oficial da União, providing official recognition of the company’s legal status in Brazil.

4.3. Accessing and Downloading Authorization Documents

The approved documents can be accessed and downloaded from the government portal, providing proof of authorization for legal and business purposes.

Chapter 5. Making Changes Post-Authorization

5.1. Types of Changes Requiring Federal Approval

Certain changes require further approval from the Federal Government. These include:

5.1.1. Address Changes

Any change in the registered address of the company.

5.1.2. Changes in Business Objectives

Modifications to the company’s objectives or business activities.

5.1.3. Amendments in Company Name

Changes to the legal name of the company.

5.1.4. Alterations in Partners or Shareholders

Any changes in the ownership structure.

5.1.5. Modifications in Administrative Members

Changes in the company’s administrative or executive members.

5.1.6. Mergers, Incorporations, and Splits

Structural changes such as mergers, incorporations, or splits.

5.2. Documentation Required for Each Type of Change

Each type of change requires specific documentation, which must be prepared and submitted accordingly.

5.3. Submission Process for Changes

The process for submitting changes is similar to the initial application, involving the completion of electronic forms and document uploads.

5.4. Timeline for Processing Changes

Processing times for changes vary, but typically, they follow a similar timeline to the initial authorization process.

Chapter 6. Nationalization of Foreign Companies

6.1. What is Nationalization?

Nationalization refers to the process by which a foreign company transfers its headquarters to Brazil, effectively becoming a Brazilian entity.

6.2. Requirements for Nationalization

To nationalize, the foreign company must have already obtained authorization to operate in Brazil and meet additional requirements outlined by Brazilian law.

6.3. Steps to Request Nationalization

The request involves completing specific forms, providing additional documentation, and undergoing a review process similar to the initial authorization.

6.4. Documentation for Nationalization

6.4.1. Deliberation Act for Nationalization

Proof of the company’s decision to nationalize.

6.4.2. Proof of Capital Realization

Evidence that the company has met its capital commitments.

6.4.3. Acceptance Declaration from the Representative

A declaration from the Brazilian representative accepting the nationalization conditions.

6.4.4. Service Fee Payment (DARF)

Payment proof for the nationalization fee (DARF code 6621).

6.5. Process Timeline and Follow-Up

The timeline for nationalization can be longer due to the complexity of transferring headquarters, but regular follow-up ensures a smoother process.

Chapter 7. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

7.1. What are the common reasons for application rejection?

Common reasons include incomplete documentation, incorrect information, and failure to meet legal requirements.

7.2. How long does the entire authorization process take?

Typically, the process takes about three business days, but it can vary depending on the complexity of the application.

7.3. Can the authorization process be expedited?

While there is no official expedited process, ensuring complete and accurate submissions can help speed up the review.

7.4. What should be done if a document is rejected?

If a document is rejected, promptly address the issues cited and resubmit the corrected documentation.

7.5. What are the costs associated with the authorization and changes?

Costs vary depending on the specific process, with fees generally outlined in the DARF instructions.

Chapter 8. Conclusion

8.1. Summary of Key Points

Successfully obtaining authorization for a foreign company branch in Brazil requires careful attention to legal requirements and thorough preparation of documentation.

8.2. Importance of Compliance for Foreign Companies

Compliance with Brazilian laws ensures smooth operations and avoids legal complications, contributing to the company’s success in the Brazilian market.

8.3. Final Recommendations for Applicants

Applicants are advised to meticulously follow the outlined steps, maintain regular communication with regulatory bodies, and ensure all documentation is accurate and complete.

By adhering to this comprehensive guide, foreign companies can effectively navigate the authorization process, ensuring legal compliance and successful establishment in Brazil.


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