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How to get RNM / RNE by marriage or common law (stable union or união estável)

The residence based on common-law marriage has been the most agile, simple and economical option for foreigners to stay and build a life in Brazil.


Common-law marriage is the coexistence between two people (of different or the same sex) foreign or Brazilian, set on a continuous, public and lasting interaction, being established with the objective of family constitution, however without changing the marital status of the couple.


Common-law marriage has been increasingly sought as an alternative to civil marriage, either because of the simplicity of the execution of the process or because of its reduced cost.


In this article we will address the main questions about the process of how to stay in Brazil based on common-law marriage with foreigners.


Can same-sex couples register a common-law marriage?


Yes. In 2001, in a historical decision, the Federal Supreme Court equated homosexual to heterosexual union. Since 2013, National Registry offices (cartórios) cannot refuse to celebrate civil marriages of same-sex couples or to convert same-sex common-law marriage into civil marriages, as established by Resolution no. 175, of May 14, 2013, approved during the 169th Plenary Session of the National Council of Justice.


Can the end of the relationship lead to loss of the resident permit?


In theory, yes, but it hardly happens. It is assumed that the separation is a dramatic event, and, in this case, the Brazilian spouse would have to go to the National Registry office to declare it and open a request to the Federal Police in the form of a complaint. And even so, it is very unlikely that it will result in the nullification of the National Migration Registry, this happens also due to the lack of communication between the systems of the registry offices and the Federal Police.


Is it possible to apply for Brazilian naturalization based on family reunion?


Yes, there are two scenarios for the Brazilian naturalization applicant.


In case the couple has a Brazilian child (or adopts one), the Brazilian naturalization may be requested after 01 year of civil or common-law marriage.


In the absence of children, Brazilian naturalization may be requested after 04 years of civil or common-law marriage.


It is important to remember that it will always be necessary to present Portuguese language certificates, except for people from Portuguese-speaking countries.


Is marriage outside Brazil valid?


Validation is required. Each country has its own legislation on marriage and common-law marriage – and in some of them, common-law marriage does not even exist. For marriages outside of Brazil to be valid, the document must be legalized by the Brazilian consular authorities abroad, such as the Brazilian Consulate in the country in which it was celebrated. According to Brazilian law, all foreign documents must be legalized by Brazilian consular authorities abroad and translated by an official sworn translator in Brazil, duly registered with the Board of Trade (Junta Comercial).


How long does the stay based on common-law marriage process take?


The duration of the process will depend on the documentation. Common-law marriages are validated between 24 and 48 hours. It takes around 30 days to gather all the necessary documentation for a stay request. Once it is presented to the Federal Police, the authorization is issued immediately.


Can foreign couples request common-law marriage?


For foreign couples, it is necessary that one of them already has the residence permit granted.


Is it possible for a foreigner with an irregular situation to request residence based on common-law marriage?


No. To apply for residence based on common-law marriage, it is necessary to have a regular migratory situation.


Is it possible to convert my common-law marriage into a civil marriage?


Yes. If the couple decides to get married, it is necessary to go to the Civil Registry of Individuals with the necessary documentation and fill out the conversion of common-law marriage into a civil marriage license application form.


The same documentation is required for the civil marriage, only the deadline is shorter: 16 days to be official. After this period, the couple can get the marriage certificate in the Civil Registry.


In the situation of a conversion of common-law marriage into civil marriage, the union becomes effective on the date the certificate is issued by the Registry.


ATTENTION – Marriage by contract is a crime


Every day the commercialization of Brazilian residence through common-law marriage "contracts" is becoming more common. On the internet, it is possible to find several ads with this purpose, with prices ranging from10 to 40 thousand reais.


As civil or common-law marriages must be carried out on a public environment, Art. 299 of the Penal Code considers the behavior as a fraudulent misrepresentation. Therefore, in case of omission or insertion of false information, and in this case done in a public document, the penalty is one to five years plus a fine


Art. 299 To omit, in a public or private document, a statement that should have been included, or to insert or have someone insert a false or different statement from the one that should have been written, in order to harm the law, create an obligation or change the truth about legally relevant facts:


Penalty - confinement, from one to five years, and fine, if the document is public, and confinement from one to three years, and fine, from five hundred thousand reis to five contos de reis, if the document is private. (See Law No. 7,209, of 1984)


Sole paragraph – If the agent is a civil servant, and commits the crime taking advantage of its position, or if the falsification or alteration is of civil registry information, the penalty is increased by one-sixth..


The absence for more than two years from the Brazilian territory leads to the automatic loss of the permanent visa and the National Migration Registry (RNM).


External link: Documents required for residence authorization based on family reunion can be checked on the website at the Federal Police, at this link


Was there any doubt about the process of obtaining permanence based on the stable Union?


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