Brazil, with its population exceeding 200 million, thriving economy, and remarkably multicultural society, presents abundant opportunities for TEFL qualified teachers. The country's top features include a pleasant climate, a laid-back beach lifestyle, amazing cuisine, and a warm reception, all of which entice thousands of international teachers to choose Brazil as their destination each year. If you seek an exhilarating country with a wealth of teaching positions and a diverse range of locations to choose from, look no further than Brazil, the vibrant home of Carnival.
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The primary requirement for teaching English in Brazil is a TEFL certification from a recognized course provider, lasting at least 120 hours. Being a native English speaker is not mandatory, although it may provide additional options, as some employers prefer hiring native speakers. Similarly, while a degree is not typically required, having one may expand your opportunities, as certain schools may prioritize candidates with a degree. Prior classroom experience can be advantageous when applying for higher-paying positions, although it is not mandatory in most cases due to the high demand for teachers outweighing the available supply.
Obtaining a work visa to teach legally in Brazil can be challenging since it necessitates sponsorship from a school, which can be a lengthy and costly process that many schools are unable to undertake. Consequently, official work visas are typically granted to those working within the public school system, while private language schools, which constitute the majority of employers in Brazil, often rely on teachers with tourist visas obtained upon arrival at the airport.
To acquire a 90-day tourist visa, you should apply through the Brazilian Consulate in your home country before departing. The cost, processing times, and required documentation may vary depending on your country of origin, so it is advisable to check the latest information before applying. Once in Brazil, you can extend this initial visa for an additional 90 days. However, after the extension period expires, you will need to leave the country or face a daily overstay fine of $5.
Working on a tourist visa in Brazil is not officially endorsed. In 2017, the Brazilian government tightened its immigration laws and increased penalties for employers hiring teachers without official work permits. Both the employer and employee now face significant financial consequences if caught. Nevertheless, working on a tourist visa remains a common practice among many teachers, both in Brazil and other countries worldwide. While this approach is not condoned, some teachers choose to work as private tutors or teach English online to minimize the risks of encountering legal issues.
Considering the challenges associated with obtaining a work visa in Brazil, the optimal approach is to search for jobs online and secure a position prior to leaving your home country. By following this route, the employer should provide an official work visa that allows for long-term stay and legal employment in the country. However, it's important to note that only a relatively small percentage of jobs in Brazil can be secured through this method. Many other positions require in-person interviews that typically do not result in a work visa. Consequently, many teachers opt to travel to Brazil and search for employment upon arrival in their preferred location. Rio de Janeiro is a popular choice for many teachers due to its unique blend of city and beachside living. However, it is worth exploring other major cities in Brazil such as Sao Paulo, Recife, or Brasilia, which offer distinct advantages while potentially being more affordable than Rio de Janeiro.