With a population of over 200 million, a thriving economy, and one of the most multicultural societies in the world, Brazil is full of potential for TESOL qualified teachers. The great climate, a relaxed beach lifestyle, delicious food, and a warm welcome are also reasons why thousands of overseas teachers choose Brazil as a destination each year. If you are looking for an exciting country with plenty of teaching jobs and a wide range of diverse locations to pick from, then look no further than Brazil, the home of Carnival.
What are the requirements for teaching English in Brazil?
The most important thing you need to teach English in Brazil is a TESOL certification of at least 120-hours duration from a recognized course provider. It is not necessary to be a native English speaker, although you might find you have more options to choose from as some employers do prefer to hire native speakers. Equally, a degree is not normally a requirement, but those with a degree might find their options are a bit broader as some schools insist on their teachers having one. Previous classroom experience would be beneficial if you want to apply for the highest paid jobs, but it is not required in most cases as the demand for teachers often outweighs the number available.
What are the visa requirements for teaching English in Brazil?
Obtaining a work visa to teach legally in Brazil can be difficult as you require a school to sponsor you, which can be a drawn out affair that costs the school a significant amount of money that most do not have to spare. Because of this, official work visas are usually only given to those working within the public school system rather than in private language schools that make up the bulk of employers across Brazil. The upshot of this is that many ESL teachers in Brazil work with only the tourist visa they received on arrival at the airport.
To obtain a 90-day tourist visa you should apply through the Brazilian Consulate in your home country before leaving home. The cost, processing times, and required documentation will vary from country to country, so it is best to check the latest information before applying. This initial visa can then be extended for a further 90 days once you are in the country. Once the extension has run out you will need to leave the country or face an overstay fine of $5 per day.
Also read: Can an ESL teacher be a digital nomad?
Should I work on a tourist visa in Brazil?
In 2017 the Brazilian government tightened up their immigration laws and increased the fines imposed on employers who take on teachers without an official work permit. Both employer and employee now face significant financial penalties if caught, although many teachers choose to ignore the dangers and work on a tourist visa regardless. Obviously, we cannot condone this approach, but it is still common practice among many teachers, both in Brazil and many other countries around the world.
One option that can reduce the risks of being caught and penalized is to work as a private tutor or to teach English online, both allow you to live and work in Brazil without any real danger of falling foul of the authorities.
What is the best way to apply for English teaching jobs in Brazil?
Considering the difficulties in securing a work visa in Brazil the best approach would be to find jobs advertised online that can be secured in advance of leaving home. By following this route the employer should provide an official work visa that allows you to stay in the country long term and work legally. However, only a relatively small percentage of jobs in Brazil can be found this way, with most others requiring an in-person interview that probably won’t end in a work visa. Because of this many teachers simply jump on a plane and start looking for a job on the ground in the location of their choice. Rio de Janeiro is the number one option for many teachers as it offers a unique blend of city and beachside living. The main downside to living in Rio is that it can be an expensive city to live in, so you might also want to check out one of the country’s other major cities such as Sao Paulo, Recife, or Brasilia.