Asylum

How to apply for asylum in Brazil?

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In 1960, Brazil was one of the pioneering countries to participate in and recognize the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. Since then, it has always played a leading and leading role in the international protection of political asylum and people who suffer some kind of discrimination, as well as those who have experienced situations of insecurity or violence and, therefore, their physical and mental integrity is at serious risk.

Brazil received more than 80,000 asylum applications, at the beginning of 2018, which meant an increase of 240% over the previous year. It is worth noting that, 61,000 of the cases corresponded to people coming from Venezuela. However, only 1.35% of the requests were approved, as most of them did not meet the profile of a refugee.

By 2022, the number of approved applications is expected to increase significantly, as the National Committee for Refugees (CONARE) recognized that the Venezuelan population’s human rights are constantly violated. Read on to learn more about the benefits Brazil offers to immigrants in need of international protection.

First considerations to apply for asylum in Brazil

To begin with, the asylum system in Brazil is regulated by Law 9.474 of 1997. It establishes the procedure for the approval, or not, of refugee status. Likewise, it contemplates the rights and duties of applicants for this status.

On the other hand, in 2019 Brazil launched a digital platform (SISCONARE), through which it manages asylum procedures. The idea is to speed up the analysis of cases and work as objectively as possible, in order to provide a timely response to those interested in seeking refuge in the country. In addition, applicants will be able to follow up on the progress of their request.

Consider that, as an applicant for recognition of refugee status, you may travel and stay outside Brazilian territory for a maximum period of 90 continuous days per year, until a final decision is reached. However, in order to enjoy this benefit, you must notify CONARE officials of your intentions in a timely manner.

Make the corresponding notification through the following link www.justica.gov.br/seus-ireitos/refugio/viagem. Now, it will be convenient if your reasons to go out of the Brazilian territory are valid and cannot be postponed; further, you will not be able to travel to your country of origin.

Procedure for making an asylum request in Brazil

In order to apply for asylum in Brazil, it is mandatory that you must first be in the national territory. After that, you will have to go to a Federal Police station or to an immigration authority at the border. In both places, you can request legal assistance from a lawyer belonging to the Public Defender’s Office or the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This is a free service.

Once this is done, the steps to follow will be the following:

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Step # 1. Gather documents and evidence

Documentation supporting the asylum application, such as passport, identity card and evidence of the facts that led you to emigrate from your home country, should be kept available and organized. The most convincing evidence will be photographs, certificates, videos, reports, messages, emails, related news, etc.

The more information you provide, the easier it will be to demonstrate the need for international protection. Although CONARE understands that there are situations, such as that of Venezuelans, where security agencies avoid evidence and there is no freedom of expression through the media.

Step # 2. Register on the SISCONARE platform

As mentioned, SISCONARE is a relatively new platform developed to process asylum applications in Brazil. To register, you just need to have a valid email address and have access to it. If not, proceed to create your account in any of the free options available on the web: Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo, among others.

By having the email, you can access the following link: https://sisconare.mj.gov.br/conare-web/login?3. Create a username and password; it then validates that the address used is active. At that time, you will receive a message to confirm it.

Step # 3. Complete application form

Log in to SISCONARE with the created email and password. Once inside the system, complete the refugee status recognition form. It should be noted that if you meet your family, in the national territory, you can include them in the additional information section.

The form consists of simple questions, such as identification data, contact and reasons for the procedure; It also indicates that, when completing it, you must attach supporting documents refugee claim. When loading the required information, the system will throw a tracking number in the notification area; write it down and save it so you can follow the progress of the case.

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Step # 4. Acquire provisional identification

Go to the nearest Brazilian Federal Police headquarters and schedule an appointment for the delivery of the provisional identification document, which establishes the protocol for refugee claimants. It is a plastic card that grants you the right to stay in the country while your case is being defined and, on the other hand, allows you to work legally and enjoy the public services of the territory.

Since 2019, it is no longer necessary to renew the card, because in the system you will have a registration number assigned, with which officials validate that you are still waiting for a response to your request. In addition, the document is modern with two-dimensional bars, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology, ghost photography, OVI security ink and an excellent multicolor printing; that is, impossible to forge.

Now, to facilitate the process and speed up the taking of the photo before the Brazilian Federal Police, take, printed or written down, the SISCONARE tracking number. After this, they will tell you what day you will have to go to pick up the identification document.

Step # 5. Interview

CONARE will study the case and will contact you to continue with the process. Therefore, it is important to always keep your contact information up to date and check the corresponding SISCONARE migration page frequently to know if the notification of the interview has arrived.

During the interview, keep in mind that your statement is vital to the outcome of the case. Therefore, it must be coherent, consistent and follow a chronological sequence of events. The final decision will be made on the basis of what you say at the meeting, especially if you lack evidence to back up your words.

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Another crucial factor to highlight is that you must have sufficient geographical and political knowledge about your country of origin, since you will be questioned about it in the interview. And any inconsistency in your story will automatically result in a denial of your application.

Step #6. case response

After the interview, you will have to check constantly the email and read the notifications in SISCONARE, to know the case response. The options are as follows:

  • Approval. You were recognized as a refugee in the country. Now you must request an appointment with the Brazilian Federal Police to process the National Immigration Registry (CRNM) card.
  • Denial. In this case, you can file an appeal in a maximum of 15 or 30 days, depending on the case. The first time (15 days) applies from the moment you read the message in SISCONARE, and the second (30 days) from when the notification was published in the system. For this reason, you should check if new notices have been generated in the portal. For the appeal, you can count on the support of the Public Defender of the Union (DPU).

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Steps to appeal the decision

If you want to use the appeal resource, then consider the steps that we will explain below:

  • Step 1. Request assistance from the Union Public Defender’s Office.
  • Step 2. Go to the Brazilian Federal Police and submit the appeal letter. You will receive a new provisional protocol valid for one year, which you can renew until a final decision on the appeal is reached.
  • Step 3. If the decision of the Minister of Justice is also negative, the administrative process of refugee status will be finalized; you will then be subject to the current law on foreigners in Brazil. In this case, it would be advisable to seek other means to regularize your immigration status in the country, so as not to be deported by the authorities.

Simplified asylum application process for Venezuelans

The Rio de Janeiro country has agreed to give them a special treatment to Venezuelans, due to the crisis that the neighboring nation is currently going through. According to Brazilian law, the government recognizes that in Venezuela there is a very accentuated situation of violation of human rights.

Based on the aforementioned, CONARE established five requirements for recognize Venezuelans as refugeeswithout the need to attend an interview. They are:

  • Introduce identity card or passport of Venezuela, it does not matter if it is expired.
  • have a entry record to Brazil in the Federal Police.
  • Not have any criminal conviction in Brazil, nor INTERPOL red alert.
  • Have minimum 18 years old.
  • Not have applied for another immigration status in the country; such as temporary residence.

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Rights and duties

Just as the Brazilian government strives to create strategies to help people who have been forced to leave their country of origin, it also establishes their duties as applicants or refugees. Their goal is to achieve social integrity with respect and harmony. Some of these rights and obligations are:

RightsDuties
International protection, if the person meets the refugee definition.Respect Brazilian laws.
Non-return to the country of origin, where the individual is in danger.Respect people, institutions and public and private organizations.
Obtain identification document.Keep contact information updated and inform the Federal Police and CONARE of any changes.
Work legally.Notify CONARE of leaving the country, if necessary
Enjoy all public services, such as health, education and social assistance
Participate in more flexible processes for family reunification, revalidation of titles, and nationalization, once refugee status is recognized.

Brazil represents a excellent option for those vulnerable people seeking international protection, by providing right to work and public services During all the process. So there is no doubt, you have the opportunity to find help in this beautiful country; yes, in yours, your life is in danger.

Maya Martinez

Legal advisor for immigration processes. In addition to providing support in the legal procedures, I offer integral and informative support in relation to the obligations that are acquired when arriving to a new country.

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