A full Brazilian driving licence can only be given to a foreigner who is legally resident in Brazil and who meets the Brazilian State Transport Department requirements. The licence must be applied for by the individual in person or a Despachante representing the individual. The following documents will be required:
These documents must be presented at the Setor de Atendimento ao Estrangeiro (Service Area for Foreigners) of the local DETRAN office.
The applicant may be required to take medical and psychological exams; this is decided by DETRAN on a case-by-case basis (for example, if the original foreign driving licence is close to expiring).
To begin driving instruction, an individual will need to apply for a provisional driving licence. A provisional driving licence can only be applied for at a driving school (autoescola) directly, or at a driving school through a despachante. It is only valid for driving lessons, until the person passes the practical test, and a holder of a provisional driving licence cannot drive alone with it.
The documents required when applying for a provisional driving licence are as follows:
Despachante is the term used throughout Brazil for a professional who works in the area of vehicle documentation and registration on behalf of a vehicle owner.
Amongst other things, a despachante can apply for new or lost driving licences, register vehicles and oversee the transfer of a vehicle from one person to another.
It is highly recommended to use the services of a despachante when dealing with vehicle documentation administration in Brazil.
The driving test in Brazil consists of four main parts. These tests must be organised through a driving school (autoescola) and cannot be arranged directly through the issuing Brazilian State Transport Department (Departamento Estadual de Trânsito - DETRAN) office.
Most driving schools offer packages whereby the whole course, including being taken to DETRAN for the necessary tests, is included. One fee is paid directly to the school and they make all the required payments for the exams and tests involved.
The Brazilian driving test involves four steps:
It is not possible to take the theory or practical test with an interpreter or a translator, and the test cannot be taken in English.
Once a candidate has successfully completed each stage of the driving test, they will be issued with a probationary licence (this usually takes two weeks to process). The probationary licence is valid for one year and allows the individual to drive any vehicle in their licence category. If any violation is committed in that year, the licence is revoked. If no violations occur, a Carteira Nacional de Habilitação is issued immediately.
A Carteira Nacional de Habilitação is valid for either five or ten years. For each renewal, the licence holder must re-take the medical exams which include a blood pressure test, eye-sight test and a hearing test.
It is up to the individual renewing their licence to arrange a medical exam with a doctor accredited by DETRAN. A small fee is payable for the exam. On successful completion of the medical exam, a certificate and receipt are issued and these are taken to the DETRAN office closest to the applicant's residence with two recent passport-size photos. A new Carteira Nacional de Habilitação will then be prepared and issued to the person immediately.
If a CNH is lost or stolen, a person must apply for a replacement card (segunda via or 2ª Via).
A replacement CNH can be arranged in person, through a despachante at the DETRAN office closest to the applicant's residence, or via the Internet.
The following documents will be required:
These documents must be taken to the setor 2ª Via da CNH (Division 2) at the local DETRAN office, where an application form will be available. The applicant will then need to pay a tax at the Banco Noss Caixa (in São Paulo this is next to the DETRAN building). Applicants should then return to the setor 2ª Via da CNH with proof of payment to collect their new card.
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