Considering a Move from Rio de Janeiro to BA - Your thoughts


Jan 8, 2010
I am a USA citizen retired and living in Rio de Janeiro with my Brazilian girlfriend and her 11 year old daughter and our (Brazilian) Labrador dog. My girlfriend speaks a little English, and her daughter nearly none.

My girlfriend and I are going to BA on February 25 for 3 weeks on a discovery trip. If we like it, we may move to BA by May, or so. The cost of living in Rio is very expensive for housing if you live in Copacabana, Ipanema, Barra, etc. The areas where most extrangeiros would want to live.

Our main objectives for considering BA is a lower cost of living, better lifestyle, cooler temperatures, less crime, cleaner city, the experience of living outside of Brazil for my girlfriend and her daughter.

Any thoughts or links you'd like to point to me would be greatly appreciated.
1. US citizen immigration to Argentina from Brazil (I imagine no difference than from USA)
2. Brazilian citizen and child immigration to Argentina
3. Schools for a Portuguese speaking child (public or private)
4. Best places to live that are close to good schools

I already live outside of the USA so the culture change may not be so much for me as for others and we already shop and buy local things not expat foods & things.

Also, if there are any get togethers scheduled between February 25 and March 17, please let me know. I'd like to discuss in person if possible. Or anyone wishing to share their experiences over a glass or two, please let me know. We rented an temporary apartment in Recoleta.


Related to immigracion, you may not have too difficult a time of doing it. Your wife and her daughter, as a citizens of a Mercosur country, can seek a permanent residency here. Since you are married to her, once she has residency you will qualify as well. I am married to a Paraguayan and I have gotten my residency through that same means.

I'm not exactly sure at what point you would be eligible - i.e., if she first has to get her permanent residency, or if once she's granted her temporary residency (waiting for permanent) you could start. However, she could have her permanent residency approved as quick as between 40-80 days from the point of applying for the temporary residency according to my lawyer. I've heard others say that Mercosur applications take as long as a year to process, so I'm not sure. We got my sister-in-law's radicacion to live here and go to school for two years in 30 days, but I'm not sure how that matches up with a residency application.

I think you may have some issues finding a Portuguese language school though. I'm not certain about that; hopefully I'm wrong. I did quite a bit of searching for schools when I brought my younger sister-in-law from Paraguay to go to school here. There are a lot of bilingual schools where the kids have to go to Spanish classes half the day and the other language the other half, for example. But most of those other languages were English, French, Italian or German - and they are expensive usually. Private Spanish-speaking schools are not very expensive (relatively), it's the bilingual that are very expensive. I never saw a school for Portuguesein my researches.

A quick search on the internet just turned up schools for learning Portuguese. But surely they exist - people come from Brasil for awhile and have to school their kids, I'm sure. Maybe the Brasilian embassy here would have some better information on something like that.
BA is more of a livable city than Rio right now for Americans...dollar is stronger here, you can walk at night, there are more bookstores and theaters, etc., if that's what you're looking for. On the other hand, I think Rio is a more interesting city overall. It will become less interesting after the Olympics...
El Queso - the OP says he is moving with his girlfriend, not wife. So he wouldn't be able to apply for permanent residency even if she gets it - since they are not legally married.

The same rules would apply for a US citizen coming to Arg as they would from Brasil (assuming OP doesn't have permanent residency in Brasil - that might change things). You can look into a rentista visa. There are lots of threads about that on here.

The suggestion to contact the Brazilian embassy here is a great one - they will have lots of information regarding schools, etc.

Would you be looking at living in the city or outside of the city in a gated community?
citygirl said:
El Queso - the OP says he is moving with his girlfriend, not wife. So he wouldn't be able to apply for permanent residency even if she gets it - since they are not legally married.

Wow - I completely blew that one! Heh.

Sorry arockwell, don't know how I missed that...
Thanks for the info. No problem on missing the girlfriend vs. wife. It feels like the same thing to me. I do have permanent Brazilian residency and ID card. I'm trying better understand what this means for my girlfriend and I in terms of Mercosur. What exactly does this provide us in moving there? Can anyone point us to something that explains this?

That's good information on the Brazilian embassy there. I'm surprised they are helpful.

In terms of where to live. I think a nice neighborhood of the city, but near to the school that my girlfriend's daughter may attend. Close to the subway, restaurants, shopping, etc.. And of course, I don't know where that is yet.

In terms of schools, we will be looking for one that teaches in English and Spanish. I don't expect to find any school that teaches in Portugues. In fact, that's part of why we want to move so the girl gets a bilingual education.

Regarding the Olympics in 2016. I was really pulling for Rio to get it because, I'm hoping this will cause Rio to make the changes it needs to. Rio is like the girl from Ipanema. Beautiful and graceful walking down the beach, but the closer she gets, the older, uglier, wrinkled, and dirty she is. She is beautiful from afar. For me, Rio is better place as a tourist than as a gringo resident. So I'm already accustomed to what I read on this forum. Rio costs too much for you get. Nao vale a pena (not worth the trouble)
i love these people who still insist that BA is safe, get real.

yesterday, i had a friend get robbed at gun point by the same guy who robbed me.
Ryoga said:
i love these people who still insist that BA is safe, get real.

yesterday, i had a friend get robbed at gun point by the same guy who robbed me.

It is certainly much much safer than Rio.

Can you tell me us more about what happened to you? Perhaps start a new thread?