Many Brazilians arriving in the country, whether legally or illegally, are seeking asylum due to economic difficulties and political disagreements in their home country

According to the U.S. Executive Office for Immigration Review, the number of Brazilians who applied for asylum in the United States in the fiscal year 2023 was 3,595. However, only 11% were granted. The month with the highest demand from Brazilians was May, with 777 applications.

Five countries lead the asylum-seeking rankings: Cuba (74,000), Venezuela (67,000), Colombia (25,000), Nicaragua (23,000), and Haiti (18,000).

According to U.S. law, to apply for asylum, one must demonstrate a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.

However, it is challenging for Brazilians to be eligible solely on these grounds, as stated by immigration lawyer Ingrid Domingues McConville. The reasons cited are often deemed insufficient, leading to cases being either pending or immediately denied. Asylum cases are time-consuming and take a minimum of two years (or more) for an initial hearing. Poverty, limited economic opportunities, displacement due to natural disasters, or a desire to reunite with family are not grounds for asylum under U.S. law.

There are various visa options available for Brazilian citizens. Regardless of the situation, there are options for those wishing to move from Brazil to the U.S. The most “popular” visas include those based on marriage (including fiancés) and family (primarily for children to parents). Employment-based, investment-based, or extraordinary ability visas are also successful.

U.S. visa processes are complex and require careful structuring by an immigration attorney. From the initial filing to gathering the correct documentation, a significant amount of experience and knowledge is necessary to secure approval.

Over 1.9 million Brazilians live in the United States, making it the largest community. Portugal comes in second with 360,000, followed by Paraguay with 254,000, the United Kingdom with 220,000, and Japan with 207,000.

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  • Ingrid Domingues-McConville founded DM VISA LAW – Domingues McConville, P.A. in 1995. She has been a member of the Florida Bar since 1995 and a member of the United States District Court, Southern District of Florida. Ingrid earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, and her law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Cleveland, Ohio. With 28 years of experience in Immigration Law, Ingrid has represented clients throughout the United States and worldwide, handling both business and family immigration matters. She has assisted companies and individuals in obtaining visas and permanent residency in the United States. Ingrid plays a significant leadership role in the Brazilian community in South Florida and across the United States, providing much-needed legal guidance and advice.