Brazil country guide

Learn about cross-border ecommerce, shipping, and importing.

If you are looking to grow your ecommerce business into 🇧🇷 Attribution for Twitter Emojis: ©️ Twitter, Inc. Brazil, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about selling goods into Brazil.

There are two types of imports in Brazil
  • B2B: Business-to-business:

    • Also known as commercial imports, goods intended for resale regardless of value.
    • These goods go through the formal entry process.
  • B2C Business-to-consumer shipments:

The clearance process for each of these types of imports is different:

  • Formal entry process requires compliance with certain legal regulations as outlined below. The de minimis for imports under this type of entry is higher, and so is the duty.
  • Informal entry process requires less documentation and legal processes than formal entry. The de minimis for imports under this type of entry is R$0 and the duty is lower.

The details of the requirements for each type of entry are outlined below.

Ease of importing goods score: C 

Ease of doing business 2/5

  • Brazil has complex tax, legal, and regulatory systems that require retailers wanting to enter the market to have a deep understanding of the local environment.
  • Brazil's stagnant economic growth, logistical issues, and inefficient customs processes
  • Brazil’s government corruptly favors domestic players.
  • Brazil has the largest consumer market and GDP in South America. Its size, diversity, and population create a demand for international products.

Landed cost fairness 1/5

  • Brazil’s lack of de minimis for B2B and B2C shipments and high duty and tax rates make for an unfavorable landed cost.
  • Knowledge of the local environment is requiredto help navigate Brazil’s complex legal and regulatory system.
  • Importers must comply with Brazil’s Legal Data Protection Law (LGPD) (Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados), which is Brazil’s version of GDPR (General Data Privacy Law).

Availability and accessibility of shipping 4/5

  • All major courier companies like UPS, FedEx, and DHL ship to Brazil, making shipping accessible.

Accessibility and variety of payment method 4/5

  • Brazilians use popular universal payment methods, which is favorable for international ecommerce.

Market opportunity 4/5

  • Brazil's high population, internet, and ecommerce penetration rate provide a potentially successful economy for retailers.

Key stats for Brazil 

Population215 million (2022)
GDP3.215 trillion USD (2022)
GDP per capita8,857 USD (2022)
Internet penetration77.87% of the population use the internet (2022)
Ecommerce users58% of the population shop online (2022)
Leading categoriesOffice equipment and supplies; home appliances; electronics and entertainment; fashion; and beauty and health
Preferred online payment methodVisa, Mastercard, Boleto Bancário, American Express, ELO, and Hipercard
LanguagesPortuguese, English, and Spanish
CurrencyBrazilian Real/BRL/R$

Landed cost for Brazil 

The landed cost for a cross-border transaction includes all duties, taxes, and fees associated with the purchase. This includes:

  • Product price
  • Shipping
  • Duties
  • Taxes
  • Fees (currency conversion, carrier, broker, customs, or government fees)

Brazilian de minimis, tax, and duty

Term to know

CIF: CIF (cost, insurance, freight) is a method for calculating import taxes or duties where the tax is calculated on the cost of the order plus the cost of freight, insurance, and seller's commission.

Further explanation of duty, tax, and de minimis is provided below

De minimis

Duty and tax will be charged only on imports into Brazil where the total CIF value of the goods exceeds Brazil’s minimum value threshold (de minimis), which is 0 BRL for commercial imports and 50 USD for non-commercial imports. Anything under the tax de minimis value will be considered a tax-free import, and anything under the duty de minimis value will be considered a duty-free import.

Duty and tax de minimis

Commercial import (formal entry):

  • Duty and tax de minimis: 0 BRL

Based on the CIF value of the goods

Postal/non-commercial imports (informal entry):

  • Duty and tax de minimis: 50 USD

Based on the CIF value of the goods

Import tax

ICMS (Imposto sobre Circulaçao de Mercadorias e Serviços or Tax on Commerce and Services):

ICMS is a Brazilian state and import value-added tax (VAT). The average import tax for courier and postal shipments ranges between 17-19%. For imports, ICMS is calculated using a fairly straightforward valuation method called CIF.

Commercial import (formal entry):

  • 17-19%
  • Rio de Janeiro: 19%
  • São Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Paraná: 18%
  • All other states: 17%

Applied to the CIF value of the goods

Postal/non-commercial imports (informal entry):

  • 17-19%
  • Rio de Janeiro: 19%
  • São Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Paraná: 18%
  • All other states: 17%

Applied to the CIF value of the goods

Other taxes

  • IPI (Industrialized Product Tax/Imposto sobre Produtos Industrializados):

    • IPI is a Federal Excise Tax levied on most industrialized goods. The Brazilian government determines the tax rate based on how essential the item is for the end consumer. Rates typically range between 0-15% but can be as high as 300%. Tobacco is an example of a product with an IPI rate of 300%.
  • PIS and COFINS (PIS - Program of Social Integration/Programa de Integração Social; COFINS - Contribution for the Financing of Social Security/Contribuição para o Financiamento da Seguridade Social):

    • PIS and COFINS are taxes levied on foreign imports into Brazil. These rates apply to the CIF value of the import, in addition to any applicable IPI or duty. The typical PIS rate for foreign goods entering Brazil is 2.1% and 9.65% for COFINS. The payment to residents abroad for their services is 1.65% for PIS and 7.6% for COFINS. There are some goods that have different rates, including the following:

      • Certain pharmaceutical products
      • Certain perfumes and other personal hygiene products
      • Certain vehicles
      • Certain automotive parts
      • Certain tax-exempt papers intended for the printing of periodicals
      • Certain rubber tires and inner tubes

Import duty

Brazil’s import duty rate usually varies between 10-35% for commercial imports, whereas postal imports have a duty rate of 60%. The value for duty on goods imported into Brazil is calculated using the CIF value of the import.

Duty rates

Commercial import (formal entry):

  • Duty rate range: 10-35%

Applied to the CIF value of the goods

Postal/non-commercial imports (informal entry):

  • Duty rate: 60%

Applied to the CIF value of the goods

Trade agreements

Brazil has a number of free trade agreements in place that may offer preferential duty rates for certain products. However, the most freely flowing trade agreement is the Mercosur trading bloc. Brazil imports accompanied by a Mercosur certificate of origin from any country in the trading bloc typically qualify for duty and tax waiver.

Brazil is a member of the World Trade Organization

Brazil is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Therefore, Brazil must abide by the most-favored-nation (MFN) clause, which requires a country to provide any concessions, privileges, or immunities granted to one nation in a trade agreement to all other WTO member countries. For example, if a country reduces duties by 10% for one country, the MFN clause states that all WTO members will have their duties cut by 10% into that country.

Landed cost examples

Below is a sample landed cost breakdowns for Brazil using Zonos Quoter. Most imports to Brazil do not operate a de minimis, so duty and tax is charged on most shipments (shown in the following example):

Landed cost for Brazil in Zonos

Landed cost for Brazil over de

Customs resources 

Note: Talk to your carrier about customs refunds.

Shipping and compliance 

Top courier services

  • FedEx
  • DHL
  • UPS
  • USPS
  • Correios
  • Brazil Post

Courier fees

Depending on the courier, additional shipping fees may include:

  • Tracking
  • Insurance
  • Fuel surcharge
  • Remote delivery charge
  • Signature fee
  • Overweight or oversized fee
  • Special handling fee
  • Dangerous goods fee
  • etc.

Documentation and paperwork

Brazilian authorities may require more documentation than what is listed below depending on the import.

See Brazil’s government website for more details.

Recipient tax ID requirements

Note that the recipient’s tax ID number is required as follows:

  • Informal entry: CPF (Cadastro de Pessoas Físicas/Natural Persons Register) Tax ID number, which is a personal tax ID number.
  • Formal entry: CNPJ (Cadastro Nacional da Pessoa Jurídica or the National Registry of Legal Entities) Tax ID number, which is a business tax ID number.

Formal entry

Import documentation needed:

  • Bill of lading or air waybill with recipient’s CNPJ Tax ID
  • Original commercial invoice with Incoterms and country of origin
  • Original packing list
  • Import license: should be approved before sending the shipment. This license is only necessary if required by the NCM (SECEX will confirm which products need an import license.)

Note: The recipient should be registered with a RADAR license for formal entry.

Informal entry

Import documentation needed:

Restricted, prohibited, and controlled items

Government agencies regulate imports.

Prohibited vs. restricted vs. controlled goods

Restricted items are different from prohibited items. Prohibited items are not allowed to be imported into Brazil at all. Restricted items are not allowed to be imported into Brazil unless the importer has approval or a special license that allows them. Controlled goods have military or national security significance.

Prohibited items:

  • Narcotics and illegal drugs

  • Merchandise that threatens morals, good customs, health, or public order

  • Cigarettes or alcoholic beverages produced by Brazilian companies, except those destined only for foreign markets

  • Pirated and counterfeit goods

  • Currency other than money (checks, etc.)

  • Products prohibited by administrative control bodies for health, metrology, public safety, environmental protection, sanitary, phytosanitary, and zoosanitary controls

  • Goods intended for resale or to be submitted to the industrialization process when imported by an individual except for imports carried out by:

    • A rural producer
    • An artisan
    • An artist or similar
  • And more

Restricted items:

  • Meat, eggs, or fish products

  • Wildlife animals - international health certificate (no more than 10 days old) required, along with rabies vaccination for applicable animals

  • Wildlife vegetation

  • Used or refurbished goods, except:

    • Those for personal use and consumption
    • Luggage goods
    • Goods being returned after having been temporarily exported by individuals
    • Goods with integrated circuits, semiconductors, and similar devices with recorded content equivalent to documents, books, other printed matter, photographs, and documents
    • Artistic objects and antiques
  • Products restricted by administrative control bodies for health, metrology, public safety, environmental protection, sanitary, phytosanitary, and zoosanitary controls

  • Diamonds of heading 7102 of the Nomenclatura Comum do Mercosul (NCM)

    • An NCM is different from an HS code, it is an 8-digit code set up by the Brazilian Government to identify the nature of the goods
  • Tobacco and tobacco products except:

    • Samples without commercial value
    • Goods intended for technical analysis
    • Goods promoted by an registered industrial establishment (RFB)
  • Alcoholic beverages

  • And more.

Only applicable to formal entry

The following legal regulations only apply to shipments entering Brazil through formal entry.

Local office

When shipping certain products like pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and cosmetics into Brazil (products that affect the human body directly), you need to do either of the following:

  • Establish a local office in Brazil
  • Appoint a Brazilian distributor who is authorized to import these kinds of goods

You can visit this page to learn more.


Foreigners selling/exporting into Brazil and Brazilian importers must register with the SECEX (Foreign Trade Secretariat/Secretaria de Comércio Exterior) by going through Brazil’s computerized system, SISCOMEX (Integrated system of External commerce/Declaração Simplificada de Importação), which is responsible for registering Brazil imports and exports.

Before gaining access to SISCOMEX the importer or exporter needs to obtain a RADAR (Registro e Rastreamento da Atuação dos Intervenientes Aduaneiros) license from the Brazilian Federal Revenue.

Brazilian import license/Licença de Importação (LI)

While most goods are exempt from needing a Brazilian import license (LI) to enter Brazil, certain products require the license, e.g. alcohol. NCM determines which products require the license, and SECEX will confirm this.

Note: A RADAR license and Brazilian Import License are different. A RADAR is required for any import into the country, while a Brazilian LI is only required for certain items.

Tips for exporting from Brazil 

Brazil Export Control Information

Frequently asked questions 

How long does customs clearance take in Brazil?

The process can take anywhere from 1-15 days depending on the goods being imported.

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