Local laws and customs

Drug trafficking is widespread in Brazil. If you are caught trafficking the penalties are severe, often involving long prison sentences in a Brazilian prison. The penalties for possession of drugs for personal use range from educational classes to community service.

Some British nationals have been targeted through email scams in which online fraudsters offer a financial reward for them to travel to Brazil, where they are then asked to carry some items/gifts out of Brazil, including to the UK. These items are often illegal drugs and anyone caught will face detention for drug trafficking regardless of the circumstances.

The sexual abuse of children is a serious crime and widespread in Brazil. The UK and Brazilian authorities are committed to combatting travelling child sex offenders and the Brazilian government continues to crack down on those who commit such offences. If you commit sex offences against children abroad you can be prosecuted in the UK.

There is no legislation against homosexuality in Brazil. Same-sex marriage has been legal in Brazil since 2013, and LGBT couples have equal rights in law. Human rights are protected by the Brazilian Constitution, and Brazil is a signatory to international and regional agreements protecting LGBT rights. Name changes on official documents for transgender people are also provided for by law, although this right is not always applied consistently across the country.

Sao Paulo holds the world’s largest Pride celebration, which typically passes off very peacefully – incidents of violence at the event are rare. Rio’s Pride and those of other cities also attract large numbers. Brazil generally has had a tradition of tolerance. However, Brazilian society is quite conservative, particularly outside the larger towns and cities, and LGBT-phobic violence is a concern - you should exercise discretion. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.