UPDATE: Procedural Changes for Customs at Sao Paulo (SBGR) – Part 3: Operating Considerations

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UPDATE: Procedural Changes for Customs at Sao Paulo (SBGR) – Part 3: Operating Considerations

This is a post by authors Marcia Taue. Marcia is based at Universal Aviation Brazil, which has aircraft ground handling facilities in Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Manaus, Recife, and Rio de Janeiro. Marcia is an expert on business aircraft operations in Brazil and can be contacted at marciataue@universalaviation.aero

This business aviation blog post continues from our article last week, entitled “UPDATE: Procedural Changes for Customs at Sao Paulo (SBGR) – Part 2: Gen Decs & Documentation.”

Apart for new gen dec requirements and procedural changes for customs at Sao Paulo Guarulhos (SBGR), the operating environment has not changed. It’s best to work with your 3rd-party provider, well in advance of travel, to confirm all required documentation and information is available and onboard.

The following is an overview of what you need to know:

1. Visa requirements unchanged

Regulations on visa requirements for Brazil remain in place and unchanged. Crew members do not require visas, regardless of nationality, as long as they’re listed on the gen dec and have an official license, such as a pilot license, with them. In the case of crew members without licenses, as is often the case with flight attendants, visas are needed. It’s recommended that you communicate with your visa provider regarding visa needs for Brazil.

2. Customs letters for private non-revenue and charter operators

We advise private non-revenue operations to present a letter to customs, on arrival in Brazil, stating the relationship between the passengers and owner/operator of the aircraft. This should be on company letterhead, signed by the operator and forwarded in advance to your ground handler. Customs authorities are looking for data to prove that a flight is actually private as opposed to charter. Likewise, it’s recommended that charter operators bring a signed charter agreement for the flight. Note that these are recommended but not mandatory procedures.

3. Cabotage considerations

Cabotage regulations in Brazil can be somewhat unclear, but cabotage issues do exist. Problems generally occur if you make an international arrival in Brazil as a ferry flight, without passengers. Local authorities may become suspicious that the aircraft will be used to transport Brazilian nationals within the country. This constitutes cabotage. It’s recommended that you speak to your 3rd-party provider regarding any passenger travel intra-Brazil.

4. Tech stop considerations

For international tech stops, it’s also a requirement to present an SBGR-specific gen dec to customs on arrival. Due to customs and procedural requirements at this location, it’s best to plan on one and a half to two hours on the ground for tech stops at SBGR.

5. Departure from SBGR

When departing SBGR to a domestic destination, crew members may proceed directly to their aircraft to prepare for flight after they have cleared security. However, in the case of international departures, one crew member – either the Pilot in Command (PIC) or Second in Command (SIC) – must present him/herself to ramp customs to have the outbound SBGR gen dec stamped. This step must be accomplished before outbound customs/immigration clearance is completed. It’s possible for your handler to complete this process with ramp customs for you by taking a copy of the gen dec, signed by either the PIC or SIC, along with a copy of the passport signed by the same PIC/SIC to verify the signature.

6. Additional reading: SBGR Customs Procedure Changes – Series Index


To minimize potential of arrival and operating delays, it’s always best to have some sort of evidence available for customs authorities to prove that your flight is either private non-revenue or charter. To avoid cabotage issues, it’s always recommended that operators carry a letter specifying passenger relationships to the operator, in the case of private flights, and a charter contract in the case of charter operations.


If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Brazil, contact us at marciataue@universalaviation.aero.

Got a question for Marcia about this article?