BRINGING EQUIPMENT AND ELECTRONICS INTO BRAZIL
UPDATE: As of January 1 2022, Brazil no longer accepts the ATA Carnet as a customs document, therefore, travelers to Brazil who are planning on traveling there with equipment or electronics will need to complete an E-DBV form (we can help you with this by the way so keep on reading).
So, you are going to Brazil for a shoot and you are wondering how to handle your crew’s equipment needs. When it comes to deciding whether to bring your gear to Brazil or rent it locally, we usually recommend bringing at least some of your gear with you.
Electronics are in general very expensive in Brazil, and the rental prices can at times be comparable or higher than what most of our European and American clients would find back in their home countries. So, we at Brazil Production Services usually recommend that our clients bring their cameras, lenses and sound gear as checked in or carry-on luggage, and source heavy grip and electric equipment locally in Brazil.
Shipping gear to Brazil is costly, slow and bureaucratic, so we usually steer our clients away from that and towards bringing in most of their gear with them whenever possible by using either the the E-DBV (Brazilian Customs Declaration Form) process.
Some producers or folks inexperienced in the way of customs rules of different countries, sometimes don’t pay enough attention to this step of the process while planning their Brazil shoot and pay for it. One thing that is indeed important to keep in mind as a foreign producer coming for a shoot in Brazil is not to mess around with Brazilian customs!
Because of high taxation on electronic goods, Brazilian customs officials are particularly eager to prevent unauthorized electronics from entering the country. Bringing film and video equipment into Brazil legally can thus be a bit laborious. However, we can certainly help with this aspect of your shoot. Further down on this page, we will go over the TWO ways in which specialty equipment can be brought into Brazil. Contact us today with any questions you may have about how to legally bring equipment into Brazil for your upcoming production or trip.
Thanks to its years of experience producing projects of all sizes in Brazil, Brazil Production Services developed very precise know-how in terms of dealing with Brazilian customs so as to ensure your equipment’s admittance into the country both safely and efficiently. We will help you complete all necessary paperwork and thus guarantee that the gear of your choice will have a smooth and stress-free entry into the country (in case you opt to bring foreign gear as opposed to renting it locally).
In a nut, there are two ways in which you can bring audiovisual equipment into Brazil legally and without headaches (there used to be three – but now there are only two). We ABSOLUTELY recommend one of the two ways below. We NEVER recommend shipping your equipment to Brazil by Fedex or DHL or bringing your gear into Brazil as checked in luggage without reporting it to customs officials.
Failing to choose one of the two processes below may result in your gear being stuck indefinitely in customs and you having to pay high fees to get them out. Avoid this hassle and approach the bringing of your equipment into Brazil in a professional and by-the-book manner so that you start your production in Brazil without frustration.
Here are the two processes of bringing your equipment into Brazil that we recommend:
- E-DBV: THE BRAZILIAN CUSTOMS DIGITAL DECLARATION FOR CARRY-ON GOODS
- SHIPPING EQUIPMENT TO BRAZIL WITH A FREIGHT-FORWARDER
Please find more details about each of these two processes below for you to understand which one of them is the right one for your production. If you already know which method of temporary importation you will use for your gear and have additional questions, contact us today so that we can make sure your paperwork is ready to go and that you will be able to clear customs in Brazil without a hitch!
1) E-DBV: THE BRAZILIAN CUSTOMS DIGITAL DECLARATION FOR CARRY-ON GOODS
The most common process for legally bringing equipment into Brazil is to fill out a Brazilian custom form called the E-DBV, which is available on the Brazilian customs and tax authority website at this link.
E-DBV means “Electronic Declaration of Traveler’s Goods”. Now, filling this form on the website of the Brazilian government, will be a test of your patience since the Brazilian customs website can be buggy at times and often requires many attempts to complete the process. With that in mind, contact us today if you prefer us to take care of the E-DBV for you and we can discuss pricing and turnaround times!
The E-DBV functions much like the ATA Carnet in that it grants the traveler the permission to temporarily import equipment into Brazil. The EDBV process is a free online process to register the equipment that you are bringing with you to use on your shoot. The paperwork is filled directly on the Brazilian Tax Authority’s website.
Here are the steps required for you to go through the E-DBV process:
- First, you must fill out the E-DBV form online and include on it a list of all of your equipment, including serial codes and replacement values. At the end of the process, you will be assigned a barcode. You will need to print that form and bring it with you on your flight along with your equipment.
- After you arrive in Brazil, while still at the airport, you will go through Brazilian customs. At customs, you will need to enter the “Goods to Declare” line. There, customs officials will check your E-DBV and your equipment to make sure that everything you have listed on your E-DBV matches the equipment in your cases.
- Once they see it’s all “ok”, they will give you another form with your equipment list (known as a TECAT form). This form also contains a section with a date of entry and a date of exit. They will stamp or sign the entry section of this second form and let you through. You need to walk away with a stamped or signed form, otherwise you may have issues later on.
- Lastly, after your shoot in Brazil is done, you will have to get to the airport early, go back to the customs office and go through the process of checking your form and equipment again so that you are granted an exit stamp/signature . Once you have an exit stamp, keep your form for your records.
At that point, you are free to do the check in of your equipment and luggage and embark on the plane to leave Brazil.
The process to get the EDBV form is free of charge, but a bit of a hassle due to the extremely problematic Tax Authority website and the unfriendly and often non-English speaking Brazilian customs officials.
But fear not, Brazil Production Services is here to help. When you hire us to be your production partner in Brazil, we take care of all your needs in regards to the temporary importation of your production equipment. All we will need from you is the list of equipment you’re planning on bringing into Brazil and their serial numbers and replacement values, and we take care of the E-DBV for you. We will fill out your E-DBV form properly, so as to ensure that you will have no problems with the customs officials.
Important Note: Differently from the ATA Carnet, which covers customs authorities for all countries on your trip, the E-DBV is a Brazilian government form ONLY, and thus it only guarantees your legal entry INTO Brazil and OUT of Brazil with the equipment. If you choose this method of temporary importation, you will also need to fill out similar paperwork from your country of origin’s own customs authority. We can give some practical advice on this subject to our clients from the US, where a similar process to the E-DBV also exists and is also free of charge.
Contact us today if you have any questions about the E-DBV customs procedures.
2) SHIPPING EQUIPMENT TO BRAZIL WITH FREIGHT-FORWARDER
We don’t usually recommend shipping equipment to Brazil for smaller productions. Normally, we recommend bringing equipment as checked-in luggage with your crew members on their flights to Brazil and clearing customs with the E-DBV paperwork as explained above. But, if your production really has to ship gear for one reason or another, then you need to make sure you do it by using a legitimate freight-forwarder company that knows how to clear customs in Brazil.
If you don’t do this, you will experience a world of hurt and pain and delays. Your equipment will be stuck in customs and you will be assessed a daily fee until it’s retrieved. You don’t want to do that. You don’t want to leave your production hostage to the arbitrariness of Brazilian customs officials. A competent freight-forwarder company is the way to go. They know all of the bureaucratic processes of clearing the equipment in Brazil and will get the equipment you ship to its destination without any hiccups.
If you are shipping from the United States, we recommend Packair or SOS Global Express Inc as your freight-forwarder company although we know there are many other companies that do the job also. If you want to use a Brazilian company directly, we recommend Sax Logistica. Using a freight forwarder company is more expensive than shipping equipment via DHL and/or Fedex but it will get your shipments to its destination within the timeframe the company guarantees. With Fedex and DHL, your equipment WILL get stuck in customs no matter what the DHL operator and/or Fedex person on the phone tells you. Trust us, we have dealt with this situation DOZENS of times. If you opt not to listen to us on this, don’t tell us later that we haven’t told you so. And if you go forward with this plan of shipping equipment (even a measly and drive) by Fedex or DHL we warn you to expect delays, high fees and frustration in dealing with Brazil’s Kafkaesque custom authority.
We don’t mince words about this point because we have seen some productions fail when not taking this point seriously enough. We have seen equipment be stuck in customs for 3 months before we were able to get it out and that only after hiring expensive customs expeditors and brokers. It must be understood that shipping equipment to Brazil is not as simple as shipping equipment within one’s own country. Oftentimes our clients underestimate the bureaucratic nature of Brazilian customs. So, if you must ship, we recommend you do it through an experienced and well-established freight-forwarder with plenty of experience working in Brazil or who works with a strong local logistics partner.
Contact us today if you have any questions about shipping your equipment to Brazil.