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I'm sure this is a pretty unique situation I've gotten myself into, and it's certainly complicated. I'm not sure what I should be doing.

I came to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in May of 2013. I got a tourist visa good for 90 days. In August of 2013, I went with my Brazilian girlfriend to the Federal Police at the airport and extended the visa until mid-November. On November 7, I married my Brazilian girlfriend.

My intention is to stay in Brazil until my wife is granted a visa and allowed to enter the United States with me. That should take us about a year. So right now I'm in the country illegally and have been since about November 15th. From everything I've read, this isn't an ideal situation, but not much can happen. Worst case scenario is I get deported or have to pay a fine when I leave or return. If I was asked to leave the country, I'm fairly certain there would be a legal way around it since I'm married to a Brazilian national. Perhaps applying for the permanent visa. So it's cause for some anxiety, but I'm not particularly worried about it.

My problem is this. I just realized my United States passport expires in mid-March. I'm supposed to renew it at a local embassy or consulate. Due to my illegal status, I obviously don't want to do that.

So, I'm wondering. Is there anything to stop me from mailing my current passport to the United States and having a family member have it renewed by mail for me and then send it back to Brazil? Are there any considerations to be taken in doing this? What are the risks?

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On a related note, the Expatriates SE site should be starting any day now, you might want to join that when it does and ask there about how to get Brazilian residency status based on your marriage! – Gagravarr Feb 27 '14 at 18:31
up vote 6 down vote accepted

I am not sure what are you worried about renewing your passport at a US Embassy. If you're married to a Brazilian national you should have a method of staying in the country legally, which is irrelevant for this question but you should have availed yourself of it.

If your passport is less then 15 years old and have not been damaged in any way you can submit it by mail and you don't have to be in the country to do it.


State Department will not send the passport back to an address outside the United States and the payment usually is required by check from a US bank or Money Order. So you will need to have someone in the US receive your passport, send it to State Department, receive it from them and send it to you in Brazil.

I think the simplest way would be to renew your passport when you're ready to leave instead of now.

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I would suggest that being in a foreign country with an expired passport is probably not a good plan. – Greg Hewgill Feb 27 '14 at 19:51
@GregHewgill No it's not but since people are looking for complicated solutions it may be a solution. – Karlson Feb 27 '14 at 20:03

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