Foreign driver’s licenses can be used for up to six months in Brazil in conjunction with an official translation into Portuguese stamped by the traffic authority DETRAN in the state where you are living. If you have obtained an International driver’s license ensure that it has a section written in Portuguese, if not you should also have this translated and stamped as well.
If you stay more than six months in Brazil you have to apply for a temporary driver’s license for foreigners, valid for one year. In case you are still waiting for your CIE, temporary driver’s license can be extended for another year. You have to apply for the driver’s license at the office of the local state’s traffic authority DETRAN.
For the temporary driver’s license for foreigners you need the following documents:
You will receive a payment form to pay the administration fee (approx. R$ 13) in a bank indicated by DETRAN. After you have paid the fee you can hand in the documents. If everything is correct they will issue immediately the temporary driver license.
The regulations about temporary driver’s license may be different in each state (e.g. in the state of Rio de Janeiro and some others, they do not issue temporary licenses).
Once you have the CIE you can apply for a Brazilian driver’s license. You will need to present the same documents as mentioned above and the fee.
It is very important that you keep the result of the medical exam in a safe place, because the exam is valid for five years. The Brazilian driver’s license will be valid according to the medical exam, (e.g. if you took the medical exam in 2000 for a temporary driver’s license it will be valid until 2005. According to this a Brazilian driver’s license issued in 2001 will be also valid until 2005.)
When the driver’s license expires you have to take a new medical exam and apply for a new license valid for another five years. The fee for the medical exam is approx. R$ 60. The new driver’s license will be issued within two weeks.
You can find the homepage of DETRAN here.