By Antonio Britto, 67 years old, journalist, with a long career in the corporate and public sector in Brazil. He is a permanent resident of the United States.

After three years living in the United States and having listened to the stories of dozens of Brazilian families and companies, I am convinced of the following: considering the usual exceptions, the ones who make it usually have a very concrete idea of why and how they are coming to the United States, as well as basic knowledge of the differences between life here and in Brazil. Otherwise, and, again, with few exceptions, the ones who fail come here motivated only by their dream, do not have a lot of conviction about the move or, worse yet, do not have a minimally organized plan about what to do and how to do it in the United States.

The phase of dreaming about moving, evidently, is the first and most basic phase. Without it, nothing will change. Unfortunately, Brazilian families increasingly wish to offer their children a different cultural experience, to live in a country that offers better education, better security, or personal, professional or business growth opportunities. Or even if they continue to live in Brazil, to have study abroad opportunities, temporary stays or extending their personal or corporate businesses in the United States. Whatever the dream may be, there are good chances it may come true, as long as the existing legislation is complied with. The deciding factor is to turn said dream into a project. From what we can tell here, a project that, at the very least:

Should not be the project of only one person in the family or one of the business partners. In dozens of known cases, the family/company did not consent to the move. And if the move does happen, it becomes a permanent point of contention. The child who did not want to leave friends behind. The business associate who disagreed about the advantages of investing in a foreign market, and so on. In several situations where the plan – which has a set of difficulties on its own – does not have the support, the conviction of who should be completely involved in it.

Is inclined to live according to a new culture. This might be one of the most common problems. Families or companies that consider taking advantage of the opportunities in the new country, but at the same time refuse to understand or accept the cultural differences and adapt to the new reality without giving up their roots. The infamous Brazilians who live as if they had never left Brazil. Wanting to live in a different country is great, but from food to traditions, from culture to legislation, there will be lots of differences. And you’re the one who will need to adapt.

In the corporate context, think about the American market. Thousands of Brazilians in the United States start businesses to serve only… Brazilians. So many restaurants serving traditional food and popular Brazilian staples like pão de queijo, and the absolute majority of professional/business activities aim only at the Brazilian market within the United States. Even though it is quite a large market, it is not big enough for all the competition between the same products or services. With a few exceptions, trying to work or sell to Americans must be the end goal of any project.

In short: unfortunately, dreams alone do not guarantee opportunities. Please do come. But, before you do, be certain of the reasons why you and yours are coming. What you are coming for and how you are coming. And good luck!