December 28, 2006

Obtaining a Brazilian Visa
Buenos Aires, Argentina

If you want to travel into Brazil, and you're fortunate enough to possess a passport from one of the countries they actually like, you won't have to worry about visa formalities prior to reaching the border; however, if you don't, get ready to jump through the hoops.

For all the crap I'm going through to get a tourist visa into Brazil, the place better be worth it. Never before in Latin America have I had to apply for entry into a country in advance, and the amount of red tape is rather off-putting.

It's not just the bureaucratic formalities; the US$100 fee that I have to pay because of my nationality is ridiculous. Yes, I'm aware that it's Brazil's way of giving the middle finger to the USA for the US$100 my government charges for visas into the United States—reciprocity, they're calling it.

In Buenos Aires a visit to the Brazilian embassy is required for many to secure entry into the 5th largest country in the world. An American girl in my hostel was recounting the ordeal that she had to go though during her visit during the allotted hours—most of it was time spent waiting in a series of lines.

Items to have in hand when you visit the embassy:

  1. Your passport,
  2. A single passport photo,
  3. Proof of yellow fever immunization,
  4. Proof of purchased transport into and out of the country,
  5. The known name, address, and phone number of a hotel or hostel, and
  6. The processing fee

The embassy Web site instructs that you can fill out the paperwork ahead of time (and the girl I talked to highly recommended doing it)—but this just turned out to be a waste of time. The visa clerk denied the form (holding up a different variation of the tourist visa application) and told me to use the application-only computers to create a new one. Fortunately there wasn't an hour-plus line to use them, like the American girl had to wait in.

After waiting an hour or so in line I came to discover four things:

  1. They could care less about a yellow fever vaccination certificate,
  2. You couldn't pay the processing fee at the embassy,
  3. You better have some convincing proof of inward and onward travel in order, and
  4. The embassy was going to take my passport away from me while they processed it—for an entire week

The big sticking point people seem to be having problems with is presenting proof of onward travel. The embassy not only wants to see your ticket into the country, but that you've already secured your transport out—always problematic when you're backpacking and don't have any desire to control your schedule with fixed travel dates.

Fake airline ticket

I walked up to the clerk and presented her with my fake airline travel itinerary, courtesy of my faux ticket technique. The key is knowing that with so many ways to print out an electronic ticket itinerary, there's no way for an immigration or embassy employee to verify the legitimacy of the document (they don't have the resources for such things anyway). If your name is on the printout and it shows an airline and flight destinations they're familiar with, you're golden. Additionally, I manipulate the situation by using a highlighter to mark the parts of the document that I want their eye to focus on.

My big stink of the ordeal was that I couldn't pay the visa processing to the embassy directly, I was sent to a bank several blocks away with a numbered piece of paper. In the bank I waited, and waited, and waited. Eight or so people in front of me and it took over an hour to reach the counter. Pesos only, to boot, I couldn't pay the fee in dollars.

I'm told that Bolivia has recently (just a few weeks after I passed through it) started forcing travelers go through similar visa processing procedures (and fees) prior to traveling through the country. I find this annoying to no end, as Bolivia has clearly been thought of as a gateway between Argentina and Peru for some time now.

Update: One week later I have my passport and visa in hand.

Comments:

Chris

January 8th, 2007

to be fair, I heard that Brazil didn't start with the requirement of visas for US citizens until the US government made the requirement for Brazilian citizens.

Brazil

Craig | travelvice.com

February 1st, 2007

Yes, but a visa to the U.S. can be granted for up to 10 years of entry…

Bruna

March 15th, 2007

Ok, I can see how annoying it is to get a visa to Brazil… Could you imagine how it was for me, a brazilian citizen, to get one to visit your country? We have to prove we have no intention of staying there illegaly, as if everybody was crazy to live in USA. It´s humiliating. I had to collect all kinds of financial informations about my life to show I could stay there with my own money and had to prove I had strong reasons to come back home (such as a job or a house in my name). I´m sorry about your problems with brazilian visa, but USA seems to be the country that choses who is interesting to have there as a tourist.

Anonymous

April 26th, 2007

You can get a ten year version for Brazil as well, but have to have a reason. If you can find a Brazilian to go with you, it helps a lot. I went to the embassy in Asunción, Paraguay and had no trouble…. But it all changes regularly!

The United States

Craig | travelvice.com

April 26th, 2007

That's interesting — the first I've heard of such a thing

Austin from California

July 19th, 2007

Typical American, compaining about having to fill out a little form to enter the country.
I'm American as well, and I have to go through the same thing to go to Brazil. Let me tell you, its nothing. For the last 2 months I've been filling out various government forms, investigation different programs and exploring different ideas just so a Brazilian friend of mine can visit for 3 months Its cost me nearly $300 and even more in headaches. And its not even certain if he is accepted. If I were to write a similar article about a foreigner's experience trying to come to America, it would fill 5 pages.
You have no idea how lucky you are to be American, we have it so good and we can go anywhere in the world we want. In fact, I have hand it to the Brazilians for their little act of reciprocity, at least theres one country thats not afraid to give us a small taste of what we hand out to the rest of the world.
Have some gratitude and try to see things from the other side, thats the best travel advice you can give.

Anonymous

September 30th, 2007

I know where you can get these visas done quick and done right. And there not hard to get. Try one of those visa services. They turn it around very quickly. Worth every penny!!!!

Smed

November 18th, 2007

Cut Craig some slack. Just because he (very rightly) points out that it is really annoying to get a visa to visit Brazil, he's not implying that to get a visa to the United States is any less annoying. The two things aren't mutually exclusive, people. And seriously, the hoops one has to jump through here in Buenos Aires are usually as mystifying and nonsensical as they are a complete waste of my time. Thanks for the visa info, btw.

Peru

Craig | travelvice.com

November 18th, 2007

My pleasure, Smed.

Now, almost a year later, if I was to do anything different before getting a visa for Brazil in Buenos Aires, it would have been to actually purchase an "air pass" for Brazil. Overland travel is so expensive in Brazil, it's actually cheaper to fly (and it's not because the flights are cheap, it's just the cost of a bus ticket is upwards of US$4/5 per hour of the journey). Brazil is a big country, and traveling 25 hours on a bus is expensive inside it.

My suggestions: Fly from Foz do Iguazu to Rio to Salvador, to Belem, then float up the Amazon, and bus into Venezuela (or fly out of the country) from Manaus.

Karlian

January 12th, 2008

The great problem is : We brazilians have a lot of idiots in your country. So your embassy/consulate have to deny a lot of applications to us. If they deny to the "right" persons it's ok.. But they deny with weak reasons.. Deny to "wrong" and allow the fucking ones to entry. Europe doesn't require a visa to brazilians, we do not require to Europeans, they can do the visa at the airport. Wanna go to Brazil, go by car, throught Argentina, Paraguay. Easy Easy.
I apologize about my governament "act", they started doing that after a Minas Gerais Judge had to get his fingerprint at one airport on USA. Here policits speaks more loud than the intelligence. I am really sorry.

Anonymous

May 22nd, 2008

I just ask you to think about the hundreds if thousands (maybe even millions) of people who have to get through much worse procedures when requesting a visa to enter the US. And also don't forget that the people who need visas to enter the US are from poor countries. Some make less than the processing fee.

My congratulations to the Brazilian Government for standing up to the US. I wish all countries would apply the reciprocity principle. Maybe then US voters would press for a change in policy. Though this would potentially affect not more than one fifth of the population (who hold passports), and probably even less (those who venture to travel to "third world countries")

ninaBCN

October 22nd, 2008

Getting a visa to Brazil has been the easiest visa I have ever had to obtain. A picture, proof of travel, the fee, and a week later I had my visa. Try getting a visa to China or Russia!! I had to have a "letter of invite" from an agency (another fee, another week or two to get this) and it was a much more complicated process. Also, the process for a Brazilian visa is very easy if you get your visa before you leave the U.S., (as should be done). ALSO, the tourist visa is valid for five years and multiple entries. pretty convenient, and much more convenient than the single entry visas of other countries that require it.

On the other hand, Brazilians trying to come to the U.S. have to go for in-person interviews in Sao Paolo, and are often denied. So really, stop complaining.

Anonymous

May 6th, 2009

It's actually gotten even worse. If you are going through the Atlanta consulate, BEWARE! I followed the instructions for the VITUR visa as listed on the Brazilian Embassy site and did everything on the checklist. My documents were returned to me and they asked for more cash and directed me to a secret website that you could not possibly know about otherwise where you have to fill out a secret Atlanta cnsulate form and go through a weird ceritification process. You also have to prove residence in your state for more than one year. Very bizarre. And this to visit Brazil for 11 days? Never again. What a nightmare. The secret application site for ATlanta is at http://www.abe.mre.gov.br/mund.....icos/visa/

Good luck!

matthew

July 20th, 2009

Da Silva is a child. The whole an eye for an eye argument is completely lost on me. Where does that end?

The US government is not solely targeting Brazilians. The US is the most diverse and arguably the most desirable country to live in and or have citizenship of in the entire world. I live in NYC and assure you there are loads of illegals living and working here which is cool with me. They are attempting to achieve the American dream. Though, I highly doubt Brazil is dealing with US citizens overstaying their visas working locally and sending Reals back to the US. It's simply childish to single out US citizens.

I've just had to cancel my trip to Brazil b/c of the bureaucratic nightmare associated with getting a visa. Bravo, De Silva, you just lost your country roughly $3k. Up side: it will now go to your neighbors.

Anonymous

November 10th, 2009

I have to agree with Austin from California… I'm an American, and it's a little annoying to have to get a visa to go to Brazil, but look at how lucky we are! Most places in the world we don't need one. My husband is Colombian and he can't go anywhere without a visa, and they all cost more than $100. It SUCKS. Even though he's married to a US citizen, he's been denied a visa. THAT is something to complain about. So get over it, pay your $100, and enjoy Brazil!

Anonymous

November 20th, 2009

We have been waiting for a Brazilian Visa since Oct. 6 when we submitted the high fees, paperwork, photos, etc. and had planned to leave for Brazil on Nov. 22, in two days. We used an agency called "Pinnacle" which had been recommended by the Cruise Line we are using. If we don't get the Visa tomorrow, we can't go. We have had to get visas for Russia, China, and Cuba and have never been treated this way. Last time we try to go to this country!!

Meredith Rae

November 23rd, 2009

HI,

Has anyone had any trouble extending their tourist visas in Brazil? I'm a US citizen in Buenos Aires, AR. I'm told I'm only granted a 30 day visa since I am applying from Buenos Aires, as opposed to the 90 day if I was in NY. I'm trying to commit to 90 days in Brazil, but I'm curious about the extension process. I would assume it wouldn't be an issue as Americans are usually granted 90 day visas.

thanks all!

Anonymous

January 27th, 2010

i just went to brasilean consulate in buenos aires… and here is the easy loop hole:

they do not keep a copy of your banking, airline, or hotel. .they just want to see you booked it, and then they accept the application with picture. end of story

when you present your hotel and round trip airfare it is okay to just print out a reservation, and you dont have to show you have paid for it. my friend provided a print out and removed the part of payment required just in case.. and they accepted it also. for both a round trip on Gol and 1 night at a hotel in brasil. So it seems like they really dont care about this issue outside of usa.. and its just a formality.. since in truth it is a waste of time for most american, canadian and aussies that are not trying to remain in the country and work.. which is quite common for many south americans in usa and other countries where they earn a higher salary.

yet i agree that its apples and oranges to try to compare these countries to these other ones due to simple economics but cest la vie.

anyways, hope this helps since many round the world travellers like myself are doing it by land and spontaneous..and these restrictions are a royal pain. at least argentina does not ask for such.. and only solution to avoiding 131 fee upon flying in to buenos aires is to fly to montevideo and take the boat across..and avoid airport .. there is no such fee by land or boat.

Brazil

Cristiane S Carvalho

March 17th, 2010

I´m a brazilian woman who had a visa denied yesterday.
My sister has been living in the US for almost 10 years and it makes it impossible for me to get a visa. USA authorities think the rest of the world is dying to live "the american dream". They probably think that because my sister lives there I want to do the same which is completely nonsense because I loooooove my country. I have a good job, have an apartment, my children study here and my whole family live here, but it was not enough to prove them that I have strong bonds to Brazil.
The american consul who talked to me was very rude and treated me with disrespect looking down on me and my son. I hated it. You should know how brazilians are treated in your consulate before complaining about our embassy in your country. For what you have told here, it´s a lot easier to get a visa to Brasil than it is for us to get a visa to your country.
Not to mention the fact that I got there at 8:30 am and left at 1:00 pm!!!! A complete disrespect and disorganization.
It was the second and last time I tried it.

The United States

yo

April 4th, 2010

I am glad that Brazil is sticking it to the USA. Its about time. However, this policy is bad for the brazilian tourism industry. How many Americans, like myself, are choosing to skip brazil and go to argentina instead? I plan on spending a lot of money and I will be spending it in argentina bc brazil makes it too difficult to get a visa.

Brazil

Mariana

July 27th, 2010

Im very proud of my country but at the same time sad. :/ my boyfriend who is american had his fucking visa dennied today because, according to the consul, he doesnt have enough money to support himself for 90 days. i`m so maaaad! he was supposed to live in my house all that time, he would have food, bed and every little thing :( but we wont give up…BUT i`m SURE i`ll have to go through the same thing(even worse),when I try to go to USA…i was told american consulates are much worse. they treat brazilians in an impolite way and all that. he got fucked up,but i know i will too hahaahah. w are just getting you back, americans! now i can say WE ARE EVEN!:P thats pretty fair! :)

The Philippines

Fair and Balanced!

November 10th, 2010

matthew, maybe for now the USA may be the "most desireable" but if their economy continues to fuck up for a whole generation (like Japan's has been since the bubble burst of 1990) while the rest of the world gets better and better, there might be a two way flow of illegal migrants too! Even in my part of the world, our immigration department busts people for overstaying and my country even ain't that rich. Besides I have NO PLANS to live in the USA at all!

More interestingly, I heard in a poll that up to a third of Gen-Y Americans are open to living abroad now! And I think that number will rise even more sooner than later, so suck it up! This is what we people in the Global South have to deal with all the time and NO COUNTRY stays on top forever! That's just life and the earlier you as well as your society accepts that, the better!

Brazil

alexanderrcm

December 15th, 2010

Brazilians live in denial and have a serious inferiority complex. If Brazil didn't have 1+ million Brazilians living in the USA after overstaying tourist/student visas, it wouldn't be so hard to get a Tourist Visa to the US! If you want to visit someone in either country on a tourist visa you are guaranteed to lose your application fee. That is smart of the US because a good percentage of Brazilians lie and end up moving in with the person they are “visiting”, while the percentage of Americans who might do that is .0001%.

Brazil

Mike from New York

June 12th, 2011

U.S. = 1st World
Brazil = 3rd World
Comparing Brazil to the U.S. is crazy. Brazil is a nice vacation spot but Americans are not trying to illegally immigrate there. However, many 3rd world countries try to access the 1st world and "controls" must be in place or everyone would over stay their visas. The U.S. currently has 11 million illegals. How many illegals are living in Brazil? Exactly……….. think about it. I moved to Brazil and it was HELL to get a permanent visa here. I was treated like a terrorist to live in the 3rd world. I miss home and regret moving here. I can't wait to go back to an organized country where people know how to drive and obey the law in general. Again, it's a nice place to visit but don't even think about trying to move here. It's NOT worth it.

The United States

Trio

June 15th, 2011

Mike,

There are several illegal immigrants in Brazil, especially from Bolivia and China. There have been American lawbreakers trying to hide in Brazil in the past as well, so Americans don't quite have the best reputation down there… There's also a silent understanding among Brazilians in that they all think that Americans are the most arrogant ppl on the planet, they just won't say it to your face. Usage of passé 1st/3rd world labels further reinforce that stereotype.

You were given hell when trying to get a permanent visa b/c you are American, and America treats Brazilian immigrants like total and absolute shit. I once met a Brazilian girl who was detained and strip searched in the airport when they found out she had a sister who's a permanent resident (they thought she was trying to immigrate with a tourist visa.) The girl was in medical school in Brazil, and I'm sure that after passing one of the hardest entrance exams in the university system which guarantees a totally FREE M.D., she wouldn't throw it away to become a maid in the US so she can buy an iPad for half the cost. She was so traumatized she said she'd never visit her sister again. The Brz. government isn't oblivious to what goes on and they are just acting out of reciprocity.

As for your situation, there is so much variety/diversity in Brazil, I'm sure if you were to travel around the country you'd find areas much more pleasing than where you are. The list of Brazilian states by Human development index is further proof that standards vary - That's also b/c Brazil is a federation, with states enacting certain laws/regulations which differ from others. It's the same in the US. For example, Bahia isn't my cup of tea, I'd probably hate living there - but I love certain parts of Rio and I love the South. Try Barra in Rio, or Porto Alegre/Florianopolis/Blumenau in the south. Look at a list of best cities by Exame or Veja magazines. You can have the good and bad wherever you are. I once lived in a small city in Louisiana which was a TOTAL DUMP, then had to live in Norfolk which, aside from downtown, was architecturally hideous, and overall very depressing. I'm now in California and feel like I'm in a completely different country. My standard of living is a lot better in Cali and the urban landscape 100% different than that of Larose, LA.

More importantly, change your perspective.

Brazil

Amanda Torres

June 29th, 2011

O Brasil deveria ter mais com o que se preocupar! O povo, com um ar de "vingancinha", "despeito", pensa que está dando o troco nos EUA por pedir o visto para entrar no Brasil também! Não entendem que tamanha burocracia para entrar nos EUA, dá-se porque, nós, brasileiros, já somos estatisticamente mais de dois milhões de imigrantes ilegais nos Estados Unidos da América! Portanto, é natural que um país de primeiro mundo queira tentar barrar ou diminuir a possibilidade de imigrações ilegais em seu país. Se fosse o contrário, também faríamos a mesma coisa! Mas não temos condições decentes de saúde, educação, saneamento 'BÄSICO, emprego no nosso próprio país, então porque nos preocupar que um estrangeiro quisesse morar nessa porcaria??? Salvo raríssimas exceções! Por que eles não pedem visto para europeu? Porque europeu mora bem e não viaja pra imigrar! Por que pedem visto para brasileiros e outros países subdesenvolvidos? Porque MUUIIIITA gente vai como quem vai passear e fica pra morar! Simples! Não condeno os EUA! Morei lá e sei quantos brasileiros também moram na busca de uma vida melhor, que, diga-se de passagem, O seu próprio país-Brasil, não ^pode proporcionar com seus governantes corruptos enchendo a meia e as cuecas de dinheiro. Ao invés de nos unirmos a Cuba, Venezuela, Bolívia, Irã, deveríamos nos unir a quem presta, e diga-se de passagem, é casa para milhões de brasileiros que buscam uma vida digna! More primeiro nos EUA e volte pra cá p verem a merda que é o Brasil. Infelizmente, nasci aqui, só posso ficar aqui… pena.

Amanda Torres
Recife -PE
Brasil

Brazil

Christian of Brazil

July 3rd, 2011

@Mike from New York - You better read more the papers nowadays, my friend. There's no such a thing like 3rd world. Brazil is one of the richests countries in the world. We grew up 7.5% last year and our unemployment rate is now about 6%, while the US rate is almost 10%. Besides, our bank system is more modern then yours and also our health care is way better and 100% FREE. I lived LEGALLY in USA to improve my English skills for one year and I know what I am talking about. We also have immigration issues over here, but we have to keep our reciprocity policy with the rest of the world. You should wake up and see that US is not the center of the planet anymore. You guys are not the "big boss". Actually in a couple of years, the BRIC's countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) are going to exceed the G7 in 20 years. This four countries will be richer then the seven richest today. In 2050, they'll be TWICE RICHER. So, I am sorry but I hope we keep our visa need to americans.

@Amanda - Como podes dizer que o teu país é uma merda? Já citei vários dados acima. Também morei nos EUA e voltei pra cá, sim. Voltei feliz e certo de que estamos, hoje, em melhores condiçoes do que os países 'desenvolvidos'. É a nossa hora, o nosso momento. Empreendedores no Brasil ganham mais dinheiro que lá fora. Bem ou mal o SUS te oferece todos os tratamentos, de uma consulta a um transplante de rins. Nossa comida é mais barata e com mais qualidade. Aposto que nunca comias carne enquanto moraste nos EUA, pois sabes bem o preço que é. Por favor, te conscientiza que somos sim um excelente país e que somente quando nós, brasileiros, perdemos nosso sentimento de escória do mundo é que seremos, de fato, grandes.

The United States

Jon

July 31st, 2011

Illegals in America:

I actually know Brazilians who have moved to the US under tourist or temporary work visas, and they are still here today. Now that I live in Miami, I would not be shocked to meet more illegal South Americans (I'm at 5 already in my first two months here).

The claim by one person for Brazil is that the economy is doing well and so forth, but the actuality is that the growth is irrelevant when you look at a per capita basis. Most of Brazil makes less than 7000 USD per year. In order for Brazil to get to the US per capita of 48000 in 2010, wages would need to grow at 7.5% annually (no more currency defaults like in 2000 and must grow in real terms) for around 27 years straight. The math is 7000 * (1.075^27)~48000. By 2038 time, the US will probably be above 75000 per capita (2% growth per year) and Brazilians will still want to move here illegally.

Now that I am getting on a plane to go to Brazil for business to look to invest over $100 million in that economy over the next 2 years, I will be super thrilled to go stand in line and wait 5 days for a visa with no expedite fee available. I would gladly show my big bank accounts and other information if they had an expedite form or system.

In addition to this red tape, you should look at how crazy airline taxes are to fly to Brazil versus Peru from the US, likewise look at flying to Brazil through a third country such as Chile and how much that saves in taxes on your ticket. This red tape coupled with extreme income disparity issues in Brazil (high Gini coefficient for those who are technical) mean that Brazil is shooting themselves in the foot, but their natural wealth saves them from bleeding to death. As a comparison China is now very easy to get visas and it is next day for less money than a Brazilian visa, and you can pay in cash in the consulate in HK in dollars. India's visa application is all online and by mail for less than 50 dollars.

All poor countries (per capita) should remember these numbers when they get annoying about visas.

In any case, I'm looking forward to country number 70, and I hope that Brazil is worth the trouble my company puts into it.

The United States

Russell G.

September 15th, 2011

The US *and* Brazilian governments are both wrong-headed on the tourist visa issue.
I'm sorry that the US government (*not* the people) treats international tourists so badly, but that's no excuse for other countries to punish ordinary US citizens who want to travel (and *spend their money*) overseas.
I won't travel to any countries that require a tourist visa in advance. I applaud Colombia, Peru, and Uruguay for not engaging in this silliness!

Argentina

Anonymous

December 7th, 2012

Unfortunately, the more difficult a country makes it for someone to visit it, not only do they lose more money that they could've made through tourism, but they also lose money from people who want to invest money into the country (not nececssarily move there).

Also, Americans who have passports and travel tend to have passports and travel because they don't like the United States (or at least don't have the "we're the besterest in da world" mentality that most Americans, especially the ones that write and enfore the laws, have).

Reciprocity is sort of like targeting a slave owner's runaway slave because the slave owner decided to make everyone that visited his house (or plantation) do some preposterous thing or other (like wear chains or something).

It's just ridiculous, and counter productive. It's horrible. But, well, being as it's not very intelligent, I suppose that's what makes it a human thing to do… :-p

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