How to Obtain a Brazil Tourist Visa Quickly
Brazil Visa Waiver for Rio 2016 Summer Olympics
Government of Brazil has announced that US, Canada, Australia and Japan citizens do not need visas to travel to Brazil for TOURISM purposes between June 1, 2016 and September 15, 2016. Please enjoy the Olympics. Normally, Brazil visa for USA citizens is $160.
Reading Your Visa
How to Apply for a Brazil Visa
Each day, I get asked, "How do I get Brazil visa quickly?" Well, there is no easy answer. The Brazilian government follows a reciprocity policy in their foreign diplomacy. In other words, it means that they make the process of obtaining visas for US citizens as hard as it is for Brazilians to get US visas. But, what does it mean for an average US citizen who has decided to explore this amazing country in Southern hemisphere?
Here's the crucial four-step process:
- Where? There are 10 Brazilian consulates in the US. Each issues visas to citizens from certain states. For example, if you live in Florida, you have to apply with the consulate in Miami. If you are in Houston and want to apply there, you will not be able to, because the consulate in Houston does not have jurisdiction over residents for Miami. See the list of consulates below in this article.
- How long does it take? After you establish which consulate to use, you'll need to know how long the application process takes. Please don't make any ticket purchases until you figure out processing times. Over 80% of people applying make this mistake, only to end up panicking. So how long does it take? For some, it is easier than others and will vary by the consulate. For example, in Houston is happens as quickly as in the same day, whereas if you're in the San Francisco jurisdiction, it could take up to three weeks. If you are in a time crunch, a professional visa expediting agency could help you, as they may have special relationships with various consulates and can help override the barrier to help quicken the process.
- How do you submit the visa? After you have applied and received the documents, submitting it is the last step and it may be an arduous task. Most consulates require either personal delivery or via third party. You yourself can't just mail the documents and expect them to come back in the mail. Check with your local jurisdiction, as this requirement also varies. (For example, Atlanta allows you to mail paperwork directly to them, but Los Angeles or San Francisco do not!)
- Read the requirements carefully. Fourth, you need to read each visa requirement very closely. If you miss any, the process could be delayed. Here are all the requirements and what to pay attention to:
- Your US Passport. You must mail in your US passport. You can not mail a copy! Your passport must be valid 6 months beyond your return from Brazil. If it is not, you must renew it first. Also, many people have their passports for a few years, but fail to sign them! Make sure yours is signed. The Brazil consulate will not accept your documents otherwise. Also, if your passport is full of stamps, make sure you have at least two "visa" designated pages blank before applying for Brazil.
- One passport-style photo. Make sure you use a professional-looking and quality 2x2 photo. Do not attempt to take your own and use it for the visa, a low quality photo will only prolong the process.
- Online Brazil visa application: Each applicant must complete an online application. After it is completed, print the one page confirmation sheet, which will contain a 12-digit protocol number (e.g. 120202-000068). It will have two squares, one for the photo and one fora signature. Please glue or tape the photo over photo square. Don't staple it! Then, sign in the signature box — not outside of it, through it, or below it, but exactly inside of. Sign it correctly, as this is one of the most common mistakes people make.
- Copy of your driver's license. This is the main document that decides which consulate you have to apply with. If you do not have driver's license, a major utility bill (e.g. gas, power, garbage removal) can also be used to establish your residence address. Do not include your original license, as a copy is sufficient. After all, you want to keep it to be able to drive.
- Travel itinerary. This is the most misunderstood requirement. You do not have to purchase the ticket, but need just a travel reservation of your itinerary. If you use Orbitz to buy tickets, then yes, you have to purchase it to have an itinerary. However, if you use travel agent, they can make a reservation for you and hold it. So, a print out of that itinerary will work for your application. It should show entry to and from Brazil. If you fly to Argentina and then enter Brazil by fee near Iguassu Falls, you must write a statement explaining this. Basically, you need to show your trip schedule from your home to Brazil, and then back home.
- Consular fee payment: The Brazil consulate accepts only USPS money orders as form of payment! No exception will be made. US citizens pay $140 for for a Brazil visa if applied in person or $160 if they use their relative or a visa expediter. (The extra $20 is a so-called "absentee" fee.) The good thing about using a visa expediting professional is that they purchase the money order for you so you don't have to wait in lines at the postal office.
The above requirements are essentials for all applicants, but there are additional ones for residents of certain states:
- A copy of your birth certificate is required for residents of the Miami consulate jurisdiction
- A copy of your last three paychecks or bank statements is required for residents of Atlanta, Miami, Los Angeles (over 30 day stays), Chicago (over 30 day stays) consulates.
- A personal statement explaining the purpose your trip is required for residents of Miami and Chicago (for stays over 30 days).
- A visa for a minor is the hardest to obtain. Parents are required to provide notarized consent to travel to Brazil for a child, even if they travel together. They need to provide a birth certificate, certain vaccinations, and so forth. This topic can be a separate article and I will be glad to cover it in the future.
This covers about 99% of all requirements, but each traveler might be asked for additional documentation. People born in Brazil cannot travel to Brazil with their US passport, and they must obtain Brazilian passport or officially renounce their Brazilian citizenship, for example.
So, you've gotten all requirements, let see where to mail and how long to expect the process to last:
Brazil Consular Jurisdictions
- Atlanta, Georgia: 3500 Lenox Road, Suite 800, Atlanta, GA 30326
Assists residents from states of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee.
- Boston, Massachusetts: 20 Park Plaza, Suite 810, Boston, MA 02116
Assists residents from states of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.
- Chicago, Illinois: 401 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 1850
Chicago, IL 60611. Assists residents from states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
- Hartford, Connecticut: Constitution Plaza Hartford, Connecticut 06103. Assists residents from states of Connecticut and Rhode Island.
- Houston, Texas: 1233 West Loop South Park Tower North, Suite 1150 Houston, TX 77027. Assists residents from states of Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.
- Los Angeles, California: 484 Wilshire Blvd., Suites 711/730, Beverly Hills, CA 90211. Assists residents from states of Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and in California, the counties of Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura.
- Miami, Florida: 80 SW 8th Street, Suite 2600, Miami, FL 33130-3004. Assists residents from states of Florida, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.
- New York, New York: 1185 Avenue of the Americas (Sixth Avenue), 21st Floor New York, NY 10036. Assists residents from statesof New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and the Bermuda Islands.
- San Francisco, California: 300 Montgomery Street, Suite 300
San Francisco, CA, 94104. Assists residents from states of Oregon, Washington, Alaska and in the state of California, the counties of Alameda, Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Contra Costa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Fresno, Glenn, Humboldt, Inyo, Kings, Lake, Lassen, Madera, Marin, Mariposa, Mendocino, Merced, Modoc, Mono, Monterey, Napa, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Benito, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Tuolumne, Yolo, and Yuba.
- Washington, DC: 1030 15th Street, N.W.
Washington , D.C. 20005. Assists residents from statesof District of Columbia, states of Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and North American bases (excepting Guam).
If you decide to do it yourself, please find out which consulate accepts mailed-in applications and which required in-person appearance. If they allow mailing your application, you must send it by US Express Mail only and include a self-addressed prepaid return air bill. If you have to apply in person, you may require to make an appointment. Here again, third party visa specialists can be invaluable. For $49 to $249, you can get your visa expedited, inspected, and granted quickly. They also allow you to stay at your work and not take day-off.
Average Processing Times:
For your convenience, below are the average processing times for each consulate. These are approximations only and based on our experience. During peak times from Thanksgiving to New Years and from President's day to Brazil Carnival, they might be double or triple:
- Atlanta: about 10 working days
- Boston: about 10 working days
- Chicago: about 10-12 working days
- Hartford: about 5-15 working days
- Houston: about 5 working days
- Los Angeles: about 10-15 working days
- Miami: about 40 working days
- New York: about 10 working days
- San Francisco: about 5 working days (requires appointment which may not be available for weeks)
- Washington, DC: about 5-10 working days
One good thing about this visa is that it will last for 10 years. So, you have to go through this painful process only once every decade. Of course, consulates may grant visa for shorter validity, but it is not a common thing.
I hope you will find this useful when preparing for your trip to Brazil or South America in general. I welcome any questions or comments!