Travel To Brazil Without A Visa This Year

Visas can represent a big barrier to travel, especially for someone just making a quick trip. They can be costly, time consuming, and often mean you’ll be without your passport for some not-insignificant amount of time (though there are great visa services like Allied Passport which make the process easier).

Brazil is one of those countries which has a rather frustrating visa process for US citizens. While some other countries in South America just charge reciprocity fees (basically they take your money as you arrive at immigration), Brazil actually requires US citizens to obtain a visa in advance. Fortunately I also have a German passport, and Germans can travel to Brazil without a visa.

If you want to travel to Brazil but don’t want to get a visa, there’s some good news, via Reuters. Citizens of the United States, Japan, Australia, and Canada won’t need a visa to visit Brazil between June 1 and September 18, 2016.

Passport

This is valid for visits of up to 90 days, and it coincides with the Brazil Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, which kick off on August 5, 2016. I suspect there are two motives for this visa waiver:

  • Brazil wants to boost tourism given how much the country is struggling, and they think loosening the visa requirement will help with that
  • Brazil recognizes that wait times at consulates will be insane leading up to the Olympics, and wants to do what they can to reduce their workload and hopefully make the experience as painless as possible for visitors

My hope is that long term they’ll realize the upside to not creating these barriers to tourism. I understand a lot of this is reciprocal and a tit-for-tat policy, though the reality is that they’d generate considerably more revenue through tourism if they loosened these requirements. This doesn’t seem to be a safety issue (unless they consider Americans to be considerably higher risk than EU citizens), but rather just an issue of reciprocity.

Sao-Paulo
Sao Paulo, Brail from above

Bottom line

While I can personally enter Brazil without a visa thanks to my German passport, I’m still excited about this. Admittedly this waiver is during Southern Winter, so it’s not the ideal time to visit. That’s especially true since if you’re just going as a tourist and not for the Olympics, the country will already be packed. Still, my hope is that this is the start of some long-term visa waivers, given their struggling economy.

Has the need to get a visa been a barrier for you to visit Brazil?

(Tip of the hat to The Points Guy)

Comments

  1. “My hope is that long term they’ll realize the upside to not creating these barriers to tourism.”

    Brasília bureaucratics don’t get that, unfortunately they are too busy doing wrong moves to the country. While the Brazilian law requires reciprocity, they could at least facilitate the process and issue online, as Australian visa system.

  2. I had to get mine updated a few months ago for a trip to S.P. as I recently had to replace my passport. I forgot what a frustrating and annoying process it is. And I live in DC a few blocks from the Consulate! The website is confusing, the wait is absurd, and everything is so old school (like the need for a postal money order, lol). While people would hail eliminating it all together I highly doubt it will happen given the archaic Brazil bureaucracy. As a one of my Brazilian colleagues says about it…”we choose to be happy to spite our government.”

  3. “My hope is that long term they’ll realize the upside to not creating these barriers to tourism.” Sorry Lucky but this is called reciprocity. The US does the same for Brazilian citizens so unless the US drops visa requirements for Brazilians this policy will continue. Also, it is a money making for a corrupt Government and a way to justify so many people employed in consulates all over the world. As for Brazil it is a great time to visit since the country is struggling with its economy and the worst and most corrupt Government of all time. The Brazilian currency is going downhill and it is very cheap to visit the country if you have USD or EUR. Problem is that during the Olympics all prices will be inflated and local hotels and businesses will try to take advantage of the event.

  4. You can also bring a Brazilian woman back to the us if you can get Bob menendez to plead for via waiver for you/friend.

  5. Right now, Brazil don’t ask for a visa to Mexicans citizens, they put a visa several years ago, but they removed to increase the tourism between them. I don’t understand why they ask for a visa to americans if they have a better economy. Hope visit Brazil soon, well after the Olympic Games to avoid the high prices on everything.

  6. I was actually surprised Brazil opted to do this, given their need for $$$ at the moment. When I applied for my Brazilian tourist visa back in 2011, it was an easy process that took a week. I paid my $160 and received my 10-year multiple entry tourist visa, which I think is a great deal.
    The Olympics is not cheap and people (especially from USA/Canada) who are going to the Olympics most likely can afford the visa fees. I personally think Brazil lost out on easy money here. Having gone to Sochi 2014 and Beijing 2008, both Russia and China required visas for US passport holders and I didn’t think it was a hassle at all to get them. For those who went to the World Cup in 2014, most if not all already have Brazilian tourist visas.
    For people who plan in advance, this shouldn’t be an issue. For those who book tickets last minute, however, the visa would be an issue and Brazil definitely helped them out by the visa-waiver program this summer (southern winter).

  7. Brazil, will not be packed during the Olympics – only Rio will be. That is a great opportunity to come here, as the country is very cheap for those holding strong currencies.

  8. I’ve long wanted to go to Brazil, but I’m simply not going to pay a visa reciprocity fee. America can get away with charging all sorts of fees and making people jump through all sorts of hoops…because it’s America (and even then, I’m sure there would be way more tourism $$$ if we didn’t have the hoops).

    The US isn’t going to ease requirements for Brazilians because Brazil makes it more difficult for Americans to visit. That’s foolish thinking. All it does is keep people like me out.

  9. @Joey: They are not doing this because they want to be nice and not charge a $160 fee for a piece of paper. They are doing this because they have no resources in their Consulates and Embassies to handle the number of visas they believe will be requested. Simple as that. The Brazilian Consulates and Embassies are a “zoo” and people working there have no desire to make people’s life any easier. Trust me, for your sanity you don’t want to go to the process of getting a visa to go to Brazil. You better pay a company to do the process for you.

  10. @preston: If paying $160 for a 10 year visa to Brazil is a big financial issue for you, you probably should not travel anywhere. I am sure Brazil will not miss your visit.

  11. I presume some of us that travelled to Brazil for the World Cup took advantage of the free tourist visa if u had tickets to a game. Those expired in 2014.

  12. $160 might sound like small money for some people, but when you look at a family of 4, that’s $640 in visa fees. $640 could easily be 2-4 extra nights in a hotel at another destination, so people look at going to Brazil vs. going to Costa Rica, the UK, Portugal, and other places that don’t require the advance visa and may pick them over Brazil.

  13. I hope Argentina and it’s new president will soon lift the “reciprocity fee” for Canadians & US citizens too…would make for an ideal summer vacation trip to Argentina & Brasil for the Olympics…

  14. Imagine how much $640 feels like to a family of 4 from Brazil, Argentina, China, India… Nothing wrong with reciprocity fees. Only people I see complain about visa fees are Americans and Europeans who don’t need visas for most countries in the world. Try traveling on an African or Asian passport. I’ve always paid visa fees – whether $20 or $100 – it didn’t stop me from visiting a country I wanted to. And if I could travel visa free even better!

  15. @ _ar

    “Imagine how much $640 feels like to a family of 4 from Brazil, Argentina, China, India… Nothing wrong with reciprocity fees.”

    And what do folks from Brazil, Argentina, China, India and elsewhere get for their $160? They get a visa processed – you know, the review of whether the applicant should be permitted to enter the country. Reciprocity fees do not in any way provide for such a service, as for example, Argentina performs no such evaluation of an American visitor. And apparently China and India believe Americans must be vetted, as I have paid for visas to visit those countries – but the fee was determined independent of what the State Department charges for a US visa.

    I am glad that the South American countries trending to giving up on these petulant extractions.

  16. @jfhscott: Do you know how much the US charges a Brazilian for a tourist visa to visit the US? $160!!!!! Does that ring a bell? Brazil just follows what the US does to their citizens. FYI, $160 is almost equal to the monthly minimum wage in Brazil.

  17. People just need to think outside their realities for a little bit.

    Ever heard the word ” R E C I P R O C I T Y”?
    That’s what Brazil does, because a brazilian citizen must pay this fee in order to get an US visa. We have to make two appointments in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia or other capital city. One to get our fingertips and photo collected and other to get interviewed. And people, let me tell you something: there are more cities outside these big and more renowned ones (try Google Maps! 🙂 ) ! Which means that we have to go to these cities, stay at least two days to get a visa to visit USA. It is not simple at all!

    About improving tourism. It’s sad to say, but I long for the day that Brazil really starts to care more about tourism improving local economics, really.

  18. @jfhscott: So you object to not being vetted for $160 by Brazil? Otherwise you’d pay?

    We charge Brazilians $160 to enter the country – and charge Singaporeans $0.

    What Brazil is saying – if you are charging $160 to our citizens, we will charge your citizens $160 as well. Period. Nothing wrong with that – just don’t go to Brazil. There’s always Singapore.

    It’s not so much what the money is used for – The US has determined it doesn’t need to vet Singaporeans but it does Brazilians. That’s a sovereign choice. So it is with Brazil’s right for reciprocity fees.

  19. @Pafunco nowhere did I say it was a financial issue. it’s the principle of the reciprocity fee. I hate the idea, and I’m not going to reward them for having it.

  20. I have never been and it is cause I don’t want to bother with a visa. Too many other great destinations where I’m good to go. I considered the olympics for 10 minutes the other day, but decided. 1. I don’t like crowds 2. Visa issue. I’m headed down under 2016.

  21. @Santastico, then Brazil could have hired more employees in their consulates/embassies to help the demand! 😉 Besides, the applicants are paying $160 per application! That’s a lot of money especially if the monthly minimum wage for Brazilians is roughly $160.
    For the US side, I understand the need for a fee like $160 since that money goes to pay people to research the applicant’s background to ensure he/she won’t overstay the visa nor will be a danger to the American people. For Brazil and other countries that institute a reciprocity fee, some may do the same background research but at times I feel they just collect the fee and give you the visa.
    One thing I wish the US did is refund the $160 back if the visa application is denied, but hey life ain’t fair. 🙁

  22. I’ve been to Brazil two times while I had a 5 year visa while I was younger. I sent the visa application through an agency and it was still a pain in the butt. I know the US does the same for most countries and even a bigger pain that a lot of them need to physically visit the consulate for an interview. But, I must say, I loathe at having to give up my passport for several days or even weeks and I have just passed on going to Brazil. It’s too much of a pain, so I have just gone to other countries such as Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, which in my opinion are just as nice, if not more interesting than Brazil. But I will return one day, as Brazil is an awesome country!

  23. sadly this article – written by Ricardo Freire, a specialized travel adviser – is only in portuguese. but google translate might help: it’s about the nonsense that is Brazil, a country that could benefit imensely from international tourism, institute reciprocity on visa terms.

    i changed my mind about this matter after reading this. Brazil should get rid of demanding visas for americans, canadians, aussies and japanese alltogether – or we’re gonna still be having less tourists than Cancun

    http://www.viajenaviagem.com/2016/01/dispensa-visto-olimpiadas

  24. Reciprocity is about *DIGNITY* of a country – If your country regards my people as consisiting of mostly potential dirtbags, to be screened thoroughly, and interrogated with demeaning questions face-to-face before you grudgingly let my people in… well, that’s how my country is going to treat your people too: that is, your people are to be regarded as mostly dirtbags too (even if in reality, we know they are not), to be screened thoroughly (even if in reality, no screening is done!)…..

    @Chico Luz,
    please have some pride and dignity. They are more important than tourist money

    @jfhscott
    You were factually wrong when you wrote: “And apparently China and India believe Americans must be vetted… but the fee was determined independent of what the State Department charges for a US visa.” Nothing is further from the truth! Not only is China’s visa fee dependent on what the State Department charges, China also differentiates between Americans and other nationalities! Americans pay $100+ to get a Chinese visa, because that’s how much USA wants Chinese citizens to cough up. Other nationalities pays <$50 (go find out the exact figure yourself) because that's how other countries welcome Chinese citizens. And for countries who give Chinese citizens visa-free access (which means many Asia countries who are hungry for Chinese tourists), China also give citizens of such countries reciprocal visa-free access. Of course, such *DIGNITY* cannot be exactly tit-for-tat, since money does makes the world goes round. So, for example, China has been giving visa-free access to many Asia countries, long before these countries reciprocate. But within limits, such *DIGNITY* is important.

    Some people here really think their money is such a big deal. The DYKWIA syndrome? I say: shove your money up your a**. Your tourist $$ does not offset completely the condescending, demeaning way your country characterizes my people, and so, we are going to reciprocate and treat your people accordingly too, at least as far as visa fee is concerned…

  25. this is the best time to visit Brazil in over 10 years, even if you have to pay for the visa. You can get a flight in February for $500 (or less) which is still Sumer here and with real at 4-1 everything is reasonable at worst to outright cheap at best. Get a few of your single buds together, pony up for a premium tndr accounts and head down for some of the easiest pickin’s on the planet.

  26. @ john, you sound like your feelings are hurt, your DIGNITY. Truth is Brazilians constitute a bigger threat than vice versa. Deal with it. You sound like a child: I will not share my candy if you do not share yours.

  27. @john: dignitgy and pride means a lot personally. but go tell the guys who sell stuff at the northeast beaches and cities that the ‘nation’s dignity’ is more important than foreign tourists buying stuff and helping they raise their incomes.

  28. After reading the reviews I found interesting as some have shown a negative view of Brazil when we Brazilians have to pay $ 175 for an interview at the US Consulate, who are in only a small number of cities and unevenly distributed in the country. Still we Brazilians have the United States as favorite international destination, which include myself where we are the fifth largest source of tourists and withdraw Canada and Mexico that by various factors such as proximity send more tourists, we are third, and also highlight terms in relation to expenses. So, if we even paying for a visa to the United States we will continue to go, so why Americans can not also pay a fee?

    Finally, we should have had visa-free to both parties before the 2014 World Cup, since negotiations were advanced, and the US as I made clear earlier, is the most interested in the end of the visas, but then there was Edward Snowden and everything was suspended.

  29. Reciprocity fees are logical and reasonable act. It is true that there may be more foreigners overstaying in the US etc. than the other way around. However, normally everyone should be considered innocent until proven guilty. But not when entering the US. Here you have to prove that you are innocent (that is official policy) and even pay for it.
    When US citizens visit the other countries then they sometimes have to pay, but they don’t have to prove they are innocent. So we don’t even have parity.
    Most EU citizens were supposed to be able to travel to the US under the visa waver scheeme, but it does not work i reality I would argue. You have to get an ESTA authorisation, where you have to give all the info you would normally in a visum application. And you have to pay a fee. Admittedly it is not called a visa fee (it is supposed to pay for the marketing of the US as a tourist destination), but there is no way of entering without paying it. So can someone tell me the difference from a electronic visa which requires an application and a payment?
    The only way to make this stop is by applying reciprocity ruthlessly, until the system becomes so ridiculous that it fails.

  30. We are travelling to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from July 12,2016 to July 20, 2016 as tourists. Do we need anything to show we are tourists & do not need a visa at this time? Do we just show up with our passports? We will be travelling with 2 grandchildren ( ages 12 & 15). Please help me with what documents we will need to enter the country. Many thanks, Mary Taylor

  31. I am planning on going to Brazil for the Olympic games, and it is clear that I do not need a visa.. But do I just show up that the airport with only my passport or do I need anything else?

  32. Of course I would rather not have to get one, but it was simple to get the visa.
    I walked into the Chicago consulate on a Thursday morning, dropped off our info, then picked up our passports and visas on Monday.
    This was in early 2014 and we have been to Brazil 4 times already. We plan many more visits.

  33. Brazil is a dirty shithole. Unfortunately, the country is corrupt, polluted, and filled with crime.

    If this hellhole of a nation was to actually open its doors and allow the world to see itself without the punitive visa requirements; maybe it will be seen in a better light. The US is just protecting itself from a nation of scumbags, asshats, and criminals.

  34. Question: I am planning to travel twice to Brazil in June 2016. I understand that I do not need a VISA during this time. Does anyone know if there is a limitation if I go Brazil twice in June. 1) For 4 days in June, on June 2 for a long weekend tourist visit to take advantage of using airline miles, and, 2) again on June 29th to visit friends as a tourist? I know there is a tourist VISA waiver in effect during this time, not sure if I need to do anything else. Each time I email the Brazilian Consulate Miami, they keep directing me back to their website. Any feedback is appreciated.

  35. After doing business in Brasil nothing surprises me. They go out of their way to be overly bureaucratic and obstruct any commerce. I think the accountants guild just voted their tax code the most complex in the world.
    Given the low fares, temporary waiver and the current exchange rate my advice is to go down there, stay in a nice hotel, drink yourself silly and shag as many birds as possible.

  36. As a minor , since not needing visa , is it needed a parental consent ? Once holds an American passport , going to Brasil ? Does anyone knows ?

  37. I really want to encourage those seeking for a quick visa to travel here to USA AND CANADA never to give up hope.,I got mine visa easily with the help of mr thomas smith , a canadian immigration consult officer who assisted me with my visa application,and I got my visa in not less than two weeks, right now i’m in toronto canada and currently work at an automobile firm,, If you are out there and need help in acquiring a fast visa you can contact him on his email: ( cicheadquaters@gmail.com ) for assistance and directives

  38. I’m wondering if I I’m traveling in South America and I go to Peru first, get my passport stamped in Peru, do I still need a visa to go into Brazil or will my Peruvian stamp allow me entrance to the country?

  39. Hi,
    I have a similar situation: I will be traveling to Argentina in June 2017 returning form Brazil,
    I have dual citizenship French/US.
    Will the US airline that I am using to get to Argentina let me fly without a Brazilian visa if I show them my French passport?
    I would really appreciate some help !
    Thank you

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