If you are an American citizen planning a trip to Brazil, or perhaps interested in visiting at some point in the future, be aware that beginning October 1st, 2023, the Brazilian tourist visa – known as a Visitor Visa, or VIVIS, for regular passport holders – will have some changes made to its requirements.
Since 2019, citizens of the United States, Japan, Canada, and Australia have been able to visit the country without the need for a tourist visa. This measure had initially aimed to stimulate tourism in Brazil; unfortunately, this concession was made unilaterally, as these countries did not reciprocate by granting visa exemptions in return to Brazilian citizens who likewise wished to visit their territories. Because of this, as of October 1st, the tourist visa will once again be mandatory for citizens of these countries who wish to visit Brazil.
Understanding this Change
The decision to no longer exempt these countries from using a tourist visa was made by Brazil’s current administration. Explaining its decision, they cited several reasons, including a lack of reciprocal respect (a fundamental principle of International Law which proposes that relationships between sovereign countries should exist in a coordinated manner); the ability for Brazil to wield such a concession as a future bargaining chip in foreign negotiations (the availability of which contributes to ensuring that Brazil does not find itself at a disadvantage in such negotiations); the renewed ability to negotiate and guarantee benefits for Brazilians in any possible future exemptions from visa requirements with these countries; and finally – perhaps most importantly – the lack of any real, concrete results towards the goals which first drove the establishment of an exemption back in 2019.
According to research conducted by the current Brazilian administration, in addition to a lack of any identifiable economic benefits generated from the visa exemption, there was an overall net decrease in tourism with certain nationalities, including the Japanese.
On the other hand, some experts and similar professionals working in tourism argue in favor of maintaining the exemption, holding that the principle of reciprocity does not apply within the tourist sector, and further claiming that the 2019 visa exemption has not had nearly sufficient time to fully demonstrate its advantages given the heavily restrictive context of the last several years brought on by the pandemic.
All the same, the decision has now been made, and for now, anyone intending to visit Brazil will once again need to plan for the additional step of obtaining their visa to legally enter the country.
Considering that this is not actually a new visa but rather a reinstatement of the previously established VIVIS, Brazilian tourist visas will maintain their original 5-year validity. As before, the period for a single, continuous stay will be capped at an initial 90 days, which can then be extended for an additional 180 days – a maximum potential stays of 270 days.
The general fee for a Brazilian tourist visa is $80 BRL (Brazilian Reais). Consular fees may vary, however, depending on the fluctuating exchange rates within their respective jurisdictions and locations, so it is always essential to monitor current rates as you plan your travel.
Unfortunately, the process of obtaining a visa tends to be somewhat bureaucratic. In addition to filling out a generic visa application, you are required to schedule an appointment with the nearest Brazilian consulate, at which time you will need to appear in person along with a specific checklist of required documents.
The good news is that a consultancy service can help you simplify this process considerably, allowing you to circumvent these unplanned inconveniences and affording you even more time to focus on organizing your actual plans and making the most of your time in Brazil.
If you need to obtain a VIVIS but would prefer to obtain it through a speedy, reliable alternative, or you simply want a bit more information on the matter, contact our office at [email protected] Likewise, if you know anyone who plans to travel to Brazil after October 1st and will be affected by this change, be sure to give them a heads up!