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Brazil Visa Application process


beege1936

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Though not a new cruiser, this trip is the first where I had to apply for my own visa. After reading about the procedure on the Brazilian Consulate site and researching the cost I was very upset and even wrote to the cruise line who wasn't helpful. We will be at the port for 9 hours and the minimum cost for this visa is $130.... $14+ per hour in port.... per person! And considerably more if one must use a visa service!

 

I decided to go to the consulate in San Francisco personally. I'm lucky, I live in Vegas but have children in San Francisco where the consulate will only accept applications IN PERSON (you can act as agent for friends or relatives) or from visa agents. But they will return the passport with visa stamp by mail. Not all consulate locations will mail the passport back.

 

The visa stamp expires 90 days from the date of issue so you must carefully count the days prior to application. To allow for some 'slack' we did the application process on the 87th day. Go on line to the place specified and fill in the form; you'll be able to print out a bar coded receipt then put the photo on and sign prior to going to the office.

 

Having read 'horror stories' on CC about the office, I got to the location in the center of the San Fraqncisco financial district 40 minutes before the opening of this office. First it was necessary to park and with virtually no street parking cost $3.00 for each 15 minutes! Even though I got to the office very early, there were 19 people ahead of me and it eventually too us almost 3 hours to get taken, parking was $27.50.... the maximum would have been $30.00.

 

A waiting room is provided; bring a book to occupy time. And do not bring coffee, etc. They will ask you to discard it. Be certain to follow the instructions EXACTLY! Three of the people ahead of us had not and after all the waiting were turned away. For a mail return, one had an improper enverlope...ONLY United States Post Office Express Mail envelope with postage is acceptable (postage $17.50 as of 9-17-09). The other two had bank money orders rather that the required U.S.P.S. MONEY ORDERS.

 

The staff was reasonably pleasant and once we got to the application window were there only for a few minutes....yes, I said 'window'...only one window was handling visa applications.

 

Net result...we hope to get our passports with the visa in about two weeks.

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We just had the same debate! Do we go to Miami and do it in person or use the VISA service! We are on a land tour that goes to Iguassu Falls for 2 nights. We stay on the Argentinian side; however the magnificent views from the Brazil side and the bird park on the Brazil side convinced us we had to spend a few hours in Brazil.

 

We decided to use the visa service in Virginia recommended by our tour operator. It is $180 per person. We figured we're probably not going to go there again ever, so we want to see it all the first time! Just chalk it up to extra costs!

 

Glad you finally got through the SF experience! We wish you a GREAT trip and hope the Brazil visit was worth the hassle!

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The Brazilian government has very stringent rules and regulations related to visas. You need to have a minimum of 30 days prior to your trip and you need to follow the rules to the letter. There have been many disappointed travelers, both business and leisure, that have been turned away at the airport because they did not have a Brazil visa. Hopefully it will all be worth it once you get there and enjoy the local Brazilian culture.

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Though not a new cruiser, this trip is the first where I had to apply for my own visa. After reading about the procedure on the Brazilian Consulate site and researching the cost I was very upset and even wrote to the cruise line who wasn't helpful. We will be at the port for 9 hours and the minimum cost for this visa is $130.... $14+ per hour in port.... per person! And considerably more if one must use a visa service!

 

 

So, bottom line, did you REALLY save any money traveling from Las Vegas to San Francisco, paying for parking, paying for return passport/visa, sitting for three hours rather than using a visa service??? Probably not. I know I can't save any money getting Chinese/Vietnam visas unless I am in Los Angeles (and I live closer to LA than you do to SF).

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..you just sealed the deal..no Brazil for me...
Hey Captain Canuck, don't give up! You may be able to get a Transit Visa for Brazil for only CAD$28. Alberta is covered under the Brazilian Consulate in Vancouver which offers a Transit Visa (not all jurisdictions do). It may be worth checking out, especially if your pre or post stay in Brazil is 10 days or less. It sure worked for us.

 

http://consbrasvancouver.org/transit_visa.html

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So, bottom line, did you REALLY save any money traveling from Las Vegas to San Francisco, paying for parking, paying for return passport/visa, sitting for three hours rather than using a visa service??? Probably not. I know I can't save any money getting Chinese/Vietnam visas unless I am in Los Angeles (and I live closer to LA than you do to SF).

 

 

You didn't notice that I was going to San Francisco anyway....to visit my grandkids. The time? I'm retired and it was an interesting experience!

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It's interesting that the various Brazilian consuls do not have the same procedures. I'm getting ready to get my visa (at least I'll be in Brazil for 4 1/2 days - not just hours!), and the consul here in Houston requires that you make the original application over the internet. Then you are assigned an appointment time when you have to take everything into their office. The fee is the same ($130 - USPS money order only). Hope it won't be a problem! Also, I've got to get the yellow fever shot and the cheapest I can find it is $165. Getting to be an expensive trip!

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"You need to have a minimum of 30 days prior to your trip ..."

Note that this probably is a condition at the Consulate where you applied, in order to give them the time they feel they need to process the visa, but not at all of the Consulates.

 

Also, Texas Tillie, note that a Yellow Fever shot is needed for only very few parts of Brazil as protection from the disease. The other reason to get it is to enter certain countries from another country which has an outbreak of the disease, more of a bureaucratic issue than a health one.

In many trips in and out of Brazil (by plane), I have never been asked for my certificate, either entering Brazil from the U.S. or entering the U.S. from Brazil.

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"You need to have a minimum of 30 days prior to your trip ..."

Note that this probably is a condition at the Consulate where you applied, in order to give them the time they feel they need to process the visa, but not at all of the Consulates.

 

Also, Texas Tillie, note that a Yellow Fever shot is needed for only very few parts of Brazil as protection from the disease. The other reason to get it is to enter certain countries from another country which has an outbreak of the disease, more of a bureaucratic issue than a health one.

In many trips in and out of Brazil (by plane), I have never been asked for my certificate, either entering Brazil from the U.S. or entering the U.S. from Brazil.

 

My cruise is up the Amazon, ending in Manaus. My cruiseline (Crystal) has informed us that we absolutely won't be able to board in Miami without the original yellow fever shot certificate. No way out!

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Everything that Texas Tillie said is correct.

 

Crystal is one of the cruise lines that is very good about letting the passengers know whether or not a yellow fever shot is required. They will let the passengers know specifically which countries requre them following a visit to places such as Brazil.

 

If a yellow fever vaccination is required, Crystal will require a fax'd copy of the yellow fever certificate before they will issue the pre cruise documents and then at the pier they will require the original certificate.

 

Keith

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Crystal is one of the cruise lines that is very good about letting the passengers know whether or not a yellow fever shot is required. They will let the passengers know specifically which countries requre them following a visit to places such as Brazil.
HAL also will notify pax of any immunizations that are mandatory for entrance into specific countries on the cruise. For our South America voyage, we received notification from HAL (thru our TA) that YF immunization was mandatory for our sailing. HAL verifies documents at check-in & pax will be denied boarding the ship unless they have evidence of satisfying any mandatory requirements.

 

There may be other recommended or precautionary measures that pax should consider before traveling to certain areas. HAL does not routinely advise on these. Info can be obtained at a Travel Medicine Center or the CDC site. We always make sure that our yellow card International Certificates of Vaccination are current before we do any off-the-beaten-track travel, whether by land or sea.

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We just had the same debate! Do we go to Miami and do it in person or use the VISA service!

 

We decided to use the visa service in Virginia recommended by our tour operator. It is $180 per person. We figured we're probably not going to go there again ever, so we want to see it all the first time! Just chalk it up to extra costs!

 

 

We're neighbors (Boynton Beach) and just went to the Miami

office. The cost is $130 per person if you apply in person;

$150 if someone else delivers your application, and whatever

the traffic will bear if you use a visa service. $180 for the service seems reasonable. Our cruise line charges $300 per person for the service.

 

We got there at 10 AM (service is only available from 10 AM

to noon, for filing the application). Parking in a nearby lot was $5, although there is a Burger King nearby, and we could have taken a chance and parked there. There were about 5 people ahead of us, and waited for about 20 minutes. We go back this week to pick up our visas.

 

Les

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My point, just to be clear, was that the yellow fever shot is not a requirement of entering Brazil from the U.S., but perhaps is only checked when entering Brazil from a country that has a current outbreak.

Perhaps your cruise line knows that you will be passing through a country with an outbreak before entering Brazil and/or wants to eliminate any potential problems the cruise officials might have.

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You might want to temper your consternation at the difficulty a US citizen endures to get a Brasilian visa with the knowledge that it is child´s play compared to the difficulty Brasilian nationals have in getting a visa to the US.

Brasil endeavors to practice a form of reciprocity even when the circumstances are such that it makes no sense to do so. For example, I recall when the US first started photographing and fingerprinting legal, arriving passengers at US airports. I was one of the first to thereafter arrive in Brasil and was required to wait 7 hours in the Rio airport while one guy manually took fingerprints of all arriving US citizens - the old fashioned way by pressing your fingers on an ink pad - and then had us pose for a photo he snapped with a hand held polaroid camera. You may recall an American Airlines pilot was fined $25,000 for giving the Immigrations officer the finger while he posed for his photo op. This procedure was an infantile display of tit for tat. Ultimately the process was refined and then later scrapped.

Today, many middle class Brasilians are refused US visas outright for no apparent reason other than the interviewing US Consulate officer suspects they may want to overstay their visit to the US. Interviews are required and must be scheduled months in advance. The process is understandably perceived as arbitrary and unfair so Brasilian authorities have no remorse for returning the favor even though it is much more unlikely US visitors will seek to stay illegally in Brasil. Who knows? That day may come the way things are going.

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My point, just to be clear, was that the yellow fever shot is not a requirement of entering Brazil from the U.S., but perhaps is only checked when entering Brazil from a country that has a current outbreak.

Perhaps your cruise line knows that you will be passing through a country with an outbreak before entering Brazil and/or wants to eliminate any potential problems the cruise officials might have.

 

You are correct. However, once you enter Brazil certain countries then require that you get a Yellow Fever Vaccination should you try to visit them.

 

I will be in Brazil as part of a World Cruise and since we will have been there there are a couple of other countries that require us to get the Yellow Fever Vaccination.

 

Keith

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Captain Canuck, this visa reciprocity with Brazil has been like this for a long time, this is not new. They impose visas with fees similar to those that we impose on Brazilians visiting Canada. Considering the cost of a cruise, this is small change. I'm getting my application in this week, got the shot last week.

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I was just discussing this topic last week with my Brazilian friends...we got in a bit of a debate (good hearted).

 

I totally disagree with Brazil´s reciprocity policy. I think this "tit for a tat" political posturing only ends up bringing negative results to our economy rather than "teaching other countries a lesson" , which is , IMHO , Brazil´s attitude in relation to visas.

 

I agree with Owl61´s comments on the subject. The process that Brazilians face to obtain an American visa is time consuming , complex and expensive. One must present copies of tax returns , property deeds , copies of monthly wages ,etc etc..You must schedule your interview months in advance. The online forms are verrryyy long and tedious to fill out. And , after all this , there is still a chance your visa will be rejected and your long dreamed of vacation will disappear in a puff.It is a source of frustration for many genuine tourists with no second intentions.

 

However , Brazil´s "payback" for this reality ends up costing the country millions and millions of potential tourist dollars. The government need to grow up and realize that Brazil is not being "badly treated". There are only 35 countries which belong to the American Visa Waiver program , most of which are part of the EU.

 

The least the government could do is is create a blanket visa program for cruise ship passengers. Brazil currently is really only on the cruise ship itineraries for ships geared towards Brazilian passengers (with the exception of a few of the luxury cruiselines).It is a pity , considering the magnificent islands and ports which could be added to the South American itineraries(Buzios , Ilha Grande , Parati , Fenando de Noronha....).

 

I really hope Brazil will make some changes soon. It would benefit everyone .

 

Kim

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Kim, I agree with you. I think the process takes way too long. And the worst thing about the process is if you use a visa service and it is part of a cruise many times even though the service will turn in the visas as they receive them the Brazilian embassies will hold them until all are received. I am not saying this happens all the time but it happened with us. So, for us the last time we went through this it took four weeks but the problem is we couldn't submit them to far in advance because you must enter the country with 90 days of receiving the stamp. And since we were on a world cruise and we weren't entering Brazil for about six weeks after the cruise began all of this went down to the wire.

 

For us, we'll only go there now if it is part of a large cruise. If it is one cruise and we have to get the visa we'll pick another cruise and that confirms what you said about lost dollars.

 

Keith

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Because I live in Lexington KY, no choice but to go through a visa service.

 

For me that was $243.00 for the visa service (includes the return espress mail), $9.00 for the photo's, $17.50 for the express mail outbound, and then wait 15 to 20 business days. Sent 9/2 due to be sent back 9/28 or 29th?

 

Oh ya then $203.00 for the Yellow Fever shot, Brazil ( Silver Cloud Barbados to Manaus) better be PRICELESS!

 

Martini Cruiser

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Because I live in Lexington KY, no choice but to go through a visa service.

 

For me that was $243.00 for the visa service (includes the return espress mail), $9.00 for the photo's, $17.50 for the express mail outbound, and then wait 15 to 20 business days. Sent 9/2 due to be sent back 9/28 or 29th?

 

Oh ya then $203.00 for the Yellow Fever shot, Brazil ( Silver Cloud Barbados to Manaus) better be PRICELESS!

 

Martini Cruiser

 

YF good for 10 years, HOPE you took all the other shots-Hep A/B, Tetanus, etc. etc.

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I am not holding my breath , Owl16. LOL.

 

My mother just went through the visa renewal process (she will be arriving in 2 weeks for a month long visit). She went through the Chicago consulate and didn´t have to much of a problem.

 

When I first came to Brazil , I had to deal with the San Francisco office. It was always an experience. On my first trip , when I was 16 , I had to have chest x-rays , a syphilis test (even though I´d barely had my first kiss!) , blood and urine samples and a declaration from the local police dept. stating that I was a upstanding young lady.It was quite a process for a Rotary Exchange student!

 

Once , my sister came to live with me for 6 months. During this period , she invited one of her good friends to come for a visit , failing to alert her of the visa requirement. this young lady had traveled quite a bit , but had never visited a country requiring a visa.She arrived at the airport , ticket in hand....and couldn´t get on the plane. She opted to simply cancel her trip. doubt she´ll ever be back for a visit.

 

I think it is time to reevaluate this situation and do some serious marketing geared towards all the potential tourists in the world.

 

Brazil is so much more than Rio ( not diminishing Rio´s charms). Brazilian hotels , inns and restaurants have vastly improved in the last years and there is really something for everyone.

 

Maybe I´ll write a long letter to President Lula ....

Kim

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This has turned into a very interesting discussion with a lot of great comments! That's what I love about these boards.

 

Les, glad you had a good experience with the Miami office. For us, it wasn't worth taking the time off from work to go down there on a weekday.

 

Brazilgirl - I loved your story!

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