It’s no secret that Brazilian bureaucracy can be, at best, confusing. We’ve tried to cut through the mass of information when it comes to visas by giving you a fully comprehensive list of how you can get certain visas and what documents you need. This visa series will cover tourist, work, permanent residency (including the process of getting married and a stable union), visa under special circumstances, and even getting citizenship. In part one, we will start with the most basic of visas – the tourist visa.
You have your country’s relations with Brazil to thank for the simplicity (or hardship) of getting your tourist visa. Brazil’s visa system is reciprocal.
What does this mean?
Basically, it means that is your home country requires Brazilian nationals to get a visa to visit there, then you will need one to visit Brazil. Some countries like the US, Canada, and Australia need their citizens to apply for a visa prior to going to Brazil. Others, such as the UK, New Zealand, France, and Germany, can just show up in Brazil and be given a stamp in the passport with approval to stay there for up to 90 days. This can be extended which will take a look at in a moment.
Who Does Not Need To Apply Beforehand For A Tourist Visa?
For most South American countries, it is actually possible to enter Brazil for up to 90 days with just an ID card from their country. Other countries need a valid passport. Anyone who has a passport from the following 76 countries (‘anyone’ assuming that you are not an internationally wanted criminal) don’t need to apply for a tourist visa before coming to Brazil. These countries are:
Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cypress, Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Macau, Monaco, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Romania, Saint Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Tunisia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vatican, and finally, Venezuela.
If you have any doubts, it’s best to check with the Brazilian embassy or the consulate in your home country to get advice on your visa status.
NOTE: even if you don’t need to apply for a tourist visa beforehand, you will still need to show a proof of departure within the 90 days after your arrival date. This can be a flight, a boat, or a bus out of the country. If you extend your visa, that’s ok – simply don’t take the flight or bus. You will lose it, but not having a proof of departure is prohibited.
What If I Need To Apply For A Visa Before?
So, what if you are not in one of the 76 countries listed above? It means you will have to arrange your visa beforehand. If you don’t, it’s worth noting that visas are not issued on arrival and you will not be allowed to enter Brazil, no matter how much you beg or no matter what you say. You would have to go back home and apply for your visa there.
Tourist visas are issued by the Brazilian diplomatic offices. They are valid as soon as you enter Brazil and are valid for 90 days. Some are renewable for an additional 90 days. NOTE: Not all visas are allowed to be extended. Some European countries are not allowed to extend the 90 days. Again, check with the Brazilian consulate in your home country to see if it’s possible to extend the tourist visa once you are in Brazil.
The majority of Brazilian embassies and consulates will process the visa application between five and ten days.
What documents do you need?
You will need a passport-size photograph, a round-trip or onward ticket, and a valid passport.
Once you are accepted, your visa will be valid for 90 days with the possibility of renewing again. Some visas are valid for Americans for up to ten years, but this is a work visa or a specific kind of visa. This does not relate to tourist visas.
Other Important Bits Of Information
If you are under the age of 18, you will need a notarised letter of authorisation from a parent or legal guardian.
There are two important pieces of paper that you should know about when travelling to Brazil.
First, the Brazilian Travel Visa. This is a piece of paper that authorises a passport holder from a non-visa exempt country to enter Brazil.
Secondly, there is the Arrival Card (Cartão de Entrada). This is a piece of paper that you will receive when you arrive at it authorises your stay for a certain period. It will never be more than 90 days, but less can be given by the Federal Police Agent if he or she wishes.
All tourists must fill out this card when entering Brazil. The immigration officials will keep one-half, and you keep the other. Don’t lose this card otherwise you may need to pay a fine. When you leave Brazil, your half will be taken by the immigration officials and then they will stamp your passport.
How To Extend The Tourist Visa
Your tourist visa automatically grants you a 90-day stay from whichever country you are coming from. These 90 days begin the moment you arrive in Brazil. During these 90 days, you can leave and return to Brazil multiple times – just remember though, that the days are not cumulative, so if you leave for 20 days for example during those 90 days, you lose those 20 days. You can’t just add them onto the end of the 90 days.
When the 90 days comes to an end, you can go to the Federal Police and extend the visa for another 90 days. Usually, this happens and I have never heard of a case where they didn’t extend the visa for a further 90 days. However, whether the Federal Police extend it or not is entirely up to them and they can refuse your application or give you fewer days without needing to give you any reason why.
You don’t need to leave Brazil to extend your visa. The maximum time you can stay in Brazil is a total of 180 days per year. The year is calculated based on the first day you arrive in Brazil. From the moment you arrive, you have one year from that date to use your 180 days.
Here is the process of extending your visa.
This information came directly from the boss itself – the Federal Police website. You can only extend tourist visas at Galeão International Airport.
What documents do you need?
- The ’Prorrogação de Prazo de Estada’ form from the website. Get it from here.
- A valid form of travel documentation such as passport or an identity card (identity card is applicable only for citizens of Mercosur)
- Entry and Exit card received and completed upon arrival in Brazil
- Proof of accommodation, proof that you can support yourself while you stay here.
- You will also need to pay a fee which you can pay at any bank, lottery houses, post offices, and bank correspondents or through GRU (Union Collection Guide). Get this here.
- Click – ‘pessoas e entidades estrangeiras’ – and then fill out your name, current address in Rio de Janeiro, your mother’s name, your father’s name. For the part where it says ‘Unidade Arrecadadora’, use RJ (105-8). For the part where it says ‘Código da Receita STN’, use the code 140090 Fee Request For Extension of Stay Deadline. It costs R$110.44.
And that’s it! Simply present all of these documents – including the proof of payment of the fee – and you should get your extension.
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