Since receiving numerous e-mails with questions about tourist visas, I’ve decided to reveal 3 must knows about a Brazilian tourist Visa today!
After reading the tourist visa section in Joe’s Book “Brazil for Life”, or as I refer to it “The Foreigner’s Bible to Brazil”, questions many of you have been asking me surfaced.
I cant promise you that I will go over every intimate detail on how the visa works, how to apply step-by-step, and tourist-visa combos like Joe does – I’m not into plagiarising anyway 😉
But, I’ve decided to take action today and answer your questions by exposing these 3 must known aspects of a tourist visa, right now.
1. How Long You Really Can Stay
Some foreigners can just show up in Brazil and get a tourist visa on the spot, where in other’s you have to apply for the visa at your nearest (not usually too near) consulate.
In the situation with my wife and I, she could show up at the airport with her Danish passport and get a visa on the spot, where I would have to apply for a 5 year multiple entry tourist visa and pay about $160… (just meaning that I wouldn’t have to re-apply for the visa until 5 years from the date)
It’s political and we have no control over it, but the truth is that if you live in the USA you are required to apply for a tourist visa. This is because the USA requires Brazilians to apply for visas and therefore it must be “similar”.
A pain in the royal rear-end if you ask me, and expensive to bout.
For example, in a place like Denmark, Brazilians don’t need tourist visas to enter into the country. Therefore, the Brazilian government is kind enough to let Danish nationals come in without applying.
A Quick Tip About Applying For A Tourist Visa In The USA
Applying at one of the rare Brazilian consulates in the USA means lining up before they open, taking a number and waiting about 2-3 hours to be seen and submit your application.
To help you avoid this, I recommend that you go with a visa agency to take care of it for you. I’m speaking from experience, I once drove 14 hours to the consulate and after 3 hours, was seen to be just turned away again due to me having the wrong documents + needing more….
Travisa is great and will take care of everything for a small fee; which makes life a lot easier for you..
I don’t recommend Travisa because of some tiny commission I make at no cost to you, but because they have a huge network, are reliable and fast – period. I have dealt with them in the past, and would deal with them again.
But how long can you really stay?
Tourist visas are generally issued for 90 days or less at a time, but the customs officer at the entry port have complete discretion to change that (which they usually don’t).
Within about a week or so of your 90 days being up, you have the option to extend for another 90 days.
Do you like math? Me neither, but here we go anyway: 90 days + 90 days = 180 days a year, which is how long you can legally stay.
How can these 90 + 90 = 180 days be used?
Upon entry into the country the clock starts ticking, but that doesn’t mean that you have to use all of the days at once.
You can come and go as you please until your 180 days within a year are used, counting 365 days backwards (a calendar year).
Here is an example:
Let’s say that you are entering Brazil today, since you have 180 days to be used within 365 days counting backwords, you can do some simple math.
If today is the 4th of October 2012, then 365 days ago was the 4th of October 2011.
So how many days have you visited since the 4th of October 2011?
Let’s again say that you visited during the following dates:
- December 12-28, 2011
- February 5-25, 2012
- June 1 – July 20, 2012
You can add up the total number of days you stayed and get a total to answer the above question.
Here is a video on how you can do that:
(Watch on YouTube)
Site refered to:
What it would look like: 17 days in December + 21 days in February + 50 days from June to July = 88 days out of 90.
This means that you could theoretically come in on your remaining 2 days and then extend your tourist visa to let you stay up to 90 more days.
But if you overstayed your visa, then jump down to the 3rd must know.
2. Renewing Your Tourist Visa The Right Way
And the question of the hour, how to renew.
You have to go to the Federal Police nearest to you and do it there. When you get to the Federal Police in the larger cities, you can generally get by on English but there still are some things to know when extending:
- You will have to fill out an online form and print out a piece of paper to pay a fee.
- You will have to pay the fee prior to renewing
- With the proof of fee payment together with the online form printed out, you can proceed to the Federal Police.
Note: some larger Federal Police buildings have a bank inside.
If you are in doubt (and if I don’t make a step-by-step guide for renewing a tourist visa in the future), then you can always go to the Federal Police and ask them what to do.
3. 6 Months And Then What?
If you have been in Brazil for longer than 6 months and would like to keep staying, or just stayed a few extra days, then what are your options?
Let me lay them out for you here:
When overstaying a visa, you are charged a fine that is either payable on exit or re-entry into the country at any port. This fine is around $R8.50 per day and maxes out after 100 days equaling about $R850 (about $425 USD).
Here are some examples:
- If you stayed for 99 days and forgot to renew your 90 day tourist visa, then you will pay 9 X $R8.50 = $R76.50
- If you stayed for 260 days but did renew your visa allowing you 180 days, then you will pay 80 X $R8.50 = $R680
- But Let’s say that you stayed for 777 days! Well then you will only pay the limit, which equals 100 days X $R8.50.
Once the fine is paid, then you are clear to come back to the country again without issue.
What Are The Consequences Of Overstaying Your Visa?
Not a whole lot… usually just the fine and then you come back without any problems.
Joe in his book ‘Brazil For Life’ tells a story of a Uruguayan man who has been living in Brazil on an overstayed tourist visa for the last 20 years without issue, it was also really interesting to read about his recommendations when a person overstays.
All in all, I wouldn’t sweat it if you overstayed before or are overstaying now – yeah it’s best to do things right according to the book, but sometimes the book is unjust, unmerciful and inflexible.
Switching To A Different Visa
If you’ve caught the Brazilian bug and would like to stay longer but don’t know how, there is a couple of pretty simple solutions: you can switch to a student visa or permanent visa.
A student visa is pretty easy to obtain and Joe calls it “The Secret ‘Semi-Permanent’ Visa”.
In Brazil for Life, he lays out exactly how he got a student visa and you can get one step-by-step. In order to avoid reinventing the wheel, I will focus on why it’s a beneficial visa.
You can study Portuguese as little as 3 hours per week and get a 1 year student visa, which you can continually extend from within Brazil.
It’s that simple, get the right documents from a language school or university that teaches Portuguese, go to your consulate and boom, visa in hand!
A permanent visa based on Brazilian family is easy to apply for, especially if you are both foreigners and have had a child in Brazil (granting it Citizenship).
Many choose to apply based on having a Brazilian child, as this is one of (if not the only) visa that you can apply for within Brazil.
This is the option that was open for my wife and I, as we are both foreigners. I would definitely recommend this route if you are able to – it’s super easy and gets you permanency right away.
I hope that this answers the main questions you have about tourist visas and then some.
Would you do me the favor of liking this post and sharing it if you found it helpful?
There are most definitely others out there who could benefit from this information if you did.
Do you have any experience you could share about tourist visas? Comment below.
Valeu – cheers!
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