Awesome: Brazil Is Introducing E-Visas For US Citizens

Filed Under: Travel

Here’s some fantastic news for those looking to visit Brazil. While several countries in Latin America have charged high fees for Americans visiting (this is largely a matter of reciprocity), for many countries this simply came in the form of them charging you a hefty sum of money on arrival. Some countries have even undone that — for example, last year Argentina suspended their $160 visa reciprocity fee for US citizens.

Brazil is one of the few countries in the region that has required US citizens to get a full-on visa prior to their arrival. Not only that, but it’s pricey, at $160.

The great news is that this is finally changing. Starting in January 2018, Brazil will begin issuing electronic visas for US citizens (as well as Australian, Canadian, and Japanese citizens). The new process is valid both for tourist and business visas, and must be requested at least 72 hours in advance.

Here’s what Brazil’s tourism minister has to say about the change, per BrazilGovNews:

“The facilitation of visas aims to reduce bureaucracy and, above all, to boost the entry of foreign tourists into Brazil,” said Tourism Minister Marx Beltrão. The expectation by the Tourism Ministry, based on data from the World Tourism Organization, is that the measure will increase foreign tourist inflows to Brazil by up to 25%.

Brazil also plans to make it easier for citizens of other countries to get visas. For example, Chinese citizens still need to get five year tourist and business visas, though Brazil is expanding the number of visa centers in China from three to 12 at the beginning of next year.

Bottom line

I’ve been fortunate when it comes to Brazil up until now. Because I have a German passport, I’ve been able to visit Brazil without needing a visa. However, this is fantastic news for US citizens, given that you previously had to visit a consulate or use a service to get your visa in advance of your trip.

Here’s to hoping that Brazil sticks to their timeline here with implementing this, given that it’s not all that uncommon for there to be major delays when it comes to this kind of stuff, or even to see government officials change their minds.

Will Brazil issuing e-visas make you more likely to visit the country?

(Tip of the hat to No Name)

Comments
  1. Great news if it pans out. It has been so difficult to get a Brazilian visa from my state that I passed up many, many chances to visit. If they really implement this, I’ll definitely give them a visit. In the past, I visited the Bolivian pantanal instead, great experience, but probably not practical or accessible for the average tourist, and it was a bit frustrating when you see the wildlife traveling freely between nations but people can’t.

    Seems like most people around here forget the whole idea of Brazil and go to Ecuador or Colombia instead. Small barriers easily discourage anyone who is traveling for pleasure when there are alternatives…

  2. Will the $160 visa (reciprocity) fee for USA passport holders still apply? The article mentions the fee but does not make it clear whether or not it will go away (or be reduced) with the eVisa changes in January.

  3. This is good news. The Tourism minister has been fighting for this for over a year but the Brazilian state department says that there must be reciprocity. So this is the best that they could do, pay $160 online for a 10 year e-visa. So it will be easier to visit and pay when you get there rather than flying to the Brazilian embassy or paying a visa courier.
    I will probably be visiting Brazil next year.

    It’s also going to make a lot of money for Brazil. I visited Argentina for the first time after they removed the visa requirement.

  4. We’ve wanted to go to Brazil for years, but the visa issue caused such massive headaches that we’ve never gone.

    First you had to buy tickets. Then apply for visa.
    the process could take weeks, and you had to send in your passport.

    we traveled too much to not have our passport for an indeterminate amount of time.

    at least with Argentina you just flew down there and stood in the “shame” line in order to pay the reciprocity fee. They used to have a sign that said (paraphrased) “you’re only in this line because your government is mean to our citizens, thus you have to stand in this line to inconvenience you in a reciprocal manner”

    I’m happy with this change. maybe we’ll go in 2019!

  5. Getting a Brazilian visa as a US citizen has always been very cumbersome and I never quite understood why: I have often been there for business, without a visa (I also have a French passport) and have always thought that, if the Brazilian Tourist Office held a promotional quiz or lottery, it should offer:

    As First Prize: One free week in Brazil
    As Second Prize: Two free weeks in Brazil

    Therefore the new policy is no incentive for me.

  6. Such a short-sighted policy, this visa requirement. It has to cost them (the economy) much more than any gain they receive from collecting visa information and fees. Brazil has so much to offer from a tourism perspective and should be attracting lots of Americans. Unfortunately, it’s not on many Americans’ radar, and the visa doesn’t help. The same goes for Argentina, and I think they will benefit greatly from waiving their fee.

  7. Getting a Brazil visa is a huge PITA for US citizens, so this is welcome.

    Even more welcome would be a reduction in the $160 fee, but I can also see Brazil’s reciprocity point. On the other hand, if they want to increase tourism, making it easier and cheaper for tourists is certainly the way to do that.

    Maybe they could greatly reduce the tourist visa fee while increasing the business visa fee, under the theory that no business is going to prevent its employees from doing business in Brazil over a couple of hundred dollars (whereas tourists most certainly will take $160 x number of family members into account). Then Brazil can still save face by saying it’s all about reciprocity, while making it easier for tourists.

  8. @ snic

    “On the other hand, if they want to increase tourism, making it easier and cheaper for tourists is certainly the way to do that.”

    There are different types of tourism: some are more attractive than others. In the 1960s Spain went all out to get as much low-cost British tourism as possible. The resulting infestation by my fellow people utterly ruined the Costas and many other parts of the country. Now Spain aims for lower-volume, higher-spending tourism. This has much less negative impact on the country and generates more overall benefit.

    So by keeping a high fee, Brazil keeps out poor students and low-spend tourists. It gets the same income, but for much less negative impact.

    For those who think there’s nothing worth seeing in Brazil … no, actually it’s better for everyone if you just stay home.

  9. Nope. We plan to visit someday maybe, but certainly not when it costs $ and effort to obtain a visa. We will continue to travel to the multitude of other countries that provide visa-free visits.

  10. So what happens for those with the regular visas? Can you make a follow up, these situations are growing…

  11. I live in the US and got a Brazilian tourist visa in July. The new e-visa will be great, especially if as I suspect the fee is well less than the $160 I paid. Either way, I’m set for 9.5 more years!

    I don’t quite understand why some found it difficult to get a Brazilian visa. I found it quite easy. Admittedly, uploading to the online application a photo and a copy of my signature took a little figuring out. But it’s not that hard. Once that was done, I dropped off my application at the Brazilian embassy’s consular office and received my visa by express mail just two days later.

    Brazil is an amazing country with much to offer. I would not let any visa rules keep you from visiting. And fortunately, those rules seem likely to become less taxing.

  12. Getting a visa to enter USA is a huge PITB (butt) for brazilians, even more so than for americans to get a visa to Brazil. Trust me.
    And it’s really all about reciprocity. Europeans can enter Brazil without visa. Any country in Mercosul can also enter Brazil without visa plus some other countries in the globe.
    Some examples: Japan and Australia require a visa for brazilians, so Brazil requires a visa for the citizens of this country to enter. But South Korea, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Russia doesn’t, so there’s no need for visa from both sides. Can it be more reciprocal than that?

    The thing about Brazil is that the precious US dollar from tourism is not perceived as vital for the country to get richer and develop. You see, the thing here is that it is a rich country, but most of it get robbed (or “diverted”) instead of being applied in education, public health and infra-strutucture. Brazil is the country of the (never gonna happen) future, guys.
    Politicians are not worried about increasing tourism here because I feel that they don’t see any real advantage for their pockets.

    Ideas like this E-visa thing will surely help, but I would not expect much more from the government in aiding foreign or domestic tourism.

  13. Great! Was going to go to Brazil this Nov but didn’t have time to deal with visa so we are going to Patagonia instead. Now I can schedule a visit to Brazil in a year or two.

  14. The most frustrating part of getting a paper visa to Brazil was that the embassy in DC was so vague about the processing time (this was in 2015, maybe it’s changed). In the end, it took about 10 days which left plenty of time before my departure, but the uncertainty was worrisome. That said, Brazil is an amazing country which I enjoyed so much I returned again the next year. Rio and Sao Paulo are as different as LA and NY/DC and each has its own energy and vitality. Sao Paulo is more formal and business-oriented, go to the JK Iguatemi mall if you want to see the most impeccably people on the planet. Rio is insanely sexy and romantic, fully lives up to its beach culture hype. I actually sparked a brief romance under the moonlight on Copacabana Beach, how much better can it get? All this for $160 and a bit of bureaucratic inconvenience? Sign me up 🙂

  15. Brazil could have had a visa waiver years ago. Obama was going to give it to them but unfortunately Brazil didn’t want to hand over info on businessmen coming to the USA so… no visa waiver for Brazil. But Brazil had their chance to have a visa waiver and they blew it.

  16. @Nathaniel Why do so many Americans sound so arrogant? As if everyone in the world is fighting for a chance to get a US visa waiver.

  17. @Nathaniel Nate

    Brazil was and still is not able to get a visa waiver because the amount of declined visas are still more than 3% if I am not mistaken.
    That said, Brazil was supposed to enter the Global Entry process during the Obama-Dilma Roussef years. Now I have no idea. I don’t think this project went thru.

    @Drew
    Brazil is not for the weaker. 🙂

  18. I’m very excited. I have been to Brazil twice and had a 5 year visa year ago. So once it ran out, I did not go back. Too much of a hassle and too many other countries in the region that are 1. SAFER 2. NICER 3. JUST AS INTERESTING

    Now that it is an E VISA I will loop Brazil back in to my plans… I hit Argentina before the reciprocity fee and haven’t gone back since they implemented it. Now its on my radar. Chile stopped the reciprocity fee when they were allowed in to the visa waiver program so I went and loved it.

    Anyways I am excited and am ready to book my travel for Brazil in 2018!

  19. As a Brazilian, I am both excited and curious about this new E-Visa. To all americans reading this: the LITERAL ONLY reason Brazil requires a VISA for American citizens is due to reciprocity. That’s it. I can first hand say, as a Brazilian, it is such a PAIN in the ass to get a US Visa. I have the 10 year tourist visa for the US and held a 4 year student visa when I went to college in California, & both were such a hassle to get.

    I hope that this E-Visa will soon apply the other way around, for Brazilian citizens visiting the US, it is only fair. We are constantly ranked as one of the top 5 foreign nations that visit the US as tourists and bring so much $$$ into the American economy. Hopefully this will happen!! The Brazilian passport is the 14th most powerful passport to have, but nations like Australia, Japan, and the US who impose absurd VISA restrictions make it difficult for us in that sense. By the way, Brazil holds the largest number of Japanese people outside of Japan. You’d think that travelling there would be easier.

  20. It is a good start. If they also waive the $160 fee like Argentinians, I would consider going to Brazil next year over Argentina.

    Schar, don’t be so hopeful this will happen under our current administration. Our current (wrong) policy is getting foreigners out of this country at all cost. Maybe our next president returns your favor and make e-visa available for Brazilians and other nations. Our fingers are crossed.

  21. No, The nice Paul. As an American, If I refuse to pay $160 for the Brazillian, I don’t have to be stuck at home. I can visit dozens of awesome countries without have to fork over money for a visa. Furthermore, many of these visa-free countries are just as interesting, and far less crime plagued than Brazil

  22. Very excited as we have a trip planned and airlines tickets booked for our family next summer. I just hope they actually start in January as that is when we were going to apply.
    One concern that came up after we already booked out tickets though- The State Department (which is what i check) does not have any significant health warnings, but the CDC (what my wife checks) does for a Yellow Fever outbreak and recommends a yellow fever vaccine for going to RIO. we are still debating what do to with that but have some time.

  23. Australians were caught up in this as well ( because of our “ally” USA ). But we pay $160USD, which is about $200. And they won’t take cedit card or cash, i has to be a money order from a Post Office who charge a fee of $16AUD.

    As a full time traveller and someone who LOVES Brazil, I would go there more often except for the visa requirements. I am never in Australia these days. Too expensive and racist for me.

    So to get a visa I have to leave my passport with a Brazil embassy for 7-10 woking days and pay $200 for the privilege. I don’t think so Brazil!!! What the hell are you thinking you wankers.

    Do what India did fools, open it up, you might get more money in, let’s face it, you need it. India used to be the same and since they made it easier ( and cheaper ) to get a visa online, tourism is up 42%.

    Maybe the Brazilian leaders are trying to work a way they can cream some money off the top from their jail cells, we all know how corrupt they are.

  24. Brazil, especially Rio is my favorite cities to visit considering I lived there of and on for ten years. It truly has changed like the rest of the world as far as gentrification of large cities goes. I always stayed off the beaten path and touristy areas and got to know what truly wonderful people they are. Put Rio on your list but don’t be afraid to wonder a country larger than the continental US. Flying is affordable so give yourself some time to bounce around.
    P.S. That Visa was always a pain in the ass unless you paid extra to have a service do it for you.

  25. @trup unless required to travel, I wouldnt bother with the vaccine. Yellow fever isnt a problem here unless you plan on visiting Amazon/Pantanal.

  26. No, Have been trying to visit Brazil for a long time with my family. As an American, If I have to pay $160 for a short visit, I will prefer not to go until it is free or pay a reasonable fee on arrival visa …Better to wait..

  27. Great news, and it looks it’s for real this time. The e-Visa for Australian citizens was scheduled to start in late October and it’s already available!
    I get that people from the USA consider themselves the elite of Earth, and can’t grasp why a lame 3rd world country would treat them with costly visas and queues, but they should understand these are reciprocity policies.
    If you think Brazilian citizens have a smoother experience in american consulates and embassies, you need a reality check. If 160 bucks is a lot in the USA imagine in Brazil, where the minimal wage is 300, and on top of that we must prove we have a bank account, have got credit cards, that we pay taxes, own a house, go to school, have a job, don’t use drugs, never been to jail, etc… I know it’s our own fault for been such a messy place, but c’mon, we go lengths for the privilege to spend our worthless money abroad. Research more before spilling your hatred.

  28. I understand the principle behind Brazil’s reciprocity visas and fees, but unfortunately that is not always in the best interest of the country, especially when American tourists are only second to fellow Mercosur Argentinians, who don’t even require a passport to enter Brazil and share a land border. I just read in the news that the e-visa for Americans is valid for 2 years and costs $ 40.00, so we would have the opportunity to travel multiple times during those 24 months at no extra cost. Even if the visa was entirely waived, I would still be concerned with the high rate of homicides and drug violence flogging that beautiful nation.

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