Dealing with your Brazil tourist visa can be confusing, worrisome, and frustrating, especially if you don’t speak Portuguese.
I’ve answered the most common visa questions below, but please feel free to write in the comments if you have any other questions – I’ll be happy to help out if I can, or at least point you in the right direction!
Your Top Brazilian Visa Questions – ANSWERED
Brazil Visa Question #1
Do I need a Brazilian tourist visa? Or can I just show up in Brazil?
Many travelers receive 90 days of entry upon arrival to Brazil for FREE (certain nationalities, including the USA, must apply for a Brazil tourist visa in advance and pay a processing fee due to Brazil’s tourist visa reciprocity policy – if your country would charge Brazilians for a visa, and require them to apply in advance, they will reciprocate those policies on you).
After receiving your Brazil tourist visa (or visa stamp if you’re one of the lucky visa FREE people), you should note the number of entries you are allowed, and your maximum period of stay.
For most with a visa, this is 180 days within a 1-year window. Meaning, from your first entry, you have a MAXIMUM of 180 days to spend in Brazil in the next 365 days. After 365 days have passed, you get to start over.
Please note – upon arrival you receive 90 days (for most – double check the number in the box marked “PRAZO” : this is the number of days you can stay and is subject to the whim of the immigration officer). For more days, you will need to apply for a Brazil visa extension (more information on this below).
Brazil Visa Question #2
I’ve already stayed 90 days in Brazil – how do I extend my Brazilian tourist visa?
The government website on how to extend your Brazil tourist visa is in Portuguese here but I will explain in English below.
**Please note, some Europeans from Schengen countries cannot obtain a visa extension. If you can obtain a visa extension – the visa in your passport will explicitly state 180 days per year allowed in Brazil**
Step 1: Print and fill out the extension request form
You’ll need to go to this site, print the form, and fill it out in blue or black ink with all requested information.
Step 2: Complete your payment form
After filling out your extension request form, you will need to complete the online payment form here and then take it to a Banco do Brasil bank with a teller (ATM and other automated banking systems will not work). In March 2015, the cost was 67Reais.
After completing your Brazil visa extension payment, you will be given a receipt with a bar code. Do NOT lose this! Otherwise you will need to make ANOTHER payment.
Your visa extension application will not be accepted without the proof of payment receipt.
Step 3: Plan your federal police visit and gather your documents
For Rio de Janeiro, this means the international airport. The federal police is located on the second floor (follow the signs for Passport, as the office for foreigners extending their visa is located right next to the Brazilian passport office), and open from 8am.
I highly recommend if in Rio, during the high season, to arrive to the Federal Police before 7am. At that time, there will already be a line. Alternately, you can go in the afternoon (after lunch), but this is quite hit or miss. On a slow day, you’ll get right in but on a busy day you may not get seen (you’ll have to come back another day). Play it safe and go in the morning.
If you can, avoid Mondays and Fridays, as these are the busiest days, and you will likely spend the better part of a day there. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays have a much smaller crowd.
Visa extension form
Payment receipt with bar code
Copy of credit card statement (with credit limit circled) or bank statement from the last 30 days
Entry/exit card (given at arrival)
Air ticket out of the country showing the date and flight number
Also suggested to bring:
A laptop or phone to pass the time – there’s airport wifi in the waiting room
A book or Kindle – you’ll be waiting a while and want a backup in case your phone/laptop dies
A snack and water bottle – once you enter the room, you shouldn’t leave, in case your name will be called and you miss it
Please note: if you are missing any documentation – you can and most likely will be denied the Brazil visa extension, and will have to repeat the process all over.
Unfortunately, it happened to me, when my plane ticket didn’t clearly show the date (my mistake), the whole application was rejected and I received a loud lecture about wasting the officer’s time.
Also unfortunately, this is more likely to happen if you don’t speak perfect Portuguese. If you have a friend who speaks Portuguese, I highly recommend you bring him/her with you, as the majority of the officers do NOT speak English and can be quite cruel about it even though it is the office for Foreigners…
I witnessed a poor guy being condescendingly scoffed at by an officer (in Portuguese, so at least he didn’t understand) “What are you doing here in Brazil if you don’t speak Portuguese?!?” after he asked a question regarding the protocol.
The meantest/rudest people I’ve met in Brazil have been in this process… prepare yourself.
Step 4: The big day
Wake up early in order to arrive at least 1 hour before the supposed opening (yes, there will already be people waiting, and yes, the doors will likely open at least 15 minutes late.. this is Brazil).
Regardless of the attitudes of the officers (my experiences haven’t been pleasant thus far), remain calm and kind. If you have all of your documents in order, you won’t need to do anything other than wait. And wait. And wait.
Step 5: Leave with 90 more days in this beautiful country! (hopefully)
Yay and congratulations (PARABENS)!!
Brazil Visa Question #3
What happens if I overstay my Brazil tourist visa?
Overstaying in Brazil is usually not really a big deal.
You will be charged an overstaying fee, which can be paid either on exit, or at the next re-entry (if you ever come back). The overstaying fine has been reported at R8.50 per day, with a maximum of 100 days (the largest fine would be R850).
**IMPORTANT NOTE: There have been reports that the overstay fine has increased to R100 per day!**
After you’ve paid the fine, you will be able to come back again without a problem.
Due to the problems and annoyances in dealing with the visa extension – many people choose to simply overstay. This is not something that I recommend, but I have three personal friends who have overstayed and re-entered at later times (after paying the fee), one of whom later switched to a working visa, without any problems. You can also read other examples online.
Brazil Visa Question #5
What if I really really like Brazil and want to stay longer?
Can I get another tourist visa?
The tourist visa allows for only 180 days in Brazil in a 365 day year. This can only be extended for extreme extenuating circumstances (such as medical emergency).
You do have other options, including obtaining a student visa (including for studying at a university or even studying Portuguese), or gaining employment and being sponsored for a working visa. If you have a Brazilian partner, you can also apply for a more permanent visa based on this relationship.
If you are switching your visa to a student or working visa, you will need additional documentation (provided by your school or employer), and you must leave the country to apply for this.
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