Editorial update: in full disclosure and in the spirit of harmony and goodwill, it is worth stating clearly that the visa process between the United States and Brazil is one of reciprocity. In other words, whatever the United States imposes on Brazilian citizens, Brazil will impose on United States citizens. To read what Brazilians must go through to get a visa to the US, click here. It is a doozy. No side has the upper hand. It is also worth mentioning that I personally know people who have been denied visas to the United States simply because of their age, nationality, or marital status. These issues are complex and political. It is not uncommon for many people around the world to wait months to acquire a visa and still need to fly to a neighboring country to reach the nearest embassy, only to be denied upon arrival. Just today I read about a nomadic ethnic group that continues to be denied citizenship and therefore without rights. These are complex issues that demand serious attention. I welcome your thoughts in the comments section below.
I’m going to Brazil in a couple of weeks and even though the Brazilian tourism website tells us it’s the #1 most requested visa destination for Americans, it’s easier to eat a hamburger in India than it is to get a visa for this country. Which goes to show you: never underestimate the power of American ingenuity and perseverance when it comes to lounging in string bikinis on the white sand beaches of Rio.
In case you decide to visit this wonderful country, allow me to give you a few tips:
- Be sure to start off with the Official Brazilian Embassy website. You will know if you have reached the correct place if the site looks like this:
- Silly me, the Embassy is in Washington, D.C. Instead, you need to visit your local consulate. In my case, that would be Miami. While getting your visa, you can also check out some nice Brazil girls for dating.
- If you still do not know what you need for a Brazilian visa, be sure to check out the State Department website. It’s full of all sorts of helpful information, like where to avoid “quicknappings” and to be on the lookout for robbers and rapists who slip drugs into your drinks.
- In my research and personal experience, I discovered the following paperwork is needed to acquire a Brazilian visa. Note: depending on the time of day, person you are speaking with, and alignment of certain planetary objects, each piece may or may not be needed. And you won’t know if it is or not.
- 3 months of paychecks
- W2 form
- Social Security number
- Letter of invitation in Portuguese
- Letter of introduction by US company
- Notarized letter of introduction
- Drivers License of your employer who is not going to Brazil
- Grandmother’s name
- Marital status
- Purchased airline ticket
- Yellow Fever shot
- Printed web form written in Portuguese
- 2×2 photo stapled
- 2×2 photo glued
- Postage paid envelope
- Passport number
- Home utilities bill
- Your diary
Once I accumulated all the necessary paperwork and entrusted my most personal information to the FedEx guy, I thought I was home free. Two days later, I was informed by the outrageously expensive visa handling people that they did not have enough time to process my visa and my only option was to drive to Miami or cancel the trip. Then, they charged me $134.85 to mail my paperwork back to me. With that kind of money, I want the FedEx guy to show up in his purple shorts at my desk. Preferably with flowers.