I’ve just come from the Brazilian Embassy in Buenos Aires to apply for a tourist visa for my trip to Rio de Janeiro on Saturday. It can seem complicated to apply for a visa, but it’s actually not too tricky. Some people complain that they need to get a visa to visit, but it’s a reciprocity fee, meaning Brazil charges Americans the same amount that we charge them to apply for a visa, and they aren’t even guaranteed one. Here’s what you need to do:
First, check the Brazilian Embassy Web site for current information on all of the paperwork you need to present. Look for the Tourist Visa section. Once there you’ll need to make an appointment, and you can scroll through the calendar and pick a date and time. Next, you can print out a copy of the appointment number, though it’s not necessary.
The next step is to fill in the application, asking you for your general information. This could be done on one of the computers in the consulate office, though it will save you a lot of time if you already have it ready. In my experience, I had a 9 am appointment and got there early to see other people standing outside waiting to be allowed in. The doors opened promptly at 9 am and up to the 5th floor we went, where we passed through a metal detector after turning off our cell phones and waited to be called. I was lucky and was first in line for the Tourist Visas.
Here are the things you need ready on the day of the appointment:
- Proof of roundtrip tickets
- Proof of hotel reservation
- Bank statements
- 1 passport sized (4×4 cm) photo, with a white background
- Visa Application
- Passport, valid for 6 months after trip
In my case, this is what happened: She asked if I was a resident in Argentina or a tourist, so I explained my complicated story of dual citizenship yet without having the Argentine DNI. She checked my plane reservations quickly, pasted my photo onto the visa application form, and very quickly checked the bank statement I printed out, just to see if I had money in the bank. However, the print out didn’t even have my name on it, so I don’t think they care if you’re a millionaire or not, but rather to see that you can provide something with a bank on it.
I plan on Couchsurfing in Rio, so I didn’t have a reservation for a hotel or hostel, which made me a bit nervous. Luckily I know a girl in Brazil who offered to write me a letter of invitation and use her residence as the address. I had that letter printed out and she also faxed it in to the embassy, but even after I offered to show her the letter, she didn’t need to see it. Be cautious though, because afterward I was talking to another American who said a friend of hers was denied the visa for not having a proof of lodging.
Next I was given the bank form and told to go to the nearest Banco Itau location, either on Cerrito 740 or Santa Fe 831, and pay the current fee of $617.25 ARS, which is equivalent to U$140. Both banks are within a few blocks of the embassy, but they don’t open until 10 am and close at 3 pm. Thus, I had to wait outside in the cold for 40 minutes until we were allowed in. Once inside the Santa Fe 831 branch, I was given a number, waited to be called and then paid the fee in cash. I now have my receipt and will return to the embassy tomorrow (available by 12 pm) to pick up my passport and visa. Once you’ve applied for the visa, you have within 48 hours to pay the fee at the bank and then 60 days to pick it up or it becomes invalid. I’ve also been told that the visa given out to Americans at the Buenos Aires Embassy is only good for 30 days, whereas applying in Washington D.C. will be good for several years. I’ll find out tomorrow when I pick it up.
The process really wasn’t too difficult and not very confusing, but luckily I already had an idea of what to do from reading about it. So now that you know, you can sleep easy if you need to get a Brazilian visa while in Buenos Aires. My Argentine DNI is supposed to arrive within a day or two, but because of my upcoming trip, I couldn’t wait any longer to get the visa. If it comes today, though I’ll be ultimately happy, I’ll also be disappointed that I just dished out over $600 pesos for nothing.
The Brazilian Embassy Consular Office is located on Carlos Pellegrini 1363, 5th Floor, right off of Avenida 9 de Julio.