If you are ever "found" to be in violation of your visa on departure from Brazil (travelling from GIG) DO NOT pay the fine on the spot, it is becoming rarer these days but on occasion is known to happen. They pulled it on me once several years ago.
Basically they claimed that I had over stayed my visa (over 90 days) which was not true (thre was actually a VERY faint stamp in my passport, not very readable) that would have proved that I was not there for 160 straight days as they claimed, etc. etc.
Despite showing a plane ticket etc., they were not interested. I ws assessed with aseveral thousand dollar fine, but was of course told that a few hundred would settle it. I refused, told them I had no money and gave them the option of writing up a "ticket" or putting me in jail. They then became quite mean and nasty, wrote up an incredibly stern looking "fine" and stamped Actuado's all over my passport. If and when I came back to Brazil I was gonna pay "a lot" more or would never be let back in the country again!!
The next week at the consulate in London I had it all "reversed" and they "annulled" what had been stamped in my passport. I have been back many times since. The funny thing is that in GRU they never even got deep enough into my passport to see any of this, but whenever I went through Rio on that passport I would have to do some explaining.
If they're being so strict and arbitrary in denying visas or fining leisure travelers, maybe it would be useful for those of us with a choice to spend our money in other countries. There are lots of alternative destinations both in South America and elsewhere in the world where the immigration authorities are more friendly to tourists.
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I just got back from GIG, leaving on a Thursday, getting there on Friday. I returned on Monday getting back home on Tuesday. I did not have a problem getting the Visa. It was $65 and they had the passport, copy of the ticket and pictures for a couple of days. My passport was returned with a Visa added to one of the pages.
I went to the Chicago Brazilian office on Michigan Ave.
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I have a business visa. Took my son a few years ago (I was on a business trip), he applied for a tourist visa and was deined - why would a college kid want to go to Sao Paulo? He appeared in SFO in person, and eventually got it.
Have passport, will travel...
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Quokka: The last two times I've entered Brazil (at GRU), they couldn't be bothered to check for any visa in my US passport, let alone a valid one. The passport I handed them, which they promptly stamped and returned, didn't have a visa in it. My 5 year visa (still valid) was in my old passport ready to be presented if they asked for the visa. They didn't ask. </font>
I guess it partly depends on your luck with who's manning the booth on any particular day. I got stuck in GRU without a Brazilian visa due to a missed connection (AA flight to MVD for the day had already left) about 4 years ago and although they did let me into the country for the night, the National Police confiscated my passport and there was a stack of paperwork to be completed the next day before they would let me exit the country.
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by BobMcD: If they're being so strict and arbitrary in denying visas or fining leisure travelers, maybe it would be useful for those of us with a choice to spend our money in other countries. There are lots of alternative destinations both in South America and elsewhere in the world where the immigration authorities are more friendly to tourists.
Just an idea...</font>
Agreed. Santiago and Buenos Aires are both beautiful cities that seem very eager to take my tourist dollars and don't even bat an eye when I enter the country for a short weekend trip. Rio is going to have to be one hell of a city to make it worth all this hassle.
Anyways, I just fired off a letter to the Consulate and a letter from my boss on company letterhead that says that I'm not travelling on business and not representing our company. I'll let everyone know how things go.
This is rapidly becoming not worth the hassle and the cost (nearly $200 including the visa service and Fedex costs).
Did you know that in order to get into the US, Brazilians have to stand on line, outside the US consulate, for several hours after making an appointment by phone? Did you know that American consuls can, and often do, arbitrarily deny a visa to any Brazilian citizen they donít like the looks of -- no explanations required! Did you know that in order to visit Disney on a tour package Brazilians must present to the US consulate documents such as income tax, apartment deed, pay stub, etc.? Getting into the US as a tourist is one of the major challenges any middle class Brazilian must face. Recently we have been hearing rumors that the Brazilian government has decided to turn down Americansí applications for tourist visas at the same rate the US government turns down Braziliansí applications -- also with no explanations. The major difference, we hear, is that the Brazilian government will grant the visa the second time round. Brazilian visas are not required for citizens of countries (such as the European Union) that do not require visas of Brazilians.
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by ajnaro: The major difference, we hear, is that the Brazilian government will grant the visa the second time round. </font>
No -- did you know the major difference really is that during fiscal year 2000 Brazil ranked as the 8th biggest source of illegals removed from the US by the INS? And that's even with the current visa scheme. Only 8 countries had more than 1,000 of their citizens deported from the US in 2000 for visa and immigration violations. Brazilians accounted for 1,057 removals.
While Brazil is a nice place to visit, I seriously doubt Brazil has a large problem with US citizens overstaying their visas there.
[This message has been edited by Quokka (edited 08-28-2002).]
I lived in Brazil for a long time and agree to a certain extent with what you are saying. The hard-assed tactics which were instituted under Leyton Russell in the early nineties were horrific and I had a huge fight for month on end with state about it.
That being said however, visa charges were instituted years ago by Brazil as an indirect tax on travellers to the country (yes, I know that the Brazilian press and consulates abroad say the opposite, but I know for a fact that it was this way).
Also, the Brazilian visa is a FORMALITY in 99% of the cases partially as a tit for tat with those countries that require them of Brazilians, as you just stated, people get them the second time around. Now we both know the reason for this, don't we.......
In any year between 3 and 7% of Brazilians who travel to the US jump ship and stay and work illegally, I know that, you know that and the governments know that. There are estimated to be over 70,000 people living illegally in the US from just the state of BELO HORIZONTE alone (let alone Rio and Sao Paolo, etc.). Over 100,000 illegal Brazilians are said to be currently living in South Florida, etc. etc. This is in fact the reason and as a matter of fact if less than 1% of Brazilians "jumped ship" in a three year period, none of you would need visas anymore (just look at Argentina, they were in the same boat as you and got the visa waivers -- then again they also just lost it due to their crisis).
I should compare the above with the fact that when I lived in Brazil I had a talk with the gentleman who was Brazilian Ambassador to the UK at the time, he estimated that there were approximately 3,000 US citizens living illegally in Brazil at that time and less than 1000 UK citizens.
Again, just so you don't get me wrong, I think that the way the visa process is treated in Brazil is terrible and the state people that work the consulates are terrible. There are however reasons that led it to be that way.
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by Quokka: While Brazil is a nice place to visit, I seriously doubt Brazil has a large problem with US citizens overstaying their visas there. </font>
I always knew the Brasilians were smarter than people in the U.S.