If you are looking to travel to Brazil you may need a visa. If you hold a US passport you will definitely need to get one.
Update: Thank you to one of my readers for reaching out about the new Brazilian visa system. As of yesterday, June 17, 2019, a visa is no longer required to visit from the US.
You can read more here.
In general, Brazil has a reciprocal visa policy with all countries. This simply means that whenever prices and restrictions are applied to Brazilian visiting a country, Brazil adopts the same policy and prices for that country's visitors.
Please be aware that this article is going to explain to you the process of applying online for an e-visa and will mostly help US passport holders. If you hold an Australia, Canada, or Japan passport the steps should be the same for you as well.
Is getting a visa for Brazil hard?
No. Thankfully the new e-visa website is extremely easy to navigate.
You definitely can do it yourself with the new system. I encourage you to save your money and apply through the website instead of using a third party and paying much more. These third-party visa companies used to be useful because it was pretty hard to get a Brazilian visa. But, recently Brazil opened up their e-visa site where you can submit an application yourself.
How much is a Brazilian travel visa?
Lucky for you Brazil has also dropped the price of their visa considerably. A visa used to cost as much as $160 but now is only $40 — plus an online service fee of $4.24.
What if I'm a business traveler to Brazil?
Lucky again. The new visitor e-visa is valid for both business and leisure travelers.
How long can I stay in Brazil if I'm from the US?
Your visa will be valid for a 90 day stay.
How to apply for a Brazilian Visa
First off, go to the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website and register for an account.
Next up you'll complete the Visa Application Form. You'll have to upload some mandatory documents and answer a set of questions. You'll have to send in a passport photo - typically you can take this with your cell phone on any blank white wall.
Finally, you'll make your payment directly on the site. The cost is $40 per person plus some a $4 processing fee. It's really that easy.
Once your application has been submitted, you’ll receive an email with a reference number. Don't be alarmed if you don't get it right away. The e-mail can take up to 24 hours to come through.
The Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs makes the final decision on your visa and most everyone is approved. You should hear a back and have a copy of your visa in your inbox within 4-5 business days. But, it can be received and approved in as little as 2 days.
Once you receive it you'll want to print multiple copies to have on hand during your trip. When your flight is available for check-in be aware that you will not be able to do so online. Airline staff must check you in for your flight (in the states) in-person so they can verify your visa.
I forgot to apply for my Visa and I leave for Brazil in two days - am I f**ked?
Guys, we actually completely forgot to apply for our Brazilian visa and only realized three days - literally 72 hours - before our flight was supposed to leave. I'm going to state we did it for research and not because we were being idiots.
Thankfully, everything turned out fine and we received our visas less than 48 hours after applying. Matt was particularly worried and called in the second he applied. Their service number is surprisingly awesome - he was connected right away and they spoke perfect English. Anyway, the guy working the service center eased his worries and told him most visas are received and approved around 48 hours after you hit send. So if you f**k up like us take a deep breath. You should be ok. But, I wouldn't chance it - get your visa application in well ahead of the 4-5 day waiting period.
What if I overstay my visa?
If you overstay your tourist visa, you will be fined around R$10 per day. This will continue for a maximum of 100 days - after which nothing really happens.... If you stay illegally for even 2 years, the fine will never exceed the 100-day limit. But, you will be made to pay this at the border crossing and it isn't a quick process.
I don't recommend overstaying your visa at all (let alone overstaying it by 2 years). But if you do, show up at a federal police office a couple days in advance - especially if you have a domestic to international flight connection. The federal police will give you 8 days to pay your fine and get out of the country. ALSO, If you don't pay your fine upon exiting, you will have to pay the next time you enter. It's a very strange policy but I thought I would mention it.
One last thing... even though researching ahead of time is great, I definitely recommend bringing a travel guide for Brazil along with you. Here are some of the best travel guides I recommend...
And of course, if you have any questions DO NOT hesitate to reach out to me via Instagram, Twitter, or just shoot me an email (tessajuliette at gmail dot com).