Iguazu Falls
Iguazu Falls in Argentina, as seen from Brazil. Photograph ©2005 by Brian Cohen.

Update: Brazil Postpones Visa Requirement Until April 10 2024

This is yet another extension...

In a reversal of a policy of allowing entry with no visa which was implemented on Monday, June 17, 2019, Brazil postpones visa requirement on Wednesday, April 10 2024 for citizens of the United States, Australia, and Canada “in compliance with the principle of reciprocity.”

Update: Brazil Postpones Visa Requirement Until April 10 2024

South American Coatis Iguaçu Falls Brazil
Coatimundis wait for food to be dropped by tourists in Brazil. Photograph ©2005 by Brian Cohen.

The original date for the reintroduction of the visa requirements was Sunday, October 1, 2023; and they also initially included Japan. The information was officially updated as early as Monday, August 28, 2023. The initiative was then postponed to Wednesday, January 10 2024 before it was officially postponed yet again to Wednesday, April 10, 2024.

“The new date was made official by Decree No. 11.875, published in an extra edition of the Federal Official Gazette this Thursday, January 4. The text signed by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva modifies Decree No. 11.692, published in September 2023, which provided for the start of visa requirements on January 10”, according to this official press release. “The extension is intended to complete the system’s implementation process and to avoid starting it during the peak travel season, at the turning of the year. The goal is to ensure a safe implementation of the measure with no negative consequences for the tourism industry.”

The following notice is at the official Internet web site of the Ministério das Relações Exteriores of the government of Brazil:

Visit visas for citizens of Australia, Canada and United States

The Brazilian Government will resume the requirement of visiting visas for citizens of Australia, Canada and the United States.

The decision was taken after consultations with these countries on the possibility of granting visa exemptions to Brazilian nationals, in compliance with the principle of reciprocity.

The measure will come into effect on April 10th 2024.

Citizens of the United States will once again be required to pay $160.00 for a visa for the privilege of entering Brazil; whereas citizens of most other countries will pay $80.00 — with the following exceptions:

  • Algeria — $85.00
  • Angola — $180.00
  • Australia — $120.00
  • China — $115.00

With regard to reciprocity, it “is a historic principle of Brazilian diplomacy. In September 2023, when the previous version of the decree was published, Foreign Affairs Minister Mauro Vieira explained that the federal government is always willing to negotiate visa exemptions on the basis of reciprocity. ‘In other words, each country that accepts Brazilians traveling without a physical visa will be given the same advantage,’ he explained, according to the aforementioned press release. “‘Under the previous government, the requirement for Americans, Canadians, Australians and Japanese was lifted. The measure was given for free. Without reciprocity. Brazilians continued to need visas to travel to these countries,’ he recalled.”

A Brief History of Visas Issued By Brazil

Iguazu Falls Brazil
Photograph ©2005 by Brian Cohen.

Due to the United States historically charging $160.00 for a visa to citizens of Brazil who want to visit, Brazil had reciprocated by charging the same amount for a visa for citizens of the United States who wanted to visit Brazil — thus the term reciprocity fee. However, the cost for a nonimmigrant visa to enter the United States has increased from $160.00 to $185.00 effective as of Saturday, June 17, 2023.

Dilma Rousseff — who was the president of Brazil until she was impeached and removed from office on Wednesday, August 31, 2016 — agreed to suspend the requirements for visas between Wednesday, June 1, 2016 and Sunday, September 18, 2016 in what was known as the “exceptional, unilateral visa waiver” for visitors from certain other countries and regions which purportedly have “a strong Olympic tradition, which have hosted the Games in the past and pose no migration risk or national security risks” for the 2016 Olympic Games in the city of Rio de Janeiro, which occurred from Friday, August 5, 2016 through Sunday, August 21, 2016; and for the Paralympic Games, which occurred between Wednesday, September 7, 2016 and Sunday, September 18, 2016.

Effective as of Thursday, January 25, 2018, the fee which citizens of the United States were required to pay in order to visit Brazil had been significantly reduced to $44.24; and the service fee of $4.24 — which was included in the reduced visa fee — was for the convenience of processing the visa application electronically in three simple steps, which substantially reduced the amount of time needed to apply and receive the visa. Electronic visas were implemented by Brazil at that time, which meant that visitors from the United States, Canada and Japan can apply for electronic visas from the comfort of their own homes and no longer needed to travel to the Brazilian consulate nearest to them and wait in long lines.

The government of Brazil permitted citizens of the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan to enter the country without applying for or paying for a visa in order to increase the number of visitors between destinations by as much as 25 percent effective as of Monday, June 17, 2019.

Final Boarding Call

passport stamps
Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

Although I can understand why a country would want to impose restrictive visas on visitors for various reasons — keeping track of them while they are in that country; as well as to have a revenue stream — they do stand the chance of losing out on the economic benefits of the dollars of tourists and business people when the process of securing that visa is unnecessarily complicated and prohibitively expensive. Saudi Arabia, North Korea and Russia are three countries which immediately come to my mind when it comes to the hassle of getting a visa — although Saudi Arabia has been working on becoming friendlier to foreign visitors — but Brazil has been known to not exactly have the easiest or least-expensive process either.

Are these visa requirements ridiculous just to enter Brazil?

For me, countries which have such restrictive visa policies indicate to me that they are not friendly countries; or perhaps they just do not want for you or me to visit for whatever reasons — and yes, I do understand that there are people who view the United States in that manner as well. In today’s “shrinking” world primarily due to technology, that is a potentially costly mistake, in my opinion. Restrictive visa policies may scratch the “tip of the iceberg” pertaining to greater issues within certain countries; but they do not help in promoting being part of what should be a peaceful global community.

By reducing — or, better yet, eliminating — the fees to secure a visa for a visitor, I believe that the economic benefits would more than make up for it. That $160.00 per person for a visa to visit Brazil could instead go towards patronizing businesses and other areas of the general economy, which in turn would increase tax revenues for the government as one of many benefits. I am by no means an expert on economic policies in global economies; but I believe that charging exorbitant visa fees actually does more harm to countries economically in the long term than helps them.

At the very least, countries should do whatever is possible to strike a realistic balance in ensuring their security and charging fees to visitors: attempt to have the visa process as easy as possible for visitors to enter countries without compromising on smart security; and lower the visa fees as much as possible — or even consider eliminating them. Entering Bahrain and Mozambique are two examples of costly visas and unnecessary harassment which soured my experiences in those two countries enough to the point of where I would be just fine if I never visited them again.

Idealistically, I would really like to see the day where you and I can travel anywhere in the world with few to no impediments; but with human nature being the way it is, I know that will not happen anytime soon — if at all…

For a limited time, you were able visit places in Brazil — such as Iguaçu Falls — without having to pay for any fees associated with obtaining a visa. That changes on April 10, 2024. All photographs ©2005 and ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

  1. If Brazil wants reciprocity, they should stop sending illegal aliens to the US. The UK, France, Taiwan, Australia don’t send many illegals so their citizens don’t need a US visa for tourism and short term visits. The main requirement for the visa waiver program is a low rate of illegals.

    Indonesia recently got rid of its visa requirement for several countries in am attempt to increase tourism.

  2. Brazilians don’t need a visa to enter Switzerland, France, Denmark and the Schengen area in general, and so it’s understandable that they are annoyed that their citizens need a visa for a country with levels of rural poverty comparable to Brazil or India — looking at parts of the rural South in the US — while not needing a visa to visit the most expensive European cities in countries with no such extreme poverty among locals in those countries.

    Given the trend of there being more and more visa requirements under color of electronic pre-travel authoritization applications where before it was visa waiver or visa on arrival, can’t say Brazil is doing anything extraordinary with instituting a visa requirement again under the lame excuse of “reciprocity”.

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