PHOTO: Brazil is waiving visa requirements for Americans attending the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero this summer. (Photo by David Cogswell)
Brazil’s Ministry of Tourism and the Brazilian Tourist Board (Embratur) have issued a fact sheet detailing the country’s new visa waiver program. Scheduled to begin on June 1, the program will ease access to Brazil for millions of travelers attending the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, scheduled to take place in Rio de Janiero from Aug. 5-21.
One of several initiatives launched under Henrique Alves, last year named Brazil’s minister of tourism, the visa waiver program will allow citizens of Australia, Canada, the United States and Japan, all normally required to obtain visas to travel to Brazil, to enter the country without visas between June 1 and Sept. 18, 2016.
The development is expected to support strong Olympics attendance among fans from the US and the other countries. A similar visa waiver Brazil launched in conjunction with the 2014 World Cup resulted in a record one million travelers visiting the country in June and July of that year, said Alves.
Even with the visa requirements for entry into the country, the United States is Brazil’s second-largest source market of visitors said Alves, recording 592,800 in 2013. Americans are also the biggest spenders with an average spend of $1,427, and stay longest in the country for leisure, with an average of 20.6 days.
Additional tourist visa information can be found here. The fact sheet features a question-and-answer format and includes the following information:
Q: How long will the visa waiver be valid for?
A: The exemption from the visa requirement is valid for 90 days, and this period will count from the first visitor entry into the country. Tourists from Australia, Canada, the U.S. or Japan who want to benefit from the measure should thus enter Brazil from June 1 until Sept. 18, 2016. These tourists can stay without visa for a maximum period of 90 days. Starting on Sept. 19, 2016, the usual visa requirement for the countries mentioned above, currently in force, will again be required.
Q: How will the process of entry work for tourists exempted from obtaining visas?
A: The procedure will be the same for all other foreigners coming to Brazil. After disembarking the plane, they will have to go through customs and immigration control at seaports and airports. What changes is not the entry procedure, but the facilitation of travel, since tourists will no longer need to go to the Brazilian consulates and embassies to obtain visas.
Q: Will tourists who benefit from the visa exemption have to prove they have tickets to attend the Olympics to enter Brazil?
A: No. To travel to Brazil at that time, visitors simply need to have a valid passport and roundtrip tickets. Furthermore, they should be able, if necessary, to prove financial means to remain in the country if called upon by the immigration authorities, as may occur with all visitors who come to Brazil.
Q: Will the airlines be sufficiently informed about the visa waiver?
A: Yes, the Brazilian government will create a task force to keep all agencies involved with the tourism and aviation industry informed, including airlines and companies that manage airports in Brazil. In due course, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will update its regulations and inform all authorities.