Last updated: 03:51 PM ET, Wed July 15 2015

Could Brazil Joining Global Entry Mean The End of Visa Requirements For Americans?

Destination & Tourism | Brian Major | July 15, 2015

Could Brazil Joining Global Entry Mean The End of Visa Requirements For Americans?

Photo: Rio will host the 2016 Summer Olympics. (Photo courtesy of Embratur). 

Brazil’s recent entry into the U.S. Global Entry program may ultimately boost American travel to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, just as the country reports record 2014 tourist arrivals, said Brazilian tourism officials.

Brazil's membership in the Global Entry Program was announced last month in a joint statement by Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s president, and U.S. president Barack Obama. Scheduled for implementation in the first half of 2016, the program will allow quick access for Brazilians arriving in the United States.

More importantly for Americans visiting Brazil, Global Entry’s launch is viewed as an important step toward ending visa requirements for travelers from both countries. Currently U.S. citizens are required to obtain a visa to travel to Brazil.

In a statement, officials at Embratur, Brazil’s tourism board, said “visa waivers for Americans has been discussed by the Ministry of Tourism and Embratur, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

According to Brazil’s tourism minister, Henrique Eduardo Alves, international visa waivers for international travelers would begin with the United States “as one of the countries that send the most tourists to Brazil.”

"[Visa waiver] will increase Brazil's competitiveness in international tourism," said Vinicius Lummertz, Embratur’s president. A total of 592,000 Americans visited Brazil in 2013 according to Tourism Ministry data. Lummertz said visa-free travel for Americans later in 2015 and in 2016 “will help to increase the number of visitors during the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.”

The prospect of easier travel to Brazil for U.S. citizens follows the Ministry of Tourism’s announcement that 6.42 million international tourists visited Brazil in 2014, a 10.6 percent increase over 2013 data. A total of 656,000 Americans visited the country in 2014, a 9.8 percent increase compared with 2013. The increased American arrivals were driven in large part by the 2014 FIFA World Cup, hosted in 12 Brazilian cities last year.

“These numbers are a record to our country and we know that the World Cup was the most responsible for this achievement,” said Lummertz.

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