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Visas

Nationals of the United States, Canada, and Australia require a visa to visit Brazil. British nationals (and most holders of an E.U. passport) and New Zealand passport holders do not require a visa, but do need a passport valid for at least 6 months and a return ticket. A number of visa types are available; cost, processing time, and documentation requirements vary. Visas for Australians cost A$90, plus local handling fees, and take about 2 weeks to process. For Canadians a similar visa costs C$72 and takes about the same processing time. U.S. citizens pay US$100 for a standard single-entry tourist visa valid for 90 days (add another US$10 for handling fees, passport photos, and courier costs if you don't live near a consulate). Count on at least 2 weeks of processing time.

Upon arrival in Brazil, visitors will receive a 90-day entry stamp in their passport and a stamped entry card. Hang on to the card for dear life, as losing it will result in a possible fine and a certain major hassle when you leave. If necessary, the visa can be renewed once for another 90 days. Visa renewals are obtained through the local Policia Federal. This is best done in large cities where the staff has experience with tourists. It's a good idea to print and fill in a copy of the requisite form, available at the following website: www.dpf.gov.br/web/formulario/form_cgpi/requerimento_de_prorrogacao_de_prazo.htm.

Children 17 and under must have their own passport and visa. Children from 3 months to 6 years of age must also show proof of vaccination for polio. If a child is traveling with people other than his, or even if the child is only traveling with one of parents, the child must have a notarized letter from both parents confirming permission for the child to travel. For a model of this letter, see www.consulatebrazil.org/autorizacaoviagemmenor.htm. Immigration authorities may well demand such a letter on entry or exit. Buses and airlines often demand such a letter before allowing a child to board.

Shortly after the United States began fingerprinting Brazilian visitors, Brazil in a tit-for-tat bit of retaliation implemented its own fingerprint program for U.S. visitors. In its first few months the system caused numerous long delays; nowadays the fingerprint requirement is fulfilled with a quick and efficient digital reading of a single thumb digit.

Note that Brazilian consulates in the U.S. often no longer offer multiple entry visas (though you can ask). However, this is not a problem for visitors to Iguaçu who wish only to travel over to the Argentine side for a few hours and return the same day. The Policia Federal at the Iguaçu border post inspect passports but let you exit and return without the need for a new visa.

For more information regarding visas and to obtain application details:

Australians can call tel. 02/6273-2372 (in Australia) or log on to www.brazil.org.au.

Canadians can apply through Toronto's Brazilian consulate (tel. 416/922-2503; www.consbrastoronto.org).

In New Zealand inquiries can be made in Wellington at tel. 04/473-3516 or check www.brazil.org.nz.

In the U.K., more information is available at tel. 020/7399-9000 (in the U.K.); www.brazil.org.uk.

U.S. citizens can contact the Brazilian consulate in New York (tel. 917/777-7791; www.brazilny.org); Los Angeles (tel. 323/651-2664; www.brazilianconsulate.org); or Miami (tel. 305/285-6200; www.brazilmiami.org). Links will connect you to the consulate closest to you.

Don't Leave Home Without a Picture ID -- Bring an alternative picture ID, like a driver's license or student ID. You are required to carry ID in Brazil, and it's sometimes requested when entering office buildings or even tourist sites. Your passport is safer in the hotel safe and not required except for official transactions.

Customs

What You Can Bring In -- As a visitor you are unlikely to be scrutinized very closely by Brazilian Customs; however, there are random checks, and your luggage may be thoroughly inspected. Visitors are allowed to bring in whatever they need for personal use on their trip, including electronics such as a camera and laptop. If you are bringing in new electronic items you may be asked to register the item to ensure that you will take it with you when you leave. Gifts purchased abroad worth more than US$500 must be declared and are subject to duties for the value over US$500. Merchandise for sale or samples should also be declared upon arrival.

What You Can Take Home from Brazil -- For information on what you're allowed to bring home, contact one of the following agencies:

Australian Citizens: Australian Customs Service at tel. 1300/363-263, or log on to www.customs.gov.au.

Canadian Citizens: Canada Border Services Agency (tel. 800/461-9999 in Canada, or 204/983-3500; www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca).

New Zealand Citizens: New Zealand Customs, The Customhouse, 17-21 Whitmore St., Box 2218, Wellington (tel. 04/473-6099 or 0800/428-786; www.customs.govt.nz).

U.K. Citizens: HM Customs & Excise at tel. 0845/010-9000 (from outside the U.K., 020/8929-0152), or consult their website at www.hmce.gov.uk.

U.S. Citizens: U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), 1300 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20229 (tel. 877/287-8667; www.cbp.gov).

Medical Requirements

Before going, check your vaccinations and get booster shots for tetanus and polio if required. Children ages 3 months to 6 years may be required to show proof of polio vaccination. One vaccination that is definitely recommended -- and sometimes mandatory -- for Brazil is yellow fever. Outbreaks are sometimes reported in the Amazon, the Pantanal, Brasilia, or even Minas Gerais. Make sure you get an international certificate of vaccination as Brazilian authorities sometimes require proof of vaccination for people going to or coming from an affected area. Travelers who have been to Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, French Guyana, Peru, or Venezuela within 90 days prior to their arrival in Brazil must show proof of yellow fever vaccination. Keep in mind that the vaccine takes 10 days to take effect.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.