Foreign governments, like Canada and the United States, are notorious for charging South American countries ridiculous amounts of money to enter into Canada. As pay back, there are certain requirements for certain nationals that are travelling down south.
Buzios, Brazil. Beautiful beach town only 2 hours away from Rio de Janiero
In Chile for example, Canadians are required to pay a fee of $132 USD (credit card or American dollars) when entering the country. The fee is payable once the Canadian has landed in the country and is valid for 90 days (the amount of time for the tourist VISA). Another great example is Argentina, where individuals could, before January 2013, avoid reciprocity fees by taking a bus into the country. Unfortunately, the Argentine government caught on and now VISAS need to be bought and paid for BEFORE entering into the country. For more info click here.
Entering into Brazil is a whole other ball-game. I was living in Santiago de Chile when I decided to apply for my VISA. At first I went to the Brazilian embassy (located at the Los Heroes Metro stop) and was informed that the Brazilian consulate was the only place authorized to dispense VISAs. PLEASE NOTE: The old consulate was located at 225 Mac Iver, two blocks from Metro Santa Lucia. This consulate has since closed down and the new location is at at 6191 Los Militares Tall building, 1° Piso (Metro Manquehue). You can call the consulate 10 am – 1 pm at this number: (2)820-5800 (put 56 before it and include the 2 to call from Skype.) My main tip would be to read all the instructions and requirements BEFORE going to the consulate. In Santiago visas were only processes from 10 – 11:30 am and only 15 visas were given out a day. I was turned away three different times before I finally submitted my paperwork.
If you are a American and/or Canadian passport holder/citizen, you will need the following things so that you can get a Brazilian visa in Santiago (disclaimer: requirements WILL change with time, so please double check):
- A photocopy of passport
- A photocopy of ticket into and out of Brazil
- A photocopy of a valid credit card (front and back)
- A photocopy of the photo ID page of your passport
- One passport sized photo
- MONEY $$$ (a little more if you plan on sending in your application to the consulate). Prices have been increasing but it’s usually around US$150 – 200. Bring more than required just in case.
- Online visa request, properly filled out online and completed; and printed protocol signed
After presenting all this information, expect to give up your passport for at least a week (so bring your passport to the consulate). This means that you should plan ahead. When you present all your papers to the individuals, they will give you a bank deposit form which you need to take to the BCI bank located nearby, pay and return to the consulate immediately with the payment receipt. You do not need to wait in line after going to the bank, simply knock on the door and wait near the counter of the person who processed your application. The consulate will give you a slip and keep you passport for usually 7 days – they will tell you the exact number. The new tourist visa for American and Canadian citizens are valid for 10 years. If the visa is still valid when your passport expires, then all you need to do is travel with the old and new passport to show the visa.
The view from on top of of the Cristo Redentor
If you plan on traveling around South America, a friend of mine also suggested that travelers could go to Iguaçu Falls to obtain a visa. As a fellow Canadian she only waited one day to get her visa. Although the process may sound long and tedious, don’t let that dissuade you from visiting Brazil. I have only visited Rio and Buzios but I loved every second. The weather, people and sights are unforgettable. This is one journey you wouldn’t want to miss.
Did I forget anything important? Has something changed since I wrote this? Any other advice??? Please leave a comment for future readers.