Brazil Reintroduces Visa Requirement for US Citizens and Other Tourists

| Post by

Brazilian officials have announced that the country will bring back visa requirements for citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, and the US.

These nationalities were made temporarily visa-exempt following a decision by former president, Jair Bolsonaro, in an effort to boost Brazil’s tourism sector.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, travelers from the 4 countries had to apply for a Brazilian visa. In response to a significant drop in the number of foreign tourists, the government offered visa-free travel to encourage more visitors.

Despite the ease in its entry requirements, tourism numbers from these nations actually declined in Brazil. In 2022, the number of US arrivals was less than in 2018. The number of Japanese tourists in 2019 also reduced by 4.5%.

Brazil’s tourism sector has taken a dramatic hit overall since the pandemic, with revenues dropping from $38.5 million in 2019, to $26 million in 2020 and $29 million in 2021.

brazil flags

When Will Americans, Australians, Canadians and Japanese Need a Visa for Brazil?

The change in visa rules will come into effect on October 1, 2023.

The Brazilian government initially announced the return of visa requirements for visitors from the 4 countries in March 2023, but did not announce the date until early May.

How Will the 4 Nationalities Be Able to Get a Brazil Visa?

Before the pandemic, Brazil issued visas via its embassies worldwide. All foreign nationals who require a visa must go in person to file an application.

However, this may change for Americans, Australians, Canadians and Japanese nationals.

Brazil’s secretary for consular affairs at the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ambassador Leonardo Gorgulho is on record speaking about reintroducing an electronic visa for visitors from the 4 countries affected by the change in policy.

At a public hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Gorgulho said that the visa would be available online to citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, and the US.

Why Is Brazil Changing its Visa Policy?

The changes to Brazil’s entry requirements were only temporary measures to encourage tourism numbers. The country has now decided to go back to its pre-pandemic visa policy, which includes mandatory visas for citizens of these countries.

Though Brazil offered visa-free travel to these nations, the respective governments maintained visa rules for Brazilians.

The move was criticized by many, with the foreign ministry saying in a statement that the decision was “a break with the pattern of Brazilian migration policy, historically based on the principles of reciprocity and equal treatment.”

The foreign ministry continued by stating:

“Brazil does not grant unilateral exemption from visiting visas, without reciprocity, to other countries.”

Opposition to the reintroduction of visas

At the hearing at the start of May 2023, various representatives of the tourism, hotel, and aviation industries voiced their opposition to the plan.

A number of economists support the idea that visa-free travel encourages tourism and brings more money to these sectors, which have been badly affected by the pandemic and have not yet recovered.

In addition, tourists from Australia, Canada, Japan, and the US tend to spend more on average than visitors from other parts of the world.

A document from the Foreign Affairs Ministry seems to support this argument. It estimates that it gained significantly more money through tourism (USD 4.95 billion) than it lost on visa revenue (USD 15 million) while the 4 nationalities enjoyed visa-free entry.

Related News

  • Easier Access to Brazil Announced for Chinese and Indian Citizens

    The Brazilian government has announced easier access to Brazil for Chinese and Indian citizens through new visa exemption and electronic visa measures

    Read full article
  • Brazil eVisa Boost International Tourism

    The introduction of the Brazil e-Visa has led to a record year for tourism in the country, the latest statistics from Brazil Tourism have shown.

    Read full article