Brazil requires U.S. citizens carry a valid U.S. passport and visa when traveling to Brazil. You must obtain your travel visa in advance as they do not issue “visas on arrival.” It’s best to plan this as soon as possible as Brazil does NOT offer any expedited visa services. It takes at least five business days to process a tourist visa application if submitted in person to their consulate office and at least twelve business days if your visa application is submitted by a visa agency. Longer periods may apply during their high season. If you have a documented emergency such as a family death, you may contact the local consulate office for an expedited exception.
Depending on which consulate office has jurisdiction over your place of residence, the visa application process can vary. For example, the Los Angeles consulate office only lets you apply for a visa in one of two ways. You may either apply in person at the consulate office or use a visa service. If you cannot come to the consulate office in person, your application can be submitted by a third party such as a family member, friend, assistant or visa agency. These are your only two options as some consulate offices forbid you to apply for a tourist visa through the mail without using a visa service. The Los Angeles consulate office will not accept your visa application through the mail (USPS, FedEx, etc.) nor will they send it back to you.
However, certain consulate offices such as Chicago will allow you to apply for a visa through the mail (H/T reader Larry). There are 10 local consulate offices throughout the United States so you might have to use a visa service if you do not live near one. Here is a link to the local consulate offices, their areas of jurisdiction and their visa application process.
This post is specifically for people who want to apply for a tourist visa in person in Los Angeles. If you want to use a visa agency, just be careful of any agency that promises an “expedited” service as the consulate offices do not recognize such services. There is no list of “approved” or recommended visa agencies so you can use any one that you like.
Here are some things to consider before applying for your Brazilian tourist visa:
Obviously, you need to have a valid U.S. passport and one 2 x 2 visa/passport photo with a neutral face (no smiling). Your passport needs to be signed and you will need at least one blank page for the visa. Make sure it’s a blank visa page and not an amendment page. Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the intended date of travel. Applicants under the age of 18 must have a notarized letter of consent for travel to Brazil by both parents (or legal guardians) and a copy of the minor’s birth certificate.
If you already have a valid Brazilian visa but your passport is expired, you can carry both your old passport with the visa and your new passport. You may need to get a yellow fever vaccination if visiting certain rural parts of the country. All Brazilian tourist visas are multiple entry visas but you may only stay in Brazil for up to 90 days a year, unless otherwise noted on the visa.
Because I live in Los Angeles, I applied to the consulate office in Los Angeles (Beverly Hills). Each consulate office has their own website, application process and appointment scheduler. Make sure to visit the link above to visit your appropriate consulate office website.
For Los Angeles consulate office visa applications:
- Go to this website and click on “Visa Request.” Click on the UK flag for English.
- Complete the General Data, Documents, Occupation and Addresses tab.
- Under the “Send Files” tab, you need to upload a scanned copy of your visa/passport photo and a scanned copy of your signature. If you can’t or don’t know how to do this, don’t worry. I’ll give you another option later.
- Once your application is completed, you will receive an “Application Protocol” number.
- Print out your completed application.
- For the Los Angeles consulate office, go to this website and schedule an appointment. In order to make an appointment, you must have completed and submitted your online application. Enter the “Application Protocol” number to verify you have completed and submitted your online application. YOU MUST SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT. Walk-ins will not be allowed to apply for a visa. If you are applying for multiple people, each person needs their own appointment time. If another person is dropping of your visa application, make the appointment under your name (visa applicant) and not the name of the person dropping off your application.
On the day of your appointment:
- Bring your printed application, sign it and GLUE your 2 x 2 visa/passport photo to the application.
- Have proof of residency such as your driver license, utility bill, etc.
- Payment must be made in the form of a money order. No cash, checks or credit cards are accepted. You will need a money order from the US Postal Service in the amount of $160. This is ridiculous but yes, it has to be from the USPS. No exceptions. USPS money orders are sold at all USPS retail locations. The cost is $1.25 to purchase a $160 money order. Under the pay to section, fill in “Consulate General of Brazil.” Under memo, fill in “Visa.” And fill out your name and address.
- And of course, don’t forget your passport. You will need to leave it with the consulate office.
The Los Angeles consulate office is located at 8484 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 300 Beverly Hills, CA 90211.
The consulate is located on the third floor of a large commercial building. There is underground parking located on-site. Now, if you did not upload your photo and signature to their website during the online application process, you must do that first. Go to My Brazil located at suite #725 on the seventh floor of the same building. They can scan your photo and signature and upload it to your online application for you. The cost is $10 cash, takes about five minutes and they will provide you with a printed confirmation. If you already uploaded your photo and signature at home, you can skip this step.
Now, go to the consulate visa office located on the third floor. There are several kiosks to your right. Enter in your information, get a number and wait to be called.
Once called, present them with all of your information and payment. They can look up and verify that you have uploaded your photo and signature online. And that’s it. They will give you a receipt to come pick up your passport and visa the following week. Anyone can pick up your passport for you as long as they have your receipt. So if you lose it, you’re screwed.
Your visa will be affixed to one of your visa pages and will be valid for (up to) 10 years.
I hope this information helps. Feel free to let me know if you guys need any help. Good luck!
More information about visa applications from the Los Angeles consulate office can be found here.
The other related posts in this series include: