Rio de Janeiro. The city of Samba, Copacabana, Caipirinhas, and the 2016 Summer Olympics. Visiting Brazil has always been a dream of mine since Bossa Nova music and the Martial Art of Capoeira came into my life. But before I can become a “Girl of Ipanema”, I first had to make sure that I could successfully get into the country, and that meant getting a Visa.
How to Get a Visa
A Visa is an endorsement on a passport that grants an individual entry, leave, or stay for a designated time in a foreign country. Many countries do not require this designation, however, after the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, Brazil re-closed its borders for tourists and again enforces Visas for all individuals visiting for vacation.
Applying to get a Visa, can be easy or difficult, depending on where you live in the US. Honestly, I found it difficult to locate the correct information on how to obtain a tourist Visa on the U.S. Department of State website, so instead, I reached out to my dear friend Dr. Google. This led me directly to the Brazilian Consulate.
In Atlanta, the Brazilian Consulate only allows scheduled appointments for the Visa process. These can be easily set up on their website and are only 15 minutes in length. The consulate requires the following in order to approve your tourism Visa:
- Completed online application (takes about 15-30 minutes)
- Valid US Passport (must be valid before and after scheduled time in country)
- Recent 2×2 photos (must be taken within the last 6 months; this can be purchased at Walgreens or CVS for around $12 USD)
- Self-paid USPS envelope with tracking information (Around $6 USD)
- Money order for Visa payment ($160 plus $2 processing fee USD; this can be picked up at your local post office)
- Planet ticket/flight reservation/airline employee badge Bank or Credit Card statement
- Printed and signed application form confirmation (you can request this from the office if you are unable to print it yourself, but make sure you have the confirmation & application number before going to your appointment)
My experience at the consulate was very pleasant, easy, and quick. My appointment only lasted 10 minutes, and my passport and Visa are now being shipped to my home.
(TIP: It’s important to know, that if you do not have all of this information available at your appointment, you can email them to the consulate directly. At a minimum, have your application completed, photo available, passport in hand, USPS envelope, and money order to get the process started.)
What I am Expecting
To be honest, I do not have a lot of expectations. I have never been in Brazil, but from what I know from my Brazilian friends, I shouldn’t get stuck on making too many plans. Brazilian people love to have a good time, get to know other people, eat amazing food, and take their time enjoying their lives. My only expectation is that I will have a great vacation and do a lot of unscheduled things.
What to Look Out For
Let’s face it. Brazil is not the safest country on the planet, but that’s not going to change my mind in going. Yes, crime may be higher than some cities in the U.S., however, if you’re a woman traveling with a small group of females like I am (or alone), take the following under consideration:
- Don’t dress up- many pick-pocketers prey on those who seem to have a lot of money. Wear light and comfortable clothes in Rio. It’s a beach town, no need to go all out!
- Don’t take any expensive jewelry with you- again, this would draw attention to you and make you a target. Leave your prized possessions at home.
- Carry a small cross body purse or no purse at all- a thief can’t steal anything that they can’t see or feel!
- If someone confronts you and asks for your things, give it to them- some pick-pocketers are known to have weapons and aren’t afraid to use them. Don’t try to be a hero!
- If you don’t know Portuguese, don’t flaunt your native language. If someone suspicious walks by, wait until they are gone to have a conversation.
As we get closer to my flight date, I can only think about how different of an experience this will be. Not many individuals get the luxury of going to this beautiful and unique country, and I feel really blessed. Even though there may be some uncertainty around traveling to Brazil, I am beyond excited to visit and see all that it has in store. Brazil, let’s make the best memories.
(Featured Photo Taken by grandtravelplans.com)
(All content created by the Girls Point of View Team ©2017. All Rights Reserved.)