Passports and Visas
At this writing, passports and visas are required for citizens—even infants—of the United States and Canada for entry to Brazil. Business travelers may need a special business visa. It has all the same requirements as a tourist visa, but you'll also need a letter on company letterhead addressed to the embassy or consulate and signed by an authorized representative (other than you), stating the nature of your business in Brazil, itinerary, business contacts, dates of arrival and departure, and that the company assumes all financial and moral responsibility while you're in Brazil.
When in Brazil, carry your passport or a copy with you at all times. Make two photocopies of the data page (one for someone at home and another for you, carried separately from your passport). If you lose your passport, promptly call the nearest embassy or consulate and the local police.
If your passport is lost or stolen, first call the police—having the police report can make replacement easier—and then call your embassy. You'll get a temporary Emergency Travel Document that will need to be replaced once you return home. Fees vary according to how fast you need the passport; in some cases the fee covers your permanent replacement as well. The new document will not have your entry stamps; ask if your embassy takes care of this, or whether it's your responsibility to get the necessary immigration authorization.
Brazilian Embassy. 3006 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, District of Columbia, 20008. 202/238–2700; washington.itamaraty.gov.br/en-us.
Brazilian Embassy. 450 Wilbrod St., Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 6M8. 613/237–1090; ottawa.itamaraty.gov.br/pt-br.
A visa is essentially formal permission to enter a country. Visas allow countries to keep track of you and other visitors—and generate revenue (from application fees).
Go to the website for the Brazilian embassy or consulate nearest you for the most up-to-date visa information. At this writing, tourist visa fees are US$160 for Americans and C$81.25 for Canadians. Additional fees may be levied if you apply by mail. Obtaining a visa can be a slow process, and you must have every bit of paperwork in order when you visit the consulate, so read instructions carefully. (For example, in the United States, the fee can only be paid by a U.S. Postal Service money order.)
To get the location of the Brazilian consulate to which you must apply, contact the Brazilian embassy. Note that some consulates don't allow you to apply for a visa by mail. If you don't live near a city with a consulate, consider hiring a concierge-type service to do your legwork. Many cities have these companies, which not only help with the paperwork, but also send someone to wait in line for you.
When you apply by mail, you send your passport to a designated consulate, where your passport will be examined and the visa issued. Expediters—usually the same ones who handle expedited passport applications—can do all the work of obtaining your visa for you; however, there's always an additional cost (often at least $50 per visa).
Most visas limit you to a single trip—basically during the actual dates of your planned vacation. Other visas allow you to visit as many times as you wish for a specific period of time. Remember that requirements change, sometimes at the drop of a hat, and the burden is on you to make sure that you have the appropriate visas. Otherwise, you'll be turned away at the airport or, worse, deported after you arrive in the country. No company or travel insurer gives refunds if your travel plans are disrupted because you didn't have the correct visa.
U.S. Passport Information
U.S. Department of State. 877/487–2778; travel.state.gov.
U.S. Passport and Visa Expediters
A. Briggs Passport & Visa Expeditors. 800/806–0581; 202/338–0111; www.abriggs.com.
American Passport Express. 800/455–5166; www.americanpassport.com.
Passport Express. 800/362–8196; www.passportexpress.com.
Travel Document Systems. 800/874–5100; 202/638–3800; www.traveldocs.com.
Travel the World Visas. 866/886–8472; 202/223–8822; www.world-visa.com.