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Visa requirement a farce...

San Francisco
posts: 4
reviews: 3
Visa requirement a farce...

I just returned from glorious Iguazu Falls in August, 2007. There have been several posts about the visa requirement to visit Brazil. Based on my personal experience, this is entirely NOT the case. I spoke with a couple from Texas at the airport on the way back to Buenos Aires, and they were disappointed when I told them of my "illegal" entry into Brazil. This missed out on this opportunity, because they believed they needed the visa. I personally feel that the view from Brazil is superior to the Argentina side, but that's open to personal opinion, I suppose. However, in order to enter Brazil you simply hire an Argentine taxi to drive you over and back on the same day. They do this crossing multiple times every day. Our passports were stamped as we exited Argentina, and there was nobody manning the Brazilian border crossing. On the way back it was the same. Stamp in Argentina, nobody home at the Brazilian post. I think it is probably a case of the local authorities overlooking the law in order to benefit from the tourist dollars, because there are many Americans who visit here, in fact many more Americans it seemed than any other nationality, except perhaps Argentineans. OK, so the choice is yours, but I say GO FOR IT. You won't regret seeing one of the world's greatest natural wonders from BOTH sides. By the way, the locals simply laugh at you, if you even mention the visa question. Many tourists believe that it is necessary, but the locals know better based on extensive experience with this issue... And to think I even worrried about this before my trip. Ridiculous. I'm glad I didn't waste $100...


Buenos Aires...
posts: 497
reviews: 111
1. Re: Visa requirement a farce...

While generally you're right, it's easy to do, it doesn't always work. Some days, they simply feel like enforcing the rules at the border, on one side or the other, and I know people who have headed up there planning to do just what you did only to get stopped and be unable to enter Brasil, and worse, one couple who were stopped when they tried to come back, detained and fined for having "entered illegally" - costing them several hundred dollars and spending most of a day sitting in a police station. It's a risk that usually pays off, but not always, and calling it a farce is a mistake. It all comes down to whether or not you want to play it safe or take the chance.

San Francisco
posts: 4
reviews: 3
2. Re: Visa requirement a farce...

To Saltshaker, Yes, I agree I shouldn't have used the word "farce" in my title. That was perhaps a bit too strong. But, certainly the locals gave us the strong impression that they do this crossing every day with many tourists who don't have visas, and that there was little chance of being caught. Our taxi driver didn't even think twice about it, and sort of giggled when we mentioned the visa question. He made a big joke about not speaking English as we passed by the completely unmanned Brazil border post. But, Thanks for your insights into your country. We LOVED Argentina and the people, and the FOOD and have plans to return next August. This is the only trip we've made where we immediately decided to return to the same destination a year later! I miss the food in Buenos Aires already, and I've only been home a week. And, I'd like to point out to people that hate hot weather, as we do, that Argentina is delightful in August. When you are miserable in the summer heat in the States, there is a place that is a balmy cool paradise in August...!

All best regards,

A new fan of Argentina

San Diego...
posts: 220
reviews: 11
3. Re: Visa requirement a farce...

Just my two cents too - when I was there, they were not enforcing the visa thing. We were told at the Sheraton that a Visa was required, but the cab driver told us that at some point, the Sheraton had told someone they didn't need the visa and the people were one of the unfortunate ones that were detained.....needless to say, now the Sheraton tells everyone you need the Visa. Okay, so it seems like more often than not, the Brazilians don't enforce the visa thing. That being said, just realize that if you choose NOT to get the visa, you are placing yourself in a position to potentially be extorted....is it worth the $100? You will have to decide. Plenty of people will answer yes, so just decide for yourself.

Visas are good for five years if that makes a difference to anyone.

San Francisco
posts: 4
reviews: 3
4. Re: Visa requirement a farce...

It seems to me that entering Brazil from Argentina at the falls compares very much to those of us Americans that visit Mexico by car or on foot. When you pass into Mexico you pass by an official office with the worker resting his feet on his desk. They hardly notice anyone entering their country! It was exactly the same with my visit to Brazil. I didn't even see anyone in the office, let alone someone with his feet on the desk! I don't know how they can let anyone into their country, but they didn't seem to care the day I went in Aug, 2007. However, when you leave and re-enter Argentina, the Argentines stamp your passport, and they even looked into the trunk of the cab, which is very similar to entering the US from Mexico. So, there is definitely a similar double standard, as it also exists between the US and Mexico. But, if you want to be safe, I suppose you are entitled to spending the $100. I wonder how many tourist dollars the Brazilian local economy is losing as a result of this national policy? It must be in the thousands of dollars every week.... Apparently, the locals agree with me, and are willing to overlook the visa requirement to get more money coming in. I certaintly spent more than a $100 the day I was there, and it didn't go into the Brazilian government's funds...

San Clemente...
Destination Expert
for Buenos Aires, Argentina
posts: 10,656
reviews: 5
5. Re: Visa requirement a farce...

Please note: The Brazilian Visa is not necessarily good for 5 years from the date of issue for all applicants. It depends on from what Embassy has issued the visa, whether or not you get 5 years on the visa. For most applicants you will receive enough time on the visa for your stay in Brazil. I have seen most of them for tourists at around 17 days. The 5 year visas are usually reserved for people who will be making multiple visits to Brazil. For example, if you have family or friends there and so state on your applicaion that you have multiple trips planned there. Many people(US,CAnadians,expats) who are residing in South America can get these visas. The visa costs $100 for US passport holders whether or not it's a few days or 5 years. The Brazilian Embassy Annex in BsAS is a good place to get this visa and takes 48 to 72 hours to process depending onthe day of the week.

As previously suggested, it's possible to cross the border without a visa with a remise driver in Argentina. Most of the time(as stated) it works and many people have seen the Brazilian side of the Falls without a visa. However, please keep in mind that you are illegally entering Brazil and could be subject to fines.

Under no circumstances cross into Paraguay without a visa. There have been posts where they are targeting people who do not have proper papers and detaining them and fining them.

"Go for it or don't go for it" The choice is yours.

San Diego...
posts: 220
reviews: 11
6. Re: Visa requirement a farce...

Thanks for the clarification - my visa (obviously) is for 5 years.

I totally agree wit SFPianist - why they have this stupid Visa to begin with is beyond me.....we have traveled to Brazil several times, so we are getting our money's worth, but I can really see someone just wanting to skip it. Especially these days with Rio being such a wreck (at least in the news....and doesn't the world judge a location by its news?).

Ha, well, hopefully someone from the Brazilian government is reading thi.....tja, right.

Calgary, Canada
posts: 699
reviews: 5
7. Re: Visa requirement a farce...

" - why they have this stupid Visa to begin with is beyond me....."

My understanding is that the Americans changed their entry requirements in the wake of 9/11 and required people from Latin America to obtain visa's and fingerprints to enter, Brazil is simply reciprocating.

posts: 722
8. Re: Visa requirement a farce...

SFpianist, you can call that luck! although many people have gone to the Brazilian side without a visa, I would not call it a farce. I was asked for a visa when entering Brazil, and frankly I' m happy that I did have it.

Portland, Oregon
posts: 23
reviews: 1
9. Re: Visa requirement a farce...

My wife just visted the Brazil side of the Falls on Sunday Sept. 3 coming from the Shearton Iguazu. We are USA Americans with no Brasil visas. We had to pay a little more to the remise driver, they offered to drive us for the day (4hours) for 300 pesos and I offerred 200 pesos. We ended up doing it for 250 pesos and since the remise was connected to the hotel seemed a little safer. The driver was great and let us stop at the corner store to get drinks and food to bring back to the hotel.

Yes, the need for a Brazil Visa was a joke. There was nobody at the Brazil checkpoint both times we drove through it. I would say if you are only going to Brazil to the Iguazu Falls, it would not be worth paying for a visa. Legally, yes but in reality the odds are in your favor. You will be stopped at the Argentina side and will need your passports.

Just my 2 cents or in our case $200 ($100 visa X 2) and then the cost of the driver.

posts: 443
10. Re: Visa requirement a farce...

Thanks for your report! Fortunately, French people do not need visas for Brazil, so I will certainly visit the falls and Rio on my next trip.