Did you know that Canadians need to obtain visas to enter certain countries? No? Neither did I. It wasn’t something that ever occurred to me when planning my travels. My inexperience almost led me to disastrous results, but fortunately my travel agency was there to help.
About a year ago, when I called Aeroplan to book my flight to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, they didn’t mention anything about visa requirements. I only found out when I booked my Gap Adventures trip to Iguassu Falls through The Adventure Travel Company. When my travel agent informed me I needed to secure a visa to enter Brazil, I was completely shocked. Luckily, I still had enough time to get all the paperwork done before leaving. I hate to think what may have happened had I flown to Brazil without the visa.
Read on to learn more about the application process for a Brazilian tourist visa.
What should I do before planning a trip? How do I find out if I need a visa?
Before you make firm arrangements to travel to any foreign country, you need to find out if that country requires you to have a visa. Some countries like Brazil require you to have a “tourist visa”, even if you’re only planning a brief vacation and have no intention of living or working there.
How do I get a visa?
The first thing you need to do is visit one of these sites for further instructions:
- Vancouver (Serves British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon and Northwest Territories) - http://www.consbrasvancouver.org/tourist_visa.html
- Ottawa – http://www.brasembottawa.org/en/consular/visas/tourist_visa.html
- Toronto (Serves Ontario, except Ottawa, Manitoba and Nunavut) – http://www.consbrastoronto.org/visa_tourist.php
- Montreal (Serves Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland) – http://consbrasmontreal.org/english/estrageiros.aspx
How long does it take to get a visa?
The process is lengthy and it’s important for you to take this into consideration.
Apply at least 6 weeks in advance of your trip, in the very minimum. Do it sooner if you can and no matter what, do not leave it until the last minute. The Brazilian Consulate will not rush applications for you.
What is the step-by-step process for putting together a visa application package?
Here are the nitty gritty details:
1) Complete an application online.
2) Print and sign the resulting “protocol”.
3) Get a passport photo taken. Attach the photo to the proper field in the protocol. Gluing the picture to the paper is acceptable.
4) Have these items ready to complete your visa application package:
a) A certified cheque or money order for the required amount.
b) A copy of your travel itinerary such as an e-ticket showing your arrival and departure dates.
c) Your passport and authorization for minors to travel (if applicable).
Review and Double-check
Before you send off your application package, give everything a final review. Are the details on the protocol correct? Is the money order made out for the right amount and to the correct party?
The last thing you want is to have a silly error cause a delay in the visa application process.
My application package is ready. What’s next?
You can take all of these things to your nearest consulate and drop them off or have a third party do it on your behalf. You can also apply by mail – but note that extra fees will apply and you need to send them a prepaid and self-addressed return envelope.
How long does it take to process the visa application?
The Brazilian Consulate requires 10 business days to process your tourist visa application. If you mailed it in, your passport and visa will be mailed back to you. Otherwise, it is available for pick-up at your local consulate.
The Brazilian Consulate has my passport. What if I need to travel during this time?
As you need to include your Canadian passport as part of your application package, you’ll have to think about whether or not you’ll need to travel outside of Canada while they have your passport.
If you do need to travel for business or pleasure, I would suggest contacting Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada for more information.
This process seems lengthy and confusing. Can someone help me?
If you don’t want to go through some of the hassle outlined above, you can also opt to use a service called Visa Center. While you will still have to do things such as fill out and application, get a photo taken etc, they will handle some of the more administrative tasks for you.
Note – you’ll pay for the convenience and it will cost you more than doing it yourself.
How long are tourist visas valid?
They’re valid for 5 years and allow for stays up to 90 days.
What do tourist visas look like?
If your tourist visa has been approved, you’ll get one of these glued into your passport.
Happy travels and enjoy Brazil! Do you want to learn more about this beautiful country? Read all about my trip to Brazil here.