How do I expedite a travel visa for a US->Brazil trip that happens in two weeks.
April 7, 2009 2:45 AM   Subscribe

I have 14 full days (from now until APRIL 21, 2009) to obtain a travel visa so I can visit Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. How can I best expedite the process of obtaining a travel visa in time while not spending more money that I need to?

I have my passport, and I will be visiting a friend. My passport expires more than six months after I return from my trip. For the sake of quickness, can I say I'm a tourist and sightseeing vs. "visiting a friend", for which I would need a notarized invitation letter from my friend? (Is that even true?) My friend is an American, but speaks Portuguese and a number of other languages. She is comfortably living in RJ right now.

So far, the cheapest I can find is approximately $229 for expedited service through the Chicago Brazilian consulate. I live in Madison, WI.

What do I need to fill out to make this happen? Im already investigating a 6am trip to Kinko's to get my photo taken.
posted by cothebadger to Travel & Transportation (5 answers total)
Best answer: When I went to Brazil, I went to the consulate in NYC, dropped off my passport and paperwork (we went as tourists, and showed just our plane tickets), and picked up the stamped passports (the visa is pasted into the back pages) the next day. The consulate has a website with all the info you need...

The website is for the Houston office, but lists the rest of the locations.
posted by kenbennedy at 3:10 AM on April 7, 2009

Best answer: Are you going to be a tourist at all while you're there? Of course you are. It's the same visa type as you'd use to "visit a friend" regardless.

Follow the Chicago instructions at : use the (express) mail if you have enough business days (it's iffy), or go to Chicago or get a friend/visa service to do it in person.
posted by deeaytch at 5:25 AM on April 7, 2009

I've been to Brazil on business and I needed a letter from a Vice President or higher stating a) I was absolutely required and b) I was a higher level employee and under no circumstances would I actually fix a computer, network or any other kind of hardware.

Even with this they sent the letter back and had us revise it. All that and we were using a Visa service. My point, Brazil is persnickety about work visas, so be sure to make it clear you aren't doing anything remotely work like. People that told you you needed a letter may be getting visa types confused.
posted by jester69 at 7:24 AM on April 7, 2009

Get the visa immediately. Consulates are not know for being speedy, but they all process at different rates at different times of year

You want a tourist visa. Visiting a friend is not a business visa, you are not conducting business within the boarders. You do not need "letters of invitation" for a tourist visa or visiting a friend. Don't even bother mentioning that you are visiting a friend, it doesn't matter.
posted by Carialle at 10:08 AM on April 7, 2009

Response by poster: As a follow-up:

I have a friend (and many friends of friends) who say by doing it themselves with express envelopes, they got the visas back in 8 days.

In my case, I was nervous, drove to Chicago with a friend and presented it in person with an express return envelope. The consulate employee assured me that it would be done by Tuesday (a week later) at the latest. Add one day of express mail to that, and it's eight days. We'll see if that holds true.

As for the reason for visiting, it certainly does matter that I'm visiting a friend, since I needed to post my friend's name, her parents' names, her address, her phone number and her email. I can't say I'm a "tourist" and not leave any address, hotel or otherwise. The worker asked me what I was planning on doing, too.

I'll post when I get my passport back, fingers crossed.
posted by cothebadger at 5:02 AM on April 9, 2009

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