"There was only one catch and that was Catch-22."
September 30, 2014 2:17 PM   Subscribe

I need a visa for a work trip from the United States to Brazil and am slightly punch-drunk from bureaucracy. Please help me by confirming whether I'm reading these requirements right, or not.

I apologize for asking such a boring question! I've read previous Asks, and have called three consulates but not yet reached any human beings. I need to get this figured out so I can buy a money order for the correct fee amount before my visa appointment next week --- otherwise, woe betide me.

My two questions:
1) Given my circumstances, am I right that I need a business visa rather than a tourist one?
2) In general, am I right that the visa fee is determined by the country of one's passport, rather than the country in which one lives?

Background. I'm travelling to Rio for two days to speak at a conference. I'm a Canadian citizen living in the United States with U.S. permanent residency (green card), travelling on a Canadian passport. I'll be paid for the talk by the company that's organizing the conference, which is the Brazilian branch of a multinational for-profit.

Re type of visa. I think, but am not sure, that I need the business visa not the tourist one. I say that because the consulate site describes the tourist visa as for people planning "participation as an attendee or speaker, not paid in Brazil, in scientific or scholar conferences and seminars. For business related conferences and other events, please see instructions for business visas." On the business visa page it talks about meetings, but doesn't mention conferences or events. Nonetheless, I'm pretty sure the business visa is what I need, based on the description of the tourist visa.

Re which country. According to the website of the consulate, "U.S. passport holders are exempted to pay a visa fee on a reciprocity basis," "U.S. citizens must pay a non-refundable $160.00 reciprocity fee," and "if you intend to enter Brazil with a non-U.S. passport, please check here to verify if you need a business visa." All those references suggest, to me, that the fee is determined by the country of your passport/citizenship, rather than the country of your residence. Yes?

(Here are some relevant links in case you feel like poking around the consulate site.)

Thanks in advance for any help -- like I said, I am finding myself befogged :)
posted by Susan PG to Travel & Transportation around Brazil (7 answers total)
FWIW people doing exactly the same in reverse just go for the tourist visa. I would go for the (much easier) tourist visa.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:21 PM on September 30, 2014


From what I understand, visas are almost always based on your passport country. Permanent Residence in the US is only rarely considered, and then it is only for countries with close ties to the US (think: Mexico), and it is made explicit (the documentation will say something like US Passport Holders and Permanent Residents).

As for tourist vs. business, I think the crux of the matter is "not paid in Brazil". How exactly will you be paid? If you are getting a cheque drawn from a Brazillian bank, then I think you need to go Business. If you are getting a wire transfer, or a cheque drawn from an American bank, I would bet you could successfully make the argument that you are "not [being] paid in Brazil".
posted by sparklemotion at 2:25 PM on September 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

If I were you, I'd be a Canadian tourist visiting Rio for two days but then I believe in telling Immigration what they want to hear.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 3:23 PM on September 30, 2014

Best answer: All those references suggest, to me, that the fee is determined by the country of your passport/citizenship, rather than the country of your residence. Yes?

Generally, yes (with the exceptions that sparklemotion talks about) and the significant thing here, as you've deduced, is 'reciprocity'. Brazil makes life a fair bit harder for US visitors because the US makes it hard for Brazilian visitors. You're Canadian, so that's nothing to do with you, but the fee you'll pay is set to reflect what Brazilians pay for the respective Canadian visa.

I'd agree with sparklemotion here: if you're being paid by a Brazilian entity in Brazilian funds, it probably crosses the threshold for business travel, and you're going to need to provide a full itinerary of your trip either way. Have you asked the conference organisers what they recommend?
posted by holgate at 4:26 PM on September 30, 2014

Best answer: You will never regret applying for a business visa in this situation.

If you apply for a tourist visa and someone at any step along the line decides you really needed a business visa you will be entering a world of pain.
posted by grouse at 5:09 PM on September 30, 2014 [2 favorites]

I would check with the conference organizers per the suggestion above. I have traveled to Brazil on business, and I believe on a tourist visa. [It has been a few years and i don't remember exactly the type of visa I have.] The Brazilian government does not want people coming to Brazil and taking jobs from Brazilians. I have gone there for meetings, but am employed by a US company and was not staying there to do work in Brazil.

What I do recall hearing from my colleagues is that if you apply for a work visa (not sure if that is the same as a business visa or not), it can take an incredibly long time to get approved.
posted by elmay at 6:15 PM on September 30, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks everyone, and I am closing this out in case it's useful for future searchers. Turned out that yes, I needed a business visa not a tourist one and yes, the visa fee is determined by the country that issued the passport. Business visa is different from a work visa: like elmay says, a work visa takes much longer to get approved, and it's not necessary unless you plan on actually living and working in the country you're entering.

(That said, it's possible I could've gotten away with a tourist visa. I didn't try.)
posted by Susan PG at 3:28 PM on October 26, 2014 [2 favorites]

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