If I have Global Entry do I need a visa to go to Brazil?
July 15, 2015 12:45 PM   Subscribe

I bought a really cheap fare to Sao Paolo for Christmas. And I was expecting to have to get a visa at some point to go. But then, when I had some downtime from work, I got Global Entry approved. And now I read that Brazil is a part of Global entry. Is it? Or will it be by Christmas? And do I still need to blow $130 bucks and a day of running around to get a Brazilian visa?
posted by rileyray3000 to Travel & Transportation around Brazil (11 answers total)
Yes, you still need a visa.

Brazil entering global entry (which, btw, I'm not sure has actually happened yet) just means that Brazilian citizens can apply for accelerated entry into the US. It's not a reciprocal program that gives you any additional benefits in Brazil.
posted by kickingtheground at 12:55 PM on July 15, 2015 [5 favorites]

As kickingtheground said, most of the time when a foreign country is added to Global Entry, it just means citizens of that country can apply for the US program. There are currently only 2 examples of reciprocal benefits that I know about: US Global Entry visitors to Australia can use a Smart Gate system, and US visitors to New Zealand can use a special (shorter?) line.
posted by dcjd at 12:59 PM on July 15, 2015

Here's the thing.

Brazil imposes Visa requirements on US citizens because the US imposes them on Brazilian citizens. If Brazil is admitted to Global Entry, it's entirely possible they'll waive those requirements for US citizens.
posted by Oktober at 1:20 PM on July 15, 2015

Response by poster: see that's what I read too. Which makes me reluctant to go spring for the visa.
posted by rileyray3000 at 1:24 PM on July 15, 2015

Well you can spring for the visa and then spend days happily runing around Brazil at christmastime, or not get the visa and chance not being allowed onto the plane for brazil, or being deported as soon as you arrive. $130 and a day running around is what I would do.
posted by TheAdamist at 1:30 PM on July 15, 2015 [4 favorites]

I suspect that your airline will be able to help you with this question, as you get closer to the date. In the past when I have traveled to countries that require pre-purchased visas (Argentina, most recently) the airline was the first line of defense in making sure I had done so, and wouldn't have let me board the plane if I didn't have one.
posted by Phredward at 1:31 PM on July 15, 2015

Response by poster: Just saw this:

"[Visa waiver] will increase Brazil's competitiveness in international tourism," said Vinicius Lummertz, Embratur’s president. A total of 592,000 Americans visited Brazil in 2013 according to Tourism Ministry data. Lummertz said visa-free travel for Americans later in 2015 and in 2016 “will help to increase the number of visitors during the Rio 2016 Olympics and Paralympics.”

From this article: LINK
posted by rileyray3000 at 1:36 PM on July 15, 2015

I would not count on government programs starting on the time frame casually mentioned in an article. I think you can wait until early October to get your visa, and see if anything official has been announced by then. (Assuming that you have no other potential international travel that would require you to have your passport in your possession, since you'll have to surrender it to get the visa,)
posted by mercredi at 1:56 PM on July 15, 2015 [3 favorites]

Note that "could" is the key part of that headline. Right now, you need a visa. That may change at some point in the future. $130 and running around, or a bit more money and a visa service for less running around, is the way to obtain that visa.

Generally, I don't find hoping foreign governments will change their laws and make those changes effective in five months when there have only been vague noises that such a thing could ever happen to be a particularly good strategy, but that's your call. If you think a visa won't take very long to obtain, you could wait a little bit while hoping for news from the Brazilian government that would make one unnecessary.

If a visa is required in December, you will not be allowed to get on the plane without one.
posted by zachlipton at 1:59 PM on July 15, 2015 [3 favorites]

my understanding of the politics is that it's a low priority political football. there's a lot of resentment in s america over US visas. they're expensive, time consuming, and arbitrary. the brazillian visa was launched in retaliation; chile had a similar "reciprocity fee". at the same time, there seems to be a concerted effort by the usa to improve things (perhaps enabled by electronic (RFID) passports). chileans with suitable passports are now in the visa waiver program (VWP), for example.

so i guess there's hope that brazil will also be included in the american visa waiver program, and that it will drop its own visa requirements in exchange. or maybe the brazillian govt is desperate for something to make it look like it's improving the economy and will unilaterally drop it to improve tourism?

but this is all separate, as far as i know, from the global entry system, which is basically just to let well-off business travellers jump queues, isn't it?
posted by andrewcooke at 2:47 PM on July 15, 2015

Global Entry is only about entering the US faster, getting a faster customs line, PreCheck clearance, etc. (I have Global Entry, its awesome, but it means nothing outside the US).

Its available to US citizens, permanent residents, and citizens of some foreign countries (like S. Korea and Germany).

Now, what you're talking about is that Brazil and the US might do a reciprocal visa waiver setup. And apparently they're also considering allowing some Brazilians to join Global Entry (to make their entrance into US easier).

But they are entirely separate. Most countries in the Visa Waiver Program are _not_ eligible for Global Entry (there are 7 countries including the US elilgible for Global Entry, and 38 countries eligible for the VWP).

Technically, the VWP is also only about foreign citizens entering the US. However, in almost all (possibly all) cases, the VWP ends up being a reciprocal agreement where the foreign country also allows US citizens in without pre-obtaining a visa.

As others said -- even if this was 100% going to happen, the time frame has not been officially announced as far as I can tell. So you're gambling it will happen by then. If it doesn't, you won't be able to get on the plane. Depending on how much lead time you need for the visa, you could wait a bit to see if there is a firm date announced and that would be a little less risky (although it could still be delayed!).

But the only way to make sure you can go on your trip (and not lose your $ from plane ticket, etc) is to get the visa.
posted by thefoxgod at 3:16 PM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

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