Brazilian Visa Rules Changing?

As a Brazilianist who has to travel to Brazil periodically, allow me to (semi-selfishly) be the first to say this is encouraging:

During U.S. Secretary for Homeland Security Janet Napolitano’s visit to Brasilia earlier this month, she and Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota agreed to set up a working group to study the elimination of visa requirements for travelers from the two countries. The first meeting of the group is expected in November.

“The push for a Brazil visa waiver is picking up steam. The signs are very good,’’ said Talbert. “Miami’s business community has been behind this for several years. We’re all talking about the jobs — and even more jobs would come with more Brazilian visitors.’’

The restrictions on Brazilians traveling to the United States really increased in the wake of 9/11, as the U.S. used the terrorist attacks to basically make life far more difficult for people from a number of Latin American countries to travel to the United States. Given the complete unattachment of Latin America to 9/11 in any way, shape, or form, it resembled at best one of the stupider policies after 9/11, and at worst, one of the more uselessly and baselessly xenophobic policies (last I checked, Brazil had nothing to do with the attacks in New York, Washington DC, or Pennsylvania).
Fortunately, Brazil has a system of reciprocity, meaning that whatever policies other countries require for Brazilian citizens, Brazil will require those policies for those countries’ citizens. In this case, Brazil countered by requiring U.S. citizens acquire a (not-necessarily cheap) travel visa to go to Brazil. That still didn’t make things entirely equal – the rigamarole Brazilians had to endure to obtain a travel visa to the U.S. was still more difficult than U.S. citizens who wanted a travel visa for Brazil – but it at least made completely transparent just how foolish and unnecessary the travel restrictions on Brazilians were. If the US removes those restrictions, it stands to reason under the policy of reciprocity that Brazil will respond in kind, and people who want to travel to Brazil may have greater ease going forward. And, as I’ve explained before, allowing Brazilians to travel to the US more easily can only be good for the US economy. It’s good to see a presidential administration taking a sane approach on this matter after more than a decade of foolishness.
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About Colin M. Snider

I have a Ph.D. in history, specializing in Latin American History and Comparative Indigenous History. My dissertation focused on Brazil. Beyond Latin America generally, I'm particularly interested in class identities, military politics, human rights, labor, education, music, and nation. I can be found on Twitter at @ColinMSnider.
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4 Responses to Brazilian Visa Rules Changing?

  1. Randy Paul says:

    The reciprocity requirement has been in effect long before 9/11. My first visa to Brazil was in 1995. Hopefully my next one will be my permanent one. I agree with you, however, this can only be good news for both sides.

  2. trish says:

    I must say I am looking forward to this visa waiver program for Brazil. long time coming!

  3. Aline says:

    To waiver visas for americans to go to Brazil means brazilians won’t need a visa to come to the USA – GREAT!! But I don’t think you’re actually seeing the whole pic. Being a brazilian myself, I know the sad reality that 90% of brazilians that will enter this country if that ever happens WILL most likely do it with the intention of STAYING in this country, in pursuit of a better life. Let’s not forget that Brazil and USA are very different countries with very different realities. Do not think for one second that your behavior as an american going to Brazil for fun and coming back to your home country will be mimic by brazilians coming here (if the visa is ever wavered). It’s important to make it very clear that EVERY brazilian that actually HAS the means to come to the USA and “help” the american economy comes to the USA and spends their hard earned money today and very often, regardless of the visa requirement. Brazilians do not see the need for a VISA as an obstacle to traveling. Never have and never will. However, in the event the visa requirement is indeed wavered, then most likely you’re gonna see an influx of jobless and penniless brazilians landing in America NOT to spend their (inexistent) money and help the economy but quite the contrary – they will be coming here in the hopes of making some money for themselves, most likely through illegal work of whatever other means they see fit – and that will NOT Help your economy. It’s a sad reality – but it’s the truth.

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