Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil

How to Get Your Brazilian Visa in Buenos Aires

March 19th, 2014 | Posted by Ian in Argentina | Brazil | How To | The Places We've Been

US passport holders require a visa to enter Brazil. They should be valid for 10 years, 90 days at a time, up to 180 days per year. You can get one pretty easily in Buenos Aires. Here is how to theoretically go about doing this (details about our experience are below):

  1. Reserve an appointment at the Brazilian consulate. Go to the website for the Brazilian consulate in Buenos Aires. Click the button at the top of the page that says “Appointment Online.” Find the dropdown menu at the top of the calendar (it should be labeled “Área”) and select “Área de Visa Turistica.” Find and click on an open appointment slot. Those marked in red are already taken. Fill in the required information, then either print or make note of your appointment number.
  2. Fill out a visa application online. Go here and find the link (in English, if that is your preference) for “Visa Request.” Fill it out. Print the confirmation form if possible. If not possible, make sure you take note of the application number listed on the confirmation form.
  3. Prepare your required documents. You may be asked for the following:
      • Passport, valid for at least six months.
      • A recent 2″ x 2″ picture of your face on a white background with a neutral facial expression.
      • Your visa application form confirmation page or application number.
      • A recent bank statement (with your name on it) showing 90 days of balance history.
      • Credit cards
      • Tickets into and out of Brazil
      • Proof of lodging reservations

    The passport, photo, and visa application are strict requirements. Based on other peoples’ notes, the rest is variable, though you will almost certainly need to show some kind of proof of funds.

  4. Go to the Brazilian Consulate at your appointment time. It is located at Carlos Pellegrini 1363 on the fifth floor. Take all of the documents listed in the previous step. Once your paperwork has been taken care of, the person helping you will give you a slip of paper to present at the bank.
  5. Pay your visa fee. This needs to be done at Itau (a Brazilian bank) a couple blocks away on the north side of Santa Fe. The person helping you at the consulate can point you toward it. For US citizens on normal tourist visas, the current price is 1768 pesos.
  6. Return at the time you were told your visa would be ready. 
Boom! You’re done. Time to start learning Portuguese.

Our Experience

Our only real mistake during this process was not booking an appointment far enough in advance. I set up our appointment on a Monday, and the earliest we could get in was the following Thursday (as in ten days later). We just so happened to be leaving the Saturday after that, so we had no buffer time and had to hope a one day turnaround was going to work. Other people have written about their experience, and most — but not all — of them had been able to get their visa in 24 hours. Fingers crossed I guess.

We got our documents together on a USB drive and checked them about sixteen times, then took a couple terrible mugshots. Passports and USB drive in-hand we rode the Subte across town, found a printer, got everything printed, and rolled into the consulate at 11:00, fifteen minutes early for our appointment. The security guy at the door pointed us to window #5, apparently the line for tourists, where we were third in line. By the time we were moving up to next in line shit got crazy…

A young lithe Brazilian man at window #3 started to raise his voice at the person behind his window. This, of course, was in Portuguese, so we didn’t really know much of what he was saying. There appeared to be some issues with his paperwork. He started to pound on the window a bit and stared at the gentleman behind it while his voice grew louder and his eyes more intense. By this point I imagine every single eye in the room was on him, which probably fueled his feeling of isolation and rage. A few moments later he walked to his bag sitting on a ledge ten feet back from the window, unzipped it, and started to pull something out. Ummmmmm. Please don’t do that. He changed his mind and went back towards the window, but silent alarm signals had gone off inside everyone around. The consulate workers cleared everyone else out of the room and into the hall and the middle-aged security guard advanced slowly.

We piled out into the elevator area just outside the consulate office. An important point: the entire outside wall of the office is floor to ceiling glass. We were all technically out of the room, but then we all just stood there like some quiet audience and watched everything unfold. To add to the mess, the elevators just kept bringing more people up to join the crowd and wonder what on earth was happening.

Then the young man went for his bag again. He managed to get what looked at that point like some kind of rod about halfway out of his bag before the security guard’s hand latched onto his wrist and held it in place. He stood hard and stern, but spoke quietly trying to calm the younger man down. After three or four minutes of deadlock (and yelling all the while), he gave up on whatever he wanted from his bag. A second security guard from somewhere in the building had appeared by this time. The first took the man’s bag and disappeared with it to a back room. The man paced and yelled and pointed at his documents and paced and yelled and grabbed a stack of papers and thumbed through them and paced and yelled. Two policemen showed up. Then another. Then one more. He paced and yelled some more. The security guard brought out the object the man had been trying to retrieve from his bag and showed it to the police. It looked like a curved bar or pipe of some kind and  must have been rubber or hard plastic because there was a metal detector at the entrance. Eventually, the man sat down and began to calm. He looked like someone who was starting to realize they had made a mistake. The police took him in a back room for ten minutes or so. When they emerged they walked slowly with him out the door, made their way through the crowd, got in an elevator, and left. So bizarre…

Side Note #1: When something like this happens, it doesn’t give you license to bum rush the now open room and seize the first spot in line for yourself. There are like thirty of us here; you have a pretty good idea what order you arrived in and who was here before you. Don’t be selfish. When the room was cleared, there was one guy at the window ahead of us, then us, then a couple right behind us. When the room opened up, the husband from the couple that had been behind us in line when this whole thing started dashed through the crown and ran to the window. What the hell man? 

Side Note #2: When you exit an elevator to a hallway full of people staring through a glass wall at a confrontation, there are quite a few ways to behave that are appropriate. Trying to get the attention of the security guard currently trying to talk down a pacing yelling person so you can tell him you “have an appointment” is not one of those appropriates modes of behavior. Then proceeding to stake out a place directly in front of the door so you can run in and be first in line is also not an appropriate thing to do. I’m looking at you little miss American thing. We all have appointments, and you aren’t more important than anyone else here.

Finally, everything was calm and we were at the window. The lady who helped us spoke flawless English in addition to her flawless Spanish and flawless Portuguese. She took our application confirmation, photos, and bank statement, filled out a few things on her computer, then gave us the payment slip for the bank and said we could come back at 1:00 the next day to pick up our visas. Suh-weet. We didn’t even have to come back to show proof of payment, they were able to verify it online. They do keep your passport at the consulate, though, so be prepared to be without it.

Brazilian Visa in Buenos Aires

What a face.

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7 Responses

  • Jo says:

    Interesting. Scary! Why did we not see Brianna’s emotionless face? I be that was a hard picture to get. :) So glad you continue to be safe in your adventures.

    • Ian says:

      We took our pictures right after rolling out of bed and both looked like hell, so I took one for the team and only put mine on here. Plus this way I still have it available for blackmail.

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  • Peter says:

    Thanks for this, this really helps, sounds crazy though. So had you signed up for an appointment on the Monday and then they moved it?

    Also can you pay in cash at the Itau bank?

    • Ian says:

      Peter, I can see why my wording about the appointment might be confusing. What I meant was that I actually got on the website to set up the appointment on a Monday. The appointment I was able to set was two Thursdays from that day. Does that clear things up?

      I could be confused about payment at Itau, but I think you might even HAVE to pay in cash.


  • Neethi says:

    Hi Ian,
    I know its been a while but do you know if the consulate website has changed? I have been trying to use your link and links from other places, but its says that the website doesn’t exist. If you have the URL would you mind posting it on here?

  • Ian says:

    Looks like that entire website is gone huh. I chased the link from step #2 above and eventually made my way to here, but it’s not a secure page so send your data across the wire at your own risk. That’s about as far as I can be helpful. Good luck, and if you find out any updating information we’d love to hear back from you.


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