During my trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina, my main goal was to get a new tourist visa for Brazil before my student visa expired. Now, getting a Brazilian visa is not as easy as just paying a fee when you land in the country (for those with a passport from the USA, Australia, or New Zealand ). It takes time, organization, and money but it’s doable and normally a fairly quick and painless process.
Setting up an appointment and getting to the Consulate
To get a Brazilian visa (tourist, student, etc.) you’ll need to go to the Consulate Geral del Brasil which is located right off of the widest road in the world, 9 de Julio. To make sure you are seen, be sure to set up an appointment online and get there early (my advice would be to take the earliest appointment you can as they are very busy around lunch time and you will be met with a long wait in their hot and humid “office”).
*If you do not read Spanish, you will click “Appointment On Line” followed by Area de Visa Turista (from the drop down menu choices). From there pick any green time slot on the day of your choosing, fill out the following form that pops up and you’re good to go.*
Along with the confirmation page/number for your appointment, you will need to take the following things with you:
- Confirmation of transportation in and out of Brazil i.e. plane tickets, bus passes, etc.
- Passport with a validity of at least 6 months (you will leave this with them so make sure you have a copy of the main page to keep with you).
- Passport photos.
- Accommodation information in Buenos Aires- name, address, phone number (a local phone number is very important, they will turn you away without one).
- Bank/credit card statements proving you have the funds for your trip to Brazil.
- Confirmation page from completed online application.
After giving all of your documents to the staff member, he or she will give you a slip of paper telling you how much needs to be paid (in Pesos) for the visa as well as directions to an Itau bank located on Av. Santa Fe about 10 minutes away. You’ll need to have the full amount in Pesos (cash), which you can withdraw at the ATMs inside of the bank, to pay for the visa. When I went they were using an old exchange rate so the actual visa ended up costing close to US$230 not including any ATM fees your bank card may charge.
The next day, when you go to pick up your passport make sure that you take the receipt that the bank gives you so that they can give you your visa and provide you with your proof of payment.
- Keep your cell phone turned off and put away, you are not allowed to have it out or use it once you arrive at the consulate.
- I recommend taking the earliest appointment you can get and going early to pick up your passport when it is ready (after 11am the lines get much longer).
- Try speaking Spanish with the attendants, they understand a little bit of Portuguese but I noticed a lot of people were really struggling to communicate in English.
- Go prepared! I cannot emphasize this enough. They will turn you away and tell you to return the next day if you are missing a document.
- Most of all, just be patient and friendly. You will get a lot further if you are just friendly and don’t mind jumping through their hoops.
- If possible it is better to get your visa before leaving the USA. Even though the turn around time is quick and it’s a relatively easy process, by getting a visa in Buenos Aires, I ended up spending almost US$70 more because of the exchange rate.
The consulate is located at: Carlos Pellegrini, 1363 and is located on the 5th floor of the building (the security at the front desk will tell you were to go upon entering the building).
To get to the Itau bank it’s easiest to walk down Carlos Pellegrini and turn left on to Av. Santa Fe. The bank will have a blue and orange side and will be located on the left side of the street almost at the end of the 2nd block by the large park/plaza.
As of now the turn around time for Brazilian visas is quick and you should be able to pick up your passport with visa the following business day. After that you can use the rest of your time in Buenos Aires for exploring!