“The US Embassy in Brasília is trying to attend to all the applicants that wish to be interviewed for a visa. Today, November 2nd, is the second day in the last two weeks they have set aside for such interviews. Additional interview times have been slated during regular hours, too.
Scheduling for today’s interviews started on the 25th of October. In all, 1,500 openings were made, 900 of which are for those wishing to renew their expired visa, as long as it expired within the last year. Six-hundred openings are available for first-timers. The Brazilian demand for tourist visas to the US are growing. In all of Brazil, the American consulates interviewed 22% more people until now this year than in the same period last year. According to the embassy, close to 95% of all Brazilian solicitations receive a visa to travel to the US. Most visas are B1/B2, which permit business travel and tourism, with a validity of 10 years.
The US Consulate General in São Paulo already handed out 260,122 visas in 2010, surpassing by 1,047 the 259,075 visas handed out in all 12 months of 2009. The São Paulo consulate is where the highest number of US visas are handed out, ahead of Bogotá, Pekim, Mexico City and New Dehli. Around 1,500 to 2,000 people are attended to each day in Brazil’s biggest city. Last Friday, the consulate broke records for interviews given in one day, with 2,123 people being attended to. Accordingly, the number of visas given out, a mere 2,029, was also a record.” – Folha (in PT)
With the currency more equal than not, it’s no surprise that more Brazilians are traveling. Interesting to note that I have friends who have traveled frequently to Europe, always coming back and never overstaying, and they are denied visas to the US. Even just to get a foot in the door at a US embassy or consulate in Brazil takes 90 days from what I hear. If Brazil is going to mimic the fees that Brazilians are charged to come to the US, then Brazil should make it easy to be interviewed with the same ease that I can be interviewed in the Brazilian consulate here (and let’s face it, within one week, being American, I can get a visa to just about any country. What’s fair about that?).
I have a bit of a ‘beef’ with the American Embassy in Brasília as they didn’t let me in! I went with my then-girlfriend and her friend, who wanted a visa and while we were outside, I tried to enter as well and I was told to wait until someone from inside gives the OK. Three hours later after waiting on the curb outside the gates, I was given an answer. “So sorry, if you are staying in São Paulo for most of your vacation, go to the São Paulo consulate”. That was hilarious…ok, not at the time. At the time it was purely nonsensical.