In as little time as one year, the US may add Brazil to their Visa Waiver Program (VWP), meaning Brazilians wouldn’t need a tourist visa to enter the US. As part of the visa reciprocity rules between the two countries, this would mean that Americans wouldn’t need a tourist visa to enter Brazil.
The applying country’s total nonimmigrant visa refusal rate for becoming eligible is set at 3%, though other criteria exist. Nonmember countries who want to join are required to give biometric passports to their citizens and every individual traveler needs to fill out a travel authorization form prior to travel. A few other requirements are needed as well but they aren’t much different from the current stipulations.
Thirty-six countries (mostly European) make up most of the current list and 11 more have been in talks with the US on their potential entry. Brazil is one of four among those in South America and news reports in the last 6 months are saying that Brazil is quickly closing in on reaching that 3% point for inclusion.
This past May 25th, the largest event for the tourism industry in the US ended in San Francisco. The main theme? Waiving the visa requirement. Many influential attendees were specifically rooting for Brazilian inclusion and some said they have inside knowledge that the Obama administration is seriously studying such an agreement.
While the current tourist visa process is fairly simple, it does require a non-refundable fee of $140 and that the applicant travel to the nearest Brazilian consulate. If the visa requirement does go away, the travel limit of 90 days will remain the same (though I’m not sure on possible extensions). With big sporting events to occur in Brazil in the coming years and the Brazilian economy going strong, it seems that the visa requirements may disappear by 2012.
Originally written for Street Smart Brazil