This is a guest post from Laura Yates, a misplaced Midwesterner currently living in Lima, Peru. When Laura isn’t traveling she works for SA Luxury Expeditions, a travel company specializing in Machu Picchu tours and personalized South America vacations. Interest in guest blogging for Leave Your Daily Hell in exchange for a link to the blog? Shoot me an email and let’s talk!
Traveling through South America is usually fairly easy. The people are welcoming, costs are reasonable, and when you use your common sense, most destinations are fairly safe. The only hiccup? Visas.
If you travel on an US, Canadian, or Australian passport (in addition to others), several countries are going to charge you tourist entry fees. Sometimes you can evade the fee by traveling over land (a neat trick to avoid paying when you enter Chile and Argentina), but Brazil is relentless. If you want to visit, you need to arrange, and pay for, your Brazil tourist visa ahead of time. No way around it.
And since Machu Picchu is a major notch on the typical vagabond’s belt, it isn’t unlikely you’ll find yourself in Peru at some point during your South America travels. And if the beaches of Brazil are tempting you eastward, here is how you can get your Brazil tourist visa while in Lima, Peru.
Brazil Visa Prep
Before heading to the Brazil Embassy, make sure you have your documents in order. The first step is finding a computer with a printer to access the online Brazil tourist visa request form.
Conveniently written in English, the site requires you to enter your basic personal information (name, date of birth, nationality, etc.); your passport information; your occupation details (profession, work place, address, phone number, etc.); and your permanent address, current address, and address in Brazil. For the last part, you can use the name of a hotel you plan to stay at during your time in Brazil. You’ll also need to estimate your total travel within the country.
When you finish, you’ll need to click “submit” and print the form.
The online visa request form has a list of what you’ll need to obtain a visa. However, when I went to the Brazil Embassy in Lima they handed me an additional piece of paper that stipulated what they require.
The exact list of what the Embassy of Brazil in Lima requires for a tourist visa: passport valid for at least six months from your intended arrival in Brazil, visa application form with recent passport-sized photo attached to the middle of the form, copy of round-trip ticket or copy of travel itinerary, copy and original of your credit card.
Oh, and the $140 USD to pay for the actual visa.
And, just to make things tricky, the final item on the Embassy’s list of requirements for obtaining a tourist visa: “Other documents, as demanded by the Consular Officer.”
Luckily, when I went in late 2011 to get my visa, I was not asked for any other forms. But here are a few tips to make sure the process runs smoothly: your passport photo needs to be taken on a white background and you should have a neutral expression on your face; you only need the front part of your credit card photocopied (although I brought the back part with me on a separate copy just in case they asked); you don’t need a copy of your passport (they take the original); if you have roundtrip plane tickets you do not need an itinerary.
Handing in Your Papers
The Brazil Embassy in Lima is open to process visa requests from 8am-12pm Monday through Friday (excluding holidays). You do not need an appointment to visit, but the earlier you get there the better. The building is located on Avenida Jose Parado 850 in Miraflores.
For travelers who have spent at least a day in Lima, the easiest way to find the Embassy is to start at the tip of Parque Kennedy where the McDonalds is (trust me, you can’t miss it) and head down the main street Jose Parado toward the ocean. The Embassy is located about 7 blocks down the street on the right-hand side, soon after you pass the main street Comandante Espinar.
Simply walk in the front door of the Embassy, tell the guard you want a tourist visa, sign in with your name and passport information, and allow yourself to be shuffled through a musical chair-esque rotation to the main office window.
After handing in all your documents, you’ll be given a little slip of paper and told to pay your $140 fee (or other amount stipulated by your nationality) at the bank.
Paying the Fee
Just in case you didn’t enjoy your walk down Jose Parado the first time, you get to walk back up the street to the HSBC bank to pay your visa fee. The process is pretty simple—except when the consulate gives you the wrong amount to pay. Like they did with me. Which would then require two trips to the bank rather than one. So take it from me: If you are American, you MUST pay $140. There are no exceptions, and if you’re told differently or given a different amount to pay, just point out your passport again and insist.
The bank is located on Jose Pardo 269, back up the street toward where you originally started. It will be on the right-hand side of the street next to a delicious-smelling barbeque restaurant. Simply wait until an attendant is available, hand over the slip of paper you were given along with the required amount of cash in US dollars and show a photo ID. Don’t worry if you don’t speak Spanish; this bank sees a lot of visa payment forms and knows what to do.
In return, you’ll be given a receipt. Return to the Embassy and wait in line again to turn in the proof of payment. If you’ve paid the proper amount, you’ll get a piece of paper with the date you can return to pick up your passport (which they hold on to) and your brand new Brazil tourist visa. Allow at least five business days for processing.
informs, inspires, entertains and empowers travelers like you. My name is Robert and I'm happy you're here!