I commend Brazil today for its decision to soon no longer cut off its nose to spite its face. While Brazilians will still be subjected to onerous visa requirements to visit the United States, U.S. Citizens can soon much more easily obtain a visa to visit Brazil.
Starting November 21, 2017 citizens of Australia will be able to apply for an electronic visa online. Both tourist and business visas will be issued electronically within 72 hours of application.
Starting in January 2018, citizen of the USA, Canada, and Japan will also be able to apply for e-visas in advance, avoiding the need for lengthy visits to the closest Brazilian consulate.
Marx Beltrão, Brazil’s Tourism Minister, explained–
The facilitation of visas aims to reduce bureaucracy and, above all, to boost the entry of foreign tourists into Brazil.
The Tourism Ministry predicts foreign tourism will incearse by up to 25% in Brazil next year due to this visa change.
Indeed, the visa policy kept me from going to Brazil for many years (minus my “illegal” visit), though I did obtain a visa in 2011 that remains valid until 2021.
I applaud Brazil for this common-sense policy change. We can argue all day how strict the USA should be in the issuance and fees for visas, but the concept of reciprocity fees strikes me as a misguided pushback rooted in pride and not common sense. (I argued the same of Turkey recently).
Argentina and Chile have both wised up in recent years and removed their visa fees (the USA also made Chile a visa-waiver nation) and have seen the fruits of more American tourism. If you think obtaining a visa is not a hindrance, you should hear all of my clients who refuse to visit Russia for that very reason.
Except new flocks of Australian, Canadian, Japanese, and American tourists in Brazil thanks to this policy change.
Yes, there is a lot of poverty and crime in Brazil. But it is a beautiful nation with beautiful people. This enlightened change in visa policy will show more that very beauty and bring in additional tax revenue that will help Brazil to address some of the issues it continues to battle.
(H/T: One Mile at a Time)