I'm Not Welcome In Brazil

April 24, 2006
Day 208

As soon as I got up this morning, I called the Brazilian embassy to ask about buying a visa. I got a recording that said they were only open from 2-5, so I had to wait a few hours. At 2:00, I walked to the embassy, but was told I just needed to go "across the street." That "street" happened to be 9 de julio, the widest street in the world! After walking further than a football field, including the end zones, I was on the other side.

When I got to the visa place, I was told that they were only open from 10-1 for Americans. Another day wasted. On top of that, I still had another worry: return tickets. Somebody told me a long time ago that Brazil requires you to have a ticket into and out of the country in order to buy a visa. I guess they do this to make sure foreigners will leave before they run out of money and become a burden to society. Of course I don't have such a ticket because I'm a backpacker. I'm going to take a bus to Brazil, stay there for an unknown period of time, and take another bus out of the country, from a location that I do not yet know. I could see myself staying in Brazil for two weeks or two months depending on how I like it. I've been traveling like this my entire trip without any problems so far.

Nobody who was at the visa place knew whether I actually needed a return ticket, but I was given another phone number to call. This time I reached an actual person, and was told that I did indeed need to purchase such a ticket. I explained my situation to the lady on the other end, but she was unable to provide me with a solution.

The best idea I could come up with was to try and buy a cheap round-trip ticket between two places on the Argentina-Brazil border. I wouldn't be able to use the ticket, but if it only was going to cost $5 or so, I'd go for it. With renewed vigor, I went to Retiro, the gigantic bus station of Buenos Aires, to try to purchase such a ticket. The ticket booths in Retiro are organized by geographic region, and the "foreign countries" region started somewhere around booth 180. I looked up and saw that I was at booth 1. It was a long walk.

I asked for tickets at five different companies that sold tickets to Brazil, but none of them would sell tickets from anywhere but Buenos Aires. The cheapest I could find was a round-trip ticket to Foz do Iguazu for $80, a ticket that I wouldn't even use. There's no way I'm going to pay $80 in addition to the $100 I already have to pay just to enter the country. I'd rather take my tourist dollars elsewhere if I'm not welcome in Brazil.

Tomorrow my plan is to explain my situation to somebody at the visa place to try and convince them that I won't stay in their country indefinitely. If that doesn't work, I'll have to skip Brazil and go to Paraguay instead. Of course, I could run into the same problem buying a visa for there, too. Isn't bureaucracy fun?

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5 thoughts on “I'm Not Welcome In Brazil

  1. big game james


    dont take Pluma because they lock you in the bus with no movies and maybe just a little bottle of water.

    i went with Crucero del Norte and upgraded to the coche cama. the food they serve is great and it's a clean bus.

    oh, bring your travel book with you to the embassay because they require you to fill in where you are going to stay on the application. get a passport foto taken of yourself and present it when you apply, too. that way you dont need to leave the embassay building only to return again.

    all this stuff is a hassle.


  2. Andrea

    How could you not go to Brazil??? You have to find a way in! I insist.

  3. Dan Perry Post author

    Sorry guys, I'm not going to Brazil, at least for now. I could get in if I wasted a lot of money on a ticket I wouldn't even use, but I refuse to do that just to enter a country. Maybe next trip I'll make it there.

  4. Urrv


    Katie says to make Brazil your last stop so you can buy a ticket to fly out of Brazil. Of course this would cramp your no schedule style of travel.

    Good to hear that you are still alive.

    It rained here all weekend so the garage sale didn't go over too well - you still made a little money though. I am going to try again next weekend.


  5. Dan Perry Post author

    Maybe I'll make Brazil my first stop of my next trip. That way I could get my visa from home by buying a fully refundable plane ticket and cancelling it once I arrive in Brazil. That's what I had to do to start this trip in Peru. Of course, that had nothing to do with immigration in Peru, just the paranoid airline employees in the US.

    Good luck next weekend with the garage sale. I hope you were able to play a few games of Tetris while waiting in the rain.

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