Visa trials and tribulations

9 Jun

The whole process to acquire a visa to visit Brazil is a pain in the behind.  With two trips to your designated consulate, providing more information than you need for a regular passport, and a $140 postal money order, you too may be fortunate enough to obtain one.

To make it even more difficult, my consulate (San Francisco) only processes visas from 9am to noon, and only accepts a total of 42 applications per day with an appointment.

When I received my Brazilian travel visa two years ago, I felt like I should be able to use it to get VIP access into carnaval camarotes (a party overlooking the parade) or get upgraded to business class on my flight. That wasn’t the case, unfortunately. Instead I got to stand in a special security line (for Americans only) where they did an extensive search on all my baggage.

If I weren’t American, I’d likely not even have to get a visa in the first place.  Why? Because Brazil has a reciprocal visa system: if you’re country requires Brazilian nationals to obtain a visa, you’ll need one to enter Brazil.

As much as it is a process to obtain a Brazilian visa, it’s nothing compared to what we put Brazilian citizens through. From what I heard, if you’re a Brazilian looking to get into the US, good luck, literally. American visas are generally disapproved, even after a (required) personal interview.

A travel visa (what I have now) will only allow me to stay in Brazil for 90 days at a time, with one extension to 180 days a year. That’s just not going to work, so when I arrive in Brazil I’ll need to apply for a student visa.

I’m sure I’ll have to go through another tedious process to obtain a student visa, but I’m happy that I can even visit and stay in the country for an extended period of time.

One good thing about getting a new visa? I can get rid of this heinous visa photo I have now. Ew, I know.

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5 Responses to “Visa trials and tribulations”

  1. Daily by Morin June 9, 2011 at 5:44 pm #

    I experienced the same troubles when applying for my visa to Brazil 2 years ago, such a pain!

    Also, your pic is not *that* bad! 🙂

  2. Lisa Caverly June 9, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    Impressive picture! I sure do hope your next Visa looks more like you and not that sad looking face I saw!! I am so sad for you to go but excited for you to go on a new journey in life. I will now have a reason to go to Brazil!!! Woo Hoo!!

    • Kristen Caverly June 10, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

      Sis, you too will have to go through this experience. Can’t wait for you to come visit me!

  3. Barbara Brock June 15, 2011 at 10:29 am #

    You’re embarking on a huge adventure which will change your life forever. That’s very exciting. Though I don’t know you and haven’t met you, I feel like I do through this wonder of Facebook. I’m interested in your blog and your experiences ahead……lots of luck and have a wonderful time. (Brandon Brock’s mom)…..

    • Kristen Caverly June 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

      Thanks Barbara! Brandon is on a similar adventure in Australia. Excited to hear about his experiences! 🙂

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