Global Mobility Update

Brazil creates Visitor Visa Exemptions for American, Canadian,
Japanese and Australian Citizens

The Official Gazette of Brazil (Diário Oficial da União) published Decree 9.731 (Decreto No 9.731) on Monday, March 18, 2019: Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s Decree has just created a new exemption for visitor visas for American citizens traveling to Brazil. The Brazil visa requirements are also abolished for Canadian, Japanese and Australian citizens traveling to Brazil.

Earlier this week, in Washington DC, Brazilian federal deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro, son of Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, announced that he supported a unilateral visa waiver for U.S. visitors going to Brazil.  It is expected that Presidents Jair Bolsonaro and Trump will make the official announcement shortly regarding these important visa exemptions.

The Exemptions will be effective on June 17, 2019.  Until June 17, 2019, visitor visas will be required to enter Brazil (issued electronically or issued by the Brazilian Consulate).

The visa waivers are for entry related to the following (but not limited to): tourism, business, sports, and arts. The visa waiver is for stays up to 90 days, with a possibility of extending another 90 days, however the total stay may not surpass 180 days in a 12-month period.

This move by Brazil is aimed at turning around the lagging tourism sector in Brazil, which only receives about 6 million visitors a year. To illustrate, Brazil and the United States have the two largest populations in the Americas, with populations of over 200 million and 300 million respectively. Comparatively, the United States received over 75 million visitors in 2016.

Brazil also hopes to improve bi-lateral relations with the newly exempted countries. Tourism Minister Marcelo Alvaro Antonio stated this initiative is targeted specifically at the United States, as President Jair Bolsonaro’s new right-wing government would like to re-align Brazil as a partner of the United States.

The visas currently cost around $44.50 USD, plus visa processing costs, although the relatively new online system has made acquiring a visa easier and cheaper resulting in an increase in the amount of visas granted. After June 17, 2019, Americans will be able to travel to Brazil without the added cost and paperwork related to the visa process.

According to lawyer Allen D. Moreland, our Partner at CKR Law LLP in Brazil: “This move – which is entirely unilateral – recognizes that North America is the departure point for the greatest number of tourists traveling to Brazil and demonstrates Brazil’s desire to foster additional tourism from the US and Canada. It is also indicative of the Bolsonaro Government’s desire to curry favor with the Trump administration. What Brazil will get in return for this concession (such as admission to the OECD or lower tariffs on select Brazilian export products) remains to be seen.”

In regards to Canada, Veronique Malka, Chair of CKR Law’s Canadian Law Group, part of the Firm’s Global Mobility Group, welcomes the exemption for Canadians going to Brazil. She states that the change is overdue given Canada’s move to lessen the visa requirements for Brazilians in 2017.  Véronique believes that the freedom of travel as between Brazil and Canada will open up many doors for trade, investment and tourism, translating to improvements to the economy in both countries. This is particularly important given Canada’s current liberal immigration landscape which welcomes foreign investments and start-ups from Brazil.

CKR Law’s Global Mobility Group continues to monitor global legal changes to help its clients improve their corporate and personal mobility.

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