Last week I got my paperwork finalized, and it wasn’t to get married.
It was to travel to Brazil!
Brazil has a reciprocal visa policy. If your country’s government requires its citizens to get a visa to visit, you’ll have to get a visa to visit Brazil. I’d heard from well-traveled people that Brazil particularly makes US citizens jump through hoops (and we’re not used to jumping, though we make other people jump). For example, it costs the citizens of most countries, save for a handful, $20 USD for a tourist visa. It costs Americans $160 USD or $180 USD. Ouch.
The paper work process wasn’t anything compared to what my Venezuelan co-workers or Nigerian father pre-US citizenship would have to go through when visiting another country (there’s a great scene in Americanah by Adichie that describes this. Met her and love her). Listen, government agents want to see that return ticket for when you’re leaving the country, bank account funds to make sure you have enough money to support yourself when visiting, and a sign from God Himself that you will not remain in their territory for more than the allotted time.
So, I went to the Brazilian Consulate in Houston slightly nervous and with a manilla envelope full of the required documents. When I say I walked out five minutes later with my visa in my passport I. Walked. Out. Five. Minutes. Later. With. My. Visa. In. My. Passport.
The other people in the waiting room started smiling when I showed all 32 of my teeth because, I’m sure, they were all hoping their process would go as smoothly. The Houston consulate does not guarantee same day visas and the New York consulate flat out does not do them, but I was in luck. Each consulate’s procedures vary slightly. Houston’s requires an appointment while New York’s is walk-in only. Thus, check the consulate website in your jurisdiction to be certain. Luckily, since my US address is now Texas based instead of NY based, I ended up at a consulate that grants same day visas.
Let’s keep our fingers crossed that I get to Brazil and back no problem in the Spring! I’m a little bit nervous since I speak no Portuguese and nearly had one melt down when I got stopped at Valencia’s Customs. I don’t think I can handle another stop when I don’t speak the language fluently.
Nevertheless, I’m viewing my tourist visa as an early Christmas present.