Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The U.S. joined the list of countries eligible for Brazil's e-visa program in January, making travel easier for Wisconsin companies seeking to visit Brazil to explore export opportunities.

The so-called e-visa, an electronic travel authorization which allows citizens of eligible countries to travel to and around Brazil for reasons including tourism, business, transit, and short-term medical treatment, became available Nov. 21 for Australian visitors, and thereafter was gradually enabled for Japanese, Canadian and, since Jan. 25, U.S. tourists.

Brazil’s e-visa application can be completed online, eliminating the need to physically visit an embassy. The application is simple and straightforward, only takes a few minutes to complete, and consists of three simple steps:

  • Enter personal information
  • Review the information entered and provide payment
  • Upload additional documents

The e-visa does not require the embassy to have a physical copy of the passport. When a visa is approved, the consulate emails it to the applicant, typically within five business days.

Travelers must present a printed or digital image of the Brazilian e-visa to their airline in order to board a flight to Brazil. According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the e-visa system is fully integrated with the Brazilian Federal Police, and in the future there is a chance that e-visa holders will be able to utilize the e-gates at Brazilian airports, which are currently only available to Brazilian citizens. Brazil’s e-gates use facial recognition technology to automate the immigration process, as an alternative to undergoing a manual passport check with a Brazilian federal agent.

The e-visa has the same legal standing as a consular visa. Visas are valid for two years from the date of issue or until the passport expires, whichever comes first, and are valid for multiple entries, though one cannot spend more than 90 days per year in Brazil with an e-visa. Visitors seeking visas for longer stays can still apply for a traditional visa through the Brazilian consular network and obtain a consular visa that is valid for 10 years.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Brazil received 616 e-visa applications from U.S. tourists in the first week of the simplified electronic system’s operation.

This electronic system is expected to have a major impact on the Brazilian economy. The U.S. ranks second in the number of visitors to Brazil (behind Argentina). Each year, more than 570,000 U.S. citizens land on Brazilian soil, injecting around $750 million into Brazil’s economy. This figure is now expected to increase by 25 percent, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

The issuance of the e-visa is the result of a joint action of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Tourism, and the Brazilian Tourism Institute (Embratur).

To acquire the document, foreign tourists from applicable countries must go to the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ application site, follow the instructions available on that page, and download the visa (in PDF). The document costs approximately $40, a huge reduction over the previous $160 fee.