Passport holders of certain countries, including the US, Canada and Australia, need a visa to enter both Brazil and Paraguay (I have read that to enter Ciudad del Este, Paraguay near Iguazu it is not necessary, but I cannot confirm that with authority). As many lengthy travelers will be passing through Buenos Aires it is a logical choice for getting the visas.
There are actually a few good blog posts around covering this for Brazil but not many for Paraguay. Since I have just (September 2011) gotten both visas I will explain below what was required for each to be thorough. The big difference between the two is that Brazil has far more requirements than Paraguay in terms of what you need to bring with you to the consulate.
As a general note, if there is a consulate and an embassy in the same city, the consulate will issue the visas. In Buenos Aires, Brazil and Paraguay have both, so make sure to visit the consulate not the embassy. In case you don’t know about it, the Mapa Interactivo de Buenos Aires site is a godsend for figuring out how to get around the city. Use it to find the consulate addresses listed below.
Consulado-General do Brasil em Buenos Aires
Carlos Pellegrini 1363, Piso 5
(11) 4515 6500
- a passport sized photo with white background
- a copy of your two most recent bank statements and a copy of your credit card*
- proof of work and earnings statement**
- proof of onward travel
- proof of lodging inside Brazil
- if student, original and copy of student card**
- the application form
- your passport
* A word about the bank statements and credit card. I have three bank accounts and I just printed out the one with the least money in it and the woman was skeptical of my ability to afford Brazil based on that. In other words, if you only have a little money in your account it might not be enough. I showed a credit card as well and that seemed to be enough to convince her. I believe the Australian couple in front of me only had to show a credit card so that may be an option but you should go prepared to be safe. I never bothered to make a photocopy of my credit card as I read elsewhere it isn’t necessary (just bring it with you to be safe).
** I haven’t read of anyone needing to provide proof of work and/or of being a student.
Proof of onward travel and lodging is always a pain for long-term travelers like myself as we like to keep things flexible and are usually traveling overland. One option is to take an email confirmation for an old flight and hotel/hostel reservation and edit them (MS Word or similar work fine). They aren’t going to scrutinize too carefully so this should be fine. I have read of others who just didn’t bother and were given the visa anyway but I wouldn’t take that chance personally.
A word about the application form. Elsewhere (including the Brazilian embassy site!) you might find a link to download the form. I used that, printed it out and brought it with me and the woman looked at me like I was crazy and told me that form is useless. Instead, just arrive 10 minutes early and fill out the form on the computers in the waiting area. When you are finished, write down the confirmation number that will be shown so you can show it to the clerk. Also, according to Robert, “one detail is absolutely essential not to overlook is having a local phone number of some kind. This can be your hostel’s or even that of the person you hooked up with last night, but if you don’t have a phone number, the attendant turns you away.”
Making an Appointment
One nice thing about getting your visa at the Brazilian consulate in Buenos Aires is that they use an online scheduling tool to book appointments in 15 minute increments. Just visit the visa page and choose the Appointment On Line option. On the appointment page use the dropdown select box marked Áreas and choose Área de Visa Turista, find a convenient time for you that isn’t colored red and fill out the details that will be requested.
Price and Paying for Your Visa
There is an official page with the most recent prices. If you have a US passport, look for the line that says “U. S. citizens (VITEM II/VITEM IV/VITEM VI/VIPER) Processing fee on a reciprocity basis.” In September 2011 I paid 617.25 Argentine pesos. Unfortunately, you cannot actually pay for the visa at the consulate but rather you will be given a piece of paper that you must bring to a branch of Itaú bank (a Brazilian bank). There is one a few blocks from the consulate on Avenida Santa Fe 831 (corner with Esmeralda). When you leave the consulate building, turn left (heading south) two blocks to Av. Santa Fe. Turn left (heading east) a few blocks and it will be on the left-hand (northern) side of the road. Once you enter there may be someone around to help you but if not just get a wait number from one of the machines in the lobby. There are two options for non-account holders, something like “business” and “caja”. You want “caja.” I only had to wait about 5 minutes, paid my fee and was given back the piece of paper with a receipt marking my payment. Bring that back to the consulate whenever you are told to return and give it to the staff to retrieve your passport and visa.
I had to leave my passport overnight and that seems to be standard. Overall, the process was fairly efficient, with the exception of having to go to the bank to pay.
What You Get
I read conflicting accounts of what kind of validity your visa will have. In theory it should be a multi-entry visa good for a 90 day stay (a total of 180 days each year) and last 5 years. I read about some that only received 30 days and I even read about single entry visas. I received the multi-entry, 90 days visa, though I asked for it so I don’t know if that makes a difference. I can’t see any expiration date written on my visa anywhere so I think it actually is good for the life of the passport not necessarily 5 years, which in my case means it will only be valid 4 more years. I have also read that you must enter the country within 90 days of the date the visa was granted, though I can’t see anything noting that on the visa itself.
- How to Get a Brazilian Visa in Buenos Aires
- How to Get a Brazilian Visa in Buenos Aires
- How to Apply for a Brazilian Visa in Buenos Aires
- Visa page of Brazilian Embassy
Teléfono/s: (11) 4812 0075
The requirements for Paraguay are much more relaxed, just your passport, the completed application and a passport photo. Get the application form at the consulate.
The visa page of Paraguayan Embassy in the US lists the price as US$65 for a single entry visa and US$100 for a multiple entry visa. I was told to pay US$100 so I asked about that and was told that’s the price now though I was also told the visa is valid for the life of the passport so I don’t know if a one-time visa is no longer an option in Buenos Aires or if it just wasn’t an option for me. In my case, I requested the visa September 6 but won’t be arriving in Paraguay until October or possibly November. I think some visas must be used within 30 days and if that is the case with Paraguay the gentleman in the consulate was probably telling me that the more expensive visa is my only option. So, clear as mud right? If someone finds out for sure, please comment.
Upon arriving at the consulate on Viamonte, the scene appears a bit confusing and there will probably be a long line in the back area. After asking someone I learned that you need to go to Caja 1 (one of first windows when you enter). I was given a form to fill out, gave my passport and a photo and paid the US$100 fee and was told to return the next day to pick up my passport and visa. I read somewhere else that if you go early you can do it all in the same day but I haven’t read about anyone who actually succeeded doing that. I went at 10:00 so I guess that isn’t early enough. Sill, I was only at the consulate for about 30 minutes the first day and 5 minutes on the second day, so that’s not too bad at all.