By Jay Forte, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – U.S. ambassador in Brazil, Thomas Shannon, spoke recently about ending the requirement for Brazilians to obtain visas for traveling to the United States. According to the report by G1, Mr. Shannon said the removal of the visa requirement is “a goal of both governments.”
Ambassador Shannon said “We’re working on [the elimination of a visa requirement for Brazilians]. This is obviously a goal of both governments of Brazil and the United States. But it is a process, a series of agreements that we have to negotiate to get to this point,” according to G1.
In order to annul the visa requirement from another country, the U.S. Congress requires that at least 97 percent of applications are approved – Last year, the Brazilian rate was 96 percent. “Right now, Brazil is something like 95 percent [...] Soon, we will get there, “said Mr. Shannon.
In Rio de Janeiro, new U.S. Consulate General John Creamer told The Rio Times that there has been a dramatic increase in staff at the U.S. Consulate in Rio staff for this purpose, increasing forty percent over the last year. The number is expecting to reach 300 consulate staff in Rio by the end of this year, of those, approximately a hundred work in visa processing.
The result, says Creamer is: “Reducing the waiting time [for Brazilians] from 140 days to a low of two days in some cases, and 10-12 days at the most.” Adding that the process for Brazilians is now “much less frustrating and intimidating.”
Universities are among the areas of focus for opening travel between the countries explained Ambassador Shannon. “We need to build ties and links between Brazilian and U.S. universities to facilitate the exchange of students and teachers. To actually build a new partnership in education for the welfare of the United States and Brazil.”
The Science Without Borders program (Government of Brazil-funded), brought President Rousseff to Harvard among other universities earlier last year. The program aims to provide 101,000 scholarships for Brazilians to study abroad in the world’s best universities between now and 2014.
The news from Ambassador Shannon fell on the heals of a sixteen year-old Brazilian student being held in Miami for two months at a juvenile center. She was apparently planning to travel to Disney Land and stay with relatives, but U.S. immigration suspected she had arrived to work illegally.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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