By Ségolène Poirier, Contributing Reporter RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – According to the United States Embassy in Brazil, 115,269 Brazilians obtained visas to travel to the U.S. in March alone, a 62 percent increase from the same month last year. From January to March of this year, 296,637 visas have been processed in Brazil, an increase of 56 percent. Rio recorded the largest percentage increase in the number of visas to the U.S., 103 percent from last year, photo by Mariordo Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz. Rio de Janeiro recorded the highest percentage increase in the number of visas granted: a 103 percent with the issuance of 34,379 visas. Brasília is the second city with the most important increase: 15,892 visas granted, 69 percent more than March 2011. However, the Brazilian city which awarded the largest number of visas was São Paulo, with 55,477 visas processed in March (52 percent increase to March 2011). According to this survey, released on Thursday, this increase is due to the higher purchasing power of Brazilians and the emergence of a growing middle class. The United States remains the top destination of choice for travelers from Brazil. In January, U.S. President Barack Obama pledged to reduce waiting time for obtaining the document by forty percent. Press attaché of the U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro, Sara Mercado, explained how the U.S. government has worked to meet the demand in Brazil. “In July of last year, we had fifty diplomats in the country who took cared of procedures for obtaining visa. By the middle of this year, we will have a hundred,” she said. Also, on March 26th, the U.S. diplomatic mission in Brazil announced a pilot project focused on business owners and people who travel frequently to the country. The “Global Entry” program will allow pre-approved travelers to avoid queues in some U.S. airports. Read more (in Portuguese). * The Rio Times Daily Update is a new feature we are offering to help keep you up-to-date with major news as it happens. One Response to "Visas to U.S. from Rio Up 103 Percent: Daily" Pingback: U.S. Visa Delays Will Change Brazilian Travel Plans | The Rio Times | Brazil News Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.