By Arkady Petrov
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The decree signed by President Jair Bolsonaro exempting tourists from four countries (United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan) from obtaining visas for entry into Brazil came into force on Monday, June 17th.
The decree, published in March in the Federal Gazette, is “unilateral”, in other words, it does not apply to Brazilians traveling to any of these countries.
The decision to waive identical treatment was announced during President Bolsonaro’s trip to Washington (USA), where he met with Donald Trump.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, the decision does not affect the “principle of reciprocity”, since the visa waiver was adopted to encourage the creation of employment and income in Brazil.
“The unilateral visa waiver is a nod to strategic countries to strengthen our relations. Nothing prevents these nations from exempting Brazilians from this bureaucracy at a later stage,” the ministry said.
The portfolio further stated that the citizens of all four countries favored by the measure are currently using an electronic visa, which expedites their entry into Brazil.
“Through this initiative [of the electronic visa], there was an increase of approximately 35 percent in visa applications from these countries to Brazil, in relation to 2017, which, if converted into actual travel, could result in an impact of US$ 1 billion,” states the government.
In 2015, under Dilma Rousseff, Brazil had already temporarily authorized the visa waiver for citizens of the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan, provided they came to the country to attend the 2016 Olympics.
Two years later, the Ministry of Tourism eventually proposed the lifting of visa requirements permanently, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs opposed the idea because the principle of reciprocity should apply; in other words, Brazilians should enjoy the same benefits.
The reason behind this was that in January 2017, President Donald Trump issued a decree aimed at hindering the issuance of visas to citizens of several countries, Brazil among them.