By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Tension between Brazil’s Foreign Ministry and Tourism Ministry over visa exemptions to certain countries, was revealed by local media over the weekend. While Tourism minister sees the exemption as an opportunity to increase the country’s revenues with tourism, the Foreign Ministry says visa waivers should be reciprocal.

Brazil,Tourism Minister Marx Beltrão
Tourism Minister Marx Beltrão, photo Geraldo Magela/Agência Senado

“According to the World Tourism Organization (WTO), travel facilitation measures such as visa waiver can generate up to a 25 percent increase in the flow of destinations involved,” said Brazil’s Tourism Minister, Marx Beltrão, in February.

Adding, “Based on this study and the history of tourist spending in the beneficiary countries, we projected revenues of up to R$1.4 billion with the measure in two years.”

Minister Beltrão stated his support for the waiver of visas to citizens of the U.S., Japan, Canada and Australia, days after U.S. President Donald Trump issued travel bans to seven countries in the Middle East and Africa. Since then, Brazilians have been finding it more difficult to obtain tourist visas to enter the US.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry, however, argues that any agreement should be have reciprocity, with Brazilians being able to travel to those countries also without the need for visas. That is, visa exemption can only be granted if Brazilians are also entitled to the same benefit. Currently, Brazilians need prior visas before traveling to the four countries.

On Monday, March 6th, entities related to the tourism industry expressed their concern as to the possible difficulties imposed on by the Foreign Affairs Ministry and other government entities to the waiver project. According to the entities the waiver for the Olympics was a success.

“At a time when Brazil is suffering the highest unemployment rate since 2012 and suffers from one of the country’s greatest economic crises, it is time to finally correct historical neglect with tourism,” said the entities in an open letter to the Temer Administration.

“The tourism class entities defend not only the visa waiver for strategic countries as occurred in the Olympics with an extremely positive impact, but also the elaboration of a broader package that includes once for all tourism in the government’s strategic and economic agenda,” stated the note.


  1. Getting a Brazilian visa was only a minor inconvenience for me (a US citizen, residing in Chicago, which fortunately has a Brazilian Consulate). Currently, because the US requires visas from certain EU countries (Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Cyprus) there is a chance that the EU will require visas of US citizens unless it grants visa waivers to all EU member states. This would be a real mess as the US would respond in kind and be a disaster for trans-(North)Atlantic tourism.
    But getting back to Brazil, those tourists that came to the Olympics on a visa waiver are one timers. The Tourism Ministry is “cherry picking” its results. The Foreign Ministry should hold fast and require visas from US citizens (I cannot comment on the other countries, except that Australia requires visas from everyone except NZ citizens). The whole world trend, like it or not, is towards extreme nationalism and Brazil should not try to go the other way.

  2. It would be an economic advantage to Brazil if there is no reciprocity. It would encourage Brazilians to holiday in Brazil as well as increasing tourists from overseas. However , it is difficult for all countries to put self interest above pride.

  3. Brazil needs an electronic system like India where you dont wait for one month to get a visa and you upload all documents photos and pay the fee then you receive the visa on arrival at the airport. Brazil needs an electronic system


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