The blog is not finished! But after the Theft (yes, capital letters), the want/need to update the blog took second fiddle to dealing with the Theft and just finishing the trip sans computer. Since being home, it's been hard to get that motivation to complete it. But I will. Ever so slowly. Please be patient!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Days 108-110, Getting a Brazilian Visa

The following takes place between Tuesday, March 15 and Thursday, March 17, 2011

Unfortunately for Canadians, Americans, and Australians, we need a visa to enter Brazil. Double unfortunately, we need one BEFORE we arrive at the border as, unlike many countries, Brazil does not hand out visas at the border.

Normally one would get one back at home before they even leave for their trip. However, the Brazil visa needs to be used within 90 days of being issued and, seeing as I’m already over 107 days into my trip, it wouldn’t have been possible to do so.

Now here’s the definitive procedure in procuring a visa for Brazil while in Argentina.

First off, one can get one while in Buenos Aires, but be prepared for massive red tape. In order to get a visa, one must go online and fill out the form there. This includes having the address for the place you are staying in Brazil. Once completed, you download and print the one page form that has a barcode that the consulate will use to look your form up.

You must also attach a passport photo to this form. Once you have all that, it’s time to go to the Consulate and apply.

But wait! If you’re applying in Buenos Aires, you must have an appointment. And no, you cannot make an appointment in person. You have to go online and book it through there. Ok, no problems. Except when you go to book you realize that the next avaliable spot is two and a half weeks later.

Here is how you get around it.

If you’re planning on going to Puerto Iguazu anyways, take your form with your picture to the consulate there. The consulate, located in a little house just down the street from the bus terminal, is much faster and less bureaucratic than the one in B.A. While the one in Buenos Aires may request additional documents including, but not limited to, employment records, bank statements, credit card statements, letters from your employer, etc.  the one in Puerto Iguazu wants only your passport, your form with picture attached, and your money. And remember to have exact change as they will not give you change back. For Canadians it is $273 Argentine Pesos. Americans are in the mid $500 Pesos range while Australians get off lucky and only pay $140 Argentine Pesos.

One thing though. The consulate only accepts visa applications between 8am and 10am. However, if you get it in during this time, it shouldn’t take much more than 24 hours to get your visa. Sometimes you can even get it that same day. Myself, it took until the next day. There is a sign in the Consulate that says it can take up to 72 hours and “if that’s not fast enough, you should’ve planned your trip better.”

IMG_3538So all that took me two days.

On the third day I grabbed the local international city bus to head to Foz do Iguacu. Now if, like me, you are moving on after Foz to Rio or Sao Paulo, make sure to fill out and get stamped an Entry/Exit Card. Otherwise, you can have some issues. However, if you’re just going to Foz to see the Brazilian side of the falls, the Entry/Exit card is not necessary.

So there you have it. The official procedure. Final costs to get from Argentina to Brazil(in Argentine Pesos): $2 bus to Consulate from hostel. $273 Cost of visa. IMG_3530$2 bus back to hostel. $2 Bus back into town the next morning to pick up visa. $4 beer to celebrate getting visa. $2 Bus back to hostel to watch mostly naked girls dance samba. $2 bus to bus terminal. $7 bus to Brazil.

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