POLITICS

Brazil again postpones visa requirements for US, Canada and Australia, this time until 2025

Apr 10, 2024, 7:53 AM

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s government has postponed until April 2025 tourist visa exemptions for citizens of the U.S., Australia, and Canada that had been scheduled to end on Wednesday.

The decision, issued by Brazilian presidency and the Ministry of Foreign Relations late Tuesday, marks the third time Brazil has delayed the visa requirement since President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took office in 2023. His predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, exempted the countries from visas as a means to boost tourism — although all three countries continued to demand visas from Brazilians.

That went against the South American country’s tradition of requiring visas from travelers based on the principle of reciprocity and equal treatment, and prompted Lula’s Foreign Ministry to say it would scrap the exemptions.

“Brazil does not grant unilateral exemption from visiting visas, without reciprocity, to other countries,” the ministry said at the time, while noting that the government stood ready to negotiate visa waiver agreements on a reciprocal basis. It did reach a deal with Japan to ease travel provisions.

The decision to maintain exemptions for the three countries is important for boosting tourism in Brazil, notably from the U.S., Brazil’s official tourism board Embratur said in a statement Tuesday. Official data shows that nearly 670,000 Americans visited Brazil in 2023, making the U.S. the second largest country of origin after neighboring Argentina.

The government initially postponed the reinstatement of the visa requirement in October, then again in January. At the time, the government said it was still finalizing a new visa system and wanted to avoid implementing it close to the high season, mainly during the New Year’s celebrations and Carnival festivities in February, which attract tens of thousands of tourists.

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