14 May 2019
When I tried to extend my visa in Brazil, I found the process to be confusing and a little stressful. I ended up spending a lot of time on my computer, downloading and printing lots of documents and rushing to get to the airport as much as possible for fear of not getting my visa extension or getting a fine. No matter how much I researched, I couldn’t find any clear answers to the many questions I had.
That’s what gave me the inspiration for this blog…
Looking back, I really wish there was someone who could explain the process to me in simple English and that there was up-to-date information available…
And I really wish there was the blog I’m about to write (but actually the law is about to change very soon anyway so this blog is going to be redundant ~ *sigh*).
Regardless, I’m really hoping that someone stumbles upon this page and finds it helpful!
If you have any tips or additional info which is useful, please write them in the comments section below for me to update
- A brief background ~ my story (Part 1)
- What happened? What’s my current visa status?
- So..how do I extend my tourist visa in Brazil?
- Summary of Process – how to extend a tourist-visa in Brazil (if you’re Australian)
- Required Documents for the Application
- My personal experience – my story
- When I was in Rio ~ before going to the Police Station
- The Big Day
A brief background ~ my story (Part 1)
When I first visited Brazil, I stayed for 2.5 months and planned to return to Brazil before I went to Europe in June. My research was telling me that Australians could visit Brazil for 90 days (3 months) each year and even my e-visa states that I have 90 days.
My interpretation meant that once the 3 months of 90 days was up, I had to wait a whole 365 days before I could come back to Brazil.
This gave me 2 problems:
- If I stayed for 2.5 months this meant I only had 2 weeks left on my visa and could only stay in Brazil for 2 weeks (I wanted to come back for another month)!
- I also didn’t want to wait a whole 365 days to return back to Brazil.
I could only think of one simple solution ~ extend my visa…
Now, you’re probably wondering why I wanted to extend my visa in Brazil so much? The short answer is because I love it in Brazil. The other simplified answer is because I found love.
I knew it was possible but I had no idea how to do it. I searched a few blogs and found that you needed to apply to extend your visa through the police…but then some blogs, etc. said that certain countries were not allowed to extend their visa…
All this did was worry me ~ was Australia on that list!?!?
Most people on the Facebook community assured me it would be ok…but no matter how far I dug for a solid answer, I couldn’t seem to get it…
The worst part ~ time was ticking. I had to make a decision because it was getting close to May and flights were just getting more and more expensive (when I wanted to go back to Brazil) ~ should I book my flight back for the beginning of May or in the middle of may? What happens if I book my flight but can’t extend my visa?
The more I thought about it, the more of a headache of confusion developed. My head was spinning.
On the one hand it’s risky but on the other hand, people on Facebook and the internet community make it seem like it will be ok.
After thinking about it long and hard for a day or two, I decided to just take the risk and book the flight for the beginning of May. I was dying to get back!
If I need to pay a fine for overstaying my visa, so be it.
And that…was that.
I went to the LATAM Airlines office in La Paz and bought a one-way ticket to Rio de Janeiro.
What happened? What’s my current visa status?
I succeeded! I got another 90 days 🙂
But before you assume that I got it very easily, it wasn’t that easy for me. I had to do a little bit of work and go through a little bit of stress.
So..how do I extend my tourist visa in Brazil?
I’m going to break my explanation into different parts because there are many things to share with you…
But bear in mind that the info I’m about to share is ONLY for the Australian Tourist Visa for Brazil, even though it’s probably the same for the U.S. Canada and Japan (because these countries have the same visa process as us for Brazil, but I can’t say that with 100% certainty unfortunately).
Sadly (but also great news), the laws are changing very soon (I think 17 June 2019). This means that my information will probably be redundant very soon…but I guess it’s still good to know right? And the extension process might stay the same.
Basic Facts ~ the most important stuff
- Australians currently need a visa to visit Brazil (along with Americans, Canadians and Japanese)
- But Australians, Americans, Canadians and Japanese will no longer need visas to enter Brazil from 17 June 2019.
- The tourist-visa is multiple-entry and for a maximum period of 90 days per visit
- The tourist-visa gives you a maximum amount of 180 days in total
- There are two ways to extend your visa in Brazil
- Apply through the Federal Police; or
- Leave the country and come back.
- For a tourist visa, you apply online here (add hyperlink)
I wish I knew this information before because I wasted time and money trying to extend my visa when I didn’t have to. I did everything for no reason.
Summary of Process – how to extend a tourist-visa in Brazil (if you’re Australian)
Things you need
- To go to the Federal Police Station; and
- To provide them with bunch of documents.
Note: the documents took me a whole day to prepare.
In Rio de Janeiro, the police station I went to was located in the Santos Dumont Airport. I believe there are other federal police stations you can go to in the city (but I’m not 100% sure).
Required Documents for the Application
- The official Visa Extension Application Form – from the Federal Police Website
- Payment for Application form – generated here (I had SO many issues with this – see below in my story)
- Receipt for payment of application via Banco do Brasil
- Proof of residency / address
- Proof of income / sufficient funds to cover the time you are in Brazil
- Proof of onward journey
- Arrival card
There’s also a good blog on the documents you need if you’re interested. It’s where I got all my information and how I prepared my documents. I found the comments particularly helpful, especially from one guy which documented the whole process and gave a detailed explanation on where you find and how you generate the Visa Extension Application Form.
Basically, you need to print out all these documents, go to the Federal Police Station and provide them to the police. It helps to have someone who can speak Portuguese and English ~ basically, someone to be your translator if you can’t speak good Portuguese. It also helps to have patience because the process takes a long time. If you can’t speak Portuguese and don’t have a translator, expect to be confused.
My personal experience – my story
I got a little inspired from the blog-commenter’s post ~ I found his minute-for-minute, overly detailed comments extremely helpful so I thought I’d do the same (even though I know this information will be redundant soon, it still might help someone and in the worst case scenario, it’s interesting nonetheless).
The day before my flight
I told my BFF that I was coming and wanted to extend my visa.
Emily: “You have to get to the Federal Police Station really early, at like 6.30am. They only give around 20 tickets a day and don’t see anyone after that.”
This was news to me ~ shit! I had no idea.
OK, I will cross that bridge when I come to it. At least I know. I felt lucky enough to have insider-knowledge.
When I was in Rio ~ before going to the Police Station
When I arrived I really started researching on how to extend my visa but opened an even bigger can of worms. My biggest concerns were that most blogs said that it was necessary to provide the arrival card and allow at least 15 days for the application process (I arrived 16 days before my visa expired). I barely had 15 days and had to prepare all these documents I didn’t know about (the ones mentioned above). ADD HYPERLINK
The most difficult documents for me to prepare was the Banco do Brasil payment.
My first priority was making the payment for the Application because and I had to make it to the bank before they closed. In my head, if I didn’t make it to the bank to pay before they closed, I’d put my application at higher risk, especially because I thought that I needed to allow 15 days for my application. I was in a crazy rush to get to the bank. The only issue was that I had no idea how to access or generate the payment form (the links from the blogs were outdated and broken). When I finally found the correct page, I couldn’t seem to generate the form because I couldn’t find the Rio de Janeiro police station in one section (I needed to fill in the blanks on an online form to generate the form. Luckily, there was a blog comment which gave me all the information I needed).
Afterwards, I realised that you could just enter in the name and it would auto-populate (go figure).
Once I found the police station, I could FINALLY try to generate the right form…but things didn’t quite go as smoothly as I hoped.
When I tried generating the form, nothing happened. Nothing actually generated.
I tried again and again for a few hours. Nothing was generating. I tried on both Google Chrome and Internet Explorer. No matter what I did, nothing worked.
WHY!?!?! (crying on the inside)
Somehow I got the brilliant idea to try Mozilla Firefox (and to translate the error message which was coming up, which prompted me to download some program which would allow the form to generate)
I couldn’t believe it. It actually worked!
Next hurdle ~ getting to the bank on time to pay. It was 3.30PM. The bank closed at 4.00PM. Luckily, there was a Banco do Brasil branch a 20 minute walk from where I was staying. I left straight away without even printing the form, hoping that a copy of the form on my phone was sufficient. When I got to the Bank, I was a little confused ~ banks in Brazil are a little different from the banks back home.
I had to walk through this rotating door which wouldn’t let me through without taking out my phone and putting it in some box on the side (you have to enter the bank without your phone ~ I’m not 100% sure why). I had to get some help from security lol.
Once I made it through, I realised that I needed a ticket for a teller to see me…but the ticket machine was back near the entrance. I had to go through that rotating door again.
When I got to the machine, of course everything was in Portuguese. I had no idea what I was doing and there was a line forming behind me. Everything I seemed to click didn’t work…luckily, there was a man behind me who wanted to help. He went onto the machine for me and got me that ticket I needed…
The confusion didn’t end there ~ I didn’t realise that there were two separate waiting areas in the bank as well ~ even though they had a ticket system (all the security guards were telling me I had to sit somewhere else). And just my luck it was just my luck ~ I was one of the last people seen. I kept on seeing people coming and going and surpassing me.
When it finally was my turn, I went up to the counter I was called to.
Me: “Eu nao falar muito Portugues, mas, e muito farcil.” (I don’t speak much Portuguese, but it’s very easy).
The guy started chuckling at me.
Me: “Eu preciso pagar por isso.” (I need to pay for this).
I held my phone up to his face. After inspecting my phone for a second, he helped me print the form so they could scan the document and I could pay but when I came to actually paying with my card, it got declined…just like it did in La Paz.
The guy confirmed that they didn’t accept cards without a chip. I couldn’t withdraw any money and my card was declining.
Oh no. Not again. Please don’t tell me that I’m going to have the same money issues as I did in La Paz.
Anxiety started kicking in but all I could do was leave empty handed. I didn’t have my receipt and didn’t have a choice but to find a solution before coming back to the bank the next day. I was a little bit frustrated and nervous but at least I knew people in Rio which would help me if needed.
I went back ‘home’ to prepare the rest of my documents.
Halfway through the night, my lovely Brazilian friend Aline got home and I discussed my issue with her. Somehow while we were talking, we ended up looking at my passport and noticing something peculiar.
My new entry stamp into Brazil kind of looked like it gave me another 90 days already.
Did this mean that I already was granted another 90 days? Or did it mean that they were just verifying that I had a total of 90 days on my visa?
The thing was, it seriously looked like I had 90 days from the date that I re-entered Brazil….but it didn’t coincide with my understanding of the visa. Everywhere I read that we got a total of 90 days for one year with possible extension for 180 days.
That beautiful Aline decided to take the research into her own hands and concluded something different:
“I think you should just risk it. It doesn’t clearly say on the official websites that you get 90 days.”
As much as I could see her point and as tempted as I was to follow her advice, I was too scared ~ if I took the risk and things didn’t work in my favour, I’d have to pay 100 reals x 11 days =1100 reals (AUD$395) and I wasn’t willing to do that. The way I saw it, the small application fee of around 110 reals wasn’t too expensive and much cheaper than paying the fine. I was going to stick to my original plan.
Thankfully, Aline could actually pay the fine online for me which saved me from having to go to the bank again.
Everything was FINALLY set ~ I finally paid the fee and gathered all the documents I needed.
All I needed to do was print them…but where?
Aline: “I will see if my brother’s home. It’s very expensive to print at the shops close-by.”
Then I thought of an even better idea ~ I didn’t really like the idea of using her brother’s printer because I had to print A LOT of documents (about 60 pages ~ it’s just me, I like to over-prepare rather than be underprepared).
It made sense to ask my friend Emily because she agreed to come with me to the airport to help me. She was already at university and if we were meeting at the police station anyway then it made sense to ask her.
Mei: “Emily can get printing for really cheap. Let me see if she will print it for me.”
Aline: “See if she can and if she can’t then I will ask my brother.”
Luck was finally in my favour – Emily agreed to print and bring my documents for me
Even though everything was sorted, the requirement for the arrival card was still worrying me…
Every single blog I read said that it was necessary and I got even more nervous because I read that the police can be very rude and don’t care about your personal position ~ I had my suspicion I would have problems somehow…but it was frustrating because as soon as I arrived into Brazil, I asked the immigration officer if I needed to keep the arrival card and she said no. She didn’t give me an option…and then I read that it was absolutely required.
All I could do was try my luck – I had hope because I read on some other pages that the Arrival Cards were mostly redundant and the Facebook community assured me again. I also had hope that if I was organised with everything else, hopefully the police would be lenient towards me in not having the Arrival card.
Everything was set – my documents were all ready and payment was done.
Emily and I organised when we would meet and all that stuff. I would wake up early to catch the bus at around 5 to get to the police station by around 6:30AM and Emily would meet me later.
The Big Day
4:30AM – My alarm rings
I woke up straight away, had a quick breakfast, shower and coffee. I had to make it to the bus station at around 5:00AM at the latest because it would take me about 1.5 hours to get to the airport (yep, that’s how far I lived from the centre). As far as the journey to the airport went, there was nothing eventful, except it was interesting to see the vibe of the city at that time in the morning. The roads were quiet, the sun was starting to rise, filling the sky with different colours and there was just a calm feel. Nobody had really woken up yet but there were a few people beginning their day (mostly heading to work).
On my way to the airport, at least 5 guys said good morning to me ~ it was nice to be back in Rio with the warmth of the people. I remember thinking in my head:
“Ahh, I missed this”
6.20AM – when I arrived to the airport
I was so confused. I had no idea where the police station was because from the entrance I was standing at, there was no sign up the top to indicate where the station was. All I could do was wander around aimlessly or ask for directions. I didn’t have time to aimlessly walk around. I got the general direction from one of the security workers
“Follow the blue line and go to the second floor”
It seemed simple enough (and it was), I basically found the police station with no hassles (I was only confused for a brief moment but as I followed the line, I happened to see signs which showed where the police station was thank god).
6.33AM – I arrive at the police station
Ok, before I go into the account of what happened, I want to paint a little picture ~ as soon as I hopped off the escalator, there was a whole bunch of chairs to my right next to a window (a huge waiting area) and offices on both sides of the chairs. When I arrived, there were only people standing to the left. There was absolutely nobody at the offices on the right hand side so I assumed the correct office was the one left to me.
There was already one girl sitting down near the entrance, waiting and three other ladies lining in front of the door.
I had no idea what I should have been doing and was pretty anxious to find out so I asked the ladies in front of me in my broken Portuguese if I was in fact in the right line and if we needed to get a ticket?
They assured me I was in the right place.
6.36AM – more people arrive
6.37AM – a police officer who’s just starting his shift asks everyone to sit down on his way into the office.
My anxiety is through the roof by this point because I have no idea what’s going on and can’t figure out how to get this ticket system.
“What if everyone has a ticket already and I’ve already missed my chance?”
This went through my mind so many times.
7.05AM – ticket numbers start being called
They’re calling out numbers but I don’t have one ~ shit!
I couldn’t help but to check with the officer.
Me: “Disculpe, eu preciso um bilhette? Eu preciso extender meu visto” (excuse me, do I need a ticket? I need to extend my visa)
The officer points me in the direction of the office on the other side (the one that nobody was waiting at)…even though I got given direct, first-hand information from the officer themselves, I still had trouble trusting they were giving me the right information. It just didn’t seem right that I was standing there by myself but I didn’t know what else to do but to follow their instructions.
At this stage, I really felt like I needed Emily. I try calling her and texting her but no answer…
Nobody in the waiting area seemed to speak English either but I decided to try my luck anyway just to verify what the officer told me was actually correct. There’s two friendly looking guys close to where I am by this point.
“Voce falar Ingles?” (Do you speak English?)
Guys: “Nao” (no)
Me: “Eu preciso um bilhette para aqui?” (Do I need a ticket for here?)
Me: “Voce saber onde eu preciso esperar para extender meu visto?” (Do you know where I need to wait to extend my visa?)
Guys: “Aqui” (here)
By this point I was so glad that I managed to pick up some basic Portuguese to be able to communicate this sort of stuff.
This was a bit of a relief for me ~ *phew*
But nothing made sense to me: what about the ticket system which Emily was telling me about. She emphasized so much that they only handed out 20 tickets a day and here these guys and officer are telling me that there’s no need. I really had no idea where I was supposed to get a ticket from so I did the only thing I knew how to do ~ follow what everyone else was telling me
I sat by myself in front of this office for at least 20-30 minutes until some random lady comes up to me, talking to me in Portuguese about some appointment she made. I could barely understand. She then tried speaking to me in Spanish. It didn’t get any better. I was so confused. I don’t know how we got to the point but we managed to understand each other ~ she wanted to go in first because she made an appointment to see the police months before.
Waiting at the front by myself…confused
Not long after the lady spoke to me, two other Asian guys appeared (I think from China) joined our queue…and as soon as they did, the guys I spoke to before about the tickets made sure that the Chinese guys knew they were behind all of us in the queue…and I’m so glad they did because I read on some blogs that people would just push in without any regard to how long you were waiting for. I felt lucky to be with more civilized people….
But nothing was taking my anxiety away…Emily hadn’t arrived yet and I couldn’t get in touch with her (my free hour of wifi at the airport had finished and I hadn’t put any money on my sim card yet). She said she’d arrive by 7:30 but there was no sign of her at all. I needed her badly. I needed her to communicate for me and more importantly, she had all the documents I needed for the application as well.
Emily still hadn’t arrived. I kept looking around the airport in the hopes of seeing her but nope…nothing! I was worried that something happened to her bus.
The more time passed, the more people came and the more people tried to push in but luckily those guys from before kept telling people the order of the line.
The doors to the office were still not open yet. At least 50% of the chairs in the waiting room were filled with people by this time.
The doors finally open and everyone rushes in. Emily still hadn’t arrived yet. I had no idea what was happening. All I knew was I was scared of losing my opportunity.
I decided to ask a lady which came out of the office to use her phone to call Emily.
Me: “Where are you?”
Emily: “I’m here”
After waiting for about another 30 minutes, she finally arrived and with all my documents.
When we finally go into the Police Station
There was no ticket system. We could just walk up to the officers. There was only one person in front of us in queue.
Officer: “Proximo” (next)
We went up to the desk and gave the officer the Application Form.
The officer asks something in Portuguese which I don’t understand. Luckily Emily was there. She did the work for me ~ she flicks through the folder, digging out my proof of payment for my application (my receipt) and hands it over to the officer. I decided to also give him the payment form which I had so much difficulty generating before.
Luckily the officer could actually speak a bit of English. He had a list of all the documents that were required on a piece of paper ~ when I quickly looked at it, the information seemed identical to what I found on the blogs I read – *phew* at least I did some accurate researching.
I handed over all my bank statements to the officer as well, but he was a little startled by how many pieces of paper I was giving him and only wanted a summary of my funds.
Then….he asked me for my proof of exit and address in Brazil.
I handed over a copy of my flight ticket to London and a screenshot of my main address in Brazil.
After collecting all the documents he needed, the officer also requested to take my passport and told me to wait in the waiting area for my name to be called.
30 minutes passes
The same officer walks out directly to me, hands over my passport with my documents and says:
That was all he said. There was no further explanation provided.
I was so confused. I didn’t know how I felt just getting a verbal confirmation that my visa extension was fine. I wanted a document saying “yes she can stay here for another 90 days” but all I got was my passport back.
Emily: “Wait here. I will go ask.”
After waiting for another 20 minutes or so, Emily comes back and explains:
“If you leave the country and come back, you get an extra 90 days automatically without the need to apply to extend your visa.”
As soon as she told me this, the first thoughts that ran through my mind were: “mother fucker!”
I couldn’t believe I went through this whole process for absolutely nothing.
The best part?
Not long after, I also found out that I didn’t even need to pay the fine until I chose to return to Brazil anyway so in the end, I could have fully taken the risk to just extend my visa without going through this horrible process!
Oh well, you live and learn right?
I hope you enjoyed my story! Long story short, do your research well before-hand.
Stay tuned on my next story coming soon (I promise! I’ve been very slack lately) ~ Running away from a failed holiday romance to Paris on a whim