Brazil Traveler Information - Travel Advice
Travel Advice with a Travel Advisory overview from the US State Department. Here we cover Visa, Safety & Security, local Laws and Insurance in our Brazil Traveler Information guide.
At AARDY we can’t recommend travel insurance enough. Whether you are just traveling a few hundred miles from home to see family, or traveling to the other side of the world, travel insurance should be considered an essential part of your holiday packing. The hope is that you won’t have to use your travel insurance, and that you’ll have a fun and enjoyable trip. The following Brazil Traveler Information should help you make the most of your trip to Brazil.
Note: Always check that your destination country is one approved for travel by your travel insurance provider.
PASSPORT VALIDITY: Must be valid on the date of entry.
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES: One page required for entry stamp.
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED: No, beginning June 17, 2019.
VACCINATIONS: None required, but see Health section.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY: More than 10,000 BR must be declared to Customs.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT: More than 10,000 BR must be declared to Customs.
Embassies and Consulates
U.S. Embassy Brasilia
SES 801- Avenida das Nacoes, Lote 03
70403-900 - Brasilia, DF Brazil
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 011-55-61-3312-7400
Fax: (61) 3312-7651
Consular Agency in Brasilia’s Consular District
Manaus Consular Agency
Edificio Atrium, Suite 306
Rua Franco de Sá, 310
69.079-210 Manaus, AM Brazil
U.S. Consulate General Recife
Rua Goncalves Maia, 163, Boa Vista
50070-125 - Recife, PE Brazil
Telephone: 011-55-81-3416-3050 or 011-55-81-3416-3080
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 011-55-81-3416-3060 or 011-55-81-9916-9470
Consular Agency in Recife’s Consular District
U.S. Consular Agency Fortaleza
Avenida Santos Dumont 2828, Aldeota, Suite 708
60150-161- Fortaleza, CE Brazil
U.S. Consulate General Rio de Janeiro
Avenida Presidente Wilson, 147, Castelo
20030-020, Rio de Janeiro, RJ Brazil
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 011-55-21-3823-2029
Consular Agency in Rio de Janeiro’s Consular District
U.S. Consular Agency Salvador da Bahia
Avenida Tancredo Neves, 1632, Caminho das Arvores
Salvador Trade Center-Torre Sul, Room 1401
41820-020 - Salvador, Bahia Brazil
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro: (21) 3823-2029
U.S. Consulate General Sao Paulo
Rua Henri Dunant, 500 Chacara Santo Antonio
04709-110 - Sao Paulo, SP Brazil
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 011-55-11-3250-5373
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Brazil for information on U.S. – Brazil relations.
Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements
You will need:
- A valid U.S. passport
- A Brazilian visa obtained before traveling to Brazil, through June 16, 2019. After that date, U.S. citizens do not need a visa if they are traveling to Brazil for tourism, business, transit, artistic or sport activities, with no intention of establishing residence.
- For other types of travel, U.S. citizens may need to apply for a Brazilian visa either online here or at the nearest Brazilian consulate in the United States or abroad.
- Find a Brazilian consulate in the United States
- Find a Brazilian consulate abroad
Special Entry/Exit Requirements for Minors: For minors traveling with only one parent, the Brazilian Embassy or Consulate may require a birth certificate and notarized travel authorization from both parents to issue a visa to a minor and/or depart Brazil with the minor. Travel authorization documents for minors frequently need to be issued, authenticated, or legalized directly from the Brazilian Embassy or Consulate.
When departing Brazil, Brazilian minors (including U.S.-Brazilian dual citizens) who are not accompanied by both parents are required by law to prove that both parents authorized the travel. While non-Brazilian minors are not subject to the same requirement, immigration officials always have the right to stop individuals for questioning. There have been cases where non-Brazilian minors have been delayed or prevented from traveling when accompanied by only one parent or a third party. Please review the Brazilian government’s current visa information.
HIV/AIDS Restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Brazil.
Safety and Security
Crime: The violent crime rate is high in most Brazilian urban centers. Public transportation, hotel sectors, and tourist areas report high crime rates, but these incidents can happen anywhere and at any time. Be aware of your surroundings.
- Do not travel to:
- Informal housing developments in Brazil (commonly referred to in Brazil as favelas, vilas, communidades, and/or satellite cities), even on a guided tour, at any time of day due to crime. Neither the tour companies nor the police can guarantee your safety when entering these areas. Even in favelas that the police or local governments deem safe, the situation can change quickly and without notice. In addition, exercise caution in areas surrounding favelas, as occasionally, inter-gang fighting and confrontations with police move beyond the confines of these communities.
- Brasilia’s administrative regions (commonly known as “satellite cities”) of Ceilandia, Santa Maria, Sao Sebastiao, and Paranoa during non-daylight hours due to crime.
- Recife’s Pina Beach from Dona Benvinda de Farias Street to the Brasilia Teimosa neighborhood after dark due to crime.
- Any areas within 150 km of Brazil’s land borders with Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Paraguay due to crime. (Note: This does not apply to the Foz do Iguacu National Park or Pantanal National Park.)
- In addition, use caution in/around the following:
- Public Transportation in Brazil: Crime trends indicate an elevated risk of robbery or assault on public bus systems throughout Brazil. Consider avoiding the use of public, municipal buses in Brazil at any time of day, and especially at night.
- Traveling Outside Metropolitan Areas After Dark: Travelers are encouraged to organize their trips so that they can travel during daylight hours. Road conditions throughout Brazil can vary widely, and travelers must exercise caution due to debris in the road, horse-drawn carriages, unmarked speed bumps, and other infrastructure deficiencies.
- Traveling Outside Metropolitan Areas After Dark:
- Individuals intending robbery or assault have been known to slip incapacitating drugs into drinks at bars, hotel rooms, and street parties.
- Armed hold-ups of pedestrians and motorists can happen, including at or near public beaches. Personal belongings, left unattended even for a moment, are often taken. If you are robbed, hand over your personal belongings without resisting. Resisting will increase your risk of injury.
- Carjackings and hold-ups can occur at any time of the day or night, especially at intersections and in tunnels. Some robberies involve individuals robbed at gunpoint and taken to make purchases or to withdraw as much money as possible from one or more ATMs.
- Crime on public transportation occurs. Registered taxis have red license plates and openly display company information and phone numbers.
- Credit card fraud and ATM scams are common in Brazil. Work closely with your financial institutions to monitor accounts and keep your credit card in view while it is scanned at a point of sale.
- Avoid using ATMs in unfamiliar, secluded, or lightly protected areas. Be aware that criminals often target ATMs and businesses in the early hours of the morning when there are fewer witnesses and law enforcement response times may be delayed. If you opt to use an ATM, select those that are located inside of secure facilities, such as an airport, hospital, bank, or government building.
- Avoid large groups or events where crowds have gathered. Public events of any nature, including concerts and sporting events, can unexpectedly turn violent. Demonstrations and strikes are common in urban areas, may occur unexpectedly, disrupt transportation, and may escalate into violence. Check the website of the Embassy or Consulate nearest you for current information on demonstrations.
- U.S. government employees working in Brazil are not permitted to:
- Travel to any areas within 150 km of the international borders with Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Paraguay, except in limited circumstances with the appropriate approvals. Individuals with ties to illegal criminal networks operate along Brazilian borders. Travel to the Foz do Iguaçu National Park and Pantanal National Park is permitted.
- Enter any informal housing developments in Brazil (commonly referred to in Brazil as favelas, vilas, communidades, and/or satellite cities), except in limited circumstances with the appropriate approvals.
- Enter Brasilia’s administrative regions (commonly known as “satellite cities”) of Ceilandia, Santa Maria, Sao Sebastiao, and Paranoa during non-daylight hours.
- Visit Recife’s Pina Beach from Dona Benvinda de Farias Street to the Brasilia Teimosa neighborhood after dark, due to crime.
- Use public buses in or around Recife, due to crime.
To reduce the chance of becoming the victim of a crime, in addition to the above recommendations, please review the below precautions:
- Limit the personal belongings you carry with you. Carry your money in your front pockets and limit the amount of credit cards you carry. Make copies of all of your personal documents – including your credit cards, license, passport, etc. – and keep in a safe place. This will be helpful in the event that you lose your documents.
- Do not carry or wear valuable items that will attract the attention of thieves. If you need to wear expensive jewelry or carry a camera; conceal it until you arrive at your destination.
- Be aware of the street environment and avoid contact with those who may be looking for robbery targets. Seek a safer location. Go into a store, bank or simply cross the street.
- Do not walk on beaches after dark. Assaults are common.
- Use increased caution when hiking in isolated areas, and in particular around the city of Rio de Janeiro’s Corcovado Mountain trails. Multiple violent robberies have occurred on the hiking trails leading to and from Cristo Redentor on Corcovado Mountain, which are not regularly patrolled by Brazilian law enforcement.
Victims of Crime:
U.S. citizen victims of crime should contact the local authorities to file a Brazilian police report before departing Brazil. In most instances, you can report crimes to the tourist police (DEAT: Delegacia de Protecao ao Turista) located in major cities. U.S. citizens should also inform the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
- the U.S. Embassy at 011-55-61-3312-7000
- the U.S. Consulate General in Porto Alegre at 011-55-51-3345-6000
- the U.S. Consulate General in Recife at 011-55-81-3416-3050 or 011-55-81-3416-3080
- the U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro at 011-55-21-3823-2000
- the U.S. Consulate General in Sao Paulo at 011-55-11-3250-5000
See our webpage on U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide our information on victims’ compensation programs in the United States
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- replace a stolen or lost passport
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Brazil is divided between three services:
- 190 - Policia (Police)
- 192 - Ambulancia (Ambulance)
- 193 - Bombeiros (Fire Department)
Victims of Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault: Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate for assistance after contacting local authorities.
Tourism: The tourism industry is regulated, but safety inspections for equipment and facilities are inconsistent. Hazardous areas/activities are normally identified with appropriate signage in major urban centers, but may not be in other locations. Tourism industry staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate and timely medical treatment is consistently available only in/near major cities. First responders can face delays accessing areas outside of major cities to quickly provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: Foreigners are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or Consulate immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Water Hazards: Many of Brazil’s beaches have very dangerous riptides, even if the water looks safe. Ocean currents and waves are unpredictable, even in popular beaches frequented by tourists. Shark attacks are reported in the waters of some beaches in northeastern Brazil, particularly near Recife. Always observe posted warnings and never swim while under the influence of alcohol. Follow local authorities’ guidance and refrain from swimming alone in areas marked with red warning signs or at beaches where there are no municipal lifeguards or first responder services.
Electricity Blackouts: Power failures in large urban centers are common and sometimes followed by increased crime. Most tourist hotels are equipped with generators, minimizing the impact of a blackout, but you should remain cautious.
Natural Disasters: Flooding and mudslides occur throughout the country and can be fatal. Monitor news and weather reports and adhere to municipal advisories before traveling to areas prone to flooding or landslides. Many of Brazil’s larger cities have frequent heavy rainstorms that cause flash flooding and can disrupt traffic.
Customs Restrictions: Contact the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, D.C. or one of Brazil's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding import and export regulations. Please also refer to our information on customs regulations.
- Brazilian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporarily importing or exporting items such as firearms, antiquities, mineral samples, tropical plants, wildlife, medications, and business and communication equipment.
- In the Amazon region, there is special scrutiny of exporting biological material. People raising, growing, or exporting biological materials without permits can be charged with “biopiracy.”
Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report – see country reports
- Human Rights Report – see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: Brazil does not have legal restrictions on same-sex marriage, relations, or events coordinated by LGBTI organizations. However, according to the 2017 Human Rights Report, violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals was a serious concern, with local NGOs reporting that in the first half of 2017, 117 LGBTI persons were victims of hate killings. Seeour LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Brazilian law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities in employment, education, and access to health care. However, accessibility to public transportation and the ability to accommodate the needs of physically disabled persons are limited in most areas.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
The U.S. government does not pay medical bills and U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Government of Brazil to ensure the medication is legal in Brazil. Carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
The following diseases are prevalent:
- Mosquito and other Animal- and Insect-Borne Diseases, including Chagas, chikungunya, dengue, Zika, visceral leishmaniasis, and rabies are the most common.
- Traveler’s diarrhea
In recent years, outbreaks of these diseases have also been detected in certain areas of Brazil:
- Yellow fever
Elective Surgery: Although Brazil has many elective/cosmetic surgery facilities that are on par with those found in the United States, the quality of care varies widely. If you plan to undergo surgery in Brazil, make sure that emergency medical facilities are available. Some “boutique” plastic surgery operations offer luxurious facilities but are not hospitals and are unable to handle emergencies.
Non-traditional Medicine: Several U.S. citizens have died while seeking medical care from non-traditional “healers” and practitioners. Ensure you have access to proper medical care if seeking such services.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization.
Though not required to enter Brazil, travelers wishing to be vaccinated should consider receiving yellow fever vaccine prior to travel to Brazil, as local supplies are limited. Please note that the yellow fever vaccine should be administered 10 days prior to travel in order for it to be effective.
Also note that, while yellow fever vaccine is not required to enter Brazil, some neighboring countries do require travelers with recent entries in Brazil to show proof of yellow fever vaccination.
All travelers to the country are advised to carry documentation, such as a vaccination card, that they have been appropriately vaccinated for Yellow Fever.
Further health information:
Travel and Transportation
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: Driving on Brazil's roads poses significant risks. Poor driving skills, bad roads, and high density traffic make road travel more hazardous than in the United States.
Road maintenance is inadequate in many areas and some long-distance roads through the Amazon forest are impassable much of the year due to flooding. Private cars and public buses are the main modes of inter-city road travel. Buses can range (depending on route and price) from luxurious and well-maintained to basic and mechanically unsound. Bus hijacking can occur at random.
Apart from toll roads, which generally have their own services, roadside assistance is available only sporadically and informally through local mechanics. The fastest way to summon assistance in an emergency anywhere in the country is to dial 193, a universal number staffed by local fire departments. This service is in Portuguese only.
Traffic Laws: Travelers planning on staying for more than 180 days should obtain an Inter-American Driving Permit to carry with their valid U.S. license if they plan to drive in Brazil. Such permits can be obtained through AAA or other sources. Please note:
- Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seatbelt. Brazilian federal law requires child seats for all children under the age of 7 ½. From age 7 ½ years to 10, children must only ride in the back seat.
- Drivers must yield the right of way to cars on their right. Compliance with stop signs is rarely enforced, so many motorists treat them as yield signs. It is common for drivers to turn or cross one or more lanes of traffic without warning.
- Drivers often flash their lights or wave a hand out the window to signal other drivers to slow down.
- Pedestrian crossings are only observed in some places, such as Brasilia.
- Drivers must have their daytime running lights on during the day and headlights on at night on Federal Highways.
- Under Brazil’s Lei Seca (“Dry Law”), you cannot operate a vehicle with any measurable blood-alcohol level. Checkpoints are often set up in urban areas, and randomly chosen drivers are required to perform a breathalyzer test. Those in violation are subject to legal penalties and having their vehicle impounded.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Brazil’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Brazil’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Brazil should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and the National Geospatial Agency broadcast warnings website (select “broadcast warnings”).
For additional travel information
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution and Travel Advisories.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
International Parental Child Abduction
Brazil was cited in the State Department’s 2019 Annual Report to Congress on International Child Abduction for demonstrating a pattern of non-compliance with respect to international parental child abduction. Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Brazil. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.
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