To expedite or not expedite
Many people choose to travil to Brazil from the US but are often unaware that a visa is required to travel there, unlike many South American countries. Whether you are traveling within the next few days, weeks, or even months, it's important to know the process for applying for a Brazil Tourist Visa to ensure your travel plans don't get cut short before they've even begun. After hours of searching and determining the best method to get a visa to Brazil in a timely and cost effective way I've compiled a number of options that will be useful no matter how fast you might need the visa.
First, it's best to determine when you need the visa. If your travel dates are less than 30-40 days away it's often a good idea to utilize an expeditor to help speed up the process. If you have plenty of time, then your first step is finding your Consulate General of Brazil website. There are few different jurisdictions which perform all the duties for several states. The Consulate General information and jurisdictions list can be found here. Visiting the site of your Consulate will explain exactly what materials are required to process your visa.
Once you've determined your Consulate jurisdiction you must decide whether or not you will deliver all of your materials in person to the Consulate, mail them, or have someone else deliver them for you. From my experience, if you don't live in the same city as the consulate and can't deliver the items in person, it is usually much more cost-effective and timely to use an outside service called an expeditor. Expeditors charge a fee to do all the dirty work for you and usually have connections to these Consulates that help ensure faster service. So, rather than paying $50 to ship your personal information to the consulate and waiting 40 days to process or paying $200 dollars to go deliver in person, you can have someone else do it for you and get your visa in 15 business days (with the non-rush service). I've had good experiences with the expeditors at Travel Visa Pro. They offer a passport recovery service if your passport is lost during transport to and from the Consulate for only $10 and update you on the status of your visa from the time they receive your information until it is delivered back to you. This is the method of choice if you need your visa in a hurry (1 week or less). For a hefty fee, they can return the visa in as little as 24 hours.
Be prepared to spend $180 for the Consulate fees alone. Other fees will include shipping, expeditors (if used), and/or travel fees if necessary. In applying for my visa I used Travel Visa Pro. I spent a grand total of $275.00 for the expiditing fee for 13-15 days and the Consulate fee. I spent another $40 on my overnight Fedex shipment of my passport and personal information. So,, in total, that is $311.00 which for me was much less than the cost to fly or drive to my Consulate General in Miami to give the information as well as go back in 10 days to pick it up.
To summarize, the best way to go about obtaining a Brazilian Tourist Visa really depends on the amount of time that you have to wait for the visa, the amount of money you are willing to spend, and whether or not you want to hand-deliver your personal documents or have a trustworthy expeditor do the work for you. All of this should be taken into consideration when determing how to obtain a Brazil Tourist Visa. The great part is that once you have it, its good for up to ten years for 90 days at a time. Good luck and happy travels!!!