The Brazilian–as painful as you might expect

When planning our trip to Iguazu Falls I was thinking about spending two days on the Argentinian side, and two on the Brazilian side. I wanted to stay in the National Park for our entire stay to extract the most of the experience so the only options for accomodation were Sheraton Iguazú Resort & Spa in Argentina and the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas in Brazil. The Belmond has better reviews, but looking at flights and times I had a reality check and decided that  having to cross borders and shift hotels in the middle of a four day stay would just be a pain and likely stress me out. So a day trip to Brazil, or maybe two would have to do. The things I really want to see are the Bird Park (Parque das Aves) and the Brazilian side of the falls. What I didn’t realise until six weeks before blast off was that although we don’t need a visa for Chile or Argentina (or Antarctica) we DO need a visa  to transit to Brazil, even if only for a day. I have been very lucky in the past. Between an Australia and EU passport the only visa I’ve had to send my passport off to Canberra for was when we visited Vietnam. Every other country has either been ‘visa on arrival’ or no visa required for Australian or European passport holders. Clearly Australia makes it difficult for Brazillians to get tourist visas to visit here, becuase the visa application process to get into Brazil felt like the trials of Hercules. I may be exagerating slightly, but they currently have a process in place that means you need to apply online first, and then send everything through in hard copyy. The documents required were;

  • proof of employment,
  • proof of residency,
  • proof of funds in your bank account,
  • passport photos,
  • passports,
  • airline tickets,
  • itinerary,
  • printed and signed copy of the online application form once your filled it out, downloaded, printed, signed and uploaded,
  • and a scanned image of your signature

It all felt rather like a recipe for identity theft. Once you’ve uploaded everything electronically, you’ll need to print it all out to send in hard copy, with the original photos and your passports with the appropraite envelopes and AUD $63 per person in the form of an Australia Post money order. On the upside, the embassy staff were very reponsive when I emailed them with a question (they don’t take queries by phone) and the passwport and freshly minted visas were back in our hands ten days later. They say to allow 15 days and I was conceredn we were getting close to the holiday period so that was a relief. Hopefully when we get there everything will be as smooth as… a brazilian.

Please follow and like us: