Visa requirements for World Cup visitors

Consulate-General of Brazil in Washington (By Steven Goff -- The Washington Post) Consulate-General of Brazil in Washington (By Steven Goff — The Washington Post)

If you are among the thousands of Americans heading to Brazil this summer for the World Cup, it’s best to apply for a visa soon.

The current processing timetable at the Consulate-General of Brazil in Washington is nine days (seven business days). However, as posted at the entrance  …

“Due to the growing additional volume of visa requests, originated by the approaching World Cup, and to the legal obligation approved by the Brazilian National Congress that visas for world-cup spectators be given priority over other services, the Consulate General of Brazil in Washington regrets to inform that there may be delays in the production and delivery of services requested.”

So like with flights within Brazil during the tournament, brace yourself for delays.

If you are traveling on a U.S. passport, you will need a visa. Good news: The $160 processing fee is waived if you have proof of ticket purchase or traveling on official business (unwashed journalists, volunteers, etc.). The ticket thing is tricky; I’ve heard from fans encountering problems in attempting to get the fee waived.

Begin your visa journey by clicking here. If you carry a passport from another country, you may not need a visa. Country-by-country requirements are here. (Brits don’t need one, Palauans do.)

I applied in person April 8. It required harrowing travel: The Post is at 15th and L streets NW. The consulate is at 15th and L streets NW. Crossing L was exhausting.

The Brazilian consulate is modeled after the Department of Motor Vehicles: Take a number, sit down and wait. Globo is on TV. Kids have access to a play center. A bible is in the magazine slots. A bilingual security guard makes the rounds.

The D.C. office is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. However, because of increased volume, the cut-off for World Cup visas has been moved up to noon. (There are also Brazilian consulates in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Hartford, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco. Details here.)

Your ticket number is called in Portuguese and then English by an automated voice. Don’t become mesmerized by the picture-perfect posters of Brazilian rain forests on the walls; missing your place means pulling another ticket number.

Proceed to one of the four windows. You’ll need to relinquish your passport for processing.

In early April, when I visited, I waited about 40 minutes to meet with a clerk. The process took five minutes. I was told to come back a week later. Because of scheduling conflicts, I waited until today to pick up my freshly visa’ed passport. (With the receipt, a proxy may retrieve it for you.) This time, I had to wait about 25 minutes before my number was called. Colorless World Cup highlights were playing on Globo.

I had been approved. Sao Paulo awaits.

Upon exiting, I grabbed a curious-looking leaflet (note the corporate logo in the lower left corner):

(Consulate-General of Brazil)
(Consulate-General of Brazil)
Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.

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Steven Goff · April 22, 2014

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