Brazil May Drop Visas for U.S. Travelers

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In 2016, Brazil temporarily waived visa requirements for U.S. travelers to the country in the hopes of drawing travelers for the Summer Olympics. Two years later, in January 2018, it launched an e-visa program that let U.S. citizens get a visa with the click of a button, and for $44 instead of the usual $160. Now, the Brazilian government is considering dropping the visa requirement for U.S. travelers altogether.

“Our intention is really to eliminate visa applications for Americans,” Tourism Minister Marcelo Alvaro Antonio told Reuters on Thursday. Antonio said Brazil would also look to drop visa requirements for Canadian, Japanese, and Australian passport holders, but that the timeline is unclear as the decision is up to Brazil’s Foreign Ministry.

The move to eliminate visitor visas for Americans is part of a twofold initiative for Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, who was sworn in on January 1 and is looking to boost the country’s tourism industry and align himself with the U.S. Brazil currently sees 6.6 million annual visitor—on par with countries like the Dominican Republic—but has a goal of drawing 12 million annual visitors by 2022.

Visa-free access to Brazil would be good news for U.S. travelers, who have seen their passport lose power in recent years, thanks to a combination of things: the country’s focus on tightening its borders and an unwillingness to revise its visa policies, and other countries’ openness to visa-waiver agreements with diplomatic allies. We’re coming for your spot, Japan.

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