How to Obtain a Visa for Brazil

On a whim we added to our South Africa trip an extended layover in Brazil. Had we known how much work it was to visit there (for less than 36 hours), we may have reconsidered. As the last few days of trying to acquire a visa for the trip has required much effort and confusion, this blog will hopefully prevent someone else from experiencing the same.


Obtaining a visa to visit Brazil from the U.S. is a bigger pain in the ass than a Brazilian wax. I imagine if you don’t live near a major metropolitan city it’s probably even worse. To get a visa in Chicago, I had to go to the Consulado-Geral do Brasil em Chicago (Consulate General Brazil). But before you visit your consulate, ensure you have a solid understanding of all the materials you’ll need to bring with you. Also, be prepared to process this far in advance as they will not expedite the process unless there is a severe medical emergency.


How to Apply for a Visa to Visit Brazil in Chicago

While the Consulate General Brazil Chicago website supposedly has “all the information you need,” it’s fairly confusing and unorganized. So as of today, the below information outlines what you really need to know. However, should you be traveling in the future you should probably also check the consulate list to ensure nothing has changed with the process.

  1. Visit this page to verify that you live in an area within the jurisdiction of the Chicago consulate office.
  2. Go to Walgreens to have a passport photo taken – DO NOT ATTEMPT to take one yourself. Many Google reviews talk about the hassle of repeat denials. Worth the $13 to just get it right the first time.
  3. Visit a U.S. Postal Office and get two things:
    1. A pre-paid priority mail envelope (currently $6.45) with tracking; address this to yourself as your materials will be returned to you in it.
    2. A money order for $160.00
  4. Book your travel – all flight itineraries and hotel bookings must be confirmed before you can apply for a visa. Once they’re confirmed, print all confirmations.
  5. Make a photo copy of your drivers license or a utility bill that shows proof of residence within the jurisdiction area.
  6. Fill out this online form to begin your application:
    1. Scan a copy of the identification page of your passport
    2. Save a PDF copy of all of your flight and hotel itineraries
    3. Upload a digital copy of your passport photo; use picmonkey to crop or resize to required specs
    4. Sign a blank piece of paper; use picmonkey to crop or resize to required specs
    5. Submit form and print confirmation: it took me 4 times of filling out the form until I was finally passed on to the next page to print the confirmation form.

Compile all of the above documentation and your passport into one folder; and visit the Consulate General Brazil at 401 N. Michigan Avenue between 9-11 a.m. Monday through Friday. There are no exceptions; no other times. The lines are long – I was there at 8:45 and had 9 people in front of me waiting before they opened. Your only alternative is to manage the process via US Mail – but it will take longer to process.

Processing your visa will take 10 days and then they will mail all of your documents (including passport) back to you in your pre-paid envelope. Ensure you have allowed enough time for processing and its return in the mail before your trip – they don’t mess around. Once you received it back in the mail, you should be good to go. Or at least I hope so. I’ll let you know after we’ve made it back from the trip!


Wandering Worldwide

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