Brazil - Consular Information Sheet
September 14, 1999
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Brazil has a developing economy.
Facilities for tourism are good in the major cities, but vary
in quality in remote areas.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A passport and visa are required.
Brazilian visas must be obtained in advance. Immigration authorities
will not allow entry into Brazil without a valid visa. Minors
(under 18) traveling alone, with one parent or with a third party,
must present written authorization by the absent parent(s) or
legal guardian, specifically granting permission to travel alone,
with one parent or with a third party. This authorization must
be notarized, authenticated by the Brazilian Embassy or Consulate,
and translated into Portuguese. For current entry and customs
requirements for Brazil, travelers may contact the Brazilian Embassy
at 3009 Whitehaven St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008; telephone
(202) 238-2700. Internet: http://www.brasilemb.org.
Travelers may also contact the Brazilian consulates in Boston,
Houston, Miami, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or San Francisco.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Brazil customs authorities may enforce
strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export
from Brazil of items such as firearms, antiquities, tropical plants,
medications, and business equipment. It is advisable to contact
the Embassy of Brazil in Washington or one of Brazil’s consulates
in the United States for specific information regarding customs
SAFETY AND SECURITY: Political demonstrations occur sporadically
in urban areas and may cause temporary disruption to public transportation.
There is no evidence that U.S. citizens might be targeted during
such events. However, citizens traveling or residing in Brazil
are advised to take common sense precautions and avoid any large
gatherings or any other event where crowds have congregated to
demonstrate or protest. When these events do occur, additional
advice may be obtained from the U.S. Embassy or nearest Consulate
at the telephone numbers listed below.
CRIME INFORMATION: The incidence of crime against tourists
tends to be greater in areas surrounding hotels, discotheques,
bars, nightclubs and other similar establishments that cater to
visitors, especially at dusk and during the evening hours. Incidents
of theft on city buses are frequent and such transportation should
be avoided. Several Brazilian cities have established specialized
tourist police units to patrol areas frequented by tourists.
Rio de Janeiro continues to experience a high incidence of crime.
Tourists are particularly vulnerable to street thefts and robberies
in areas adjacent to all the main beaches in Rio. All incidents
should be reported to the tourist police, who can be reached at
All areas of Sao Paulo have a high rate of armed robbery of
pedestrians and motorists at stoplights. At airports, hotel lobbies,
bus stations, and other public places there is much pickpocketing,
and the theft of carry-on luggage, briefcases, and laptop computers.
Travelers should closely protect these items. Travelers should
"dress down" when outside and avoid carrying valuables, especially
any jewelry or expensive watches.
A number of violent assaults have been registered in the hotel
district in Brasilia in recent years, and it is advisable for
visitors staying there to take taxis to their destination when
going out at night. Also, the U.S. Embassy has noted that certain
areas of the Lago Sul district in Brasilia, where many U.S. citizens
live, are prone to being targeted for burglary. Travelers considering
taking lodging or establishing a residence in Lago Sul may wish
to consult with the U.S. Embassy in advance.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or
consulate. U.S. citizens can refer to the Department of State’s
pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad
for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. This publication
and others, such as Tips for Travelers
to Central and South America are available by mail from
the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs,
or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, a U.S.
citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulation, which
sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States
and may not afford the protections available to the individual
under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe
than in the United States for similar offences. Persons violating
Brazil’s laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or
imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal
drugs in Brazil are strict, and convicted offenders can expect
lengthy jail sentences and heavy fines.
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical care varies in quality, particularly
in remote areas. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization
and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost tens of
thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate
cash payment for health services and U.S. medical insurance is
not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and
Medicaid programs do not provide payment of medical services outside
the United States.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: Uninsured travelers who require medical
care overseas may face extreme difficulties. Please check with
your own insurance company to confirm whether your policy applies
overseas, including provision for medical evacuation. Please ascertain
whether payment will be made to the overseas hospital or doctor
or whether you will be reimbursed later for the expenses that
you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric
treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information of medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State’s Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad available via
the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international
travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299); or via their Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Brazil is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Road conditions in Brazil are not what one would expect from
the world’s tenth largest economy. No U.S. standard interstate
highways exist. There are some stretches of divided highways but
signs, shoulders, exits and merge lanes are all haphazard. All
major routes are clogged with heavy truck traffic and, for the
most part, have two lanes. Road maintenance is a problem. There
are many potholes, often marked with a tree branch protruding
from the hole, and uneven surfaces. Many municipalities have erected
speedbumps that may be unpainted and unmarked. Pedestrians, bicyclists,
and horsedrawn vehicles all pose hazards on even the most major
routes. Travel after dark outside city centers is not recommended.
Dirt roads are the rule in non-urban areas. These vary in quality
and are often impassable in rainy weather. Passenger car traffic
is normally safe, but truck and passenger bus hijacking, normally
non-violent, erupts from time to time and place to place, more
commonly in the Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo metropolitan areas.
Anyone traveling extensively in Brazil should consult the "Guia
Quatro Rodas" for the information available on road conditions.
Most traffic accidents in Brazil are attributable to driver error,
and caution should be exercised whether in a vehicle or on foot.
For specific information concerning Brazilian driver’s permits,
vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, travelers
may contact Embratur, the Brazilian National Tourist Organization,
on the Internet at http://www.embratur.gov.br.
Embratur does not have an office in the United States, but Brazil
does have eight consulates in the U.S. and an embassy in Washington,
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Brazil’s Civil
Aviation Authority as Category 1 -- in compliance with international
aviation safety standards for oversight of Brazil's air carrier
operations. For further information, travelers may contact the
Department of Transportation within the U.S. at tel. 1-800-322-7873
or visit the FAA’s Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some
foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of
air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific
carriers, travelers may contact DOD at 618-229-4801.
CHILDREN’S ISSUES: For information on international adoption
of children, international parental child abduction, and international
child support enforcement issues, please refer to our Internet
site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html
or telephone (202) 736-7000.
REGISTRATION/EMBASSY AND CONSULATE LOCATIONS: Americans
living in or visiting Brazil are encouraged to register at the
Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy or Consulates in Brazil and
obtain updated information on travel and security in Brazil. The
U.S. Embassy is located in Brasilia at Avenida das Nacoes, Lote
3; telephone (011-55-61) 321-7272; website at http://www.embaixada-americana.org.br.
There are Consulates in Rio de Janeiro at Avenida Presidente Wilson
147, telephone (011-55-21) 292-7117, web site at http://www.consulado-americano-rio.org.br/rio.htm;
in Sao Paulo at Rua Padre Joao Manoel 933, telephone (011-55-11)
881-6511, website at http://www.amcham.com.br/consulate;
and at Recife at Rua Goncalves Maia 163, telephone (011-55-81)
421-2441. There are also Consular Agencies in Belem at Rua Oswaldo
Cruz 165, 66 017-090 Belem, Para, Brazil, telephone (011-55-91)
223-0800; in Manaus at Rua Recife 1010, Adrianopolis, telephone
(011-55-92) 633-4907; in Salvador da Bahia at Rua Pernambuco 51,
Pituba - Cep 41.830-390, telephone (011-55-71) 345-1545 and 345-1548;
in Fortaleza at the Instituto Brasil-Estados Unidos (Ibeu), Rua
Nogueira Acioly 891, Aldeota, telephone (011-55-85) 252-1539;
and in Porto Alegre at the Instituto Cultural Brasil-Norteamericano,
Rua Riachuelo, 1257, Centro, telephone (011-55-51) 226-3344. There
is also a Commercial and Agricultural office at Belo Horizonte,
Rua Fernandes Tourinho 147-14th Fl., telephone (011-55-31) 281-7271.
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated June 29, 1999.