Saturday, September 6, 2014

Getting Brazilian Visa in Cape Town

Brazil is one of a small number of countries where I need a visa during this trip (among Myanmar, India and Nepal).

Online Form
First entry to Brazil needs to be within 90 days from the date of issue so I had to wait to apply for this visa.

I was a little worried as I was told getting Brazilian visa can be quite time consuming.

So as soon as we arrived in Cape Town, I went to submit all my documents at the Brazilian embassy (before that you'll need to complete the online application form - left).

I researched online for all required documents about three times and printed everything out, went through my check list so I was quite confident I would be fine.

However....After handing in all the papers, the lady at the reception started asking for a bunch of documents that were not even listed on their web site, like an invitation letter from a friend in Brazil, a letter from my current employer, etc.

She then told me I need to come back (!!) when I have everything ready.... (We were leaving for Sunny Cove that afternoon) I tried to stay calm and explained to her that none of what she mentioned is listed on the site....

She said 'Blah blah blah...'

My voice raising...

Frode sensed danger and butted in......

The lady went inside to check with her boss how we can go about this application....

She came back and said we can lodge the paper today IF we can write a letter explaining our situation (no onward ticket out of Brazil, only from Santiago because we are doing overland.....why I want to go to Brazil, what I do for living, my profession etc, etc....)

14 rand pancakes at the cafe = $1.30!!
so fine whatever, we found a cafe nearby and I worked on my essay.
(btw, this was the nicest cafe ever... very cheap and super friendly service - they even helped me print a few papers)

By the time we got back, her boss went for her lunch break. But the lady at the reception accepted the application and said she'd call me if I need to provide something more.

Fingers crossed......

She called me about 4 hours later to inform me that the application is lodged and I have to make the payment. So I went to the local bank the next day to make money transfer 325 rand.... less than a week later the visa was approved and it was ready for collection! Yay!

So we made an hour train trip back to Cape Town to pick up my passport and the visa.

All in all, it wasn't as bad as it seemed at first. And to be fair, the lady at the reception was super friendly and nice. I am just annoyed with their web site....

So if you are applying for a Brazilian tourist visa in Cape Town, you'll need:

From their web site,
1) Original Passport - with 2 blank visa pages
2) One passport size photo (2x2 inches)
3) Either return or onward ticket with confirmed bookings in and our of Brazil
4) Proof of means of support during my stay (e.g. bank statement)
5) Confirmation of hotel reservation or name & address of intended accommodation

But you may also need:
6) If you are staying with a friend, a letter from them instead of hotel confirmation.
7) A letter from your employer
8) A letter explaining who you are, why you want to go to Brazil, etc.

But of course it is all case by case, so I suggest you contacting the embassy via email prior - they are really quick with email correspondence. 

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