Stuck in Argentina with Brazilian visa troubles

Sitting at my hostel in Puerto Iguazu, waiting for my Brazilian visa to come in...

Puerto Iguazu is a border-town between Argentina and Brazil and is where many tourists will stay to see the famous Iguazu falls. So I thought it a perfect destination to do some site-seeing, pick up a visa, and head into Brazil. What I didn't realize when I got here on Saturday was that this is not just some stamp I can buy at the border crossing. I'd have to formally apply for the visa at the consulate - which would not open until Monday. And then the process would take another day before I'd get my passport back. 

Unfortunately, Alex couldn't wait with me as he had to get to work first thing Monday morning in Sao Paulo. So he went and breezed on through the border using his Bulgarian passport. And we waved heartfelt goodbyes from opposite sides of the fence.

The US is one of the several unlucky countries in the world required to enter Brazil with a visa. The reason, they repeat over and over again to me to make sure I get it, is because America forces Brazilians to get a visa when going over there. It's reciprocity, they call it. And just to make it clear this bureaucratic step was created solely out of spite, they charge US citizens $160 as opposed to approximately $46 for other countries like Australia. (Ofcourse, I got my visa for around $120 thanks to a black-market loophole in the way Argentinian pesos are converted into US dollars. Thank you, Dolar Blue!)

A very long time ago, I did attempt to avoid all of this by applying for a Brazilian visa at home in San Francisco. I started the process a month before my flight out to South America. But leave it to Brazil to take more than a month to turnaround a tourist visa.

I ultimately quit the application process halfway through and flew out of the US with no more than a hope that maybe Brazilian land border patrol would look something like Carnival and they could just let me dance my way to the other side from Argentina with no paperwork.

Yeah, that's not what it looks like here.

With all this hassle, Brazil had better be worth it. And for you, Brazilian bureaucracy, I give you a butterfly sticking its tongue out at you in complete and utter disdain.

Photo taken at Iguazu National Park

No comments:

Post a Comment