It Never Took So Long: Brazilians Wait Up to 20 months to Get US Visa

Brazil currently ranks seventh among the nations with the longest waiting time to get a tourist visa for the US, a survey conducted by AG Immigration, a Washington-based immigration law firm, found.

The ranking was based on data from the US State Department and reveals that the queue of applicants currently displays record highs in four of the five Brazilian cities where the document can be requested.

The longest waiting time is reported in São Paulo. Applicants seeking to schedule an appointment can get one in 615 days—almost 20 months. Next in line are the cities of Porto Alegre (507 days), Brasília (493), Rio de Janeiro (478), and Recife (449). According to AG Immigration, only Rio has had longer waiting lines. The numbers for all the others are record highs.

Only six other countries are slower: Colombia, Haiti, Mexico, Nepal, Canada, and the United Arab Emirates. In Brazil, tourism and business visas account for more than 90 percent of all applications. In the case of work and study visas, the process is usually faster.

The first steps to have the document issued are filling out an online form and pay a $160 fee. Next, an interview must be scheduled at the embassy in Brasília or at the one of the four consulates—located in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Recife and Porto Alegre.

The tourist visa can be used for several visits to the US within ten years. The length of stay for each trip, however, is defined by the immigration team receiving the passenger after landing, and is usually less than six months.

With a tourist visa, travelers are not allowed to work or study in the country, and only short programs are allowed.

In a statement, the US embassy acknowledges the problem. “The waiting time for first-time tourist visas is longer than we would like, still as a result of the demand brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are working to increase the time available for appointments. We have hired new staff, we are working overtime, and the period for visa renewals with no interviews has been extended from 12 to 48 months.”

The embassy expects positive results before July vacations, but warns that the demand should still be high. “Brazil was the second highest visa processing country in the world in 2022. We currently interview an average of over 6 thousand visa applications every day, and should exceed 1 million visas processed by 2023.

“We recommend that people plan their trips in advance and that applicants check our website to see if they are eligible for visa renewal without the need for an interview, which is much faster.”



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