Brazilians wait nearly 20 months to obtain a visa to enter the United States.

Brazil currently ranks seventh among the countries with the longest waiting times for a tourist visa to the United States, according to a survey by AG Immigration, a Washington-based immigration law firm. The ranking was based on data from the US State Department and reveals that the waiting list for applicants is at an all-time high in four of the five Brazilian cities where the document can be requested.

The longest waiting time was recorded in São Paulo. Applicants who want to schedule can get it in 615 days, which is roughly 20 months. It is followed by Porto Alegre (507 days), Brasilia (493 days), Rio de Janeiro (478 days) and Recife (449 days). According to AG Immigration, only Rio has longer lines. The numbers for all other countries are max.

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

The first steps for the document to be issued is to fill out an online form and pay a fee of $160. Then, you have to arrange an interview at the embassy in Brasilia or at one of the four consulates – located in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Recife and Porto Alegre. The tourist visa can be used for multiple visits to the United States within a ten-year period. However, the length of stay for each flight is determined by the immigration team that receives the passenger after landing, and is usually less than six months. On a tourist visa, travelers cannot work or study in the country, and only short-term programs are permitted.

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The US embassy acknowledged in a statement the existence of the problem. “The waiting time for first-time tourist visas is longer than we’d like, still as a result of the demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re working to increase the time available for appointments. We’ve hired new staff, we’re working overtime, and the visa renewal period has been extended.” Without interview from 12 to 48 months.

The embassy expects positive results before the July holidays, but warns that demand will remain high. “Brazil was the second country in the world with the highest visa processing in 2022. We currently interview an average of over 6,000 visa applications per day, and should exceed 1 million processed visas in 2023. We recommend that people plan their trips with advance notice and ask Applicants are encouraged to check on our website to see if they are eligible for visa renewal without the need for an interview, which is a much faster process.”

Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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