Wednesday, November 18, 2009


In many countries, visas for visitors can be obtained upon entry to the country for free or a fee of about $50. Such is in the case in Uganda, Kenya is only $25, Tanzania $50-$100 depending where you're from, etc. However, some countries employ a reciprocal visa policy meaning, exactly what you require of us, we require of you. Brazil utilizes said policy. In order to get my Brazilian visa before our trip there later this week, I was asked to submit a small arsenal of documents:
  • Letter of invitation
  • Completed application form
  • 2 passport photos
  • Letter of declaration of purpose for trip including place of stay
  • Proof of financial means
  • Return air ticket
  • Yellow fever certificate
  • Letter from the US Embassy
Dealing with one bureaucracy is enough to obtain one visa, but these guys require I deal with two! The letter from the US Embassy necessitated two trips to the embassy, two times through their security screening, and 3 hours in their over air conditioned waiting room (luckily, there is a TV in there).

The above is what I was initially told I needed to have a complete visa application file.  I was also told it would take a maximum of five days to send my file and passport to Nairobi, get the visa, and have it shipped back to Kampala.  But once reviewed in Nairobi, my application was denied due to my bank statement being unverifiable!  I sent several online statements accompanied with the assistant branch manager's card, but the consulate informed me I must have an account in Uganda or Kenya, not Oklahoma to qualify.  She also said it might work to have the bank in Oklahoma sign and stamp all the pages of my statements for 2 and half months back and scan and send, but she wasn't positive it would work until she could examine the documents for herself.  

Soooooooo, I contacted my bank and asked for the signed, stamped, and scanned statements, but can you believe in the year 2009 that my bank in the US of A does not have a scanner?!?  Me neither.  Golly gee wilikers.  Then I had to cash in my one billionth favor with Constance Elaine, my mother, who collected said documents and scanned them in her cutting edge office facility which happens to have a scanner.  As backup, since this was all going down less than two weeks before my departure, we had the Philster get some copies of his company's bank statements (signed, stamped and scanned), copies of the companies certifications, along with a letter that claimed he was my husband and would be sponsoring me on our adventure.

You would think that would finally be all I needed to enter Brazil, but you would be wrong.  Since we're staying at my friend Cat's parent's house for a portion of the trip, her mother had to fill out a form and also have that notarized by a state official (signed, stamped, and scanned).

All that, plus 482,000 Ugandan shillings (approximately $240), part of which was for shipping my passport to and from the official East African Brazilian Consulate in Nairobi, and I am now the very proud owner of a Brazilian visa! (And not a minute too soon - we leave Friday)

PS Brazilians trying to visit the USA, I am sorry we put you through this.  Talk about a major pain in the patooty!


  1. Oh, yeah. I've been through these procedures too. It hurts.

  2. São Paulo´s American consulate is the one that issues the bigger amount of non-immigrant visas in the world. It is a very complicated procedure and detailed. I agree. We must be sure of who we authorize entry but the worst is that sometimes you see some agents that just don't want to be there and make your life harder. I've been there and I can say it is not as bad as some people say but at least BRazil and the US has a deal now and the visa is valid for 10 years.