Humbug Brazil

Apparently everyone knows that getting a visa to visit Brazil is exceptionally cumbersome and expensive (hundreds of HowTos and travel forums on on the interwebs with often conflicting information make that crystal clear). Apparently Brazil has intentionally made it difficult as a way to get back at the USA for making 'their visa process so cumbersome and expensive for Brazilians ("Take THAT America!").

Apparently it's made my morning stressful and I'm still mad about it.

Lessons learned:

One. If you want to save the $150+ in agency fees, you've got to get to a Brazilian Consulate in person. I'm lucky to have a brother in the area willing to step in and help out with an in-person appointment, between nine and noon in downtown San Francisco. I also got the "in-person or by an immediate family member" discount. Porter's fee was $20 extra for the convenience.

Two. If you're coming and leaving the country on a normal schedule, you should be fine. If you're planning on arriving or departing overland, on a whim, as the wind carries you, good luck. We sent our confirmed travel plans into the country as well as a signed statement of when and where we are planning on exiting (Jan 8 from Iguazu Falls). No dice. We spent an extra hour this morning investigating ways to prove we were leaving he country without actually booking a ticket (can't book bus tickets online. Air tickets cost a million dollars), all while Brent patiently waited, presumably on the corner in front of the consulate. In the rain. Ultimately, we sent our confirmed itinerary home from Santiago and that worked. Go figure. Next time, I will send any and every piece of documentation I can scrounge up. It seems it all depends on the person who reviews the packet. Some look at hotel reservations, some intended routes. Load up the info and hope you get someone who believes the mottled together proof you have.

Three. It's Brazil and it's worth it. That's how they get you!

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