You came for the World Cup, and now you want to stay in Brazil and live there forever. Your 90-day tourist visa runs out so you need to renew it, and fast. Your only option is to head to a Policia Federal.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how British, American Nationals and most other countries can get their 90-day tourist visa renewed in Belo Horizonte.
1) Fill in this online form. You want the “PEDIDO DE PRORROGACAO DE PRAZO DE ESTADA” option.
Print it off. This is an invoice you have to pay at a bank before they will process your visa at the Policia Federal. It costs 67 reais to renew your tourist visa.
If you don’t have a printer go to a “Lan House” or walk around your area until you see a shop with a “Xerox” sign. I brought my computer to the shop and emailed the document to the manager who printed it off for me. For this he charged me the princely sum of 1.50 reais, about 40p or 60 cents.
2) Take this document and 67 reais to any bank – Itau, Bradesco, Banco do Brasil, Santander… Go early in the morning because banks have a take-a-ticket system and they get incredibly busy (a friend and I once went to a bank which had a two-hour wait to see a cashier). Don’t do any of this at lunch-time, either, or you will wait an extra hour.
3) Pay the cashier 67 reais. She will stamp your document and tear off the slip you need to show to the official at the Policia Federal.
4) Go to the Policia Federal with your paid invoice, your passport and the entry document you got when you arrived in Brazil.
The address is Rua Francisco Deslandes, 900. Shopping Anchieta Plaza. Bairro Anchieta, Belo Horizonte. It’s in a nice shopping mall and the bank is opposite. It was already full of people when I arrived, most of whom were Brazilians getting their passports renewed.
There is a separate line for gringos/estrangeiros. Ask the attendant “Onde está a fila para os estrangeiros?” or look out for a sign. I did not do this, and I subsequently waited in the wrong queue for 40 minutes, only to reach the counter and be told the tourist visa line was actually a row of seats around the outskirts of the room.
5) Sit in the row of seats, shuffling over to the next seat as it’s vacated by the foreigner ahead of you. Wait maybe an hour. Bring a book or watch Brazilian daytime TV. Talk to your fellow gringo.
6) You’ll be called in to the room when it’s your turn. Here is my interaction with the official as I remember it:
Official: “Did you fill in the document?”
He hands me a piece of paper and I fill in the top-half. Name, age, marriage status, address and contact in Brazil.
Official: “Are you sad England played badly in the World Cup?”
We get to talking about Brazil’s chances, how good the Netherlands team is, Manchester United, Van Persie. During this five minutes the visa application isn’t progressed in any way. It’s all very relaxed.
Another official comes by with a huge box of fruit. He asks if I want something. I take an orange and he tells me an estrangeiro brought it in. I’m presuming handing tourists oranges isn’t normal protocol at the Policia Federal but it’s a nice gesture.
7) He fills in the lower half of the form. He ticks that I have a return ticket and I have sufficient funds, although he doesn’t ask me to prove any of this. He taps at the computer and uses no less than seven stamps to certify my passport and entry paper.
8) We shake hands and I leave. I wish Brazil well in its future sporting endeavors.
A few points:
1) Get your tourist visa renewed as close to the end of your 90 days as possible, because the new 90-day allowance starts when your application is processed (so if you renew your visa at 80 days you can only stay a total of 170 days).
2) Most nationalities, and definitely the case for Americans and British, can only renew the visa once in a one-year period (so you can stay as a tourist here for 180 days out of 365 days).
3) Have a contingency plan if you’re rejected, although I reckon it unlikely you will be unless you’re doing something particularly nefarious here.