Understanding Brazilian VISAs.
This thread is an inquiry into how to understand the rules followed by the Policia Federal in administering rules relating to VISAs issued to estrangeiros to enter and temporarily remain in Brasil.
At the outset let me say that I have practiced law for 45 years and have lived and continue to live by the rule that ignorance of the law is not an excuse. However, this same concept requires that knowledge of the law - in this case the rules relating to VISAs - is reasonably attainable in a deliberate effort to do so.
Addressing the specifics, I am a US citizen holding a US passport valid through September of Protected content . I also have a Brazilian VISA issued by the Consular General in Washington, DC in September of Protected content , valid through September of Protected content . The VISA is a “Vitur” (in my case “tourist” VISA) which on its face allows me multiple (“Multiplas”) entries of 90 day durations for a maximum of Protected content per year.
I’m married to a Brasileira who resides here in Brasil. It’s important to note that our marriage occurred in the US in July of Protected content that, although we’re working on it, the marriage has not been registered in Brasil. My wife is a naturalized US citizen (October Protected content carries a valid US passport. I mention this only to dispel any suggestion that our marriage in any way was related to her US Immigration status.
Now to the details.
I’ve been coming to Brasil since November of Protected content , initially two, sometimes 3 trips per year. The stays were usually brief: one week, occasionally two or three weeks; however starting in Protected content , my trips here were longer, typically four to six weeks, three or four times per year. With reference to my VISA limitations, I never stayed anywhere near 90 days on a trip not anywhere close to Protected content per year. In fact, it is impossible to find any twelve month period of time during which my stays in Brasil exceeded Protected content .
Focusing now on the real issue (and basis for this thread).
On September 30 of this year, I entered Brasil as I always do at GRU, and the VISA stamp on my passport indicated that I had the right to stay for 90 days. (It maybe relevant to note that Brasil had stopped requiring the little ”Entrada/Saida” forms which we previously filled out on the plane ahead of arrival; were stamped by Imigracao with the same stamp as they place on the VISA pages of your passport; and collected by Imigracao when you departed the country at the end of your stay.)
I remained in Brasil on that trip until November 6th when I flew from GRU to IAD (Dulles AP) in Washington. Counting the day I arrived (Sep. Protected content the day I left (Nov. 6), that’s 38 days.
I returned to Brasil, unexpectedly due to some medical problems my wife was experiencing, on Nov. 30. When I presented my passport to Imigracao at GRU, they informed me that I had only 13 days left to remain in Brasil based on their records. I showed the Agent my 10 year VISA (described in detail above) thinking there was some mistake since I had never been here beyond the limitations stated in the VISA and was nowhere near Protected content for Protected content any other twelve month period including this date of arrival one could contrive. Including the Sep. 30 through Nov. 6 visit, there is no way to find more that Protected content for Protected content 156 days for the period beginning Sep. 27, Protected content ending Nov. 6, Protected content , well beyond a twelve month period.
Neither the Immigration Agent nor her supervisor assigned any significance to this information. “The system shows you have only 13 days.” Period. No explanation available or necessary.
After spending a few days with my wife, we decided to go to a Policia Federal Office in Santos to seek an explanation and hopefully an extension. We downloaded the appropriate forms and had all of the documentation called for and a thoroughly documented history of my comings and goings complete with copies of relevant VISA stamps in my passport confirming each entry and departure.
Now, the real question.
Two clearly sympathetic agents and one clearly unsympathetic supervision came to the conclusion after about 15 minutes that I had only 13 days (by now 10 days) to remain in Brasil. There is no explanation available or necessary and by the way you can’t have a copy of your immigration record (to which they had been referring) unless you file a form requesting it and return to their office in person 10 days later to pick up. That would be the day after I was required to leave Brasil.
Okay. There it is. Please forgive typos and other mistakes since I don’t have time to proofread. I have changed my return flight reservations back to the US at considerable expense and will depart Brasil at 10:15 pm on the 13th (and last) day and pursue efforts to identify the problem and the cure with the Consular General’s (of Brasil) Office in Washington, which has been very helpful in the past.
The sadness my wife and I feel over this is not so much based on my having to leave as it is that there is no explanation.