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visas for U.S. tourists

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Abilene, Texas
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visas for U.S. tourists

We will be visiting Iguazu Falls in May. We know that U.S. citizens must have a visa to stay/visit Brazil, but have read reports that "day trip" visitors to the Falls do NOT need a visa. Is this correct?

Thanks for advice.

WDC
Destination Expert
for Buenos Aires
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1. Re: visas for U.S. tourists

Eephour, hello:

It is NOT CORRECT, from a legal stand point, that day-trip visitors are not required to have a Brazilian Visa.

It is true that some day-trip visitors have taken the chance to cross over to Brazil without the Visa. Most of them seem to fare OK.

I myself would not take the chance. But each traveler has to make his/her own decision.

Mendoza, Argentina
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2. Re: visas for U.S. tourists

Exactly what I would say.

Lunenburg, Canada
Destination Expert
for Saint John, Foz do Iguacu, Iguazu National Park
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3. Re: visas for U.S. tourists

Hi Abilene,

Here's what I'd do, if you are not planning on getting Brazilian visas:

Get in touch with your Argentine hotel by e-mail. Ask them to suggest a reputable, English speaking guide for an excursion to Brazil.

Ask the guide whether he can safely take you across to Brazil for a day visit in his specially-marked vehicle. Professional guides know better than travel writers and even consular officials what the actual prevailing rules are at the border. It's how they make their living.

Others have written to say they succeeded just fine. I myself have not done the Argentina-Brazil crossing in this way, but I did do the Brazil-Paraguay crossing without a Paraguayan visa. Only much later did we learn that Paraguay has the same visa rules as Brazil.

When we crossed, the Paraguayan border patrol greeted our guide. Clearly he was known to them, and I believe they were fully confident that he would return with his guests at the appointed time. The officers glanced in our passports, then handed them right back to us. At first I was puzzled; even a bit disappointed in not getting a passport stamp. Later, I came to see that the officers were in effect waving us through for an unofficial day visit.

The guide brought us back to Brazil without any trouble on the return. The only people much interested in us were the Brazilians, who needed to determine whether we might be smuggling stuff back.

Remember, only local professionals know the rules. Do not count on this procedure being foolproof every time. Your visit may happen to coincide with a special period of strict enforcement, or maybe new border officers who have not yet learned the ropes. Your guide might be turned back entering Brazil. But it will be the guide who would suffer most if the Brazilians decided he was illegally bringing aliens into their country. If he's comfortable, you may be confident.

Happy travels!

David

Mendoza, Argentina
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4. Re: visas for U.S. tourists

There is a special provision in Paraguay law that you do not have to pass through immigration, or get stamps or visas the zone around Ciudad del Este, has been for years, to promote quick visits.

No such provision in Brazil or Argentine law, so technically it is illegal to go into Brazil and back without a visa. It is your risk to take, but it is done. I have no doubt a guide would facilitate this movement. Guides are no guarantee of anything though.

WDC
Destination Expert
for Buenos Aires
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5. Re: visas for U.S. tourists

Exactly what I would say, Canuckinmendoza.

San Clemente...
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for Buenos Aires, Argentina
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6. Re: visas for U.S. tourists

Crossing international borders without the proper paperwork is precisely ILLEGAL. Just because a local guide is willing to take you across the border for a payment doesn't make it any more legal. If something happens to you(illness, fake money, etc)' then you would be at the mercy of the local authorities. I don't think that the guide who took you across the border is going to accompany you to jail.

As someone mentioned in another thread; Is it worth it to ruin your entire holiday due to a border felony violation and $100 dollars.

I have been a guest in Argentina for 10 years and would never contemplate abusing their laws. They are very sensitive about the integrity of their country as do the other nations in South America.

Abilene, Texas
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7. Re: visas for U.S. tourists

Never was I suggesting that I was considering breaking any country's law!!! I was simply asking if it was or was not an option! A visa is not a problem!

Mendoza, Argentina
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8. Re: visas for U.S. tourists

I think we just waned to be clear, not to be heavy. Many people do it without he necessary visas, that is okay, but we only wanted to make the risks and the situation clear.

Lunenburg, Canada
Destination Expert
for Saint John, Foz do Iguacu, Iguazu National Park
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9. Re: visas for U.S. tourists

No need to apologize!

Suppose I were to ask you how fast I should drive in Texas. When I did drive there for myself, I found that most drivers exceed the speed limit on the Interstate by about 5 to 10 mph.

You'd probably tell me that officially I'm supposed to observe the speed limit. It's the law! As a practical matter, though, most drivers exceed it by 5-10 mph. Legislators know this, so they set their limits 5-10 below what they think everyone will travel. Police, in turn, don't usually bother motorists 5-10 over.

You'll probably remind me that the practice is not universal. I shouldn't come complaining to you if I happen to encounter an unusually punctilious trooper who demands strict observance of the regulation when he's on highway patrol. That being said, experienced motorists in Texas go the same reasonable speed as everybody else.

The same is true here in Nova Scotia, where I live.

The principle seems also to be the commonly held view of reputable professional guides in the Iguasu Falls region as far as day visits to Brazil are concerned.

David

San Clemente...
Destination Expert
for Buenos Aires, Argentina
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10. Re: visas for U.S. tourists

However, in the case of crossing borders then there is no gray area or "fudge factor" as viewed by the sovereign nation when it establishes it's immigration laws. Brazil has established laws which would allow passage into the country for certain reasons without a visa under certain travel circumstances. In the case of visiting Iguazu for the day then this is not a covered exception.

The false idea that "reputable guides" will only take you across the border when it is safe is just not legal. These people are not reputable and are simply making extra money off the unsuspecting tourist when they find an opportunity. A reputable guide and licensed guide will explain the procedure upfront and not put you in harms way.

The plain and simple truth is if the visitor is caught then you will face the consequences as dictated by the host country.

My responses were not directed at the OP, but we're to clarify any misinterpretation of existing law. I would be remiss in my position of DES for Argentina to allow thousands of readers to get the false impression that they may be able to break a law without the possibility that they could very well have to experience the consequences of the local authorities.