How to Extend Your Tourist Visa in Rio

How to Extend Your Tourist Visa in Rio de Janeiro Brazil

How to Extend Your Tourist Visa in Rio de Janeiro Brazil… wait patiently.

This post isn’t for everyone but for those who are in need of renewing (or extending) their tourist visa here in Rio de Janeiro, I hope this helps.

It has been almost 90 days since I arrived in Rio and that means it was time to take a trip to the international airport to extend my tourist visa with the Federal Police to keep my status here in Brazil legit.

I want to share some tips on how to make the experience as painless as possible.

The logistics of travel is a necessary evil, but it definitely gets easier (to deal with) the more you do it.

Visas and visa renewals/extensions are a major part of traveling and each country has their own little quirks and inefficiencies, but if you practice patience, persistence and a solid amount of stoicism, you’ll make it out alive.

There are many posts and forums out there that explain how to renew your tourist visa in Brazil but many of them are out or date or hard to digest.

Some of the tips below may also help with other Latin America visa requirements as well because many operate under similar cultural inefficacies.

Arrival Time

Pay attention to the hours of operation and the small print of hours of operation. Be aware that, like most Latin American countries, everything slows down (if not completely closes) during lunch (12-2pm) in Brazil.

Get to the airport as early as possible. The Federal Police opens at 8am and there is already a line at that time. I arrived at 9am without everything complete and that’s what took me all day.

If you arrive at 7am with all the requirements I list below, you should be done by 10am at the latest (hopefully).

Here Are the 6 Things You Absolutely Need to Renew Your Visa in Brazil:

1. Passport – This is an easy one; don’t forget the most important part of this process.

2. Entry Card – Card you received at customs/immigration when you arrived. They actually didn’t ask me for this but many say it is required.

3. Return Flight Information [print] – You must show that you will be leaving the country within the allotted time of your tourist visa.

My flight is scheduled for August (over the 180 day limit), which was overlooked when I first got my Visa in New York, but this time they caught me. To amend the situation, I went down to an Internet café on the first floor of the airport and “purchased” the cheapest bus ticket possible out of the country (from and to two border cities) for July (88 days into my tourist visa). I then returned with the receipt of that purchase. This works for many locations around the world.

4. Proof of Income [print] – You have to print out an income statement from a credit or debit card and show them you have money to cover your stay. Many articles I read said that you have to prove you have a valid credit card so I thought that meant I just had to bring a credit card. Nope. Print it out.

5. Complete Extended Stay Application [print] – You need to fill in a form called Requerimento de prorrogação de estada. This form asks only for parents names, contact information, date of birth, nationality etc. On this form the data “Cartão de entrada/saida (sequential)” is the number on the “Arrival/Departure Card”

DON’T sign it until you get to the Federal Police office.

6. Visa Tax Form and Payment [print] – The Guia de Recolhimento da União, form has drop-down boxes to choose the appropriate Federal Police office, the service required, full name of parents and address. Here are the steps:

  • Dropdown Select Tax Office (Unidade Arrecadadora):
    • Curitiba: PR (018-3): Superintendência Regional no Estado do Paraná
    • Florianópolis: SC (026-4): Superintendência Regional no Estado de Santa Catarina
    • Rio de Janeiro: RJ (021-3): Superintendência Regional no Estado do Rio de Janeiro
  • Enter Code(Código da Receita) STN type 140090. It refers to visa extension “Pedido de Prorrogacao de Prazo de Estada”
  • Bank – Once complete, you will receive a printable receipt. Take that to any bank and make payment of R$67. Take the receipt and payment receipt with you to the Federal Police office. There are banks at the airport but they don’t open until 10am.

Federal Police office locations:

  • Curitiba: R. Profa. Sandália Manzon, 210 – Santa Cândida
  • Florianópolis: Rua Paschoal Apóstolo Pítsica, 4744 – Agronômica
  • Rio de Janeiro: GIG International airport i- foreigners services at the Policia Federal.

Thank you to brazilianexperience.com.br for most of this information. The rest I learned and organized after the tourist visa renewal.

*This information is for U.S. Citizens only, please check with your countries embassy for any additional information need to extend your tourist visa. 

**Budget Tip – Make sure you take the blue 2018 bus for $13.50 instead of paying a ridiculous amount for a taxi to and from the airport.

Rio Favorites – Sugarloaf Mountain

A trip to Rio de Janeiro isn’t complete without a visit to the world famous Sugarloaf Mountain. Located in the quiet neighborhood of Urca, this iconic mini-mountain is home to some of the most beautiful views in all of Rio.

Things to do in Rio de Janeiro - Sugarloaf Mountain

There are actually two levels, Morro da Urca (Urca Hill) and Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain), and they are connected by teleferico (gondola/air tram), which run up and down about every twenty minutes during working hours.

The first level is free if you feel like hiking or climbing, but to reach the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain; you have to pay for a ticket, and it’s well worth it.

Things to do in Rio de Janeiro - Sugarloaf Mountain - Urca Hill

At the time of this post (April 2014), the cost for a ticket is R$62 for adults, R$31 for 6-21 year olds and free for children under six. 

*A tip for those backpacking 21-35ish year olds is to bring a student (photo) ID with you and you can get the R$31 rate.

Things to do in Rio de Janeiro - Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio de Janeiro

If possible, I highly recommend going on a weekday when there is a much smaller crowd, and even better, go right before sunset, when there is even less people for some reason.

Marmoset in Rio de Janeiro

Local Sugarloaf residents came out to greet me. This is the first marmoset I’ve ever seen in the wild.

I went on Monday at 4:30pm in order to reach the top before sunset and as you can see from the photos and video, the view and lighting is absolutely incredible!

Things to do in Rio de Janeiro - Sugarloaf Mountain

The view of Urca (below), Flamengo beach, Centro Rio (left) and Niteroi (top right) from Sugarloaf Mountain

Buy a few beers from the mountaintop snack shop and give yourself at least an hour to soak in all the vistas and just relax while the city lights come alive…

Things to do in Rio de Janeiro - Sugarloaf Mountain

Some of the most notable points of interest from Sugarloaf mountain are Ipanema and Copacabana beach, Botafogo beach, Christ the Redeemer, Flamengo beach, Centro Rio, Urca, Praia Vermelha and Niteroi.

Sugarloaf Mountain Hours:

  • Ticket Office: 8AM – 7:50PM
  • First Tram: 8:10AM
  • Last Tram (from top): 8:40PM
  • Last Tram (from Urca Hill): 9:00PM

FIFA 2014 World Cup Update: 65 Days

FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil

FIFA World Cup 2014 Brazil City Hosts (photo via news.bbcimg.co.uk)

The dust has finally settled after Carnival in Brazil and now all sights are set on the FIFA World Cup this summer!

The buzz here in Rio is an interesting mix of excitement and dread, with a heavy coding of nervous anticipation on all sides.

While World Cup sponsors have already begun slinging merchandise and promotions, the local government has increased their efforts in construction and “pacification.”

Here are the developing storylines leading up to the World Cup this summer…

Unfinished Stadiums

Unfinished World Cup Stadiums in Brazil 2014

The unfinished World Cup Stadium in Sao Paulo is set to host the first match on June 12.

I went to a Fluminense game last week at Maracana stadium where they are widening and adding railings to the bridge that connects the Maracana metro stop to the stadium entrance. They are also working on a number of upgrades around the stadium, which I was told were supposed to be done last year. 

That is nothing compared to what’s going on around other parts of the country where World Cup stadiums are still not ready.

Arena da Baixada World Cup stadium in Curitiba has finally reopened this past Saturday after two years of construction, however, there are two other stadiums still under construction. 

The Arena Corinthians in Sao Paulo (host of the opening match between Brazil and Croatia on June 12th) still isn’t complete and it now might be held up even more because of a worker strike after another Brazilian construction worker died on site last week. 

In Porto Alegre, the local mayor had said that the city might drop out if additional funding was not found to build facilities for media, sponsors and fans. Porto Alegre’s Beira Rio stadium is due to host five matches during the tournament.

FIFA has insisted that funding is available and I think they will do (spend) whatever it takes to ensure everything is ready in time.

Rio’s War Zone

Pacification in Rio's Favelas before World Cup 2014

Pacification efforts in the favelas of Rio before World Cup 2014 (photo via policymic.com)

The headlines of every paper and news program here in Rio since I’ve arrived have been dedicated to the pacification efforts in the cities favelas. The current operation is happening in the Maré complex, which consists of 15 slums on the city’s north side where the UPP (pacification police), military police and BOPE (special forces) have moved in to take control and try to push out gangs.

Security forces will eventually set up permanent posts in Maré and other favelas as part of the “pacification” program that began in 2008, meant to secure Rio ahead of the World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.

Violence has increased dramatically in these areas over the last few months and many police officers and civilians have died as a result of the initiative (see Rio Warzone photos).

I won’t attempt to explain the political and social layers involved here on this post.

Rising Prices

There is a saying here in Rio, “Imagina na Copa” (Imagine the Cup) which refers to the fact that if you think prices, traffic or anything else is crazy now… imagine how it will be this summer for the World Cup.

Prices on food and public transportation are rising rapidly as I anticipated, but I’m interested to see what happens after the Cup. Maybe even after the Olympics, huge recession or thriving economy? I have an idea, but we will see.

The Beautiful Game

FIFA World Cup 2014 Fans

It is going to be amazing.

Despite any negative political, social and economic aspects that the FIFA World Cup in Brazil might face, if you take that all away, and think of only the World Cup for what it is then you will see that the games are going to be absolutely amazing. I can’t wait!

Brazil is a heavy favorite and the pressure is completely on them to win it all. I can’t imagine how it will be here if they make it happen. Also, I can’t imagine how it will be if they don’t.

I’ve already shared my favorites on the World Cup Match Schedule post, but let’s be honest, if Brazil wins, it will be a once in a lifetime experience.

Nike as always comes through with their first Nike World Cup ad to capture the magnitude of the moment with Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Neymar Jr. (Brazil) and Wayne Rooney (England)…

My T2T Goal: Working at the World Cup

My goal here in Brazil is to somehow work for the World Cup and be a part of the experience. Despite many hurtles and barriers things might be moving in the right direction now.

FIFA makes it very difficult to do anything but volunteer if you’re not already a part of their organization to some capacity, and short-term marketing gigs with sponsors have been tough to come by.

There are a million people trying to get press and video credentials into the games (managed by FIFA) as well so that doesn’t seem to be a feasible path.

With a little patience and perseverance, I’m still knocking on every door and have another call this week with a company who would be the perfect fit to what I’m looking for.

I’m not trying to be dramatic or leave you with a cliffhanger; I just want to see if it works out first before I talk about it.

World Cup 2014 Tickets

To hedge my bets against any World Cup work falling through, I purchased one ticket for two games; the sweet 16 round and the quarterfinal match at Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

I bought the tickets from a site called Viagogo.com because the March 12th FIFA ticket round was already sold out.

After purchasing the tickets I was notified that FIFA makes it illegal for Viagogo to send tickets directly to Brazil so I will need to have them sent to my home in New York first and then sent to my address in Rio. 

Now, their site tells me tickets are unavailable in my country. 

The problem is, Viagogo is a marketplace (like stubhub) and sellers send out tickets only a few days before the scheduled match so I don’t know if I will receive my tickets on time for the matches and they told me that there is no eticket available.

There has to be another way, I just have to keep working towards it, but it has been difficult to communicate the urgency with them and explaining that I don’t trust the efficiency of Brazilian mail.

Where there’s a will there’s a way and hopefully I will have this all sorted by the time of my next World Cup update.

Stay tuned! 

 

Robbed in Rio

Robbed in Rio

I was taking a photo of that small billboard when it happened (photo via Google Maps)

99 out of 100 times I look around before I take my phone out in public. 99 out of 100 times I put my back against a wall or object if I have it out for any longer than a quick snap. 99 out of 100 f#¢&ing times I’m aware, cautious and more than a little paranoid.

Yesterday afternoon was that 1 out of a 100 times.

For the past four and half years of traveling through Latin America, in and around more sketchy areas than I can count, not once have I been robbed, pick-pocketed or even threatened.

I’ve listened to all the unfortunate robbery stories of friends and other travelers with a grain of salt because in many cases, they did something wrong.

I see the way many tourists handle themselves in the streets and I think; of course you’re going to get robbed, you’re way too comfortable and completely unaware of what’s around you.

Yesterday I got too comfortable and became one of those cautionary tales and I hate the fact that I’m even writing this story…

After lunch, I was walking back to my office down a crowded main street in Botafogo, when I stopped to take a quick iPhone photo of a World Cup poster to use for an upcoming post.

The first one sucked so I waited for people to pass and steadied my hands for one more.

All of a sudden I felt the phone being lifted out of my hands like someone was playing a joke on me.

Unaware of what just happened, I looked ahead to find a shirtless local kid on a bike, no more than 12 years old, clutching my phone as he jumped the curb and peddled hard into the busy traffic.

He reached back and stuffed the phone down the side of his boardshorts and I took off after the little bastard.

I sprinted down the crowded white-collar streets as fast I could, trying to keep an eye on his every move. He found a clear path along the shoulder of the road and picked up speed as I struggled to keep up.

After about nine city blocks he made a turn down a side street and by the time I got there he was just a speck in the distance. I searched street after street for the next hour, hoping he stopped to celebrate, no such luck.

This kid made a perfect grab and he wasn’t sticking around for anything. He was long gone and so was my phone.

I felt completely deflated and helpless.

I wasn’t even mad that he stole my phone – I can get a new phone. I wasn’t even mad that this kid was a thief – that’s probably all he knows. I was fucking pissed because I slipped up and got too comfortable.

People like this kid are opportunists and I gave him an opportunity.

Unfortunately there are many like him all over the world and you have to be aware all the time. 99 out of 100 times just isn’t enough.

After facing reality I went back to office to see if I could track my phone online. No luck there because I didn’t install a tracking app.

I explained to the office assistant what happened and she told me to go to the police station close by. Despite knowing that it would make me even more frustrated, I went, filled out a report and they couldn’t have cared less. But, that’s a whole other story.

From there I went to my local cell phone provider to see if they could track my phone with the chip (SIM card), no such luck.

I was defeated…

So what can I learn from this shitty situation?

Maybe this was just what I needed. Maybe this came at a perfect time. Maybe it was a (light) reminder that I’m not untouchable.

Maybe I needed to rekindle my awareness and focus on the tactics that have protected me and my things up until yesterday afternoon.

The truth is, it could have been A LOT worse. It wasn’t a stick up, he didn’t get anything else (wallet, camera, etc.) and I didn’t loose anything important from my phone.

I back up my photos and data from the phone onto my computer every few days and I have already canceled my local phone contract.

The worst thing that came of this is that I’m out a few hundred dollars and I’ll be off my Instagram for a few days until I get a new phone delivered from the States (electronics here are ridiculously expensive).

Next time I will install that Find my Phone app.

With all that said, I’m just upset with myself for letting this happen. I pride myself on being aware even in the most chaotic situations and I let it happen on a freaking walk back to the office.

You have to be mindful all the time.

Maybe now is a good time to write some tips and observations about the things I’ve seen and heard over the years to help prevent other travelers from being robbed.

I always thought I would be the right person to give this advice because it has never happened to me… shit.

Anyway, that’s enough swearing and pouting for this guy, I just had to get that out.

Let’s get back to having fun!

Rio Favorites – Parque Lage

Rio de Janeiro has a million and one things to do in and around town so I decided to start creating short videos (T2T Quickies) to feature some of my favorites.

If you like the idea, please don’t hesitate to like, comment and subscribe to my second YouTube Channel, Travel Deeper. Think of it is the appetizer menu to the main course offerings over at the main Tourist 2 Townie channel. 

The first edition of “Rio Favorites” covers a lovely city oasis known as Parque Lage. Located in the leafy Jardim Botânico neighborhood of Rio, Parque (Enrique) Lage is a great little escape from the bright sun and city noise where you can sit back and breath in some cool fresh air. 

Parque Lage Mansion in Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Parque Lage Mansion in Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Parque Lage is most famous for the mansion that occupies prime real estate in the center of the park.

Industrialist Enrique Lage and his wife, singer Gabriela Bezanzoni owned the land and mansion until the 1920s when it received an Italian facelift by architect Mario Vodrel.

In the 1960s, the land became a public park, which opened up the doors for Snoop Dogg and Pharrell to shoot their 2003 hit “Beautiful.”

The mansion is currently operated by the Visual Arts School of Parque Lage and has a café inside serving coffee and poolside seating.

Parque Lage Mansion in Rio de Janeiro Brazil

Snoop Dogg would be proud.

Along with the great views of Christ the Redeemer (Corcovado), the park offers a variety of walking paths, ponds and streams, a small aquarium, girls taking modeling photos and plenty of flora and fauna.

The view of Christ the Redeemer from Parque Lage Mansion

The view of Christ the Redeemer from Parque Lage Mansion

The peacefulness alone was nice, but I was sold on Parque Lage when I was walking up to the tower that overlooks the park and was completely surprised when a family of monkeys nonchalantly crossed my path. Cool.

Free things to do in Rio de Janeiro - Parque Lage

Spotted this little guy just sitting on a rock enjoying a snack.

Unlike Jardin Botanico, Parque Lage is free to enter and is the perfect spot for an early picnic or afternoon nap so bring a blanket and turn your cell phone off for a while.

Relaxing at Parque Large in Rio de Janeiro

Escaping city life.

Relaxing at Parque Large in Rio de Janeiro

The perfect place to clear your mind.

See more Rio de Janeiro photos on the Tourist 2 Townie Instagram page and watch more T2T Quickies here.