The possibility of a visa waiver program between the United States and Brazil may become less of a possibility and more of a reality. Though there has been talk of the benefits of such a program for some time, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota recently took the first step toward making the program happen. During the Secretary’s visit to Brazil last month, the two agreed to set up a working group to study the possibility of implementing the program between the two countries. The group will have its first meeting in November of this year.
The Visa Waiver Program essentially eliminates the visa requirements for travelers between the U.S. and certain countries. Currently, there are thirty-six countries that qualify for Visa Waiver, including most European countries, Australia, and South Korea. Travelers from these countries are permitted to come to the U.S. for tourism or business purposes for a maximum of 90 days, without first applying for a visa. Similarly, U.S. travelers are permitted to travel to Visa Waiver countries without a visa. Though a visa application is not needed, travelers must still complete an online application in order to ensure that they do not pose any threat to homeland security or law enforcement.
Proponents of a Brazilian/U.S. visa waiver program point to the large economic benefits, especially an increase in jobs, that will result from the boost in tourism. One and a half million Brazilians visited the U.S. in 2011 and spent over one billion dollars. A visa waiver program would be expected to double the number of visitors within one year and increase jobs significantly. The increased travel would be expected to add at least 14,000 new jobs for the Miami-Dade area alone.
There are benefits to U.S. travelers as well. Aside from the general business and tourism benefits resulting from simplified travel to Brazil, with the nation hosting both the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, the program would make it significantly easier for Americans to attend the games.©2002-2013 Fowler White Boggs P.A. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED