What is the change? Brazil will waive tourist visa requirements for certain nationalities as the country prepares to host the 2016 Olympic Games.

What does the change mean? Nationals covered by the exemption will be able to travel to Brazil until Sept. 18, 2016 without first obtaining a visa. The exemption will permit nonextendable stays of up to 90 days in Brazil.

  • Implementation time frame: Now through Sept. 18, 2016.
  • Visas/permits affected: Tourist visas for Olympic Games visitors.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals traveling to Brazil to attend the Olympics or for other tourism purposes.
  • Impact on processing times: The exemption will save time for travelers who would normally be required to obtain tourist visas to enter Brazil. The exemption should also help avoid processing backlogs before and during the games for people seeking more routine immigrations services, as significantly fewer people will be applying for visas.
  • Business impact: The purpose of the exemption is to encourage tourists to visit Brazil during the Olympics. Officials hope the exemption will benefit Brazil’s tourism sector and its broader economy.

Background: The 2016 Olympic Games will be held in Rio de Janeiro Aug. 5-21, with the Paralympic Games to be held Sept. 7-18.

While officials hope the exemption will boost tourism, government officials have also discussed the risks that it could pose to national security. Authorities have confirmed that not all nationalities will be covered under the visa exemption; nationals from countries deemed to pose a migratory risk or a threat to national security may be excluded.

Brazil has not yet announced which countries will be covered by the visa exemption.

BAL Analysis: BAL will continue to follow Brazil’s preparations for the Olympics, including whether the country will specify which nationalities are covered by its tourist visa waiver. Business travelers should note, however, that most business activities are not allowed on a tourist visa and that the waiver may not apply to their travel. Fortunately, the visa exemption should free up resources for other immigration matters, and could help avoid backlogs before and during the Olympics.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in Brazil. For additional information, please contact

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