BrazilOfficial Name: Federative Republic of Brazil
Must be valid on the date of entry
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
None; amounts in excess of 10,000 BR must be declared to Customs.
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
None; amounts in excess of 10,000 BR must be declared to Customs.
Embassies and Consulates
SES 801- Avenida das Nacoes, Lote 03
70403-900 - Brasilia, DF Brazil
Telephone: +(55)(61) 3312-7000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(55)(61) 3312-7400
Fax: (61) 3312-7651
Consular Agency in Brasilia’s Consular District
Manaus Consular Agency
Edificio Atrium, Suite 306
Rua Franco de Sá, 310
69.079-210 Manuas AM Brazil
Telephone: +(55)(92) 3611-3333
U.S. Consulate General Recife
Rua Goncalves Maia, 163, Boa Vista
50070-060 - Recife, PE Brazil
Telephone: +(55)(81) 3416-3050 or +(55)(81) 3416-3080
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(55)(81) 3416-3060 or +(55)(81) 9916-9470
Fax: +(55)(81) 3231-1906
Consular Agency in Recife’s Consular District
U.S. Consular Agency Fortaleza
Avenida Santos Dumont 2828, Aldeota, Suite 708
Telephone: +(55)(85) 3021-5200
Fax: +(55)(85) 3021-3888
U.S. Consulate General Rio de Janeiro
Avenida Presidente Wilson, 147, Castelo
20030-020, Rio de Janeiro,RJ Brazil
Telephone: +(55)(21) 3823-2000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(55)(21) 3823-2029
Fax: +(55)(21) 3823-2093
Consular Agency in Rio de Janeiro’s Consular District
U.S. Consular Agency Salvador da Bahia
Avenida Tancredo Neves, 1632, Caminho das Arvores
Salvador Trade Center-Torre Sul,room 1401,
41820-020 - Salvador, Bahia Brazil
Telephone: +(55)(71) 3113-2090/2091/2092
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro: (21) 3823-2029
Fax: +(55)(71) 3113-2092
U.S. Consulate General Sao Paulo
Rua Henri Dunant, 500,
Chacara Santo Antonio,
04709-110 - Sao Paulo, SP Brazil
Telephone: +(55)(11) 3250-5000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(55)(11) 3250-5373
Fax: +(55)(11) 3250-5159
Consular Agency in Sao Paulo’s Consular District
U.S. Consular Agency Porto Alegre
Avenida Assis Brasil 4320 Store 84 (Boulevard Strip Mall)
Parque Sao Sebastiao
91110-000 Porto Alegre, RS Brazil
Telephone: +(55)(51) 3226-3344
Fax: (51) 3226-3344
The fifth largest country in the world, Brazil is a Portuguese-speaking country with a robust economy. It consists of 26 states and a Federal District. Tourist facilities are excellent in major cities but vary in quality in remote areas. Read the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Brazil for additional information on U.S.- Brazil relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
Brazil requires U.S. citizens to carry a valid U.S. passport and visa when traveling to Brazil for any purpose. You must obtain your Brazilian visa in advance from the Brazilian Embassy or consulate nearest to your place of residence in the United States. Visas cannot be obtained at the airport, and immigration authorities will refuse entry into Brazil to anyone not possessing a valid visa. The U.S. government cannot assist you if you arrive in Brazil without proper documentation.
U.S. citizens and other foreign travelers must fill out an immigration form on arrival that will be stamped and handed back by immigration officials at the airport. It is important to retain this form to hand back to immigration officials upon exit from the country. According to the Brazilian Embassy’s website, visitors who lose this form will have to get clearance from the Brazilian Federal Police to leave the country and may have to pay a fine.
Remember that while in Brazil, you are subject to local law. Showing contempt to a Brazilian government official at the port of entry, or elsewhere, is a serious offense.
Visit the Brazilian Embassy website for the most current visa information.
Special Entry/Exit Requirements for Dual Nationals: U.S. citizens who also have Brazilian nationality cannot be issued Brazilian visas and must obtain a Brazilian passport from the Brazilian Embassy or Consulate nearest to their place of residence to enter and depart Brazil. In addition to being subject to all Brazilian laws affecting U.S. citizens, dual nationals may also be subject to other laws that impose special obligations on Brazilian citizens.
Special Entry/Exit Requirements for Minors: Travelers under 18 years of age and their parents should carefully review the visa application requirements. The adjudicating official at the Brazilian Embassy or consulate may require a birth certificate and notarized travel authorization from both parents to issue a visa to a minor.
Brazilian minors age 17 years and under, including minors who have both Brazilian and U.S. citizenship, are subject to strict exit requirements. Brazilian minors departing Brazil, if not accompanied by both parents, must prove that both parents authorized the departure. If accompanied by only one parent, the minor must either have a notarized letter from the other parent indicating permission to depart the country, a court order proving that the accompanying parent has sole custody, a Brazilian court order authorizing the child’s departure, or a Brazilian passport containing pre-printed authorization for the child to travel with either parent (which must be applied for at the same time as the Brazilian passport). If accompanied by neither parent, the minor must have a notarized letter from both parents authorizing departure or a Brazilian court order authorizing the same. There are no exceptions, even if the child remained in Brazil only a short time.
The authorization must be notarized by a Brazilian notary to be considered valid by the Brazilian authorities. If prepared in the United States, the authorization must be in Portuguese or accompanied by an official translation into Portuguese. The authorization must be notarized by either the Brazilian Embassy or a Brazilian Consulate, or notarized by a U.S. notary public and then authenticated at the Brazilian Embassy or Consulate. Prior to departing the United States, parents traveling to Brazil with children who are Brazilian nationals may wish to obtain an authorization for each parent to return with the children to the United States without the other parent, just in case.
Minors aged 17 years and under who are not Brazilian nationals are not technically subject to the same strict travel requirements as Brazilian minors. However, there have been cases where the travel of non-Brazilian minors has been delayed or prevented when accompanied by only one parent or a third party. To avoid potential difficulties, parents of non-Brazilian minors should follow the procedures above if their children will be traveling to Brazil accompanied by only one parent or by a third party.
Parents contemplating separation or divorce should resolve custody matters before leaving the country. Pursuant to The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, to which both Brazil and the United States are parties, custody will ultimately be decided by a court in the country where the child is a habitual resident.
HIV/AIDS Restrictions: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Brazil.
Safety and Security
Demonstrations: Demonstrations and political/labor strikes are common in urban areas and may cause temporary disruption to public and private transportation. While the protests have not been directed at U.S. citizens, there have been incidents of vandalism which have affected U.S. government facilities. In some cases, Brazilian police have used tear gas, riot control, and mounted units to disperse protestors. If you become aware of a protest in your vicinity, you should avoid that area and remain indoors and close doors and windows. U.S. citizens in Brazil are urged to monitor local news reports and to plan their activities accordingly.
Protests anywhere in the world have the potential to become violent. Even demonstrations or events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Brazil are advised to take common-sense precautions, avoid large gatherings or other events where crowds have congregated to demonstrate or protest, and comply with the instructions of local authorities. Check the website of the Embassy or consulate nearest you for current information on demonstrations.
Criminal Activities: Individuals with ties to criminal entities and traffickers operate along all the Brazilian borders. These organizations are involved in the trafficking of illicit goods and drugs. U.S. citizens crossing into bordering countries should consult the Country Specific Information on the relevant nation.
Colombian terrorist groups have been known to operate in the border areas of neighboring countries. Although there have been reports of isolated small-scale armed incursions from Colombia into Brazil in the past, we know of no specific threat directed against U.S. citizens across the border in Brazil at this time.
Colombian groups have kidnapped residents and tourists along the Colombian border. If you are traveling or residing in this area we urge you to exercise caution when visiting remote parts of the Amazon basin, and respect local laws and customs. You should ensure that your outfitter/guide is familiar with the Amazon region.
Restricted Areas for U.S. Government Employees: U.S. government employees are restricted from traveling to any of the unpacified communities, or “favelas,” in Recife, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo for unofficial business. There are also restrictions on unofficial travel to and in the majority of favelas that have been pacified. This restriction does not include commonly used transit routes that pass near or through favelas.
In addition, U.S. government employees are not permitted to visit any area within 150 km of the borders with Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, or Paraguay. Travel is also restricted between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. in Brasilia’s “satellite cities” of Ceilandia, Santa Maria, Sao Sebastiao, and Paranoa.
To stay connected:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program so we can keep you up to date with important safety and security announcements.
- Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook.
- Bookmark the Bureau of Consular Affairs website, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, as well as the Worldwide Caution.
- Follow the U.S. Embassy in Brazil on Twitter, and visit the Embassy’s website.
- In the event of an emergency, contact us at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or via a regular toll line, 1-202-501-4444, from other countries.
- Take some time before traveling to consider your personal security and checking for useful tips for traveling safely abroad.
CRIME: Brazilian police and media report that the crime rate remains high in most urban centers, including the cities of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, and is also growing in rural areas within those states. Brazil’s murder rate is more than four times higher than that of the United States, and rates for other crimes are similarly high.
Street crime remains a problem for visitors and local residents alike. Foreign tourists, including U.S. citizens, are often targets, especially in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and Recife. Although the risk is greater during the evening and at night, street crime also occurs during the day, and safer areas of cities are not immune. Incidents of theft on city buses are frequent. You should keep a copy of your passport with you while in public and keep your passport in a hotel safe or other secure place. You should also carry proof of your health insurance with you.
The incidence of crime against tourists is greater in areas surrounding beaches, hotels, discotheques, bars, nightclubs, and other tourist destinations. It is especially prevalent prior to and during Carnival (Brazilian Mardi Gras), but also occurs throughout the year. Several Brazilian cities have established specialized tourist police units to patrol areas frequented by tourists.
Use caution when traveling through rural areas and satellite cities due to reported incidents of roadside robberies that randomly target passing vehicles. Robberies and “quicknappings” outside of banks and ATMs occur regularly. In a “quicknapping,” criminals abduct victims for a short time in order to receive a quick payoff from the family, business, or the victim’s ATM card. Some victims have been beaten and/or raped. You should also take precautions to avoid being carjacked, especially in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Recife, and other cities.
In airports, hotel lobbies, bus stations, and other public places, pick pocketing and the theft of hand-carried luggage and laptop computers is common. You should "dress down" when in public and avoid carrying valuables or wearing jewelry or expensive watches. "Good Samaritan" scams are common. If a tourist looks lost or seems to be having trouble communicating, a seemingly innocent bystander offering help may actually be a participant in a scam. Take care at and around banks and ATMs that accept U.S. credit or debit cards. Travelers using personal ATM or credit cards sometimes receive billing statements with unauthorized charges after returning from a visit to Brazil, or discover that their cards were cloned or duplicated without their knowledge. If you use such payment methods, carefully monitor your bank records for the duration of your visit.
Although the ability of Brazilian police to help recover stolen property is limited, we strongly advise you to obtain a "boletim de ocorrencia" (police report) at a "delegacia" (police station) if any of your possessions are lost or stolen. This will facilitate your exit from Brazil and assist with insurance claims. Be aware, however, that the police in tourist areas are on the lookout for false reports of theft for purposes of insurance fraud.
Do not buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. These goods are illegal in the United States, and if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.
If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Brasilia: Brasilia has significant crime problems. Reports of residential burglaries continue to occur in the generally affluent residential sections of the city. Public transportation, hotel sectors, and tourist areas report the highest crime rates, but statistics show that these incidents can happen anywhere and at anytime. The “satellite cities” that surround Brasilia have per-capita crime rates comparable to much larger cities. Police reports indicate that rates of all types of crime, including “quicknappings,” have risen dramatically in Brasilia in the last two years. Brasilia’s Central Bus Station, or “Rodoviaria,” is a particularly dangerous area, especially at night. This location is known to have a large concentration of drug dealers and users. Illegal drugs such as crack cocaine and “oxi” (a derivative of cocaine base produced with cheaper chemicals) have become very common in the “Plano Piloto” area and satellite cities.
Rio de Janeiro:The city continues to experience high incidences of crime. Tourists are particularly vulnerable to street thefts and robberies in the evening and at night especially in areas adjacent to major tourist attractions. There have been attacks, including shootings, along trails leading to the famous Corcovado Mountain and in other parts of the Tijuca Forest. If robbed, do not attempt to resist or fight back, but rather relinquish your personal belongings. At all times, pay close attention to your surroundings and the behavior of those nearby. There have been reports of thieves and rapists slipping incapacitating drugs into drinks at bars, hotel rooms, and street parties. While crime occurs throughout the year, it is more frequent during Carnival and the weeks prior.
When choosing lodging, carefully consider location, security, and the availability of a safe to store valuables. Do not answer your hotel room door until you positively confirm who is on the other side. Look out the peephole or call the front desk to confirm the visitor. There have been several recent incidents where mass holdups of guests have occurred at hotels and hostels in the city.
Rio de Janeiro’s favelas are a subject of curiosity for many U.S. travelers. A favela pacification program, instituted in 2008, installed police stations in some favelas, primarily in the Zona Sul area. However, most favelas exist outside the control of city officials and police. Travelers are urged to exercise caution when entering any “pacified” favelas and should not go into favelas that are not “pacified” by the state government. Even in some “pacified” favelas, the ability of police to provide assistance, especially at night, may be limited. Room rentals and hostels are being advertised in “pacified” favelas and several local companies offer “favela jeep tours” targeted at foreign tourists. According to the local news, pacified favelas Complexo do Alemão and Rocinha still have a problem with violence. In September 2014, the commander of the military police based in Complexo do Alemão was killed in a shootout with local drug traffickers. Be aware that neither the tour company nor the city police can guarantee your safety when entering or staying in any favela.
Be vigilant while on the roads, especially at night. There have been shootings and carjackings on the Linha Vermelha that links the airport to the Southern Zone of the city. In Rio de Janeiro, motorists should be especially vigilant at stoplights and when stuck in traffic. Carjackings and holdups can occur at intersections, especially at night. Incidents of crime on public transportation are frequent, and at times have involved violent crimes. When traveling by yellow taxi, tourists are recommended only to use taxis openly displaying company information and phone numbers as well as red license plates. Tourists are also advised not to use public vans.
Visitors should also remain alert to the possibility of manhole cover explosions. There have been multiple manhole cover explosions in Rio de Janeiro in the past few years, with a higher incidence in the Centro and Copacabana neighborhoods.
Report all incidents to Rio's tourist police (DEAT) at (21) 2332-2924. The tourist police have been very responsive to victims.
Sao Paulo: All areas of Greater Sao Paulo have a high rate of armed robbery of pedestrians and drivers at stoplights and during rush hour traffic. The downtown area and outskirts of the city are subject to higher levels of crime. The "red light districts" of Sao Paulo, located on Rua Augusta north of Avenida Paulista and the Estacao de Luz metro area, are especially dangerous. There are regular reports of young women slipping various drugs into men's drinks and robbing them of all their belongings while they are unconscious. Armed holdups of pedestrians and motorists by young men on motorcycles (“motoboys”) are a common occurrence in Sao Paulo. Criminals have also begun targeting restaurants throughout the city, frequently between the hours of 10:00 pm and 4:00 am, at establishments in the upscale neighborhoods of Jardins, Itaim Bibi, Campo Belo, Morumbi and Moema. Victims who resist run the risk of violent attack. Laptop computers, other electronics, and luxury watches are the targets of choice for criminals in Sao Paulo.
Efforts of incarcerated drug lords to exert their power outside of their jail cells have resulted in sporadic disruptions in the city, violence directed at the authorities, bus burnings, and vandalism at ATM machines, including the use of explosives. Be aware of your surroundings and exercise caution at all times. Respect police roadblocks and be aware that some municipal services may be disrupted.
As in Rio de Janeiro, favela tours have recently become popular among foreign tourists in Sao Paulo. We advise you to avoid Sao Paulo’s favelas as neither the tour company nor the city police can guarantee your safety when entering favelas.
Recife: As in Rio de Janeiro, tourists in Recife should take special care while on the beaches, as robberies may occur in broad daylight. In the upscale Boa Viagem neighborhood, carjackings can occur at any time of the day or night.
VICTIMS OF CRIME: If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. We can:
- Replace a stolen passport.
- Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of violent crimes such as assault or rape.
- Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities, and if you want us to, contact family members or friends.
- Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although it is important to remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Brazil is divided beween three services: 190 - Policia (Police), 192- Ambulancia (Ambulance), and 193- Bombeiros (Fire Department).
Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While you are traveling in Brazil, you are subject to its laws. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different from our own. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Brazilian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs in Brazil are especially severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. The Brazilian judicial process can be slow and cumbersome.
There are also some things that might be legal in Brazil, but illegal in the United States. For instance, you can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods in Brazil. In addition, engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States. In November 2008, Brazil passed a series of laws designed to strengthen protection of children against sexual exploitation. Brazilian police in tourist areas such as Rio de Janeiro are on the lookout for foreigners inappropriately touching or photographing minors. If you break local laws in Brazil, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution.
According to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, and customary international law, if you are arrested in Brazil, you have the option to request that the authorities alert the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. We recommend that you carry the contact information for the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate with you when traveling.
Water Hazards: Brazil’s beaches can pose a threat to the safety of travelers. Many beaches have very strong and dangerous riptides, including those in Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza. Always observe posted flags and signs warning of strong swells and currents, and never swim while under the influence of alcohol. Even if the water looks safe, there may be strong riptides. Ocean currents and waves are unpredictable, even in popular beaches frequented by tourists.
Travelers are advised to adhere to local authorities’ guidance and refrain from swimming alone in areas marked with red warning signs or at beaches where there are no municipal lifeguards or first responder services. There is a possibility of shark attacks in the waters of many of the beaches in northeastern Brazil, including those in Recife, Natal, and Maceio. Heed signs posted on any beach you visit.
Brazil is an endemic area for schistosomiasis, a water-borne parasite, and travelers should avoid wading, swimming, or other contact with fresh water in streams, lakes, and ponds.
Electricity Blackouts: Power failures in large urban centers frequently occur in areas with high concentrations of hotels and residences in cities throughout the country. During these blackouts, local authorities quickly increase police presence to maintain public security. In addition, most tourist hotels are equipped with generators, minimizing the impact of a blackout on visitors. Nonetheless, you should use caution in the event of a blackout during your visit to Brazil. Residents should keep flashlights and sufficient supplies of food and potable water in their residences to prepare for extended blackouts.
Natural Disasters: Flooding and mudslides occur throughout the country, and can be fatal. Monitor news and weather reports and adhere to municipal advisories before traveling to areas prone to flooding or landslides. Many of Brazil’s larger cities have frequent heavy rainstorms that have caused flash flooding and crippled traffic for hours.
Customs Restrictions: Brazilian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into, or export from, Brazil of items such as firearms, antiquities, mineral samples, tropical plants, medications, and business equipment. In the Amazon region, there is special scrutiny of the export of biological material which could have genetic value. People propagating or exporting biological material without proper permits run the risk of being accused of “biopiracy,” a serious offense in Brazil. Contact the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, D.C. or one of Brazil's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements. Please also refer to our information on customs regulations.
Death of a U.S. Citizen: In the unfortunate event of a death, relatives or friends of any deceased U.S. citizen should contact the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia or one of the U.S. Consulates General in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, or Recife before contracting with a local mortuary. We can issue a Consular Report of Death Abroad and help repatriate the deceased to the United States.
If you are a woman traveling abroad, please review our travel tips for Women Travelers.
LGBT RIGHTS: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Brazil enjoy many of the same legal protections as non-LGBT people. Although Brazilian federal law does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, several states and municipalities have administrative regulations that prohibit such discrimination and provide for equal access to government services. Same-sex civil unions (also called “stable unions”) are legal in Brazil, but in practice, petitions for same-sex civil unions have been denied by some notaries on an individual basis. Brazil grants temporary and permanent visas to same-sex partners of Brazilian citizens if they are found to be in a “stable union” under Brazilian law. There are no legal or governmental impediments to the organization of LBGT events.
For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) travel, please read our Information for LGBT Travelers page. For more detailed information about LGBT rights around the world, you may review the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013.
ACCESSIBILITY: While in Brazil, individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what you find in the United States. Brazilian law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities in employment, education, and access to health care. The federal government effectively enforces these provisions and requires priority be given to these individuals. Although federal and state laws have provisions ensuring access to buildings for persons with disabilities, states do not have programs to enforce them effectively. Accessibility to public transportation and the ability to accommodate the needs of physically disabled persons are limited in many areas.
A high level of medical care comparable to that in industrialized countries is available in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador, although sophisticated cases are best referred to São Paulo. Adequate private medical care is available in other major cities but is not up to the standards of industrialized countries. Medical care is substandard outside major cities. Prescription and over-the-counter medicines are widely available and, in most cases, comparable to the U.S., though brand names are more difficult to find.
Emergency services are responsive. For emergency services in Brasília and São Paulo, dial 190 for police, 192 for ambulance, and 193 for fire. The São Paulo Tourist Police (Delegacia de Protecao ao Turista) numbers are 11-3120-4447 and 3151-4167. The Rio de Janeiro tourist police numbers are 21-2332-2924, 21-2332-2511, and 21-2332-5112. Travelers may also call a private ambulance company. Callers must stay on the line to provide the location as there is no automatic tracking of phone calls.
Lists of doctors and hospitals commonly used by expatriates is available on the medical information section of the Embassy’s website.
Brazil is a large country and the types of endemic infectious diseases vary by geographical regions and season. (Remember that Brazil’s summer is the U.S. winter and vice-versa.) Consult the CDC Yellow Book in regards to specific precautions (including vaccines that are recommended —particularly yellow fever) to protect yourself.
Vaccinations: Brazil requires no specific vaccination for entry into the country. All travelers should consult with their personal physician or a travel health clinic 4-8 weeks before departure, as some vaccines and malaria prophylaxis must be given a few weeks before arriving in Brazil. You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) website, which contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.
Zika Virus: Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that can be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby. Among other effects, there have been reports of a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes in babies of mothers who were infected with Zika virus while pregnant. For additional information about Zika, including travel advisories, visit the CDC website.
Chagas Disease: Chagas disease (a/k/a American trypanosomiasis) transmission has been eliminated in every state except Bahia and Tocantins through an aggressive program of insecticide spraying.
Chikunguya and Dengue: Chikunguya and Dengue are mosquito-borne illnesses that are becoming more frequent in tropical and equatorial climates around the world. Symptoms can include fever, rash, severe headache, joint pain, and muscle or bone pain. There are no specific treatments for Chikungunya and Dengue and vaccines are still in the developmental phase. Preventing mosquito bites is the most important way to prevent these illnesses. Avoidance and prevention techniques include: reducing mosquito exposure by using repellents, covering exposed skin, treating clothing and tents with permethrin and sleeping in screened or air conditioned rooms. You can also reduce exposure through mosquito control measures, including emptying water from outdoor containers and spraying to reduce mosquito populations. The Aedes mosquitos that carry these illnesses are primarily day biting and often live in homes and hotel rooms especially under beds, in bathrooms and closets. Travelers should carry and use CDC recommended insect repellents containing either 20% DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR3535, which will help diminish bites from mosquitoes as well as ticks, fleas, chiggers, etc., some of which may also carry infectious diseases. For further information, please consult the CDC's Chikungunya Virus Website and Dengue Virus Website.
Travelers’ Diarrhea (TD): Travelers’ diarrhea is the most common travel-related ailment in Brazil. The cornerstone of prevention is food and water precautions: (1) do not drink tap water unless it has been boiled, filtered, or chemically disinfected and (2) do not drink unbottled beverages or drinks with ice. Do not eat raw or undercooked meat or fish, including ceviche. The most important treatment measure for TD is rehydration, best performed with oral rehydration solution and formulations available in almost all pharmacies in Brazil.
Tuberculosis (TB): Tuberculosis remains a serious health concern in Brazil. For further information, please consult the CDC's information on TB.
Elective Surgery: Plastic and other elective/cosmetic surgery is a major medical industry in Brazil. Although Brazil has many plastic surgery facilities that are on par with those found in the United States, the quality of care varies widely. If you are planning to undergo plastic surgery in Brazil, make sure that emergency medical facilities are available. Some “boutique” plastic surgery operations offer luxurious facilities but are not hospitals and are therefore unable to deal with emergencies.
Non-traditional Medicine: Several U.S. citizens have died while visiting non-traditional healers outside of urban areas. Although this is not surprising given that this type of treatment often attracts the terminally ill, U.S. citizens are advised to ensure they have access to proper medical care when visiting such sites.
Travel & Transportation
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in Brazil, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Brazil is provided for general reference only and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Travelers planning on staying for more than 180 days should obtaini an Inter-American Driving Permit to carry along with their valid U.S. license if they plan to drive while in Brazil. Such permits can be obtained through AAA or other sources.
Driving on Brazil's inter-city roads can pose significant risks. As is the case elsewhere in the region, poor driving skills, bad roads, and a high density of trucks combine to make travel via roads considerably more hazardous than in the United States.
There are no laws requiring truckers to take mandatory rest stops and they often drive for excessive periods of time. All major inter-city routes are saturated with heavy truck traffic and for the most part have only two lanes.
Road maintenance is inadequate and some long-distance roads through the Amazon forest are impassable much of the year. Private cars and public buses are the main modes of inter-city road travel. Buses can range (depending on the route and the price) from luxurious and well-maintained to basic and mechanically unsound. Bus hijacking, usually non-violent, occurs at random in some areas of the country.
Apart from toll roads, which generally have their own services, roadside assistance is available only very sporadically and informally through local private mechanics. The fastest way to summon assistance in an emergency anywhere in the country is to dial 193, a universal number staffed by local fire departments. This service is in Portuguese only. Many motorists in major urban areas and more developed parts of the country carry cellular phones, and can be asked to call for help in an emergency.
Traffic Laws: There are severe penalties for a number of traffic offenses. If you are involved in an accident that results in injuries or death, you may be fined for compensatory and punitive damages, as well as charged with criminal penalties.
Enforcement of traffic laws ranges from sporadic to non-existent, so motorists should not assume that others will necessarily follow even the most fundamental and widely-accepted rules of the road. Some important local rules and customs include the following:
Seatbelts / Child Car Seats: Brazil requires the use of seatbelts for everyone in the car. Brazilian federal law requires car seats for all children under the age of 7 ½. From age 7 ½ years to 10, children cannot ride in the front seat of the car, and must be in the back seat wearing a seatbelt.
Speed Limits: The maximum speed limit on major, divided highways is 120 kmph (74 mph). Lower limits (usually 60 kmph or 40 mph) are often posted in urban areas depending on the road and the nature of the neighborhood. Speed limits are widely ignored and rarely enforced. However, an increasing number of towns and cities have electronic/photographic devices (marked "Fiscalizacao Eletronica") that verify speed and take photos of violators' cars and license plates as a basis for issuing speeding tickets. Brazilian drivers tend to brake suddenly when encountering these devices. Many cities and towns have erected speed bumps, which are sometimes severe and may be unpainted and unmarked.
Yielding the Right of Way: Drivers must yield the right of way to cars on their right. Compliance with stop signs is rarely enforced, so many motorists treat them as yield signs.
Driving Under the Influence: Drivers with any measurable content of alcohol in their blood are in violation of the law. Checkpoints are often set up in urban areas where randomly chosen drivers are required to exit their vehicles and perform a breathalyzer test.
Local Driving Customs: Drivers often use flashes or wave a hand out of the window to signal other drivers to slow down. In addition, pedestrian "zebra" crossings are strictly observed in some places (especially in Brasilia) and ignored most everywhere else.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT:The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Brazil’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Brazil’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.