01 November 2006

Travel fees

And so it begins.

Today, I took a trip to Rotterdam to pick up my passport from the Brazilian Consulate General. I submitted a Visa application last Friday and with much trepidation, left my precious identification document in the hands of complete (though official) strangers.

Yes, I will be on Brazilian soil in less than a month. Guess how much it's costing me? 100 Euros for a visa, which fortunately lasts five years.

Most nationalities pay nothing to get into Brazil. Of the few that do, here's the damage:

United Arab Emirates / € 75,00
Japan, Russian Federation, Taiwan / € 50,00
Canada, Nigeria / € 40,00
Australia / € 35,00
Mexico / € 30,00
All other non-exempt countries / € 20,00

And US citizens? € 100.

Why so expensive? How unfair! Well, consider this: As of August 2, 2003, "All international air passengers who travel through the United States for transit purposes require a transit visa." That includes just stopping for a few hours in a U.S. airport. (There are a few lucky exceptions, of course).

Those exceptions do not include Brazilians. And they have to apply at least six months in advance of their trip to the United States, and include items such as any expired passports with U.S. visas, and evidence of "strong links" to Brazil, etc..

Me? I just showed up with my travel plan, passport, and the cash, and they took care of me in three days.

I did grumble about the fee (especially considering I will be in a Brazilian airport for a total of three hours and 15 minutes), but now that I've looked into this system of reciprocity, I better understand why I'm paying so much.

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