Brazil, by far the largest country in South America, stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Andes Mountains. While the majority language is Portuguese (in the midst of a Spanish-speaking continent), the Amazon River basin and other remote areas are home to a large number of minority language groups.
How you need to prepare for “your finances” will depend largely on which area of Brazil you go to. In some areas, you will be able to easily access your funds from ATMs or banks, while in other areas, you may need to take cash with you – or even have some sent down ahead of you through a fund transfer.
Please consult with your team leader or with the Job Profile associated with the job that you are interested in.
In similar fashion, how much it will cost you to live and work in Brazil will greatly depend on where you will be serving and where you’ll be staying. Manaus, for instance, is a very well-developed city, with many ATM’s available to you. However, it is also a frightfully-expensive place to live and work in. At the Ammi location north of Cuiaba, however, you are in a much less-developed place, and there are only a few ATMs available to you – but where you’ll be working and eating and living are all at the same location. All associated costs are also much lower.
What sort of Visa you need will depend on how long you are staying in Brazil. Who you need to talk to – both in Brazil and also in the US - in order to get your Brazil visa will depend on where in Brazil you are going, and how long you’ll be there.
I recommend that you use a document-expediting service for your Tourist Visa, rather than contacting the Embassy/Consulate on your own. I, personally, have had quick, professional responses and help from Travel Visa Pro (www.travelvisapro.com) and Travel Document Systems (www.traveldocs.com) not only for Brazil but for many other countries. You avoid a lot of work and hassle; it doesn’t cost all that much; AND you also get the advantage of them already having a working relationship with the Embassy/Consulate in their jurisdiction.
Follow their instructions well and submit your documents in order. Brazil requires U.S. citizens to carry a valid U.S. passport and visa when traveling to Brazil for any purpose. The U.S. Government cannot assist travelers who arrive in Brazil without proper documentation.
A valid US passport is required. Make sure that your passport expiration date is at least six months after you return from your trip!
Always remember to make copies of your passport and visa page.
1. Leave one copy at home with a family member.
2. Place a copy of your passport and a copy of your flight itinerary in each of your check- through pieces of luggage. This enables you to prove that it’s yours, if needed – and also enables the airline company to quickly send it along to your next destination if it happens to not make your flight.
3. Take 1 or 2 copies (of both your passport and your visa page) with you to the field, along with your original passport. If you do lose your original passport, it makes things much easier for the US Embassy to issue you a new one if you have a copy to hand them. Do not keep the copies in the same place as your original. Always carry a copy with you and secure your original documents in a safe location. Also, do not “trim the white edges off” of any paper copies. There are some government offices who don’t like that.
Please keep your admission/immigration document with your passport while you are in the country. You will be required to show it when you leave the country.
Immunizations and Health
Brazil is a huge country, full of variables. As a result, the exact immunizations you need will depend on the area in which you’ll be serving. Do consult your local Government Health Services clinic or website for current information.
Evacuation Insurance is required. WA does not require that you go through us – we just require that you have insurance before you go. Recommended companies and instructions are listed on the Evacuation Insurance page under the "Travel" section.
Tickets, Airports, and Flights
Exit Tax: Remember to keep some local money (Reals) with you when you pass through the airport as you leave. Check with your airline on what is included in your airline ticket. For example, American Airlines includes the Exit Tax in your ticket price, so you don’t have to stand in line to pay the tax as you leave. This is a big time-saver. If you have the option when you buy your ticket, it is recommended that you have the exit tax included to save this hassle at the airport.
You must fill out a small 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 in 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.
What to Bring
What you take with you to Brazil will depend largely on your particular job, and the location in which you’ll be doing it.
Life in Country
Electricity: Depending on where you are in Brazil, the electrical outlets could be either 220 or 110 – and they could be either the 2 round-prong type, or the normal 2-blade type that we have here in the US. (Note: Just because it looks like a normal 110 volt outlet, doesn’t mean that it isn’t wired for 220). So, be very careful. It is highly recommended that you take a plug adapter to Brazil. Many cell phone chargers, cameras, laptops, hair dryers, and irons are equipped to handle 220 or 110 because the current goes through the battery first. But DO check the rating on the item or charger. It is, also, recommended that you take a travel adapter kit with you in the event you need a round or 3-prong plug. They can be purchased in many drug stores and specialty shops, as well as some Wal-Marts.
Bathroom Facilities: Wherever you go, you should carry your own personal supply of toilet tissue (men & women). In the larger cities, hotels and public restrooms in most facilities are stocked with toilet paper, but not all. If you travel just about anywhere else , you would do well to have your own supply of tissue because gas stations, tourist attractions, smaller restaurants and other places of business often don’t have toilet paper available. In many drug stores and Wal-Marts you may purchase travel size toilet tissue neatly packaged to carry with you.
- At nearly every Brasilian bathroom you are in – including the higher-end hotels – you should not flush the toilet paper down the toilet. As awkward as it may feel, you need to place your used toilet paper in the little trash can that’s usually next to the toilet. Some have lids; others don’t. If you forget and put the toilet paper down, keep praying while you flush. If it all goes down, great; if it doesn’t, the backed-up toilet will undoubtedly provide you with plenty of memories to remind you to not do that the next time!