Travel Essentials

Visa

You do not require a visa for stays of under 90 days for a British or an EU passport holders (unless otherwise indicated). Note that the immigration officers have the right to restrict your visa to less than 90 days. A return ticket and proof of sufficient funds might be requested upon arrival.

Brazil has a reciprocal visa policy with all countries, meaning that whenever prices and restrictions are applied to Brazilians visiting a country, Brazil adopts the same measures for that country’s visitors. Therefore, citizens of Canada, USA, Australia and other countries will need a visa for entering Brazil.

For more information about visas, please get in contact with the nearest Brazilian Consulate.

Passports

Passports must be valid for at least six months from the date of entry.

Minors

Persons under 18 years of age, when not accompanied by both parents, must have a birth certificate (an original or authenticated photocopy) and a travel authorisation signed by both parents and notarised in English, French, Portuguese or Spanish, otherwise an official translation must be presented as well.

When travelling alone or with one parent, a declaration from the absent parent(s) must be presented authorising the journey and giving the name and address of the person in Brazil who will be responsible for the minor.

In the case of divorced or deceased parents, papers attesting to full custody must be presented.

Language

The official language of Brazil is Portuguese, but with different accent and some different expressions. Many Brazilians speak English and Spanish too, and in some States, you can also find people speaking German (in Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul), Italian (in São Paulo and Paraná), indigenous languages (in Amazonas and Mato Grosso do Sul) and other languages.

Here are some words and basic expressions that can help you during your visit to Brazil:

  • Hey, what’s up? : Olá, tudo bem?
  • Good morning! : Bom dia!
  • Good afternoon! : Boa tarde!
  • Good night! : Boa noite!
  • What is your name? : Qual é o seu nome?
  • My name is… : Meu nome é…
  • Do you speak English ? : Você fala inglês?
  • Please : Por favor.
  • Thank you : Obrigado.
  • You are welcome : De nada.
  • Excuse me : Com licença.
  • Great! : Que bom!
  • Can you give me some information? : Pode me dar uma informação?
  • Can you help me? : Pode me ajudar?
  • I am lost : Estou perdido.
  • I don’t understand : Não entendo.
  • Can you speak slowly, please? : Pode falar mais devagar, por favor?
  • Are there any bank/restaurant/hotel/taxi point nearby? : Há algum banco/restaurante/ponto de táxi/hotel perto daqui?
  • How much does this cost? : Quanto custa isso?
  • Where can I get… ? : Onde posso conseguir…?

Time Difference

Given its vast size, Brazil is currently divided into 4 time zones:

  • UTC – 2 – mainly in Fernando de Noronha
  • UTC – 3 – Brasilia time (majority of the country). During the summer time (from the 3rd Sunday of October till the 3rd Sunday of February) they use UTC – 2
  • UTC – 4 – most of Amazonas, Pantanal, Roraima, Rondonia
  • UTC – 5 – far-western state of Acre and south-western Amazonas

Money

Brazil’s currency is the Real (R$). Foreign currencies and traveler’s’ checks can be exchanged for Real (R$) in banks, travel agencies and authorized hotels. The US Dollar and EURO are the most widely accepted foreign currencies. Most major international credit cards are accepted, though not universally. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.

Health

Public health services in Brazil are free for foreign tourists. So, if you are in an accident or have health issues, just call the Mobile Emergency Service (Samu) dialing 192 on the phone. The call is free too.

Basic care

  • Brazil is a country with a tropical climate, so we recommend that you drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration. Bottled and canned drinks are safe but do ask for a straw; tap water varies from place to place and Brazilians themselves prefer to have it filtered.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and protect yourself from the sun with a hat (or cap), sunglasses and sunscreen. Avoid direct sun exposure between 11 am and 4 pm.
  • Take insect repellent with you wherever you go, just in case.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water several times a day, especially after using public transportation.
  • Avoid consuming foods that have been poorly prepared or packaged.
  • During cycling or hiking trips, take foods that can be keep without refrigeration and that don’t spoil with the heat.

Vaccines

To enter Brazil, it is not mandatory to vaccinate against any type of illness, but an international certificate of vaccination against  polio is compulsory for children aged between 3 months and six years.

However, vaccination against yellow fever and taking anti-malaria medication may be necessary if you are traveling to central-western (Mato Grosso) or northern (Amazon) regions.

If you’re arriving from Peru, Colombia or Bolivia, proof of yellow fever vaccination is required before you enter Brazil.

Some countries, such as Australia and South Africa, will require evidence of yellow fever vaccination before allowing you to enter the country if you have been in any part of Brazil within the previous week. Check the requirements of any country you will travel to from Brazil.

If you have never taken the vaccine, you need to take it 10 days before your trip (this period is not necessary if you have been vaccinated before).  If you have any doubts, check the website of the Brazilian Ministry of Health and consult your GP.

Zika virus prevention

The World Health Organisation and the Ministry of Health of Brazil declared that as per May 2017 there is no more emergency concerning the zika virus in Brazil. More info

Malaria prevention

According to the World Health Organisation (OMS), there is a risk of malaria transmission in 96 countries around the globe. Infected people have symptoms such as fever, chills and flu-like symptoms at the beginning.

In Brazil, the transmission of malaria is concentrated in the Amazonia: Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima and Tocantins. In these areas it is essential that you take certain precautions:

  • Use light clothes with long sleeves during periods of high exposure (sunrise & sunset), during activities such as canoe trips.
  • Apply insect repellent on exposed areas of the skin, always following the guidelines of the manufacturer.
  • Pay attention to any symptoms, such as fever, body aches and headaches.
  • If symptoms do not subside after 48 hours seek the nearest hospital or health unit immediately.

Security

Most tourists have a good experience when arriving in Brazil, but in big cities you must be careful not to become targeted by thugs. See below our tips about safety during your trip:

  • Upon arriving at the airport look out for registered cabs only.
  • Whenever you need to open your wallet in public, avoid exposing your cash.
  • Do not place your wallet or your phone in the back-pockets of your trousers, especially in places that are very busy.
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash in your wallet, purse or bag. Take only small amounts of currency out for daily expenses.
  • If you have to take out a lot of money, keep it safe inside your clothing, closed with zippers or Velcro strap and/or tied around your waist.
  • Avoid leaving the hotel with important documents and, if you have more than one credit card, take only one with you. In case your credit card gets stolen, you will have another card as back-up.
  • Leave your passport where you are staying and take only a certified copy of it.
  • Use the safe where you are staying (if the place has one), to store your money, original passport, credit cards and other important items.
  • Most thefts occur in places where there are lots of people, like markets, subway stations, bus stations etc. Luggage theft is also common in airport lounges, so keep an eye out.
  • Avoid walking through empty places or neighbourhoods indicated as dangerous by the local residents. This advice is especially important in large cities and for people who are travelling alone.
  • Be wary of people who offer a ride in a non-registered cab.
  • If you go to the beach, don’t leave your belongings in the sand while you go into the water. You can get waterproof valuable cases for this purpose.
  • If you rent a car, don’t leave any luggage or bags visible inside. If this is unavoidable, try to park the vehicle in a safe place, where there is regular policing.

Emergency Numbers

  • 190 – Police
  • 192 – Ambulance
  • 193 – Fire Department
  • 197 – Civil police
  • 199 – Civil Defence
  • 198 – State Highway Police

Electricity

The electricity voltage in Brazil varies between 110V and 220V depending on the location. Many hotels offer wall sockets in both voltages, and it is easy to find portable voltage transformers in construction shops.

The wall sockets in Brazil are designed with safety in mind. The plugs have a system that avoid overloading and heating and also provide better linkage with their terminals.

The adapter plugs can be easily found in construction stores or in the free shop stores at airports.

Telecommunication

The National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) is the Brazilian Government agency in charge of administering phone operations in the country and on their website you can learn more about codes, carriers and other information.

The international code for Brazil is + 55.

Driving Licence

Tourists with a foreign driver’s licence can drive in Brazil if they are staying for less than 180 days. For longer stays, it is necessary to obtain a Brazilian license in addition to your foreign license. It is essential that your foreign license and your identity documents are valid.

Car rental services with or without a driver, are available at most airports.

Insurance

We will strongly advise to have a worldwide travel insurance in place when planning a trip abroad, including to Brazil.

Important Links

General Consulate of Brazil in London

Brazilian Consulates Abroad