After my visa fiasco in Buenos Aires (did I mention I loved BA?), I was pretty nervous about trying to get my Brazilian visa in Puerto Iguazu. We took an overnight bus to Puerto Iguazu from Buenos Aires with the intent on being at the Brazilian Consulate when it opened at 8am. I half expected to see my picture posted up behind their desk alerting the Consulate to my evil visa-seeking ways. We looked around for a grand looking office, and instead found this, with two guys working there:
This time I was armed with a letter from a friend’s physical therapy company (thanks GP!) stating I was on vacation, a letter from myself stating I was on vacation, copies of credit cards, copies of bank statements, my ticket out of Brazil, my yellow fever vaccine card, and a partridge in a pear tree.
But rather than request my blood type or any other information I had, the Consulate official thanked me and told me to come back at noon. WHAT!! And at noon, guess what I had in my hand?
After two days visiting Iguazu Falls (worthy of its own blog entry) we headed for the border of Brazil. I tearfully let them give me an exit stamp from Argentina (did I mention I love Argentina?), and boarded the bus for Brazil. I still had a bit of fear in the back of my mind as we got off the bus at the border. But I was still armed with the necessary paperwork just in case. I walked up to the window, I handed the customs official my passport, she stamped it and handed it back with a smile. That was it?! I breathed a huge sigh of relief and looked over at Sean. He, on the other hand, was not smiling.
“What’s wrong?” I asked, and he shrugged.
The next thing we know, a border guard who spoke English was dispersed to translate between Sean and the customs official. As it turned out, Sean had a visa for Brazil, good for 5 years, which he used in 2005. There was an entry stamp into Brazil, but no exit stamp.
“When were you in Brazil? How long were you there? Where did you stay? How did you leave? Why is there no stamp?”
From the passport, it looked like Sean had been in Brazil illegally for a long, long time. He explained he had only visited for 9 days, and they went to work verifying his story via the computer. I am pretty sure they always swipe your passport, but what if they forgot just like they forgot to stamp it? I thought oh no… are we going to have to get a letter from Sean’s old job stating he was actually working the last few years and not selling coconut water on Copacabana Beach?
So after some serious sweating that we were going to be turned away at the border because of SEAN, they stamped his passport and gave him 40 days in the country after he showed them our ticket out of Rio. Rejoice! The Lynches are legally in Brazil and will be able to get their flight out of South America in a month! Ticket to WHERE you ask? You must stay tuned to find out!