Brazil Country Travel Infomation

Travel Transportation

Consider avoiding the use of public, municipal buses in Brazil at any time of day, and especially at night. Crime trends indicate an elevated risk of robbery or assault on public bus systems throughout Brazil. The U.S. government recommends against personnel using public, municipal buses in all parts of Brazil.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: Driving on Brazil’s roads poses significant risks. Poor driving skills, bad roads, and high density traffic make road travel more hazardous than in the United States.

Road maintenance is inadequate in many areas and some long-distance roads through the Amazon forest are impassable much of the year due to flooding. Private cars and public buses are the main modes of inter-city road travel. Buses can range (depending on route and price) from luxurious and well-maintained to basic and mechanically unsound. Bus hijacking can occur at random.

Apart from toll roads, which generally have their own services, roadside assistance is available only sporadically and informally through local 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.

Traffic Laws: Travelers planning on staying for more than 180 days should obtain an Inter-American Driving Permit to carry with their valid U.S. license if they plan to drive in Brazil. Such permits can be obtained through AAA or other sources. Please note:

  • Everyone in the vehicle must wear a seatbelt. Brazilian federal law requires child seats for all children under the age of 7 ?. From age 7 ? years to 10, children must only ride in the back seat.
  • 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. It is common for drivers to turn or cross one or more lanes of traffic without warning.
  • Drivers often flash their lights or wave a hand out the window to signal other drivers to slow down. 
  • Pedestrian crossings are only observed in some places, such as Brasilia. 
  • Drivers must have their daytime running lights on during the day and headlights on at night on Federal Highways.
  • Under Brazil?s Lei Seca (?Dry Law?), you cannot operate a vehicle with any measurable blood-alcohol level. Checkpoints are often set up in urban areas, and randomly chosen drivers are required to perform a breathalyzer test. Those in violation are subject to legal penalties and having their vehicle impounded. 

See our Road Safety page for more information. Visit the website of Brazil?s national tourist office and national authority responsible for road safety.

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.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Brazil should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and the National Geospatial Agency broadcast warnings website (select ?broadcast warnings?).


The U.S. government does not pay medical bills and U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas. 

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Government of Brazil to ensure the medication is legal in Brazil. Carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor?s prescription. 

The following diseases are prevalent:

  • Mosquito and other Animal- and Insect-Borne Diseases, including Chagas, chikungunya, dengue, Zika, visceral leishmaniasis, and rabies are the most common.
  • Traveler?s diarrhea
  • Tuberculosis
  • Schistosomiasis

In recent years, outbreaks of these diseases have also been detected in certain areas of Brazil:

  • Yellow fever
  • Measles
  • Polio

The CDC recently updated its information on yellow fever and measles in Brazil. Information on yellow fever is also available from the World Health Organization.

Elective Surgery: Although Brazil has many elective/cosmetic surgery facilities that are on par with those found in the United States, the quality of care varies widely. If you plan to undergo 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 unable to handle emergencies.

Non-traditional Medicine: Several U.S. citizens have died while seeking medical care from non-traditional ?healers? and practitioners. Ensure you have access to proper medical care if seeking such services.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization.

Though the yellow fever vaccine is not required to enter Brazil, travelers wishing to be vaccinated should consider receiving it prior to travel, as local supplies are limited. Please note that the yellow fever vaccine should be administered ten days prior to travel for it to be effective.

Also note that, while yellow fever vaccine is not required to enter Brazil, some neighboring countries (French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, Bolivia, and Paraguay) do require travelers with recent entries in Brazil to show proof of yellow fever vaccination.

All travelers to the country are advised to carry documentation, such as a vaccination card, that they have been appropriately vaccinated for yellow fever.

Further health information:

Local laws and Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: Foreigners are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.

Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or Consulate immediately. See our webpage for further information.

Water Hazards: Many of Brazil?s beaches have very dangerous riptides, even if the water looks safe. Ocean currents and waves are unpredictable, even in popular beaches frequented by tourists. Shark attacks are reported in the waters of some beaches in northeastern Brazil, particularly near Recife. Always observe posted warnings and never swim while under the influence of alcohol. Follow 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.

Electricity Blackouts: Power failures in large urban centers are common and sometimes followed by increased crime. Most tourist hotels are equipped with generators, minimizing the impact of a blackout, but you should remain cautious.

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 cause flash flooding and can disrupt traffic.

Customs Restrictions: Contact the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, D.C. or one of Brazil’s consulates in the United States for specific information regarding import and export regulations. Please also refer to our information on customs regulations.

  • Brazilian customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporarily importing or exporting items such as firearms, antiquities, mineral samples, tropical plants, wildlife, medications, and business and communication equipment. 
  • In the Amazon region, there is special scrutiny of exporting biological material. People raising, growing, or exporting biological materials without permits can be charged with ?biopiracy.?

Faith-Based Travelers: See our following webpages for details:

LGBTI Travelers: Brazil does not have legal restrictions on same-sex marriage, relations, or events coordinated by LGBTI organizations. However, according to the 2018 Human Rights Report, violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) individuals was a serious concern, with local NGOs reporting that in the first half of 2018, 85 LGBTI persons were victims of hate killings. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Brazilian law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities in employment, education, and access to health care. However, accessibility to public transportation and the ability to accommodate the needs of physically disabled persons are limited in most areas. 

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Safety and Security

Crime: The violent crime rate is high in most Brazilian urban centers. Public transportation, hotel sectors, and tourist areas report high crime rates, but these incidents can happen anywhere and at any time. Be aware of your surroundings.

  • Do not travel to:
    • Informal housing developments in Brazil (commonly referred to in Brazil as favelas, vilas, comunidades, and/or satellite cities), even on a guided tour, at any time of day due to crime. Neither the tour companies nor the police can guarantee your safety when entering these areas. Even in favelas that the police or local governments deem safe, the situation can change quickly and without notice. In addition, exercise caution in areas surrounding favelas, as occasionally, inter-gang fighting and confrontations with police move beyond the confines of these communities.
    • Brasilia?s administrative regions (commonly known as ?satellite cities?) of Ceilandia, Santa Maria, Sao Sebastiao, and Paranoa during non-daylight hours due to crime.
    • Any areas within 150 km of Brazil?s land borders with Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Paraguay due to crime. (Note: This does not apply to the Foz do Iguacu National Park or Pantanal National Park.)
  • Consider avoiding the use of public, municipal buses in Brazil at any time of day, and especially at night. Crime trends indicate an elevated risk of robbery or assault on public bus systems throughout Brazil. The U.S. government recommends against personnel using public, municipal buses in all parts of Brazil
  • In addition, be aware of the following situations:
    • Traveling Outside Metropolitan Areas After Dark: Travelers are encouraged to organize their trips so that they can travel during daylight hours. Road conditions throughout Brazil can vary widely, and travelers must exercise caution due to debris in the road, horse-drawn carriages, unmarked speed bumps, and other infrastructure deficiencies.
    • Individuals intending robbery or assault have been known to slip incapacitating drugs into drinks at bars, hotel rooms, and street parties.
    • Armed hold-ups of pedestrians and motorists can happen, including at or near public beaches. Personal belongings, left unattended even for a moment, are often taken. If you are robbed, hand over your personal belongings without resisting. Resisting will increase your risk of injury.
    • Carjackings and hold-ups can occur at any time of the day or night, especially at intersections and in tunnels. Some robberies involve individuals robbed at gunpoint and taken to make purchases or to withdraw as much money as possible from one or more ATMs.
    • Crime on public transportation occurs. Registered taxis have red license plates and openly display company information and phone numbers.
    • Credit card fraud and ATM scams are common in Brazil. Work closely with your financial institutions to monitor accounts and keep your credit card in view while it is scanned at a point of sale.
    • Avoid using ATMs in unfamiliar, secluded, or lightly protected areas. Be aware that criminals often target ATMs and businesses in the early hours of the morning when there are fewer witnesses and law enforcement response times may be delayed. If you opt to use an ATM, select those that are located inside of secure facilities, such as an airport, hospital, bank, or government building. 
    • Avoid large groups or events where crowds have gathered. Public events of any nature, including concerts and sporting events, can unexpectedly turn violent. Demonstrations and strikes are common in urban areas, may occur unexpectedly, disrupt transportation, and may escalate into violence. Check the website of the Embassy or Consulate nearest you for current information on demonstrations.
  • U.S. government employees working in Brazil are not permitted to:
    • Travel to any areas within 150 km of the international borders with Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, and Paraguay, except in limited circumstances with the appropriate U.S. Department of State approvals. Individuals with ties to illegal criminal networks operate along Brazilian borders. Travel to the Foz do Igua?u National Park and Pantanal National Park is permitted.
    • Enter any informal housing developments in Brazil (commonly referred to in Brazil as favelas, vilas, comunidades, and/or satellite cities), except in limited circumstances with the appropriate approvals.
    • Enter Brasilia?s administrative regions (commonly known as ?satellite cities?) of Ceilandia, Santa Maria, Sao Sebastiao, and Paranoa during non-daylight hours.

To reduce the chance of becoming the victim of a crime, in addition to the above recommendations, please review the below precautions:

  • Limit the personal belongings you carry with you. Carry your money in your front pockets and limit the amount of credit cards you carry. Make copies of all of your personal documents ? including your credit cards, license, passport, etc. ? and keep in a safe place. This will be helpful if you lose your documents.
  • Do not carry or wear valuable items that will attract the attention of thieves. If you need to wear expensive jewelry or carry a camera, conceal it until you arrive at your destination.
  • Be aware of the street environment and avoid contact with those who may be looking for robbery targets. Seek a safer location. Go into a store, bank or simply cross the street.
  • Do not walk on beaches after dark. Assaults are common.
  • Use increased caution when hiking in isolated areas, particularly near popular tourist locations in the city of Rio de Janeiro.

See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.

Victims of Crime: 

U.S. citizen victims of crime should contact the local authorities to file a Brazilian police report before departing Brazil. In most instances, you can report crimes to the tourist or civil police. U.S. citizens should also inform the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.

  • the U.S. Embassy at 011-55-61-3312-7000
  • the U.S. Consulate General in Porto Alegre at 011-55-51-3345-6000
  • the U.S. Consulate General in Recife at 011-55-81-3416-3050 or 011-55-81-3416-3080
  • the U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro at 011-55-21-3823-2000
  • the U.S. Consulate General in Sao Paulo at 011-55-11-3250-5000

See our webpage on U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • Replace a lost or stolen passport.
  • Contact family, friends, or employers with written permission, in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974.
  • Provide information to facilitate access to appropriate medical care.
  • Address emergency needs that arise as a result of the crime.
  • Explain financial assistance options, such as assistance available to return to the United States.
  • Provide information about local points of contact or organizations who discuss relevant host country laws and implementation of those laws.
  • Share information about the status of your case in the local criminal justice process when applicable.
  • Connect you to overseas and U.S.-based resources for victims of crime, if available.
  • Provide a list of local lawyers who speak English.

The local equivalent to the ?911? emergency line in Brazil is divided among four services:

  • 190 – Policia (Police)
  • 191 ? State Trooper (on interstate roads)
  • 192 – Ambulancia (Ambulance)
  • 193 – Bombeiros (Fire Department)

Victims of Domestic Violence or Sexual Assault: Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate for assistance after contacting local authorities.

Tourism: The tourism industry is regulated, but safety inspections for equipment and facilities are inconsistent. Hazardous areas/activities are normally identified with appropriate signage in major urban centers but may not be in other locations. Tourism industry staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate and timely medical treatment is consistently available only in or near major cities. First responders can face delays accessing areas outside of major cities to quickly provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

For further information:

See our webpage on traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.

Entry exit Requirementsh

You will need:

  • A valid U.S. passport.
  • As of June 16, 2019, U.S. citizens do not need a visa if they are traveling to Brazil for tourism, business, transit, artistic or sport activities, with no intention of establishing residence.
  • For other types of travel, U.S. citizens may need to apply for a Brazilian visa either online here or at the nearest Brazilian consulate in the United States or abroad.
  • Find a Brazilian consulate in the United States.
  • Find a Brazilian consulate abroad.

Brazilian law requires any minor who is a Brazilian citizen (even dual nationals who are both U.S. and Brazilian citizens) to have permission from each parent to travel within Brazil or exit the country. When a minor travels with both parents, no written authorization is needed. When the minor travels with only one parent or without either parent, s/he must have two original written authorization letters from each absent parent and carry a copy* of the child?s birth certificate or have an annotation in his/her Brazilian passport authorizing travel alone or with only one parent. Brazilian citizen minors without authorization letters and a birth certificate* or an annotated Brazilian passport likely will not be allowed by authorities to pass through immigration or to board a flight departing Brazil.

The U.S. Embassy and its consulates cannot intervene in Brazilian immigration matters or request that this requirement be waived for U.S. citizen travelers.

Written Authorization Letter: If the absent parent is in Brazil, written authorization letters must be in Portuguese and notarized by a Brazilian notary. If the absent parent is in the United States or elsewhere outside of Brazil, the authorization must be done at the nearest Brazilian Embassy or Consulate using the form provided by that office. Again, please note that Brazilian law requires two original authorizations for each absent parent. This is important, because Federal Police may request and retain one authorization upon the minor?s entry into Brazil. Authorities may then request the second original document upon the minor?s departure. Authorizations written in English or executed before a U.S. (or any non-Brazilian) notary public are not accepted by the Brazilian Federal Police. Similarly, birth certificates issued outside of Brazil that are not apostilled* and translated by a certified translator may not be accepted.

Brazilian Passport Annotation: In lieu of carrying authorization letters, parents of dual U.S.-Brazilian citizen minors may instead request an annotation be placed in the minor?s Brazilian passport authorizing the minor to travel with only one parent, or to travel alone or with a third party. This annotation replaces the requirement for written authorization letters until the passport expires. Parents residing in Brazil should contact the Brazilian Federal Police for details on obtaining an annotated passport. Parents residing abroad should contact the nearest Brazilian Embassy or Consulate. The annotated Brazilian passport must not be expired and must be carried along with the minor?s U.S. passport at all times for Brazilian Federal Police to accept it in lieu of an authorization letter. There is no comparable annotation available in U.S. passports.

Children who are not dual citizens of Brazil: Please note that, while Brazilian law related to travel authorization does not explicitly apply to non-citizens of Brazil, Federal Police have, at times, delayed the travel of non-Brazilian minors who lack appropriate authorization from both parents. For this reason, we recommend that families of non-Brazilian minors who may travel through Brazil without one or both parents execute written authorizations (following the instructions in the preceding paragraph) in advance of travel and ensure that the minor, or the minor?s traveling companion, carries the original or notarized copy** of the minor?s birth certificate.

An exemplar of the form used by Brazilian authorities to document parental permission for minors to travel without one or both parents may be found here.

*There is a useful pamphlet published by the Hague Conference called ?The ABCs of Apostilles.? The Brazilian competent authority that issues apostilles is the Conselho Nacional de Justi?a.

**If the birth certificate was issued in Brazil, copies must be notarized by a Brazilian notary. If issued outside of Brazil, copies must be apostilled and translated by a certified translator into Portuguese.

Please find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our website. 

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.

Destination Description

See the Department of State?s Fact Sheet on Brazil for information on U.S. ? Brazil relations.

Travel Embassy and Consulate

U.S. Embassy Brasilia
SES 801- Avenida das Nacoes, Lote 03
70403-900 – Brasilia, DF Brazil
Emergency After-Hours Telephone:
(61) 3312-7651

Embassy Branch Office in Belo Horizonte
Avenida do Contorno, 4520 / 2nd floor ? Funcion?rios
30110-028 Belo Horizonte, MG ? Brazil
+55 (31) 3338-4000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia

Consular Agency in Brasilia?s Consular District
Manaus Consular Agency
Edificio Atrium, Suite 306
Rua Franco de S?, 310
69.079-210 Manaus, AM Brazil
Emergency After-Hours Telephone:
Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia

U.S. Consulate General Porto Alegre
Avenida Assis Brasil, 1889
Passo d’ Areia
91010-004 – Porto Alegre, RS Brazil

Telephone: 011-55-51-3345-6000

U.S. Consulate General Recife
Rua Goncalves Maia, 163, Boa Vista
50070-125 – Recife, PE Brazil
011-55-81-3416-3050 or 011-55-81-3416-3080
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 
011-55-81-3416-3060 or 011-55-81-9916-9470

Consular Agency in Recife?s Consular District
U.S. Consular Agency Fortaleza
Avenida Santos Dumont 2828, Aldeota, Suite 708
60150-162- Fortaleza, CE Brazil
Emergency After-Hours Telephone:
Please contact the U.S. Consulate General in Recife

U.S. Consulate General Rio de Janeiro
Avenida Presidente Wilson, 147, Castelo
20030-020, Rio de Janeiro, RJ Brazil
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: 011-55-21-3823-2029

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
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Consulate General in Rio de Janeiro: (21) 3823-2029

U.S. Consulate General Sao Paulo
Rua Henri Dunant, 500 Chacara Santo Antonio
04709-110 – Sao Paulo, SP Brazil
Emergency After-Hours Telephone:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *