Brazilian Visa - Work with an agency or no?
Replies: 11 - Last Post: Nov 5, 2012 5:34 PM Last Post By: tonytk
Oct 3, 2012 8:02 PM
Brazilian Visa - Work with an agency or no?Hello,
I live in Minnesota and the closest Embassy/Consulate is in Chicago. When I went to their website this message appears:
"Due to technical issues with the document issuing system, the deadlines for delivery of Brazilian passports and Brazilian Visas, granted by the Consulate General in Chicago, have been extended until this matter is resolved."
I'm not even sure what a deadline for delivery means. Maybe this should be alarming statement for me.
I just booked a flight to Brazil and will leave November 16th (6 weeks away). I notice a lot of travel agencies that will assist (for a fee) in the process of obtaining of visa. You still have to provide them a lot of paperwork and have to wait until its processed to get the visa. My question is, is there a real advantage to working with these agencies? I can't figure it out. Are they saving me time and effort? I know I can mail in my application even though I do not live in Chicago.
I'm just debating on if these agencies take the hassle out of this process. Or are they only useful when you need a visa in a very short period of time?
Thoughts? How do other Americans on this board prefer to apply for a visa if they do not live in a city with an Embassy?
Oct 4, 2012 12:02 AM
1Do it by mail directly with the consulate. You're lucky to live in the Chicago jurisdiction, because apparently not every consulate allows you to do it by mail without a middleman. I can't imagine that an agency would do anything but make it MORE complicated in this case. I don't know what their time frame is now, but I got my visa in about a week from Chicago by mail. I think six weeks would probably be enough time, no matter how much the deadline is extended. But isn't there an email address or phone number that you can use to contact someone there and ask?
Oct 4, 2012 12:20 AM
2I use an agency when time is really of the essence. They tend to have contacts on the inside, useful for circumventing whatever glitches might arise, and they stay up to date on current time frames, including delays.
They're expensive, therefore worth it only when you're in a real hurry, or you messed up somehow, or you're flush with excess cash.
Six weeks sounds like a long time to me. See what the visa agencies charge for different delivery dates and you'll get a sense of how long it usually takes. I've called them as well to ask advice, and sometimes they'll tell you what's really going on without trying to sell you services you don't need.
As always, caveat emptor.
Oct 4, 2012 4:55 AM
3The "technical issue" may be that the Consulate staff has been on strike (a common annual strategy in Brazil to get a raise--and these people in particular hardly earn enough to live in the U.S., most must share apartments like college students and take second jobs), along with a lot of other government employees, which seemed to be resolved and then began again. Not sure what's happening now exactly with Consulate staff. If resolved, maybe there is a big backlog.
" But isn't there an email address or phone number that you can use to contact someone there and ask? "
The Brazilian Consulates do not usually answer the published phone number. (There is another for staff use.) And they don't answer email promptly, or usually with an answer pesonalized to your question.
Oct 4, 2012 6:13 AM
4I would have thought the same, but a few months ago someone was obsessing over whether to staple or tape or glue their pictures on the visa application and to my surprise, they got a quick answer from the embassy. I can't remember for sure whether it was Chicago or not. Seems worth a try, anyway.
Oct 4, 2012 8:07 PM
Oct 4, 2012 8:13 PM
6I live in St Paul and my suggestion is to mail it to the consulate. I am currently in Arizona and had to use the LA consulate for my trip leaving on the 7 Nov and they don't even allow you to mail it in! They will see your itinerary and get you organized most likely
Oct 12, 2012 1:15 AM
7Probably the original poster has the issue resolved by now, but for the record--I happened to be looking through my files for something else, and noticed that I actually emailed a question to the Brazilian consulate in Chicago myself and got an answer back the next day. (I needed to know what I could provide as proof of residence besides a driver's license or utility bill; they said I could send a copy of my rental agreement.) Obviously it may not always happen like this, especially when they're backed up, but it's worth a try.
Nov 2, 2012 11:19 PM
8So I mailed my Visa App to the Consulate in Chicago on October 18th. They received it on the 19th.
They have now had it 11 business days. There is a website where you can check the status of the visa. For a long time the status was just received. Then earlier this week the status was processing and the next day authorized.
I was expecting it to be shipped to me this week. I went to check yesterday and today and it says there are no pending applications. I then saw this on their site:
Due to severe technical difficulties that affect the Brazilian Consular Service throughout the world, the Consulate General of Brazil in Chicago will suspend the issuing of the following documents, starting today, October 29th, 2012:
All types of visas;
Legalization of documents;
All documents requested by mail.
The Consulate General will only process requests of Brazilians citizens residing in its jurisdiction, restricting the maximum number of legalizations to 2 (two) per person.
I leave in two weeks. I'm starting to get worried.
Edited by: tonytk
Nov 3, 2012 2:14 AM
Nov 3, 2012 12:04 PM
10Sounds to me like your first priority is getting your passport returned.
Visas are still available in neighboring countries (notably, in a number of consulates scattered around Argentina). Depending on everything, you might want to think about flight changes to accommodate that fact.
I'd try what I suggested above re visa agencies first. Often, their phone staff knows what's going on, what to expect, and how to best deal with it.
Nov 5, 2012 5:34 PM
11Great news! I came home today to find a notice from the Post Office saying I have a package to pick up. It is from Brazil (really Chicago) so I'm 90% confident it is my visa!
I called them again today (no answer) and left another voicemail. I also reached out to the offices of some local politicians. I figured, what better way to fight red tape then with more red tape? They ultimately would not have been able to help (no jurisdiction).
I called Swift Passports in Chicago who was confident that I would be receiving my visa since the status last week had reached Authorized.
I just wish that the Consulate returned calls or emails so I wasn't in freak out mode 10 days before the trip.
Thanks for the advice!
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