Traveling to Brazil is an exhilarating and colorful experience. However, like a visit to any foreign nation, tourists should remember to take heed of the local laws and customs that could affect a vacation in the country.
This article looks at the most important cultural norms and rules to remember when taking a vacation in Brazil. It looks at the distinct Brazilian customs that travelers might not be aware of and gives visitors a rundown of the most important laws that could apply to them whilst traveling in the country.
What to Remember When Entering Brazil
Until 2019 Western tourists entering the country had to hold a valid Brazil eVisa unless they were traveling with a passport from a visa-exempt country. However, the Brazilian government has since permitted travelers from the US, Japan, Canada, and Australia to travel visa-free.
In order to enter the country, travelers need only hold a valid passport (with more than 6 months validity remaining); or if visiting from a Mercosur country, a national ID card. They will then be granted a stay of up to 90 days in the country depending on their nationality.
However, travelers from non-visa exempt countries in Africa and Asia must apply for a travel authorization in advance of making the journey to Brazil. To obtain this they should visit their local Brazilian embassy or consulate for more information on the application process for a relevant type of national visa.
It is also important to consider traveling with a yellow fever certificate proving immunization against the disease. This is not an obligatory measure but it highly recommended, especially for tourists visiting high-risk areas for the virus.
Essential Local Laws To Be Aware Of When Visiting Brazil
As with any foreign destination, visitors to the country are recommended to remain aware of their surroundings and possessions at all times. Petty crime can be common, especially in cities, and a little vigilance can go a long way.
Additionally, Brazil has a number of national laws that must be respected by visitors during a trip to its borders. These include the following rules that tourists may not know:
- The legal drinking age is 18
- Foreigners must carry passport ID at all times (photocopies are also permitted)
- Drugs are illegal and possession carries stiff penalties
- Topless sunbathing is illegal
- Gambling is banned
- Using cellphones in banks is not permitted
- You mustn’t enter a business wearing a motorbike crash helmet
Local Customs To Be Aware of In Brazil
There are a number of social norms and customs to remember when visiting Brazil. Firstly, Brazil is a country well known for the tolerance of its LGBT and multi-ethnic population. Gay marriage has been legal since 2013 and there are no restrictions on homosexual couples visiting the country.
In fact, racist and homophobic remarks can even land the transgressor in legal trouble. Both forms of behavior are considered illegal and those caught making prejudiced comments can face arrest and prosecution.
Tipping is also a common practice in the country. When eating in restaurants, diners are normally expected to pay 10% gratuity to the waiter or waitress when settling the bill.
Additionally, some hand gestures that may seem benign in other cultures can be considered obscene in Brazil. For example, a seemingly harmless thumbs up, or okay gesture could cause great offense to local residents and should be avoided completely.
Smokers should also take care of where they decide to light up. Smoking in public places is not permitted, having been outlawed in 2014. Tourists should, therefore, seek out specifically designated smoking areas before lighting a cigarette. Additionally, it is also not possible to purchase eCigarettes in Brazil, which were banned for sale on safety grounds along with all other electronic smoking devices.
Dual Nationality Rules In Brazil
Visitors to the country must remember that there are specific rules in place for those arriving with dual nationality. Firstly, it is essential that the visitor enters and exits the country with the same passport and not a different document for each separate stage of their journey.
Brazilian dual nationals should also enter and exit the country with their Brazilian passport. This is an especially important requirement for citizens with a 2nd passport from a nationality requiring a pre-approved visa. This is because Brazil will only issue visas in exceptional circumstances to its own citizens.
Whilst there are a few rules to take care with, Brazil is quite rightfully a place that tourists love to visit. It offers amazing sights and activities that can’t be enjoyed anywhere else in the world and Visiting the country is easier than ever. There’s never been a better time to enjoy its many wonders.