Adventures of a foreigner in the south of Brazil.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Visa made easy

Being a foreigner I occasionally have to prolong my Brazilian visa. It is done now. And I have to say the whole process took a mere six months. I shall from now on use the approximate age of the universe as my reference for bureaucratic processes here. With that in mind six months is but the blink of an eye. No time at all, really. After only three months I got a pink slip from the Ministerio de Justicia to confirm that I am currently in the process of visa prolongation. It is illegible, but official. I can pass borders with it. While the passing borders bit is not guaranteed by law in practice it works well.

After the prolongation has been officially published the new visa has to be registered again with the Policia Federal. In return for the pink slip, two ugly photos and another set of fingerprints you get black fingers, a stamp in the passport and another protocol slip. Indeed, that very same flimsy piece of paper. To be renewed after 3 months, and this time I may just cut my own stamp from a potato.

In theory I get a replacement, a plastic identity card. It's paid for, too, together with the visa application. All this is done in Brasilia.
Now it appears that two years ago there was some scandal about corruption related to this and these days there is still no material for printing available. The exact cause-effect chain eludes me. Mind you, passports are printed locally and quickly, and they have better security features, too. It's just foreigners who get the run-it-through-the-capital treatment that doesn't work.

You, dear reader, are left to draw your own conclusions about this happy state of affairs. Me, I'm going to get some transparent tape to fix this slip up so it doesn't fall apart within the next few weeks.