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Brazil Waives Visa Requirement for Americans During Summer Olympics

First Posted: Jan 06, 2016 07:20 AM EST
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Brazil announced on its official gazette that it will temporarily waive tourist visa requirements for Americans and US passport holders in time for the Summer Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro in August. The tourist visa waiver program also applies for citizens of Australia, Canada and Japan.

"I thank President Rousseff, who in a responsible manner approved such an important project for Brazilian tourism," Tourism Minister, Henrique Eduardo Alves said. The goal of the program is to increase tourism in Brazil during the Olympics by 20 percent.

The South American nation is currently in a deep recession and the added tourists are a much needed to boost to Brazil's economy. The waiver will begin from June 1 to Sept. 18, with foreign visitors allowed to stay in the country for 90 days, per Miami Herald.

Tourists from many Latin American and European Union member nations already do not need a visa in order to visit Brazil as well as those from New Zealand, Russia, South Africa and South Korea. Without the visa waiver program, Americans will need to $160 in order to have a Brazilian tourism visa.

The exemption will not be given to citizens from countries that have migratory risks or threatening to national security. The issue of security has been included in talks within Brazilian officials after the Paris attacks last Nov. 13, 2015.

According to The Rio Times, the French government has offered security assistance for the Olympic Games to Brazilian authorities. The country's Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo told the local media that Brazil has no history of harboring terrorists, but will make all the necessary measures keep athletes, fans, and tourists safe during the events.

"I can guarantee that Brazil is fully prepared to show an excellent security system during the Olympics," Cardozo said. At least 10,000 athletes from 206 participating countries are expected to arrive in Brazil while many presidents and heads of states will be present to watch the opening ceremony.

Participating athletes for the Olympics and Paralympics along with their families are already exempted from having tourist visas from August to September of 2016. Foreign volunteers chosen by the Olympic Committee that will be working during the games are also part of the visa waiver program.

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games will start on Aug. 5 and ends on Aug. 21 while the Paralympic Games will be held from Sept. 7 to Sept. 18. Rio de Janeiro is the first South American city to host both the Olympics and Paralympics.

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