Electronic Visas for Visiting Brazil and Egypt
More countries are learning that tourism is an important and lucrative industry which can benefit their economies in many ways; and in order to attract visitors, the process needs to be as easy and cost-effective as possible.
Electronic Visas for Visiting Brazil and Egypt
In addition to Saudi Arabia planning to issue tourist visas in 2018, two of those countries are Brazil and Egypt pertaining to electronic visas.
Egypt is now issuing electronic visas for citizens of 41 countries; while Brazil started issuing electronic visas to citizens of Australia as of last month…
…and visitors from the United States, Canada and Japan will no longer need to travel to the Brazilian consulate nearest to them — they are located in only eight cities in the United States, which includes the District of Columbia, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco — and wait in long lines, as they can apply for electronic visas as of January of 2018 from the comfort of their own homes. Visas are expected to be granted within 72 hours of the request by the tourist.
Electronic visas are expected to increase tourism in both countries. Brazil expects to see visitors to its country increase up to 25 percent over its current totals.
Brazil had agreed to suspend the requirements for visas between Wednesday, June 1, 2016 and Sunday, September 18, 2016 for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
Egypt was going to increase its visa fees by 140 percent as of Wednesday, March 1, 2017 — the increase was then postponed until July of 2017 — but the increase never did take effect, as a tourist visa to visit Egypt is still $25.00.
As of the time this article was written, neither Brazil — which charges a reciprocity fee of $160.00 in response to the United States charging Brazilian citizens a similar fee — nor Egypt have any plans to increase or decrease its visa fees.
I have long asserted that if a country wants to increase tourism, it needs to relax its reciprocity fees or visa requirements. Two examples of countries which did just that are Chile and Argentina — and effective as of Sunday, February 12, 2017, Belarus relaxed both visa fees and requirements in what seems to be an effort to increase tourism; and I visited Belarus shortly afterwards. I still have articles which I need to write pertaining to my experiences in Belarus.
Let visitors and tourists spend that money on local businesses within a country instead. After all, the government will still collect taxes through the businesses.
Although I can understand why a country would want to impose restrictive visas on visitors for various reasons — keeping track of them while they are in that country; as well as to have a revenue stream — they do stand the chance of losing out on the economic benefits of the dollars of tourists and business people when the process of securing that visa is unnecessarily complicated and prohibitively expensive. Saudi Arabia, North Korea and Russia are three countries which immediately come to my mind when it comes to the hassle of getting a visa; but Brazil has been known to not exactly have the easiest or least-expensive process either, as evidenced by this discussion expressly posted on FlyerTalk for answering questions pertaining to tourist visas for traveling to and from Brazil.
For me, countries which have such restrictive visa policies indicate to me that they are not friendly countries; or perhaps they just do not want for you or me to visit for whatever reasons — and yes, I do understand that there are people who view the United States in that manner as well. In today’s “shrinking” world primarily due to technology, that is a potentially costly mistake, in my opinion. Restrictive visa policies may scratch the “tip of the iceberg” pertaining to greater issues within certain countries; but they do not help in promoting being part of what should be a peaceful global community.
By reducing — or, better yet, eliminating — the fees to secure a visa for a visitor, I believe that the economic benefits would more than make up for it. That $160.00 per person for a visa to visit Brazil could instead go towards patronizing businesses and other areas of the general economy, which in turn would increase tax revenues for the government as one of many benefits. I am by no means an expert on economic policies in global economies; but I believe that charging exorbitant visa fees actually does more harm to countries economically in the long term than helps them.
At the very least, countries should do whatever is possible to strike a realistic balance in ensuring their security and charging fees to visitors: attempt to have the visa process as easy as possible for visitors to enter countries without compromising on smart security; and lower the visa fees as much as possible — or even consider eliminating them.
Entering Bahrain and Mozambique are two examples of costly visas and unnecessary harassment which soured my experiences in those two countries enough to the point of where I would be just fine if I never visited them again.
Idealistically, I would really like to see the day where you and I can travel anywhere in the world with few to no impediments; but with human nature being the way it is, I know that will not happen anytime soon — if at all…
…but at least the world is getting closer towards that goal — even if it is only at a glacial pace…
All photographs ©2005, ©2015 and ©2016 by Brian Cohen.