Brazil Visa Waiver - Florida Needs This Now, When Will U.S. Visa Waiver Program Include Brazil?
Brazil's investment in Florida, particularly South Florida, is growing, exploding really, and every Brazilian investor in real estate here in Florida is most welcome - particularly as we combat the Great Recession.
So it may be shocking for many to realize that while the Florida state government is taking major steps to welcome foreign investors here - Washington is lagging far behind particularly when it comes to easing the access of Brazilians to Florida and elsewhere in the United States.
Brazil is still excluded from the Visa Waiver Program
The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens from 36 different countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for up to three months (90 days) without having to go through the time-consuming and expensive process of getting a U.S. visa. The Visa Waiver Program was created to encourage travel from these 36 countries by both business folk and tourists in these nations. (For a list of the 36 countries included in the VWP, see the list at the end of this post.)
Today, Brazil remains excluded from this federal program, although (as reported by Time Magazine last month) Brazil currently enjoys the reputation of being the largest economy in all of Latin America. Time quotes the head of the U.S. Travel Association as opining at a California conference that concerns over homeland security since 9-11 have meant that a lot of economic opportunity has been lost -- to the tune of over $600 billion dollars lost in the past decade, and almost half a million jobs.
According to Time's sources, if Brazil and Chile were both included in the VWP now, the USA would see twice the number of visitors from those two Latin American countries in just this next year, bringing with them $10.3 billion in new tourism revenue and fostering the creation of almost 100,000 new American jobs.
Ten billion dollars in one year coming into the United States sounds smart and easy enough to do, right?
Council on Foreign Relations Task Force Recommendations Include Brazil in VWP
As Forbes Magazine reported a couple of weeks back, over at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) an independent task force has just issued a press release with its recommendations regarding Brazil - US relations, reporting that “to understand Brazil as a complex international actor whose influence on the defining global issues of the day is only likely to increase,” and it is in the best interests of the United States both economically and politically to build a closer relationship with this growing Latin America powerhouse. (Read the full press release from the CFR here.)
Among the CFR Task Force recommendations: expediting the inclusion of Brazil into the Visa Waiver Program.
Congressional Action Needed
There have been rumors of a bill making its way through the House and/or Senate to fix this problem, placing Brazil into the Visa Waiver Program. Congress isn't rushing.
Maybe Congress needs to rethink this. And maybe business interests in South Florida that are interested in helping visitors, tourists, and investors from Brazil come to Florida as easily as those from Italy, Japan, or New Zealand - without the time and expense Brazilians now face - should write their Congressional representatives and Senators to let them know that Brazil's inclusion in the Visa Waiver Program should be made a priority.
Those countries currently in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program are:
- New Zealand
- San Marino
- Czech Republic
- South Korea
- the Netherlands
- United Kingdom