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U.S. Travel Association Hails Opportunity to Expand Travel With BrazilApril 10, 2012 By: George Dooley Travel Agent
The U.S. Travel Association remains optimistic about expanding travel with Brazil. It applauded President Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff for committing to work together so that Brazil meets the requirements for entrance into the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Additionally, the association hailed an announcement that consulates would soon be opened in Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre.
“We applaud Presidents Obama and Rousseff for their commitment to facilitating visa-free travel, and we are greatly encouraged to hear the State Department is opening two new consulates in Brazil,” said Roger Dow, president and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association.
“Brazilians who come to the U.S. are walking stimulus packages, and today’s announcement positions the U.S. for additional jobs and economic growth. We look forward to Brazil quickly satisfying the requirements for the Visa Waiver Program,” Dow said.
Citizens from VWP countries may visit the U.S. for 90 days without obtaining a non-immigrant visitor visa. To participate in the VWP, countries must be certified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as meeting stringent security standards.
The U.S. is a top destination for Brazilians, U.S. Travel said, welcoming 1,198,000 travelers in 2010 that spent on average $4,940 while in the U.S.
President Obama announced a directive earlier this year to accelerate the processing of visas in Brazil by 40 percent in 2012.
Additionally, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the State Department would open new consulates in Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre, U.S.Travel said.
To match increasing demand, the State Department has successfully worked to reduce visa interview wait times in Brazil, U.S.Travel says. It has also committed to adding processing capacity by investing $40 million in existing facilities in Brazil, increasing consular staffing and streamlining the visa process.
Expansion of the VWP and additional consulates were two of U.S. Travel’s recommendations in its May 2011 report on the U.S. visa system.