While US citizens traveling abroad will still need to obtain visas to visit certain countries, there are two visa-related changes for 2016 worthy of note. One is a change in the number of pages dedicated to visas in US passports. The other is a visa exemption expected for travel to Brazil for the 2016 Olympics.
No More Extra Visa Pages in US Passports
Frequent travelers will want to note the US Department of State will stop adding extra visa pages to US passports starting on Jan. 1, 2016. US passport holders previously had the option of paying for an additional 24 pages to be added to their passport for visa stamps when their existing pages ran out. Now they’ll be required to purchase a whole new passport.
When ordering a new passport, you do have the option of choosing one with either 28 pages or 52 pages, with the latter designed for travelers who consistently rack up loads of visa stamps. Just something to keep in mind if your passport pages are getting low or you’ll otherwise be looking to order a new passport in the near future.
No Visas Required for Olympic Travel to Brazil
Brazil has been taking a hit in tourism since they tightened visa requirements, particularly for US travelers, following worldwide security measures enacted after Sept. 11, 2001. While US travelers still need a visa to travel to Brazil for business or pleasure, they have a tad fewer hoops to jump through than they did when Brazil visas required fingerprints back in 2004.
Tourists intending to head to Brazil for the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics may have absolutely no hoops to jump through when it comes to visas, thanks to a bill sanctioned by Brazil President Dilma Rousseff in November. The bill gives the Ministries of Tourism and Foreign Relations the power to exempt entrance visas to tourists heading to Rio de Janeiro for the games.
While citizens from countries known for migratory or national security risks may still need visas to enter, citizens from the US, Canada, Japan and Australia are expected to be exempt. It was unclear when the visa requirement exemptions would begin, but the exemptions would be in place until Sept. 18, 2016, and valid for 90 days.
The lifting of visa requirements is expected to help boost Brazil tourism during the Olympics by up to 20 percent, according to The Rio Times.
For expedited visas, passports, or additional travel-related questions, feel free to check out the Swift website. Swift is here to do what we can to make your travel easier.
Laurie Lee is co-founder and CEO of Swift Passport and Visa Services. A Chicago native, Laurie loves adventure travel, especially to the Caribbean. She enjoys writing for the Swift Post, as well as for her personal blog, Spare Parts- www.sparebodyparts.com.