Landing in Brazil without an outgoing flight
We have been in Brazil for a week and a half now, and even though our travels begun six weeks ago, the real intrepid traveler feeling is only now slowly setting in. Unfortunately our first four weeks in Asia were peppered with various worries for us. The key worries were the riots in Bangkok and also entering Brazil without an outgoing flight.
Rob begun following the escalating protests in Bangkok a fortnight before we were to leave for Thailand. It was beginning to get more and more violent as the Thai’s approached the election on the 2nd February, the day we were to land in Bangkok. We contemplated moving our flight back, forward, even to land in a differing part of South East Asia, but in the end we stood our ground (much like the protestors) and followed our original itinerary, ignoring the mentions of a “Bangkok shutdown”. We were in the end unaffected by the protesting, however it was constantly on our mind as we were eventually to fly out of Bangkok and on to Rio and with our bags in storage in Bangkok, we had to get back there.
A couple of weeks before our Bangkok to Rio flight we also begun researching any issues we may have with landing in Brazil without a flight out of the country within the 90 days we are automatically granted being on Kiwi passports. Our plans are really flexible as it is, meaning we have not really decided when or where we will be going post Brazil, and intend on just following where the wind and our Lonely Planet guide takes us. With my family living in Rio and that being our base and our eventual plan to move on to Canada from there in about July, we really had no hard evidence we would be leaving Brazil within three months. Not only were we worried about immigration in Brazil refusing us entry but we were also worried about the airline doing its due diligence and not allowing us on the plane without the appropriate exit plan.
We talked it over extensively and found we had several options.
- Book a flight out of Brazil within the three months ensuring it was a flexible and fully refundable ticket – these tickets are more expensive than your usual flights, so you will need to be prepared to fork out the money on the spot and perhaps not see it back for awhile until the refund is processed
- Book our flight out to Canada within the three months, ensuring it was a flexible ticket however pushing it out to July once we were in the country – but with no actual clear idea of dates we may well end up having to shuffle this flight around numerous times.
- Do nothing and hope for the best, we do have our Inca Trail trek deposit paid for in June, indicating that we would be in Peru by then and also have our Canadian visa acceptance letters to prove our eventual intention is to work in Canada.
- Book a cheap flight out of Brazil to anywhere! The obvious solution, alas these types of tickets do not exist and low budget airlines that fly internationally in South America are nonexistent.
- Use an online booking website and either put an outgoing flight on hold, or get to the very last page before payment and print this out hoping that officials won’t actually check whether the flight has been paid for – we found other people online had used this method, but I was a little nervous using this blatant method.
- Book a bus out of Brazil – once again an obvious solution however you require a CPF (a number issued to residents by the Brazilian revenue agency – which tourists can apply for if required) so we were unable to book a bus online ourselves.
Eventually we went with a mixture of 3,5 and 6. We felt we had plenty of proof, albeit our four suitcases that we weren’t there to settle in Brazil and were in fact tourists. We put an outgoing flight with Copa Airlines, which are one of the lower budget airlines, and who we will probably eventually fly to Canada with, on hold for 72 hours. The confirmation we were emailed looked almost identical to a fully paid for itinerary, and there was only a small line about needing to make payment and we also booked a bus trip with Crucero del Norte from Foz Du Iguazu to Asuncion Paraguay. This was such a great find as the ticket was only 105 Argentinian pesos (about $15AUD) and we also did not require a CPF, fantastic!
In the end we were not asked to provide any proof of outgoing flights, and they happily waved us through with a stamp of the passport. I would recommend thinking about your options however as with doing the research we did we did read of others who have not been so lucky.
We feel so much more relaxed now that we are here in South America, we made it through the long haul journey across the world and it is now up to us to make this trip awesome. We are currently on Ilha Grande, and it is fantastic!!!! A fresh post on the island to come in the near future.