I didn’t have time before my trip began to get my Brazilian (visa, not wax), but I figured with all this time in Sydney, it was sure to be a breeze. Then a few days ago, I went online to find out to my horror that no, it would not be a breeze in fact. First, you have to gather a list of things a mile long (application form, passport photo, bank statements, money order for $208, and verified itinerary) and then make an in person appointment where you will deliver all of these items AND turn over your passport for a minimum of 15 days. I thought I would just make it in time, when I noticed that the first available appointment to book was weeks away, AFTER I was to leave Sydney. And the website contains a lot of very strict language about how they will not expedite shit, for nobody, no how. So I started to worry a bit and thought that perhaps I would have to re-route myself somewhere outside of Brazil. But before doing that, I thought what the hell, I would give them a call. In case you are thinking of doing the same while here in Sydney and in need of some Brazilian service the consulate provides, let me save you some time: don’t bother. There is no human being you can talk to on this line, I must have pushed every button in the damn phone tree. My final option was to send them an email, which I thought totally laughable. I have never gotten prompt or good service via email from any government organization anywhere in the world. But it was my last shot, so I sent them an email explaining my situation and asking them to bend their very strict rules. I thought my chances were between 0.0 and 0.0137 percent.
Are you sitting down? About an hour later, I received a reply telling me to come to the consulate two days later with all the items mentioned above and they would indeed expedite my request. So I carefully gathered and printed all the things they had asked for in the attachment to the email, and made my way to the consulate this morning, and asked for one Mr. Geraldo referenced in the email. After about an hour of waiting, he finally saw me and looked over all my documents and told me there were two items still missing, the email itself printed out (who knew I would need that as well) and a special mailing envelope to send me my passport. Wait, I asked, “Why can’t I just come pick it up?”. Apparently you can only pick up if you go through the “normal” channels. The expedited process requires mailing. I helpfully pointed out that this seemed counter intuitive, but Mr. Geraldo was in no mood to discuss workplace efficiencies, so I ran out and returned 40 minutes later (and $20 poorer) with the final two items. I am glad I saved the tracking number from the express envelope, because I will be able to track it online. And apparently, they have already processed and sent it off, because the tracking shows it was received by the post office at day’s end.
So very soon I should have my visa, and apparently they have changed rules in the last few years and the visas are now good for 10 years (instead of 30 days). For all the hassle, this was easier than the last time I did this, I guess. By a smidge.