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Brazil – Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Brazil due to high crime rates and regular incidents of gang-related and other violence in urban areas.
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Safety and security
COVID-19 – Preventative measures and restrictions
COVID-19 preventative measures and restrictions are still in effect in some destinations.
These could include:
- curfews, movement restrictions, or lockdowns
- mandatory mask use
- required proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test result to access public and private services and spaces
Before travelling, verify if specific restrictions or requirements are still in effect.
Foreign Representatives in Canada
Crime is a serious problem throughout Brazil. Crime rates are highest in urban centres, particularly in areas adjacent to impoverished neighbourhoods of:
- Rio de Janeiro
- São Paulo
Foreign tourists are most commonly affected by theft but incidents of violent crime have also occurred, due to the high prevalence of guns coupled with the willingness of criminals and police to resort to violence. To avoid becoming a victim of crime, be aware of your surroundings at all times and follow the security directives of local authorities.
Street crime, including pickpocketing, purse snatching and theft from cars, is common in Brazil’s large cities. Tourists are a favourite target.
Petty theft on buses and the metro is common. It is a significant concern in Recife.
Incidents of opportunistic crime increase significantly at large-scale sporting events, international conferences and during holidays such as the Carnival and New Year’s celebrations.
Flash mob robberies (arrastões) have occurred sporadically on Rio’s city beaches and in other crowded tourist areas. This type of crime involves a group of thieves (often young children and youth originating from nearby favelas) that swarm an area and snatch valuable items such as cash, jewellery and cell phones.
A common ruse used by criminals is the Good Samaritan scam, where a criminal offers to help a tourist who looks lost. If you are lost, go into a nearby business or hotel to ask for help.
- Ensure that your personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
- Remain vigilant when visiting tourist destinations such as:
- outdoor markets
- hotel grounds
- bars and nightclubs
- airports and bus stations
- Avoid showing signs of affluence such as expensive jewellery, watches, clothing and bags
- Carry only small amounts of cash
- Keep cameras and portable electronic devices concealed
- Be aware of ploys to distract your attention
- Remain cautious with new acquaintances who ask for information or offer hospitality or assistance
- Book tours with reliable agencies
Armed robberies occur regularly, even during the day. They are a growing concern at restaurants, particularly in larger cities. Hold-ups can occur on Brazil’s trains. Assaults are frequently perpetrated in unofficial taxis.
Incidents of sexual assault against male and female foreigners have been reported, sometimes involving the use of sedatives.
Victims have been seriously injured or killed when resisting perpetrators, who may be armed or under the influence of drugs.
- Exercise a high degree of caution at all times
- Avoid travelling alone, especially at night
- Avoid parks or central (downtown) areas of major cities
- Avoid poorly lit and isolated streets
- Avoid walking on isolated and unsupervised beaches with poor visibility from the sidewalk
- If you are threatened by robbers, don’t resist.
Express kidnappings, although rare, occur throughout the country, particularly in larger cities. Victims are picked up from the street, usually at night, and forced to withdraw funds from ATMs.
- Use only ATMs in well-lit public areas
- Restrict withdrawals during day hours
- Be discrete when putting your money in your wallet
Borders with Colombia and Venezuela
There is a concerning level of serious criminal activity by organized criminal groups along the border areas with countries bordering Brazil, particularly Colombia and Venezuela. Incidents of attacks on tourists and kidnapping have occurred. Be extremely cautious when crossing into bordering countries.
Favelas are impoverished, urban neighbourhoods where crime levels are high. Gang-related violence is prevalent due to the presence of organized crime and drugs.
Police operations in favelas have led to retaliation by criminal gangs. Armed clashes and shootouts between police forces and alleged criminals regularly occur. As a result, there is an increased rate of violence everywhere. Targets have included police stations, buses, official buildings and businesses. Incidents have occurred on major thoroughfares, including the highway to and from the Galeão Antônio Carlos Jobim International Airport in Rio.
There is a risk of violence spilling over into nearby, affluent neighbourhoods and tourist destinations. There have been incidents of injuries and deaths as a result of stray bullets near, and in, favelas. Police assistance in these areas is very limited.
- Don’t visit favelas
- Don’t rent accommodations located in a favela
Credit card and ATM fraud is a major problem. Be cautious when using debit or credit cards:
- pay careful attention when your cards are being handled by others
- use ATMs located in well-lit public areas or inside a bank or business
- avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
- cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
- check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements
Cybercrime is also a growing problem. Perpetrators monitor social media sites and eavesdrop on your conversations when you are in the country.
- Do not discuss travel plans or any other personal information within earshot of strangers
- Be cautious when posting information on social media
- Be particularly vigilant in internet cafes
More about overseas fraud
Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
Live piracy report – International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre
Demonstrations and elections
The second round of presidential elections will take place on October 30, 2022.
Demonstrations could occur before, during and after the elections.
Demonstrations take place regularly. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
Protests can cause delays along the main roads to airports, such as to the Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo. Demonstrations tend to increase in frequency and intensity during major events that attract foreign visitors.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
More about mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.
- Avoid travelling alone at night
- Avoid carrying purses
Safe-travel guide for women
Spiked food and drinks
Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.
The use of sedatives to facilitate robberies of personal belongings has been reported on beaches in Rio and in crowded restaurants in São Paulo.
- Never leave your belongings unattended o
n city beaches
- Ask for drinks coming from sealed bottles or cans instead of in plastics glasses
- In restaurants, avoid sitting close to the entrance
Coastal waters can be dangerous.
- Swim or surf in areas where lifeguards are located
- Avoid swimming where there are strong currents
- Be wary of sharks, especially in Brazil’s north east near Recife
- Follow the instructions and warnings of local authorities.
Robberies are frequent and occur in tourist destinations, including on hiking trails. Be especially cautious on the Corcovado trail in Rio, where several robberies have happened.
If you intend on trekking:
- never do so alone
- always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
- buy travel insurance
- ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
- ensure that you’re properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
- inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back
- obtain detailed information on trekking routes before setting out
ensure the trail doesn’t pass through a favela
- do not venture off marked trail
Amazon border regions and the Pantanal wetlands are largely uninhabited and dangerous areas.
Travel in these regions only with trained guides.
The subway systems in Rio and in São Paulo are generally safe during the day. Be extremely cautious using public transportation at night
Bus accidents occur regularly.
Major bus stations charge fixed, pre-paid rates.
Do not use public vans.
Local law requires the use of the taxi meter to determine the legal fare. Adding surcharges to a fare is illegal.
Should taxi rates change and their taxi meters have not been adjusted, drivers may indicate these changes by showing an authorized paper with the new fares.
Many tourists hire “radio taxis”, also known as “commun taxis.” These taxis operate at a fixed price irrespective of the time of the day and the time it takes to arrive at your destination.
- Only use official taxis
- Upon arrival to Brazil, purchase your fare from licensed taxi offices in the airport arrival hall or near the taxi queues
- During your stay, use licensed taxis from taxi stands
Brazil has one of the highest road accident rates in the world.
Road conditions are generally acceptable in large cities but badly maintained in the rest of the country. Poor signage and construction also pose a hazard.
Drivers do not respect traffic laws. Drivers are extremely aggressive and reckless and often drive at excessive speeds.
At night, it is common for drivers to treat red lights as stop signs to protect against hold-ups at intersections. Pedestrians and motorists proceeding through green lights during these hours should be particularly cautious.
- Be careful when stopping on the side of any highway because of traffic
- Be careful of motorbikes when changing lanes
- When driving in the city, pay particular attention to your surroundings while waiting at traffic lights
- If you feel threatened at any time, do not stop
- If you are in a traffic accident, call the police immediately
- Never confront the driver of another vehicle
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General information about foreign domestic airlines
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Entry and exit requirements
COVID-19 – Entry, exit and transit restrictions and requirements
Most governments have implemented special entry and exit restrictions and requirements for their territory due to COVID-19. These measures can be imposed suddenly and may include:
- entry or exit bans
- mandatory proof of vaccination or COVID-19 testing
- suspensions or reductions of international transportation options
Foreign authorities might not recognize or accept proof of vaccination issued by Canadian provinces and territories. You may need to obtain a translation, a notarization, an authentication, or the legalization of the document.
- verify if the local authorities of both your current location and destinations have implemented any restrictions or requirements related to this situation
- consider even your transit points, as there are transit rules in place in many destinations
- monitor the media for the latest information
- reconfirm the requirements with your airline or tour operator
The situation could disrupt your travel plans. You should not depend on the Government of Canada for assistance to change your travel plans.
- Travel restrictions and health requirements – United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and International Air Transport Association (IATA)
- Foreign Representatives in Canada
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Brazilian authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Brazil.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
- Foreign Representatives in Canada
- Canadian passports
Tourist visa: not required for stays of up to 90 days
Business visa: not required for stays of up to 90 days without remuneration
Student visa: not required for stays of up to 90 days
Length of stay
A tourist stay can be granted for up to 90 days. The permitted length of stay for tourists is determined by the immigration officer upon entry.
If you intend to stay more than 90 days, you must obtain an extension from the Federal Police for a maximum stay of 180 days per period of 12 months.
To request a visa extension, you will have to:
- request such an extension prior to the expiration of the authorized stay
- provide your detailed (long-form) birth certificate
In order for your Canadian long form birth certificate to be accepted in Brazil, it must be presented to the Brazilian Embassy or one of its consulates prior to departure from Canada. Neither the Embassy of Canada nor its consulates in Brazil can authenticate a Canadian birth certificate outside of Canada.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
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Natural disasters and climate
The rainy seasons extend from:
- January to July in the north
- November to March in the south and south east
- April to July in the north east
Flash floods and landslides can occur and hamper overland travel. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged. Travel conditions on mountain roads and on highways leading to beaches can be dangerous.
Seasonal flooding can also reduce the provision of essential services.
More about hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and monsoons
Brasilia and the interior of the country experiences extreme dry periods between June and September. Humidity levels can drop below 10% and heat levels rise significantly.
Stay informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
A severe drought is affecting the south east of Brazil.
The water supply in São Paulo, including to the city of São Paulo, has been significantly affected. Some areas of São Paulo are experiencing water shortages, and the water quality has diminished.
Use only bottled water for drinking and cooking.
Bush and forest fires are common between May to September, particularly in Brasilia.
The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke. In case of a major fire:
- stay away from the affected area, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
- follow the instructions of local emergency services personnel
- monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation
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