Fire and rescue services
Call 192 or go to a hospital.
Call 190 or go to the local police station.
Full travel advice: Safety
Full travel advice: Health
Full travel advice: Local laws
Brazil’s annual Carnival festivals will take place in Rio de Janeiro from 21 to 26 February 2020. Some festival events also occur in the weeks before and after the event. Expect large crowds and an increase of foreign visitors to Brazil, particularly to the larger cities. Be alert to your personal security.
You don't need a visa to enter Brazil for tourism, business, transit or artistic and sporting activities. For other types of visit, apply for a visa through an embassy or consulate of Brazil.
Full travel advice: Travel
Full travel advice: Local contacts
Violent crime, often using weapons, is common, especially in large cities.
Travellers are targeted, especially before and during festivals such as Carnaval.
Common crimes include:
Muggings and other violent crimes are common in and around:
In Rio de Janeiro, hotspots for robbery include:
Military forces in Rio de Janeiro are there for public security, but their focus is on organised crime.
Crime levels in shanty towns, or 'favelas', and many satellite cities are especially high.
GPS navigation by car, taxi and rideshare service can lead you into favelas. This exposes you to the risk of theft and violence.
Crimes relating to drug trafficking and illicit goods are common along Brazil's western and northern border areas. Affected areas include:
To protect yourself from violent crime:
Always be alert and pay attention to your safety.
To reduce your risks while taking taxis:
To stay safe while driving and guard against carjacking:
If you're carjacked, robbed or attacked, don't resist. Thieves are often armed and could injure or kill you.
If you're a victim of violent crime, including rape, seek immediate medical help. The risk of HIV/AIDS is high.
'Express kidnapping' is a risk. When this happens, people are abducted for a short time. Kidnappers want a quick payment from the victim's family, business or ATM cards before releasing them. Kidnappers often leave people in a remote area.
If you're left in a remote area after a kidnapping, alert the authorities. Find the nearest safe area, home or business and ask for help.
The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it doesn't make payments or concessions to kidnappers.
The Venezuelan Government has re-opened its land border with Brazil.
There's an increased risk of violent protest and unrest in this border region.
Large-scale protests are common. Public protests and events that draw large crowds can turn violent.
Authorities use tear gas and other riot-control measures.
Demonstrations and protests often interrupt traffic and public transport.
Airport and public transport strikes happen, especially during major events or key holidays. This can cause long travel delays.
During periods of unrest:
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
Major events are attractive targets for terrorists.
To protect yourself from terrorism:
If there's an attack, leave the affected area straight away if you can.
Avoid the affected area after an attack in case there are secondary attacks.
Many beaches, including in Rio de Janeiro and Fortaleza, have strong, dangerous rips.
Shark attacks are possible, especially at many north-eastern beaches. Obey warning signs.
Crime is a risk at many beaches.
Brazil experiences severe droughts and flooding.
If there's a natural disaster:
Register with the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System to receive alerts on major disasters.
The wet season is from December to March.
Landslides, flooding and flash flooding can happen, including in:
It's common for severe storms to delay domestic and international flights.
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won't pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many thousands of dollars up-front for medical care.
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Brazil. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
Carry a copy of your prescription and a dated letter from your doctor stating:
Insect-borne diseases are a serious risk in Brazil.
There's a yellow fever outbreak in Brazil. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal virus spread by mosquitoes. It's prevented by vaccination.
In 2018, yellow fever cases were reported in the states of Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, and the Federal District.
Local yellow fever vaccine supplies are not always available.
Get vaccinated against yellow fever at least 10 days before you go.
You may need to show a valid yellow fever vaccination certificatebefore youre allowed to board your flight to Australia or other countries.
Zika virus is common.
If you're pregnant, the Australian Department of Health advises you to:
Malaria is a high risk throughout Brazil.
Other insect-borne diseases include:
The risk is higher during the wet seasons from May to August and November to January.
To protect yourself from disease:
Consider taking medication to prevent malaria.
Get medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.
HIV/AIDS is a significant risk. Take precautions if you're taking part in activities that put you at risk of infection.
There's a measles outbreak in Brazil.
Foodborne, waterborne and other infectious diseases are common, including:
Serious outbreaks sometimes occur.
To protect yourself from illness:
If you're bitten or scratched by an animal, get medical help straight away.
Make sure your vaccinations are up to date.
Don't swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to waterborne diseases, such as bilharzia (schistosomiasis).
Get medical help if you have a fever or diarrhoea.
The standard of private hospitals in major cities is similar to Australia.
Medical services at public hospitals in Brazil are often limited.
Other larger cities have small private hospitals providing adequate services. Facilities can be limited outside major cities.
Treatment at private clinics and hospitals is expensive.
Doctors and hospitals often expect cash payment before treating you, including for emergency care.
If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need to be evacuated to a larger city with proper care. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Brazil has severe penalties for possession of or trafficking illegal drugs. These include long sentences in local jails.
By law, you must always carry your passport or identification the Brazilian Government has issued. Carry a photocopy of your passport with some original identification, such as your driver's licence.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you're overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Under Brazilian law, Australian-Brazilian dual nationals must enter and exit Brazil using their Brazilian passport.
If you're a dual national male over 18, you'll have to do military service if you stay in Brazil for 12 months.
Contact a Brazilian embassy or consulate for advice.
Same-sex relationships are legal, but aren't always accepted. Avoid public displays of affection.
You don't need a visa to enter Brazil for:
You can stay in Brazil for 90 days over a 12-month period. This will be counted from the date of your first entry to Brazil. You can also extend your stay for another 90 days.
In other cases, apply for your visa through an embassy or consulate of Brazil.
If you plan to live in Brazil, you'll need to get a visa before arrival. The Brazilian Government strongly enforces immigration and entry laws.
If you need a visa and arrive without one, authorities will send you back on the next available flight.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact an embassy or consulate of Brazil for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.
If you travel through the US, you must meet US entry and transit requirements.
Check with your nearest embassy or consulate of the United States for visa requirements before you travel.
When you arrive, authorities will stamp your passport. This may be inspected by immigration authorities when you leave.
If you plan to leave Brazil and return during your trip, get an exit stamp in your passport from Brazilian immigration when you leave.
You may need a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate to enter Brazil. Some airlines may want to see one when you leave.
Find out about returning to Australia after exposure to yellow fever.
A Brazilian child travelling alone or with 1 parent must carry a letter authorising travel from the non-travelling parent(s). This includes dual-national children.
The letter must be written in Portuguese. The Brazilian Embassy or Consulate in Australia or the Juvenile Court in Brazil must certify it. There are offices of the Juvenile Court at all airports in Brazil.
Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
The local currency is the Brazilian Real (BRL).
Declare amounts over BRL10,000 (or foreign currency equivalent) when you arrive and depart. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash.
US dollars are the easiest to exchange.
Credit cards are widely accepted.
Banking facilities, such as ATMs, EFTPOS and credit card machines, may be unreliable.
Withdrawing money can be difficult even if the ATM displays the Cirrus or Maestro logo. You may need to try several ATMs.
Ask your bank if your ATM card will work and if it has an affiliate bank in Brazil.
Credit card fraud and ATM tampering are widespread. Check your bank statements for unauthorised charges.
To combat fraud and theft, many ATMs and banks don't allow withdrawals on foreign cards of more than BRL400 per day. The amount may be smaller after hours.
You're at risk of becoming lost or injured while trekking in remote parts of Brazil. This includes the Amazon border regions and the Pantanal wetlands.
Use an experienced guide.
To drive in Brazil, you need both:
You must get your IDP before leaving Australia.
You're 4 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident in Brazil than in Australia.
Hazards on the road include:
Stoplights are often not obeyed, especially at night in larger cities. Don't assume cars will stop.
Carjacking and other vehicle-related crimes are common.
Driving in Rio de Janeiro is especially dangerous. See Safety
If you plan to drive:
If you're in an accident:
See Local contacts
Check if your insurance policy covers you when using a motorbike, quad bike or similar vehicle.
Always wear a helmet.
Use only registered taxis and limousines, preferably arranged through your hotel. This is due to the high risk of crime.
Don't use unofficial taxis or hail a taxi off the street.
Rideshare apps are available.
Most airports have licensed taxi desks inside the baggage reclaim areas.
You can pay for your taxi in advance using a credit card or cash inside the airport.
Brazil has a well-developed network of inter-city buses.
Travel can be risky due to poor vehicle maintenance, local driving habits and petty crime.
Be alert when using public transport, especially during busy times and at night.
Criminals often work in gangs robbing people gathered in the same place. Public transport hubs can be hotspots.
People have reported hijacking and robbery of tour buses in recent years.
International cruise liners visit Brazil.
Commercial riverboats are common in some parts. Keep your belongings close.
Tourist operators often use basic vessels for river outings in jungle areas.
Always wear a life jacket.
Piracy happens, particularly in the north-east. Pirates have also attacked cruise ships on the Amazon River.
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) issues piracy reports on its website.
Domestic and international flights delays are common. Airport strikes also happen.
Ask your travel agent if your itinerary allows for delays.
Be prepared for the possibility of extended waits at airports.
If you need to make or change airline bookings while in Brazil, make sure your payment method will be accepted.
LATAM, Brazil's major airline, only allows you to use foreign credit cards online on its international website.
Other airlines such as GOL, Azul may not accept foreign credit cards on their websites.
Travel and tour agents may also have restrictions. You may need to pay cash at the airline office or ask your Australian travel provider.
DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Check Brazil's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
Call 192 or go to a hospital.
Call 190 or go to the local police station.
Operators may not speak English.
Tourist Police who speak English are available in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and at some major airports.
Rio de Janeiro Special Police Unit for Tourism Support
Av. Afrânio de Melo Franco
159 – Leblon, Rio de Janeiro – RJ
Phone: (+21) 2334 6802 or (+21) 2332 2924
São Paulo Tourist Police
Phone: (+11) 3120 4167
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.
For consular help, contact the Australian Embassy in Brasilia, the Australian Consulate-General in São Paulo or the Australian Honorary Consulate in Rio de Janeiro.
The Honorary Consulate in Rio de Janeiro provides only limited consular services.
SES QD 801
Conjunto K, Lote 07
BSB, DF 70200-010
Phone: (+55 61) 3226 3111
Facebook: Embaixada da Austrália no Brasil
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
Edificio Trianon Corporate – Cerqueira Cesar
Alamenda Santos 700
9th Floor, Unit 92
São Paulo, 01418 100, Brazil
Phone: (+55 11) 2112 6215
Fax: (+55 11) 3171 2889
Veirano e Advogados Associados
Av. Presidente Wilson, 231, 23rd Floor
Rio de Janeiro, RJ 20030-021, Brazil
Phone: (+55 21) 3824 4624
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
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