President Jair Bolsonaro decided to exempt United States citizens from having to apply for a visa to travel to Brazil.
The measure is a friendly gesture that Bolsonaro intends to show Donald Trump during the Brazilian president's trip to the United States. The exemption will also apply to visitors from Australia, Canada, and Japan.
They will be no longer needing a visa to travel to Brazil for leisure, business, in transit or to perform in sports or artistic events. It will also apply to people "under extraordinary circumstances regarding Brazilian interests."
The exemption will take effect on June 17th.
Previously, Americans, Australians, Canadians, and Japanese citizens were required to apply for visas in the Brazilian consulates in their countries. The requirement was based on the principle of reciprocity since Brazilian citizens who travel to these countries are also required to apply for a visa.
Bolsonaro made the decision on his own, which means that Brazilians will still be required visas to travel to the US, Australia, Canada, and Japan. The government argues that the measure will benefit Brazil's tourism industry because tourists from these countries are considered to be high-income visitors with low risk of illegal immigrating to Brazil.
A similar temporary measure was adopted during the 2016 Olympics, also to encourage international travel to Brazil for the games.
However, the one-sided exemption has always faced resistance inside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs because Brazilian diplomats still argued that this measure should come accompanied with a similar gesture from the other country.
Translated by NATASHA MADOV