RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil.- Foreigners who visit Brazil during the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 will not need a visa to enter the country, according to a law approved by Congress seeking to encourage tourism during the event.

The law, which has already passed through the House of Representatives, was approved in last resort by the full Senate and now only depends on the approval of the Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, whose government started the initiative, to go into force.

The law benefits tourists who enter Brazil between June 1 and septiembre 18, 2016, and who request permission to remain 90 days. The period works for those who visit Brazilian territory during the Olympics, to be held in August, as well as for the Paralympic Games, scheduled for September.

Brazil has bilateral agreements for visa extentions with 82 countries, but the list doesn´t include countries with an important number of tourists, primarily the United States, Japan and China, countries that demand visas for Brazilians. For this reason, in these cases the South American country applies the Brazilian policy of reciprocity.

Despite initiatives from the tourism sector to not demand visas for U.S. tourists under any circumstances, the Ministry claims it cannot make an exception to its reciprocity policy.

With or without a ticket

The passed law clarifies that the unilateral decision taken by Brazil to not demand a visa is not conditioned on the visitor showing tickets for the competitions or Olympic events.

According to the ministry, eliminating the requirement for a visa will allow Brazil to receive a higher number of tourists than those who came during the World Cup last year, and will increase expenditures by foreigners during the period by up to 60%.

The law looks mainly to boost the number of tourists from the United States, with nearly 200,000 expected to arrive for the Olympic Games. Likewise, a large number of Chinese tourists is expected, making approval of this law to facilitate the arrival of tourists into the Brazilian country highly important.

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