A U.S. Citizen’s Guide to Soccer World Cup 2014 in Brazil

2014 World Cup fever is in full stride. This year’s world cup takes place in Brazil from June 12 through July 13, 2014. Whether you’re cheering on your home country or love to root for one of the many other nations competing for the cup. There’s nothing quite like watching the action from the stadium and being part of the World Cup crowd.

Joining the Crowd to Watch World Cup 2014 in Brazil

Getting to Brazil can be problematic if you don’t have the right documentation. In order to visit Brazil, U.S. citizens need two important items.

  1. A U.S. Passport
  2. A Brazilian Visa

First, you must have a U.S. Passport. You cannot get into Brazil without one, nor can you return to the U.S. without one. It’s a piece of documentation that serves as proof of citizenship for the U.S. and Brazilian authorities.

Second, you must also have a visa in order to gain entrance into Brazil. A Brazilian visa offers temporary authorization to visit the country. The visa comes in the form of a stamp or sticker on the passport. Much like what some states offer as DMV endorsements for motorcycle drivers.

Getting the Documentation

There are essentially three ways U.S. citizens can obtain a U.S. passport. Each of these methods presents its own strengths and weaknesses.

U.S. Post Offices

Many community post offices offer passport services. Check online to find the nearest post office that offers passport services and apply early. Try to do it months in advance of your planned trip, if your intention is to get a passport from the post office.

The U.S. Department of State recommends applying a minimum of four to six weeks ahead of the planned trip. However, for major events such as World Cup Soccer or Olympic Games, it is wise to plan even further ahead if possible.

Expedited passport services are available from the post office, for an additional fee. Expedited passport services generally shave about half the time off your wait. Delivery is approximately two to three weeks instead of four to six.

Travel visas, on the other hand, require anywhere between 2 and 30 days and are not issues by the U.S. Postal Service.

Regional Agencies

Regional Passport agencies are often necessary for people traveling out the country with little notice (two weeks or less). Also, these agencies require appointments and an additional expediting fee. You’ll also need to include evidence of your travel plans (copies of tickets, etc.) with your paperwork. Don’t forget to use express delivery options. Also, pay the additional expedited service and overnight delivery fees in order to get the documentation on time.

Private Passport Expediting Services

For most travelers facing a significant time element, the World Cup lasts only a month. This is often the best time to visit Brazil and have some fun. You have someone else in charge of getting you all the travel documentation you need in order to travel to Brazil, enter the country, and return home, to the U.S., afterwards.

There is an additional fee above the normal passport and expediting fee. However, there is a certain peace of mind in knowing that someone else is dealing with the details of obtaining your passport and the necessary Brazilian visa for you.

If you choose the right passport expediting company, you’ll discover that you may also have the documents hand-delivered to you at the airport if necessary in order to accommodate your travel needs.

All that’s left is to find your way around Brazil and enjoy the games. Consider making copies of all passports, visas, credit cards, etc. and leaving them, along with any other cash you don’t need when leaving your room in the hotel safe. Additionally, you might be interested in obtaining a International Driver’s License so you can rent a car and drive around during your stay. Don’t forget to learn a few key Portuguese phrases so you can get directions during your visit.

Other than that, be prepared to cheer on your favorite team with gusto. Wear your fan gear with pride and have an amazing experience unlike any other.