Get passport stamped in Brazil to avoid fine

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 March, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 March, 1996, 12:00am

I am writing to alert those who want to go to Brazil: please insist on having your passport stamped before you enter the country, no matter which checkpoints you pass.

If the immigration officials forget to put a stamp on your passport, beg for one.

I have been travelling in Latin America for some time. Recently, I took a bus from Buenos Aires in Argentina to Puerto Iguazu which is situated on the Argentina-Brazil frontier, where I enjoyed the famous and spectacular view of the Iguazu Falls.

Then, as most travellers do, I changed to a bus which crosses the border to Brazil, to see the whole panoramic view of the falls. It took only 15 minutes to cross the border and arrive at the checkpoint. A Brazilian immigration officer came on to the bus to check the passports of the passengers.

I was checked too, of course. Nothing happened. All of us were let through without anyone having their passports stamped.

I took a flight back to Buenos Aires three days later and, at the airport of Sao Paulo, I was stunned to learn that I was to be fined US$130 (about HK$1,000) by the police (immigration).

This was because I did not have the entry stamp on my BDTC passport.

The police added that the fine was usually US$600 but, understanding my special situation at the frontier, they offered me a discount.

I refused to pay and was subsequently disqualified from re-entering Brazil.

I have appealed to the Brazilian ambassador in Argentina and am waiting for an answer.

Does the consul-general of Brazil in Hong Kong have anything to say about my misfortune? CHAN YUK-WAH Buenos Aires



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