Traveling to the Olympics, here are some travel tips

Americas_Sports_Olympics_Rio2016_3-1062x531Before you go…

  • Ensure you have a valid U.S. passport, ideally valid for at least six months past your intended return date.  If your passport will expire before or during your trip, renew it now.  Remember to sign your passport – in ink – and complete the emergency information page.

  • Review Brazilian visa requirements.  The Government of Brazil has waived the visa requirement for U.S. passport holders entering Brazil as tourists between June 1 and September 18, 2016.  Travelers must have a valid U.S. passport and may stay for up to 90 days.  For entry to Brazil before or after these dates, or for travel to Brazil that is not strictly for tourism, U.S. citizens are required to have a Brazilian visa.  Visas for U.S. citizens normally are valid for 10 years and cost $160.00.  If you do need a visa, you must apply through the Brazilian Consulate in the United States that is closest to where you live.  Apply for your visa well in advance, as processing will likely take longer the closer it gets to the Games.
  • Visit the State Department’s country information page for Brazil.  It provides up-to-date information about visas, safety and security, and other issues related to traveling in Brazil.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  This will enable the U.S. Embassy and Consulates to keep you up-to-date with important safety and security announcements, and help us get in touch with you in an emergency.
  • If you are a parent traveling solo with a child (or children) under the age of 16, we recommend taking along a completed DS-3053 “Statement of Consent” form(s), signed by the other parent and notarized no more than 90 days before you depart.  If you have sole legal custody of your child, we recommend bringing a notarized copy of your custody decree or other documentation (e.g. a death certificate of for the other parent) showing you have custody.  This will be helpful if your child’s passport is lost while you are in Brazil.
  • Check your overseas medical insurance coverage to make sure it covers healthcare expenses and medical evacuation in the event of an emergency while you are overseas.  Medical capacity and infrastructure in certain areas of Brazil, including some soccer host cities, are untested in handling the volume of visitors expected for the Games.

Stay Informed

  • U.S. Citizen Services: Information about services the Embassy and Consulate offers to U.S. citizens, security and travel information, fraud warnings, etc.
    • #USinRio blog: All the practical (and fun!) details you need for your Olympics journey.
    • USinRio Facebook Event: Let us know you’re coming! Add your “RSVP” so you’ll have the latest news on the Games.
  • @USCitsBrazil on Twitter: Follow Mission Brazil’s Twitter for U.S. citizens living and traveling in Brazil.
  • ACS Olympics Brochure: Learn about American Citizen Services during the Olympics.
  • Mission Brazil Facebook and Consulate Rio: Follow the U.S. Mission’s Facebook pages for the latest Olympics news and security updates.
  • Traveling with Disabilities: Information and advice about the particular challenges that may be faced by travelers with disabilities, who may attend the Olympics and Paralympics.
  • SMS Notifications: If you would like to receive important messages from the U.S. Mission on your phone during your stay, send a message with your U.S. or local phone number to The service will terminate after the conclusion of the Olympic Games.

American Citizens Services

U.S. consular personnel will be stationed throughout Rio de Janeiro and in the soccer host cities (Brasília, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, São Paulo, and Manaus) to provide a range of emergency services to U.S. citizens in need.  For emergency services in Rio de Janeiro, please email or call +55 (21) 3823-2000.  Outside of Rio, you may contact the U.S. Embassy or the nearest U.S. consulate.  Passport replacements and other services requiring fees, however, must be conducted at the Embassy or a consulate.

Zika Virus

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a travel notice regarding the Olympics.  Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that can be spread from mosquito to human, as well as from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby.  The virus is typically a mosquito-borne illness, but there have been confirmed cases of transmission through sexual contact and blood transfusion.  Because infection in a pregnant woman is linked to a serious birth defect of the brain called microcephaly and other poor pregnancy outcomes, CDC recommends that women who are pregnant should not go to the Olympics.

For additional information about Zika, visit the CDC website and view theWhite House’s Zika page.  To obtain CDC travel notices, call the CDC at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) from within the United States, or 1-404-639-3534 from overseas, or visit the CDC website.

Hotel Accommodations for the Olympics and Paralympics

Shortages of hotel rooms are likely throughout Brazil during the Olympics, so you should book your rooms well in advance.  Given the increased demand for hotel rooms, prices may be higher than normal.  Advertised rates for standard rooms are currently as much as $350 to well over $1,000 USD per night.  Many hotels have lengthy minimum stays, require prepayment for the entire stay, and will not offer refunds in the event of cancellations.  These rates and policies may fluctuate up until the time of the Games, but you should be prepared to pay premium rates for hotel accommodations.  Confirm your reservations before you depart for Brazil.

Safety and Security

Please see our country information page for Brazil for current information on security and safety issues in Brazil. Use these resources to stay up to date during your trip:

  • Bookmark, which contains the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts as well as the Worldwide Caution.
  • Follow the Bureau of Consular Affairs on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free within the United States and Canada, or (202) 501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • Take some time before you travel to consider your personal security. Here are some useful tips for traveling safely abroad.

Victims of Crime

If you or someone you know becomes the victim of a crime abroad, you should contact the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate (see the Department of State’s list of embassies and consulates.  We can:

  • Replace a stolen passport;
  • Help you find appropriate medical care if you are the victim of a violent crime;
  • Put you in contact with the appropriate police authorities and contact family members or friends;
  • Help you understand the local criminal justice process and direct you to local attorneys, although the investigation and prosecution of the crime are solely the responsibility of local authorities.

There are three separate lines for emergency services in Brazil: 190 – Polícia (Police), 192- Ambulância (Ambulance), and 193- Bombeiros (Fire Department).

Please see our information for victims of crime, including possible victim compensation programs in the United States.


CoSport is the only legitimate source to purchase tickets to the Olympics and Paralympics for spectators who reside in the United States.

Rio 2016 has announced that they will sell any remaining tickets at venues throughout Rio and in the soccer host cities during the Games.

A few important things to remember when looking for tickets…

  • Be aware of scams, fake ticket websites, and unlicensed ticket resellers.  Tickets from unauthorized sources are not valid and may result in the bearer not being able to enter the event.
  • It is a criminal offence to sell or supply Olympics tickets for higher than the face value.


The Brazilian currency is called the real (plural reais).  You should expect to conduct daily transactions with a mixture of cash (in reais, as dollars are not accepted) and credit cards while you are in Brazil.  Most businesses, including restaurants, accept credit cards, but smaller businesses and some small hotels may only accept cash.  Not all ATMs work with international credit and debit cards.  Most Banco do Brasil agencies have an ATM that will allow withdrawals from U.S. bank accounts (look for Visa, MasterCard or other credit card logos on the ATMs).  Most ATMs will have a daily withdrawal limit.  Pay attention to your surroundings near ATMs, and check your accounts frequently for any indication of fraud.  Before you leave the United States, remember to notify your credit card provider and bank that you will be traveling to Brazil.

Phone Calls

To make calls in Brazil within the same state/area code: dial the last eight or nine digits.

To call long distance within Brazil, dial: 0 + operator code* + two digit area code + last eight or nine digits. *Common companies and their operator codes are: Claro – 21; Oi – 14; Tim – 41; Vivo – 15.

To call the United States from Brazil, dial 00 + operator code + 1 + area code and phone number.

Helpful Websites

  • Rio 2016: News and information on the Games, venues, logistics, accessibility, ticket sales, etc.
  • CoSport: The Authorized Ticket Reseller for purchasing tickets from the United States.
  • Team USA: Official information from the U.S. Olympic Committee.
  • Visit.Rio: Tourism site provided by the City of Rio de Janeiro.

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