Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro applies for a 6-month US visitor visa

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has applied for a six-month visitor visa to stay in the United States, indicating he may not have immediate plans to return home him, where legal troubles await him.

The request was first reported by the Financial Times, citing Bolsonaro’s immigration lawyer Felipe Alexandre. Contacted by the Associated Press, the law firm, AG Immigration, confirmed the information.

Bolsonaro left Brazil for Florida on December 30, two days before the inauguration of his leftist rival, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The ceremony was uneventful, but a week later thousands of die-hard Bolsonaro supporters stormed the capital and ransacked key government buildings to demand the annulment of Lula’s election.

Bolsonaro is under investigation to find out if he played a role in inciting this uprising. It’s just one of many investigations targeting the former president that pose a legal headache upon his eventual return home, and could deny him eligibility for future races – or worse.

For the first time in more than three decades of political career as a lawmaker and then president, he no longer enjoys the special legal protection that requires any trial to be before the Supreme Court.

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro looks on after speaking from his official residence at Alvorada Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, November 1, 2022.

AP Photo/Eraldo Peres, File

It has been widely speculated – but not confirmed – that Bolsonaro entered the United States on an A-1 visa reserved for sitting heads of state. If so, he would have 30 days from the end of his presidential term to leave the United States or adjust his status with the Department of Homeland Security.

Meanwhile, the shape of his political future and his potential return to Brazil have been the subject of rumors and speculation.

Bolsonaro’s calculation appears to be to distance himself from the radicals whose destruction in the capital could involve him in the short term, with the aim of one day returning to the helm of the opposition, said political analyst Mario Sérgio Lima. at Medley Advisors.

“He’s giving it time, getting away from the country a bit at a time when he can start to suffer the legal consequences of the attitude of his supporters,” Lima said. “I don’t think it’s enough for him to stay away. The processes will continue, but maybe he thinks he can at least avoid some sort of revenge punishment.

Bolsonaro stayed at a home outside Orlando, Florida, and video showed him taking photos with gated community supporters and walking around a supermarket.

Following the rampage in the Brazilian capital this month, a group of 46 Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to President Joe Biden calling for Bolsonaro’s visa to be revoked.

“The United States must not provide shelter to him or any authoritarian who has inspired such violence against democratic institutions,” they wrote.

Bolsonaro’s son, a senator, told reporters at an event over the weekend that he did not know when his father would return to Brazil.

“It could be tomorrow, it could be in six months, he might never come back. I don’t know. He’s relaxing,” Senator Flávio Bolsonaro said.

When asked if Bolsonaro had filed a request for documentation or assistance with visa processes, the Brazilian Foreign Ministry referred the AP to US authorities. US Citizenship and Immigration Services referred the AP to the State Department, which repeatedly declined to comment on questions about Bolsonaro’s US visa status.


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