According to the BBC, Bolsonaro’s lawyer confirmed that his client had applied for and been granted a six-month tourist visa to the United States. As of the 30th of December, Mr. Bolsonaro has been based in Florida.
The former president will remain in the United States while the visa is being processed. Following this month’s riots in Brazil, he is the subject of an investigation. Mr. Bolsonaro has expressed “regret” for the unrest, though he maintains he had nothing to do with it.
His attorney, Felipe Alexandre, released a statement to the BBC saying that the former president would “like to take some time off” after “dedicating 34 years of his life to public service.”
Mr. Bolsonaro originally entered the United States on an A-1 visa, valid for diplomats and heads of state for a maximum of 30 days. Before his leftist successor Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took office on January 1, he travelled to the United States.
The former president plans to “clear his head and enjoy being a tourist in the United States for a few months before deciding what his next step will be,” according to Mr. Alexandre of the immigration law firm AG Immigration.
Mr. Bolsonaro claims that he submitted his B1/B2 tourist visa application to US immigration officials last Friday. After his defeat in the 2022 general election, thousands of the former president’s supporters attacked federal buildings in Braslia on January 8.
Mr Bolsonaro has taken heat for the riots that rocked Brazil and led to the invasion of the presidential palace, Congress, and the Supreme Court by angry protesters who were motivated by unproven claims of election fraud.
Former right-wing leader José Aldo has been hosting the man dubbed the “Donald Trump of the Tropics” because of his close ties to the former US president in his Florida mansion. His fans have descended on his gated community home in Kissimmee, Florida (50% of all Brazilian Americans).
Mr. Bolsonaro’s continued presence in the United States has been questioned by some Democrats in Washington, DC. Early this month, dozens of people wrote to Vice President Joe Biden, urging him to “revoke” any diplomatic visa Mr. Bolsonaro might currently hold.
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There should be no safe haven for him or any authoritarian who incites violence against democratic institutions in the United States, they wrote. At an interview with the Financial Times on Monday, Mr. Alexandre said that Mr. Bolsonaro “bears no responsibility” for the riots.