Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has applied for a six-month visa to visit the United States, suggesting he may not have any immediate intention to return home.The Financial Times first reported the news. The law firm of Bolsonaro’s immigration lawyer, Felipe Alexandre, confirmed the report to The Associated Press.
Bolsonaro left Brazil for Florida on Dec. 30, two days after his leftist rival Lula da Silva became president. A week later, thousands of Bolsonaro’s supporters stormed the government building in the capital, demanding that the election result be overturned.Authorities have launched an investigation into whether Bolsonaro played a role in inciting the unrest.For the first time in more than 30 years in politics, Bolsonaro no longer enjoys special legal protection and can demand that any trial be held in the Supreme Court.
Bolsonaro is widely believed to have entered the United States on an A-1 visa reserved for sitting heads of state, but that has not been confirmed. If so, he would have to leave the United States or apply to the Department of Homeland Security for adjustment of status within 30 days of the end of his term as president.Meanwhile, his political future and his potential return to Brazil have been the subject of constant speculation.
Mario Sérgio Lima, a political analyst at Medley Consulting, said Bolsonaro’s calculation appeared to be to distance himself from radicals while preparing to lead the opposition one day.”He’s giving it a little bit of time to not return when he can start suffering legal consequences for the ‘attitude’ of his supporters,” Lima said. Probably thought he could avoid at least some retaliatory punishment.”
Bolsonaro has been staying at a home outside Orlando, Florida, where videos show him posing for photos with supporters and wandering through a supermarket in the gated community.After riots in the Brazilian capital this month, 46 Democratic lawmakers wrote to President Biden requesting that Bolsonaro’s visa be revoked.“The United States must not grant sanctuary to him or any dictator who incites such violence against a democratic system,” they wrote.Bolsonaro’s son told reporters this weekend that he was not sure when his father would return to Brazil.”It could be tomorrow, it could be six months from now. He may never come back. I don’t know. He’s on vacation,” he said, as
Brazil’s foreign ministry responded to questions about whether Bolsonaro asked for any documents or help with visa applications. It is time for the Associated Press to ask the US government. USCIS referred the AP to the State Department. The State Department has repeatedly declined to comment on Bolsonaro’s U.S. visa status.
(This article is based on a report by The Associated Press.)