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Clearing Customs and Immigration in Rio de Janeiro


Aug 21st, 2011, 11:21 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2011
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Clearing Customs and Immigration in Rio de Janeiro

I'm arriving in Rio de Janeiro with an hour and a half to clear customs and immigration before connecting to Salvador. I'm concerned with whether this will be an adequate amount of time.

Does anyone have any experience getting through Customs and Immigration in Rio? Is it a relatively smooth process (I know I need to get fingerprinted and photographed since I am a U.S. citizen)? Also, I'm a bit confused about the process. Do I get my luggage first then go through immigration then go through customs then re-check my bags? I'm switching to a different airline for my connecting flight, so I assume that I'll have to re-check in and re-check my luggage. Can someone clarify this procedure?

First-time international traveler and student here, guys. Really don't want to miss my connection!! Thanks a lot!
rs173 is offline  
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Aug 22nd, 2011, 08:06 AM
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I've flown into Rio before, but I don't know enough to answer your question. 1.5 hours isn't alot, because it all depends on how many planes arrive at the same time. It was a fairly smooth process, but I wouldn't even have a layover in Atlanta for less than 2-3 hours. Do you have an option of a later connection?
Debi is offline  
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Aug 22nd, 2011, 02:07 PM
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Thanks for your input! I called my airline, and they said that usually 1 hour and 15 minutes should be enough. I'm a bit skeptical about this, though. The only way I could see this working is if they delayed having me go through customs until my final destination.
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Aug 22nd, 2011, 06:32 PM
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We arrived GIG from JFK on July 23rd. Immigration and customs took less than half an hour for the entire plane. Like all airports, GIG has two lines -- one for nationals and one for everyone else. When the nationals finish their immigration arrival procedures, all booths open to all other passengers. There is no fingerprinting / no photos. A simple procedure with bored bureaucrats as in all airports. Once you are through immigration, you follow the signs to collect your bags which most likely will be waiting for you. Then you walk outside and find the escalator or elevator to go upstairs to check back in. There are kiosks to get your boarding pass if you haven't already printed it and lines for just dropping your bags. Access through security to your next flight is simple and refreshing much like it was in the US in the 80s. No shoes to come off, no computers to take out of carry ons. You should be fine if your plane arrives on time.
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Aug 25th, 2011, 10:00 AM
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I have spent much more than an hour going through passport control, baggage claim and customs in the Rio (GIG) airport on several occasions. It really depends on how many international flights arrive at about the same time, and where you end up in the often long line.
I have also been refused boarding on a domestic flight on one occasion when I tried to check in with much less than an hour before the flight.
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