When to Carry US Passport


Does anyone know if I should always carry my US passport at all times in Brazil? Like even doing daily activities like going to a restaurant, shopping or the gym? Someone told me to carry a copy of my passport in case I get robbed but is that even necessary? The police don't go around asking for passports do they? Also if I am out should I carry credit cards or a small amount of cash? Do I have to worry about my phone being stolen also? If so should I carry a pouch inside my pants to hide everything? Any recommendations would be appreciated. I know it might be different in different places. But can you make some generalizations? Thanks. Personally I'll be in Brasília to start but may go to Salvador and other areas.

@jasonlovesdogs You do not have to carry your passport everywhere you go. As for the crime element, different places are safer than others so you need to check with people who work and live there. As a general rule, don't walk the streets alone when it's dark. If you have to, then use the pouch (I use a money belt), and don't wear nice jewelry or a watch and keep your phone hidden. I carry a second wallet with a minimal amount of cash that I could hand over if accosted. I have female friends and relative who have had necklaces ripped off of them and phones stolen.

@jasonlovesdogs Definitely not. I never carry my passport and I have 2 Driver License's and I carry around my expired one just in case I need to identify myself.

Never have I ever been asked for my passport by anyone. Neither will you.

Don't carry your important Debit Cards either. Get some cash at an ATM whenever you can during the day time and just use that. I have a couple credit cards so I carry atleast 1 credit card and if I ever got robbed i'd still have my Debit / Other Credit Cards at home.
05/30/22 @jasonlovesdogs - I always kept a copy of the ID page of my passport in my wallet, and left my passport locked up in my hotel room or apartment,  unless I was going to need formal ID, like for a visit to the Federal Police.

A wallet in your front pants pocket is pretty safe from pickpockets; back pockets and jacket pockets,  not so much.

I generally keep my phone in a belt holster or the front pants pocket on the opposite side from my wallet.  Avoid using it on the street as much as you can, and especially walking along with your eyes glued to it, no matter how many Brazilians you see walking around that way.

No flashy jewelry or ostentatious watches.  There's nothing in Brazil remotely like a US college class ring, so they draw a lot of eyes and are always better left safe in a drawer.  Be very attentive to your surroundings, including behind you.  Look ahead to avoid situations where people are likely to jostle you, and navigate to maintain a bubble of space around you as much as you can.

If you give money to beggars, keep loose small bills in another pocket so you don't have to fumble with your wallet, and keep moving.  Same when people you don't know try to talk to you:  cultivate the look of a polite person on the way to somewhere important who just can't stop now.  You don't need to look like the baddest man in town, you just want to look like an uninviting target.
Excellent replies. Thanks
Basically the same with me. Wallet and phone in front pockets. This is a police state so I carry a copy of the main passport page. Only been asked once early on for ID. Showed RNE and copy of passport with no issue. (Never since then).

I carry my health and auto insurance cards and one credit card as well as CPF. (Now Vaccine card). I only carry a small amount of cash.

I just keep moving to my destination and do not stop for anyone I do not know,
Anytime you are out of the USA, you always, always always carry a copy of the front pages in your US Passport withou unless you have residency documents in the country you are visiting instead.  Yes, you carry them out for a walk, to a cafe, to the store, beach....  You leave your originals locked up safely, but you do carry a copy of your US Passport, no matter what. Now I admit I have traveled a lot, but yes, I have been stopped in several countries, and yes, that is what they wanted to see.
@jasonlovesdogs I wouldn't carry your passport booklet around.  It's bulky and if you lose it or it gets stolen it's a hassle to replace.  Always keep it in a safe place.  You can take a photo of the main page and keep it on your phone, or make a photocopy of it and carrry that around.

Even better, get a passport card and carry that in your wallet for ID purposes.  That is what I do.

@rraypo Agree.  You can also get a passport card and carry that around for ID.  That is what I do...

I agree with most of the warnings and safeguards the others have offered.  I would say that different parts of Brasilia and environs have different levels of security concerns.  Always be prepared for pickpockets in commercial and public places, and be cautious of using ATM machines.  And avoid traveling alone at night.  Be very cautious in many of the satellites surrounding Brasilia, such as Samambaia, Ceilandia, Gama, and parts of Taguatinga and Vicente Pires. As you would expect, the more 'prosperous' neighborhoods (Aguas Claras, Parkway, Guara, Asa Sul, and Asa Norte) are safer. I would avoid public buses. I've taken the metro, uber, and 'official' taxis with no trouble.
05/31/22  be cautious of using ATM machines. 
- @EricPau

Good advice with respect to ATMs.  The safest ones are the ones in the lobbies of banks during business hours:  there are ordinarily guards on duty there, and the ATMs are under 24 hour camera surveillance, so they're not likely to suffer tampering.  Next safest I would say are bank ATMs in ATM lobbies in enclosed shopping malls, which are also at least under camera surveillance.  Avoid individual "Banco 24" type ATMs in retail stores:  there are many reports of them being fitted with card readers that can steal your data and let thieves access your account.  Be very careful of isolated bank kiosks on the street, even enclosed ones.  It's easy to target you as you exit before you see the threat coming, especially is the thief is on a motorbike.
So let's say my if I were to get robbed and one of my credit cards got stolen and I was staying at a hotel, how would I be able to have a new credit card sent to me?
So let's say my if I were to get robbed and one of my credit cards got stolen and I was staying at a hotel, how would I be able to have a new credit card sent to me?
- @jasonlovesdogs

What bank is the card from, and from what country?  I had Itau send a new card to me at my hotel once here in Brazil, it was fast actually, about 10 days. I tried calling the number on the back of the card for like hours, but that was useless.  But, a trip to a branch resolved that one easily enough.

I never carry more than one physicla card with me and leave the rest locked up.  I try to travel with at least one duplicate card in case I break one, (been there done that years back in like Ukraine in a machine)
The right answer is.....

It depends where you will need to submit your documents.   

If any place where a photo ID is warranted, then you will need to carry on either the passport or a valid photo ID in lieu. 

If you have a valid photo ID ( Driver's License ), it supersedes your carry on passport. 

Losing a passport can be a pain, the US Consulate  being rather quicker than others, it still carries a waiting period for issuance of a new one. 
keep your drivers license and your passport in two (widely) separate places.  and keep photographs of both of them in digital form somewhere else.
rraypo, my bank is Citibank and USAA in the United States.
Also, is there any need to bring much cash to Brazil being that it can be withdrawal at an ATM, which I assume is in Reais. Also any dollars would have to be exchanged upon entry to be usable anyway right?
06/02/22 Also, is there any need to bring much cash to Brazil being that it can be withdrawal at an ATM, which I assume is in Reais. Also any dollars would have to be exchanged upon entry to be usable anyway right?
- @jasonlovesdogs

It depends on how much you plan to spend per day.

Foreign credit cards have wide (but not universal) acceptance, especially in places like hotels and restaurants that cater to tourists.  There's a daily limit on how much you can withdraw in Reais in a day, but it's around R$1200, which is plenty for "walking-around money".  At international airports there are bank-owned ATMs right outside baggage claim, so you can get some Reais immediately.

The practice that worked pretty well for me as a visitor was to hold a moderate amount in USD in reserve to be exchanged for Reais in case of emergency (you have to exchange Dollars to spend them, but there's no need to expose yourself to fees and fluctuating rates with ATMs so accessible), withdraw some Reais on arrival at the airport for immediate needs, then withdraw more at bank ATMs periodically during my stay.
Also, is there any need to bring much cash to Brazil being that it can be withdrawal at an ATM, which I assume is in Reais. Also any dollars would have to be exchanged upon entry to be usable anyway right?
- @jasonlovesdogs

Cash?  Like actual spending money? I am finishing my second month of driving and staying in many places and so far, I have maybe spent R$600. in actual money.  Most of that has been for ice cream or beer on a beach and a few pieces of fruit from street carts.  Everyone here accepts plastic, I have had my Chase debit card denied, but never my Capital One credit card.  Carry one card though with you as you travel around, also a little cash, and leave everything else locked up someplace safe, NOT your car. Yes, I keep like $1,500. in US dollars locked up in case of some disaster. Before having a Brazilian bank account, I used and still sometimes use, a Capital One card from the USA as they do not charge foreign use fees. Both of my own banks charge high fees to use my US debit card in Brazil. Watch the hidden bank fees, like how they load their exchange rates.  Chase, one of my banks, charges two fees for the exchange rate, one is the load fee for them to buy Reis, and the other is the fee they charge you, so they are charging twice for one exchange. They also charge a percentage just for the privilege to use your debit card to spend your own money.

Enough beach for a while, I am now in the state of Goiás and heading north. to who knows where.

@Chambo34 "I carry a second wallet with a minimal amount of cash that I could hand over if accosted."

That's what I do too.

@jasonlovesdogs I went to brazil many times, I bring copy of my passport if going outside but if you will travel to one place to another using plane you have to bring your passport. Cards are okay , but for me I bring my cash and exchange to Brazilian reas.  So far I don't experience being rob but you have to be alert.

@jasonlovesdogs When out and about in Salvador, like shopping or Ubering, I carry a color, laminated copy of my RNE Card. It has been accepted as ID anywhere without question. I carry minimal cash in my wallet and leave the debit cards at home. Many years ago, I stopped putting the wallet in my back pocket, shifting to the front, right pocket for greater security.

I have two questions do you care your permanent residency card and use that as ID. I also have a expired passport when I got my new updated one can you use that as proof the expired one. Last thought I do carry photo of my passport on my phone but it in a lock app you have to know the code to open to see the photo. It's called Photo vault app. It's free.
06/28/22 I always carried a cartório-authenticated copy of my CRNM with me, just to avoid the danger of losing it, and having to go the PF to get a "2a Via".

An expired passport isn't a bad idea, as long as the State Department has defaced it enough (e.g., punched a hole through it) to make it useless to thieves.  Even an expired passport, if intact, could be useful to a counterfeiter.

@jasonlovesdogs To save my fingers from typing, I agree with everything @abthree has posted. I would only add that for Passports, if I know I am going to the Federal Police or the Hospital I carry the original. If I am just going out I carry a copy under the "who am I " rule in case something like an accident etc. happens.

As far as the phone goes i have an "Ottor Box" heavy duty clip which I clip onto my belt and usually my t-shirt is long enough to cover it, so no one knows I have my I Phone with me. I do have ear buds, so if there is a call I can answer the phone without touching my phone. Of course I adhere to safety precautions, so unlike the young lady who complained about crime on a You Tube video I do NOT go to the Big New Years Eve Celebration and wave my expensive I Phone in the air when New Years comes and then is suprised when it is stolen.

As far as cash goes I try not to use my card if possible and use my Reiss instead. (much easier to replace than your cc or what is in your account).   This is personal. Due  to a long ago financial challenge i only have my PayPal  card until I officially become a Permanent Resident and can officially use my Banco Do Brazil Bank Account. I live in North Eastern Brazil and somewhere (gas station or grocery store) someone copied my credit card.  Because my billing address is my former american address in MD. to get a replacement I had to have it forwarded to R.I. where I was previously staying and all the mail was automatically forwarded to my younger brother in San Francisco. I then had to wait until my only child visited my younger brother for Thanksgiving got my card and weeks later came to Brazil on a planned vacation.   Needless to say replacing my credit card in case of fraud, not to mention missing money from my account, is hell.

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