Brazil's Bolsonaro seeks 6-month U.S. visitor visa

Jair Bolsonaro.
Jair Bolsonaro. Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is hoping to extend his stay in the United States, applying for a six-month visitor visa, his immigration lawyer confirmed on Monday.

In late 2022, Bolsonaro lost his re-election bid to the leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was inaugurated on Jan. 1. On Jan. 8, supporters of the far-right Bolsonaro stormed the capital, damaging the Congress, Supreme Court, and presidential palace. Now, investigators in Brazil are looking into whether Bolsonaro, who was in the Orlando, Florida, area at the time of the uprising, incited his followers.

Bolsonaro spent three decades in politics, and now that he is out of office, he "no longer enjoys the special legal protection that requires any trial be held at the Supreme Court," The Associated Press writes.

Mario Sérgio Lima, a political analyst at Medley Advisors, told AP Bolsonaro appears to be trying to distance himself from the events of Jan. 8, and could be preparing to return to Brazil as an opposition leader. "He is giving it some time, staying away a bit from the country at a moment when he can begin to suffer legal consequences for his supporters' attitudes," Lima said. "I don't think the fact of him staying away is enough. The processes will continue, but maybe he thinks he can at least avoid some sort of revenge punishment."

Bolsonaro's son, Flávio, is a Brazilian senator, and he said over the weekend he doesn't know when his dad will be back. "It could be tomorrow, it could be in six months, he might never return," he said. "I don't know. He's relaxing." It is believed that Bolsonaro came to the U.S. on an A-1 visa, which is for sitting heads of state, AP reports.

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