By Daphne Psaledakis
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro has applied for a six-month tourist visa to remain in the United States, his lawyer said on Monday, despite calls for any U.S. visas held by Bolsonaro to be revoked following violent protests in Brasilia.
The United States received his application on Friday, his lawyer, Felipe Alexandre, said, adding that Bolsonaro will remain in the United States while his application is pending.
“He would like to take some time off, clear his head, and enjoy being a tourist in the United States for a few months before deciding what his next step will be,” Alexandre said in an email response to Reuters.
“Whether or not he will use the full six months will be up to him and whatever strategy we agree to embark on based on his plans as they develop,” Alexandre added.
The Financial Times first reported that Bolsonaro had requested a tourist visa.
A State Department spokesperson said visa records are confidential under U.S. law, adding that the department cannot discuss details of individual visa cases.
Far-right Bolsonaro flew to Florida two days before his term ended on Jan. 1 and leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took office, before the former president’s supporters stormed the country’s capital.
Supporters of Bolsonaro ransacked Brazil’s Congress, Supreme Court and presidential palace, calling for a military coup to overturn the October election that Lula won.
Brazil’s Supreme Court has agreed to open an investigation into Bolsonaro for allegedly encouraging anti-democratic protests that ended in the storming of government buildings by his supporters in Brasilia.
Earlier this month, 41 Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives asked U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration on Thursday to cooperate with Brazil’s investigation into violent protests in Brasilia and revoke any U.S. visas held by Bolsonaro.
The State Department has said repeatedly its policy is not to discuss specific visa cases.
The State Department has said it was incumbent on an individual who entered the United States on a so-called “A” visa reserved for diplomats and heads of state to depart the country within 30 days or apply for a change of immigration status if they are no longer engaged in official business. Bolsonaro is believed to have entered on such a visa.
(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Aurora Ellis)