A number of you have asked me via email just how it is that Jair Bolsonaro is in the U.S. at all? He may be informally on the lam or trying to stay out of the reach of Brazilian authorities. But he didn’t come seeking asylum. I told these readers I figured former heads of state and rich people and just VIPs generally don’t have much problem making extended visits to the United States. But really, I had no idea. But this Reuters story has what seems like the real story. It’s much more interesting and suggests more planning.
There’s such a thing as an A-1 visa which the U.S. reserves for heads of state and high-ranking government officials. Bolsonaro entered the U.S. on his second-to-last day as president. (He pulled a Trump, refusing to participate in the inauguration of his successor.) There’s no way to know specifically without more information from U.S. consular authorities. But according to consular officials and outside experts, Bolsonaro almost certainly entered the U.S. on his A-1 visa.