SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian authorities have suspended the issuance of passports indefinitely due to a lack of funding, as the federal government grapples with a budget crunch and political infighting over control of the coffers.
Brazil's Federal Police, which is responsible for processing passports, announced in a statement late on Tuesday that the funds from Brasilia to pay for the service had run out. No date for a resumption of passport processing was provided.
"The decision stems from a dearth of funds earmarked to the activities of migratory control and issuance of travel documents," said the Federal Police, which is angry over its lack of autonomy and government efforts to downsize its ranks.
The cost of applying for a passport in Latin America's largest country ranges from 260 reais ($79) for a 10-year passport to 350 reais, or $106, for one that is delivered more quickly. Proceeds go to a fund that partially pays for the cost of producing the documents.
The announcement came as President Michel Temer's government tries to rein in spending as part of an effort to address a deep fiscal deficit and attract more foreign investment to Latin America's largest economy.
Brazil's budget ministry proposed on Wednesday an extra budget allotment of about 100 million reais to help ease the strain of passport issuance. The ministry urged lawmakers to approve the measure as an urgent matter as early as next week.
In the meantime, Brazilians can still schedule appointments to start the process of obtaining a passport. They can also travel to neighboring Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay without a passport.
($1 = 3.3032 reais)
Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Paul Simao