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Former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has applied for a six-month tourist visa from the United States, his lawyer told the BBC.

Mr. Bolsonaro has been staying in Florida since December 30.

The former president plans to remain in the United States while immigration officials process the visa.

He is under investigation in Brazil after rioters stormed key government buildings earlier this month.

Mr Bolsonaro has expressed “regret” for the unrest, but denies he caused it.

The former president has “dedicated 34 years of his life to public service” and wants to “take time off”, his lawyer, Felipe Alexandre, told the BBC in a statement.

Mr Bolsonaro first traveled to the US on an A-1 visa for diplomats and heads of state, which expires after 30 days. He came to the US ahead of the inauguration of his leftist successor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on 1 January.

The former president hopes to “clear his head and enjoy being a tourist in the United States for a few months before deciding what his next step will be”, said Mr Alexandre, who works for AG Immigration, immigration law firm.

US immigration officials received Mr Bolsonaro’s application for a B1/B2 tourist visa last Friday, he said.

On January 8, thousands of the former president’s supporters attacked federal buildings in Brazil after he won the 2022 general election.

Mr Bolsonaro has faced criticism for riots in which protesters, fueled by unfounded claims of electoral fraud, have breached security in the past and stormed Brazil’s presidential palace, Congress and on the Supreme Court.

The former right-wing leader – nicknamed “Donald Trump of the Tropics” due to his close relationship with the former US president – is staying at the Florida home of a former mixed martial arts fighter, José Aldo.

His supporters came to the house in the gated community in Kissimmee, Florida, a state where a fifth of Brazilians live in the US.

Democratic lawmakers in Washington DC have questioned Mr. Bolsonaro’s stay in the US. In a letter sent earlier this month, the dozens called on President Joe Biden to “revoke” any diplomatic visa Mr. Bolsonaro may have.

“The United States may not provide shelter to him, or to any authoritarian who has encouraged such violence against democratic institutions,” they wrote.

Mr Alexandre told the Financial Times on Monday that Mr Bolsonaro bears “no responsibility” for the riots.

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