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May 17, 2024

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May 10, 2024

Information for U.S. Citizens in the Middle East

Intercountry Adoption


Country Information


Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
Do not travel to Venezuela due to crime, civil unrest, kidnapping, and the arbitrary enforcement of local laws. Reconsider travel due to wrongful detention, terrorism, and poor health infrastructure.

Reissued after routine periodic review with minor edits pursuant to Department of State standard processes.

Do not travel to Venezuela due to crime, civil unrest, kidnapping, and the arbitrary enforcement of local laws. Reconsider travel due to wrongful detentions, terrorism, and poor health infrastructure.

Country Summary:  In March 2019, the U.S. Department of State withdrew all diplomatic personnel from U.S. Embassy Caracas and suspended operations. All consular services, routine and emergency, remain suspended until further notice. The U.S. government has no ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Venezuela. U.S. citizens in Venezuela who require consular assistance should try to leave the country as soon as safely possible to do so and should contact a U.S. embassy or consulate in another country.

Violent crimes, such as homicide, armed robbery, kidnapping, and carjacking, are common in Venezuela. Political rallies and demonstrations occur, often with little notice. Anti-Maduro demonstrations have elicited a strong police and security force response, including the use of tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets against participants, and occasionally devolve into looting and vandalism. Shortages of gasoline, electricity, water, medicine, and medical supplies continue throughout much of Venezuela. 

The Department has determined there is a high risk of wrongful detention of U.S. nationals in Venezuela. Security forces have detained U.S. citizens for up to five years. The U.S. government is not generally notified of the detention of U.S. citizens in Venezuela or granted access to U.S. citizen prisoners there.

Colombian terrorist groups operate in Venezuela’s border areas with Colombia, Brazil, and Guyana.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Venezuela.

If you decide to travel to Venezuela:

  • Avoid all land border crossings into Venezuela on the Colombian border.
  • Ensure you have a valid Venezuelan visa. Visas are not available upon arrival.
  • Be prepared for the high risk of indefinite detention without consular access. 
  • Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney.
  • Develop a communication plan with family and/or your employer or host organization. Establish a “proof of life” protocol with your loved ones, so that if you are taken hostage, your loved ones know specific questions (and answers) to ask the hostage-takers to be sure that you are alive (and to rule out a hoax).
  • Have a contingency plan in place that does not rely on U.S. government assistance.
  • Keep travel documents up to date and easily accessible.
  • Avoid travel between cities, or between Simón Bolívar International Airport and Caracas at night.
  • Do not take unregulated taxis from the Maiquetia “Simón Bolívar” International Airport and avoid ATMs in this area.
  • Consider hiring a professional security organization.
  • Bring a sufficient supply of over the counter and prescription medicines for the duration of travel.
  • Consider purchasing medical evacuation insurance.
  • Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Country Security Report for Venezuela.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.
  • Review the Traveler’s Checklist.



Hague Convention Participation

Hague Adoption Convention Country?

Hague Convention Information

Venezuela is party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore all adoptions between Venezuela and the United States must meet the requirements of the Convention and U.S. law implementing the Convention.

Venezuelan law does not allow for private adoptions. To apply for an international adoption, a U.S. citizen living in the U.S. has to go through the U.S. Central Authority (U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Children's Issues) and they will send the request to the Venezuelan Central Authority (Ministry of Foreign Affairs or MFA). The MFA will then send it to the Venezuelan Adoption Authority which is the " Instituto Autónomo Consejo Nacional de Derechos de Niños, Niñas, y Adolescentes" IDENA (Autonomous Institute National Council for Children & Adolescent Rights).

According to Venezuelan law, before an international adoption is approved priority will be given as follows:

  1. Relatives
  2. Friend of relatives
  3. Venezuelans with domicile in Venezuela
  4. International Adoption

Every adopted child must have a pre-approved adoption in order to leave Venezuela. After a year of living as a family, a family judge will decide upon the final adoption decree.

Note: Special transition provisions apply to adoptions initiated before April 1, 2008.  Learn more.

U.S. Immigration Requirements

To bring an adopted child to the United States from Venezuela, you must meet certain suitability and eligibility requirements. USCIS determines who is suitable and eligible to adopt a child from another country and bring that child to live in the United States under U.S. immigration law.

Additionally, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee under U.S. immigration law in order to be eligible to immigrate to the United States with an IH-3 or IH-4 immigrant visa.

Who Can Adopt

Adoption between the United States and Venezuela is governed by the Hague Adoption Convention. Therefore to adopt from Venezuela, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn more.

Who Can Be Adopted

Because Venezuela is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, children from Venezuela must meet the requirements of the Convention in order to be eligible for adoption. For example, the Convention requires that Venezuela attempt to place a child with a family in-country before determining that a child is eligible for intercountry adoption. In addition to Venezuela's requirements, a child must meet the definition of a Convention adoptee for you to bring him or her back to the United States.

How to Adopt


Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)


Because Venezuela is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, adopting from Venezuela must follow a specific process designed to meet the Convention's requirements. A brief summary of the Convention adoption process is given below. You must complete these steps in the following order so that your adoption meets all necessary legal requirements.

NOTE: If you filed your I-600a with Venezuela before April 1, 2008, the Hague Adoption Convention may not apply to your adoption. Your adoption could continue to be processed in accordance with the immigration regulations for non-Convention adoptions. Learn more.

  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider
  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt
  3. Be Matched with a Child
  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Immigration to the United States
  5. Adopt the Child in Venezuela
  6. Bring your Child Home
  1. Choose an Accredited Adoption Service Provider:

    The first step in adopting a child from Venezuela is to select an adoption service provider in the United States that has been accredited. Only these agencies and attorneys can provide adoption services between the United States and Venezuela. Learn more.

    The adoption service provider will perform the home study and will assist the prospective adoptive parents in preparing the Form I-800A (Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition) and its supporting documents for approval by the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services division.

  2. Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt:

    After you choose an accredited adoption service provider, you apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-800A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.

    Once the I-800A has been approved by DHS, the parents, together with the Adoption Service Provider, must compile a package of documents for submission to the Venezuelan Central Authority. This package of documents is called the "dossier." Once it is compiled, it should be given to the accredited U.S. Adoption Service Provider, to send directly to the Venezuelan Central Authority (MFA). The MFA will then send it to the Venezuelan Adoption Authority (IDENA). The MFA will contact the U.S. Central Authority with updates and the decision.
  3. Be Matched with a Child:

    The U.S. Central Authority will contact prospective adoptive parents about the availability of children in need of a family placement and the amount of time it is likely to take to complete the adoption. This timeline will depend on several factors, including the parent's age, the desired sex of the child, age of the desired child, and how many children are available at the time. Medical, social, psychological, and nutritional assessments are provided to the parents.

    After the parents are informed that they have been assigned a child, they then travel to Venezuela to begin the legal process with Venezuelan authorities. The IDENA will assist the family with obtaining the documents needed to complete the Venezuelan legal procedures.

  4. Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption:

    After you accept a match with a child and after you complete the Venezuelan legal procedures, you will apply to the U.S Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for provisional approval to adopt that particular child (Form I-800). USCIS will determine whether the child is eligible under U.S. law to be adopted and enter the United States. Learn how.

    After this, you will file an immigrant visa petition to a Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy. The Consular Officer will review the child's information and evaluate the child for possible visa ineligibilities. For Convention country adoptions, prospective adoptive parent(s) may not proceed with the adoption or obtain custody for the purpose of adoption until this takes place. If the Consular Office determines that the child appears eligible to immigrate to the United States, he/she will notify the Venezuela's adoption authority (Article 5 letter). The final decision and issuance of the immigrant visa will take place later in the process.

    The following is a list of the documents required by the U.S. Embassy in order to file immigrant visa petitions for Venezuelan children who have been adopted by U.S. citizens. To file a petition at post, you must have been living in Venezuela 6 months or have a valid resident visa or Venezuelan passport. If not, you will file the petition in the United States.

    • Proof of United States citizenship from the Petitioner(valid U.S. passport and U.S. birth certificate or Consular Report of Birth Abroad or U.S. naturalization certificate), originals and copies;
    • Child's passport and one copy of the passport's biographic information page;
    • Payment of U.S $355 or the equivalent in local currency (Bolivares Fuertes), per applicant (cash only);
    • Form I-800: "Petition to Classify an Orphan as an Immediate Relative." This form has to be filled out completely, signed by both adoptive parents and filed with the U.S. Embassy beforethe child reaches his/her sixteenth (16) birthday;
    • Child's Birth Certificates (originals or authenticated copies): All visa applicants must have their original birth certificate and a photocopy; Venezuelan birth certificates must be on sealed paper (papel sellado) and must be legalized (Hague Convention Apostille). 
    • Abandonment Decree or Custodial Parent's Release (original or authenticated copy): This document should have the Venezuelan Family Welfare Institute's (ICBF) approval. Along with one simple copy of the decree;
    • Approved I-800A: Proof of approval by USCIS of the I-800A petition, Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country
  5. Adopt the Child in Venezuela

    Ministerio del Poder Popular de Relaciones Exteriores 
    Oficina de Relaciones Consulares
    Attn: Carolina Iguaro
    Piso 15
    Avenida Urdaneta con Esquina Carmelitas
    Caracas 1010
    Tel: (58-212) 806-4504

    Instituto Autónomo Consejo Nacional de Derechos del Niño, Niña y Adolescente
    Avenida Francisco de Miranda, Edificio Mene Grande, Piso 2
    Tel: (58-212)287-0005/0757

    TIME FRAME: It is hard to predict how long an adopting family should expect for the adoption to be completed. There are many factors that determine how long the adoption and immigrant visa process takes, including how long it takes to have paperwork approved in the United States and in Venezuela.

    ADOPTION FEES: The U.S. Embassy in Venezuela discourages the payment of any fees that are not properly receipted. "Donations," or "expediting" fees, that may be requested from prospective adoptive parents, have the appearance of "buying" a child and put all future adoptions in Venezuela at risk.

    It is difficult to predict how much the entire adoption process will cost as each case has unique circumstances. The international adoption process in Venezuela is free of charge, however, fees are incurred if a private attorney is hired and in the immigrant visa process.

  6. Bring Your Child Home 
    Now that your adoption is complete (or you have obtained legal custody of the child), there are a few more steps to take before you can head home. Specifically, you need to apply for three documents for your child before he or she can travel to the United States:

    • Birth Certificate 
      You will first need to apply for a new birth certificate for your child, so that you can later apply for a passport. Your name will be added to the new birth certificate.

    • Venezuela Passport
      Your child is not yet a U.S. citizen, so he/she will need a travel document or Passport from Venezuela.

    • U.S. Immigrant Visa 
      Once the I-800 is approved an appointment can be made for the immigrant visa interview once the following requirements are ready. It is at this point in the process that the immigrant visa will be issued.

    FEES: The total fees for an Immigrant Visa are $400 dollars or the equivalent in local currency (Bolivares Fuertes). Each applicant must be prepared to pay this fee, in cash or with a credit card that accepts USD charges, at the time of interview. The fees will be paid with the Embassy Cashier on the date of interview. If the petitioner has already paid the fees to the National Visa Center (NVC) in the U.S., please bring a copy of the receipt. The $400 fee is non-refundable.

    Instructions on scheduling an interview can be found below. Each applicant must appear in person on the day of the interview. The following should be presented at the time of interview:

    • COLOR PHOTOGRAPHS : Three (3) color photographs with white background, with a front view Size: 5cmx5cm.

    • PASSPORT: Passports must be in good condition. Passports must be valid and must have at least six months validity beyond the issuance date of the visa. The passport must not have a lapse of more than 5 years between renewals. Children must have their own passports. All Applicants must bring any and all previous passports and/or passports from another nationality.

    • FORMS: Biographic data forms DS-260 Part I & Part II ( )

    • MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS: Forms DS-2053, 3026, 3025, 3024. Medical examinations are valid for six (6) months only. A U.S. Embassy Panel Physician must be used.

    • EVIDENCE OF SUPPORT : Form I-864 (Affidavit of Support) must be submitted for family- based applicants. The petitioner's federal income tax return (1040) and W-2 from the last three years must also be included. An additional sponsor may be submitted if needed. Any "co-sponsor" must also fill out the I-864 and submit tax documents as well. Sponsors must be domiciled in the Unites States.

    • BIRTH CERTIFICATE: All applicants must have their original birth certificate and a photocopy. Venezuelan birth certificates must be on sealed paper (papel sellado) and must be legalized (Hague Convention Apostille) see the Venezuelan web site for the requirements ( In the case of adoptions we must have both birth certificates - the one before the adoption and the one after.

    • FINAL ADOPTION DECREE (original or authenticated copy): Along with one simple copy of the decree.

    • TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION: Both parents have to be present the day of the interview. A travel authorization is required in case one of the parents is not able to appear in person the day of the interview.

    • MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE : Applicants must have original and one photocopy of marriage certificate, if applicable.

    • DIVORCE DECREE, DEATH CERTIFICATE OR ANNULMENT :Proof of the termination of any previous marriage(s) must also be submitted (e.g. death certificate, final decree of divorce or annulment). If applicable.

    • MILITARY RECORDS : Original and copy, if applicable.

    • POLICE CERTIFICATE : Required for all applicants from any country where the applicant lived more than twelve (12) months after the age of sixteen (16), for Venezuelan (Antecedentes Penales) see the Venezuelan web site for the requirements.

      If you have been deported or have a voluntary departure, bring all your support documents related to your case. Also, if you have lived in the U.S. for more than six (6) months please bring all authorized extension documents issued by USCIS.

COURIER FEE: All approved applicants must pay a fee to the courier service who will deliver the passport, visa and all additional documents after the interview. The passport visa and documents will be returned to a Venezuelan address. It normally takes 5-10 working days.

Appointments must be made through our email address at:


For adoptions finalized abroad: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to acquire American citizenship when he or she enters the United States as lawful permanent residents.

For adoptions to be finalized in the United States: The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your child to typically acquire American citizenship when the U.S. state court issues the final adoption decree. We urge your family to finalize the adoption in a U.S. State
court as quickly as possible.

*Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States, it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.

Learn more about the Child Citizenship Act.

Traveling Abroad


A valid U.S. passport is required to enter and leave Venezuela. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.

Getting or renewing a passport is easy. The Passport Application Wizard will help you determine which passport form you need, help you to complete the form online, estimate your payment, and generate the form for you to print-all in one place.


In addition to a U.S. passport, you also need to obtain a visa. A visa is an official document issued by a foreign country that formally allows you to visit. Where required, visas are attached to your passport and allow you to enter a foreign nation.

To find information about obtaining a visa for Venezuela, see the Department of State's Country Specific Information.


Before you travel, it's always a good practice to investigate the local conditions, laws, political landscape, and culture of the country. The State Department is a good place to start.

The Department of State provides Country Specific Information for every country of the world about various issues, including the health conditions, crime, unusual currency or entry requirements, and any areas of instability.


When traveling during the adoption process, we encourage you to register your trip with the Department of State. Travel registration makes it possible to contact you if necessary. Whether there's a family emergency in the United States, or a crisis in Venezuela, registration assists the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in reaching you.

Registration is free and can be done online.

After Adoption

What does Venezuela require of the adoptive parents after the adoption? 

There are no post-adoption requirements for adoption in Venezuela.

What resources are available to assist families after the adoption? 

Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.

Here are some good places to start your support group search:

Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.

Contact Information

U.S. Embassy in Venezuela 
Calle F con Calle Suapure,
Urb. Colinas de Valle Arriba,
Caracas, Venezuela 1080
Tel: 011-58-212-975-6411

Venezuela's Adoption Authority 
Ministerio del Poder Popular de Relaciones Exteriores
Oficina de Relaciones Consulares
Attn: Carolina Iguaro
Piso 15
Avenida Urdaneta con Esquina Carmelitas
Caracas 1010
Tel: (58-212) 806-4504

Instituto Autónomo Consejo Nacional del Niño, Niña y Adolescente (IDENA)
Avenida Francisco de Miranda, Edificio Mene Grande, Piso 2
Tel: (58-212) 287-0005/0757

Embassy of Venezuela 
1099 30th St., N.W.,
Washington D.C. 20007
Tel: (202) 342 2214
Fax: (202) 342 6820

* Venezuela also has consulates in Boston, Chicago, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, and San Juan.

Office of Children's Issues 
U.S. Department of State  
SA-17, 9th Floor  
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Tel: 1-888-407-4747

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
For questions about filing a Form I-800A application or a Form I-800 petition:
USCIS National Benefits Center (NBC):
Tel: 1-877-424-8374 (toll free); 1-913-275-5480 (local); Fax: 1-913-214-5808

For general questions about immigration procedures:
USCIS Contact Center
Tel: 1-800-375-5283 (TTY 1-800-767-1833)

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy, Venezuela
Calle 24 Bis No. 48-50 Bogotá, D.C. Colombia
+(57)(1) 275-2000
+(57)(1) 275-2000
No Fax

Venezuela Map