COVID-19 Travel
May 28, 2021

COVID-19 Travel Guidance for U.S. Citizens

COVID-19 Alert
July 21, 2021

Update on U.S. Passport Operations

International Travel

English

Country Information

Venezuela

Venezuela
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
Do not travel to Venezuela due to arrest and detention of U.S. citizens without due process or fair trial guarantees, or as a pretext for an illegitimate purpose; crime; civil unrest; poor health infrastructure; kidnapping; and COVID-19.

Do not travel to Venezuela due to arrest and detention of U.S. citizens without due process or fair trial guarantees, or as a pretext for an illegitimate purpose; crime; civil unrest; poor health infrastructure; kidnapping; and COVID-19.

Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.  

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has not issued a Travel Health Notice due to COVID-19, indicating an unknown level of COVID-19 in the country, and a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Venezuela due to Health Infrastructure Breakdown. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC's specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers. Visit the Venezuela Affairs Unit’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Venezuela.

Country Summary: On March 11, 2019, the U.S. Department of State announced the withdrawal of diplomatic personnel from U.S. Embassy Caracas. All consular services, routine and emergency, are suspended until further notice. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Venezuela. U.S. citizens in Venezuela who require consular services should try to leave the country as soon and as safely possible and contact a U.S. embassy or consulate in another country.

Violent crimes, such as homicide, armed robbery, kidnapping, and carjacking, are common. Political rallies and demonstrations occur, often with little notice. Demonstrations typically elicit a strong police and security force response that includes the use of tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets against participants and occasionally devolve into looting and vandalism. A 2020 United Nations Human Rights Council’s Fact-Finding Mission reported documented human rights abuses attributed to the illegitimate Maduro regime, including torture, extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, and detentions without due process and/or fair trial guarantees or as a pretext for an illegitimate purpose. There are shortages of gasoline, food, electricity, water, medicine, and medical supplies throughout much of Venezuela. The CDC issued a Level 3 ‘Avoid Nonessential Travel’ notice on September 30, 2020, due to inadequate healthcare and the breakdown of the medical infrastructure in Venezuela.

Regime-aligned security forces have detained U.S. citizens for long periods. The illegitimate Maduro regime does not notify the U.S. government of the detention of U.S. citizens and the U.S. government is not granted access to those U.S. citizens.

Due to risks to civil aviation operating within or in the vicinity of Venezuela, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and/or a Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR). For more information, U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices. This flight prohibition can make emergency medical evacuation flights between the United States and Venezuela difficult or impractical.

Read the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Venezuela:

  • See the Venezuela Affairs Unit’s webpage regarding COVID-19.
  • Visit the CDC’s webpage on Travel during COVID-19.  
  • Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
  • Do not travel between cities after dark.
  • Avoid travel between Simón Bolívar International Airport and Caracas at night.
  • Do not take unregulated taxis from Simón Bolívar International Airport, and avoid ATMs in this area.
  • Avoid demonstrations.
  • Bring a sufficient supply of over-the-counter and prescription medicines.
  • 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 Crime and Safety Report for Venezuela.
  • U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
  • Be prepared for an indefinite stay as there are limited international flights into or out of Venezuela and the Maduro regime has, at times, blocked U.S. persons’ access to departing flights.
  • Be prepared for indefinite detention on specious charges without consular access.

Last Update: Reissued with updates to COVID-19 information.

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Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:


6 months.

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


Two pages, for visa and entry stamp.

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Yes. You must get a Venezuelan visa before traveling to Venezuela. Visas are not available upon arrival.

VACCINATIONS:


Yellow fever vaccination required if coming from or transiting for more than 12 hours through Brazil.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


USD 10,000 (or equivalent) or more must be declared.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


USD 10,000 (or equivalent) or more must be declared.

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy, Venezuela
Calle 24 Bis No. 48-50
Bogotá, D.C. Colombia
Telephone:
+(57)(1) 275-2000
Emergency: +(57)(1) 275-2000
Fax: No fax
Email: ACSBogota@state.gov
Website

The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends that U.S. citizens do not travel to Venezuela and that U.S. citizens remaining in Venezuela depart. More information can be found within the U.S. Department of State’s Venezuela Travel Advisory. The U.S. Embassy in Caracas suspended operations on March 11, 2019 and therefore cannot provide protection or consular services to U.S. citizens in Venezuela.

If you are a U.S. citizen in Venezuela in need of assistance, or are concerned about a U.S. citizen in Venezuela, please contact us in one of the following ways:

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Venezuela for information on U.S.-Venezuela relations.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Please visit the U.S. Virtual Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on entry/exit requirements related to COVID-19 in Venezuela. 

To enter Venezuela, you must have:

  • A valid U.S. passport in good condition with at least six months of validity, and
  • A valid Venezuelan visa. Visas are not available upon arrival.

Visas: The Venezuelan embassy and consulates in the United States are not open for visa processing. Contact the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington for updates about the future availability of visa services. You must have the proper visa class and appropriate accreditation before traveling to Venezuela or face refusal of admission, expulsion, or detention.

Immigration officials often require proof of accommodation while in Venezuela, adequate means of support, and an onward departure itinerary. Use only official crossing points when entering Venezuela. You must obtain an entry stamp upon entry.

If you reside in Venezuela as a non-citizen, you must obtain legitimate Venezuelan residency documentation and renew your residency visa well in advance of expiration. Do not use intermediaries to purchase resident visas and/or work permits. Traveling with children: Venezuela’s child protection law mandates that minors (under 18) of any nationality who are traveling alone, with only one parent, or with a third party, must present extensive, specific, and notarized documentation granting permission for travel. Consult the nearest Venezuelan embassy or consulate for further information.

Dual Nationality: Venezuelan law requires Venezuelan citizens to enter and depart Venezuela using Venezuelan passports. If you hold dual U.S. and Venezuelan nationality, you must plan to travel between the United States and Venezuela with valid U.S. and Venezuelan passports.

Immunizations: Visit the CDC Traveler View website for vaccination information, including yellow fever vaccination requirements. Carry your International Certificate of Vaccination (or yellow card) with you upon arrival or departure.

HIV/AIDS: The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Venezuela. Be aware that HIV/AIDS medications, like other medications, are often not available in Venezuela.

Find further information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

Terrorism: Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as:

  • High-profile public events (sporting contests, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
  • Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists
  • Places of worship
  • Schools
  • Parks
  • Shopping malls and markets
  • Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights)

Terrorist groups such as the dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Colombian-origin National Liberation Army (ELN) have expanded in Venezuela in recent years. We are aware of reports of cooperation between FARC dissidents and the ELN in the areas of road/border checkpoints, forced displacement of communities, and narcotics trafficking.

For more information, see our Terrorism page.

Crime: Violent crime is pervasive throughout Venezuela. Venezuela has one of the highest homicide rates in the world, and kidnappings are a serious concern. Be alert to your surroundings at all times and take personal security precautions to avoid becoming a victim of crime. Maintain a low profile, travel in groups of five or more, and provide family or friends with your itineraries prior to departure.

Avoid police activity. Corruption within police forces is a concern, and criminals may be posing as police officers or National Guard members.

Criminal gangs operate openly and with little repercussion, often setting up fake police checkpoints. Armed robberies, including with grenades and assault rifles, take place throughout the country, including in tourist areas and institutions such as banks and ATMs, national parks, shopping malls, public transportation stations, and universities.

Drugs: Do not accept packages from anyone and keep your luggage with you at all times. U.S. citizens have been actively recruited to act as narcotics couriers or “drug mules.” Arrestees can expect extended jail terms under extremely difficult prison conditions.

Transportation: Do not use “libre” taxis or any taxis hailed on the street. Some taxi drivers in Caracas are known to overcharge, rob, injure, and even kidnap passengers. Use only radio-dispatched taxis from taxi services, hotels, restaurants, and airline staff. Do not use public transportation such as city buses and the metro (subway) in Caracas. If you drive, be aware of attacks in tunnels and avoid obstacles in the road.

Maiquetía International Airport: Only travel to and from Maiquetía International Airport near Caracas in daylight hours. Kidnappings, robberies at gunpoint, thefts, and muggings are common. Do not pack valuable items or documents in checked luggage. Individuals wearing seemingly official uniforms and displaying airport or police credentials have been involved in crimes inside the airport, including extortion and robberies. Make advance plans for transportation from the airport to your hotel or destination using a trusted party or dispatch taxi service.

ATMs: Most ATMs do not accept U.S. debit or credit cards, and malfunctions are common. Use only those located in well-lit, public places. ATM data is often hacked and used to make unauthorized withdrawals. Criminals target ATM users for robberies. Many ATMs do not have cash.

Demonstrations: Demonstrations and political marches occur frequently in all areas of Venezuela, including major cities and tourist attractions. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly become violent. Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations. Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.

International Financial Scams: See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information.

Internet romance and financial scams are prevalent in Venezuela. Scams are often initiated through internet postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers often pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help. Common scams include romance and online dating, money transfers, and lucrative currency exchanges.

Victims of Crime: The U.S. government has extremely limited means of providing consular services to U.S. citizen crime victims in Venezuela. Report crimes to the local police at 171, and contact the U.S. Embassy in Bogota by emailing ACSBogota@state.gov or dialing +57 (1) 275-2000 or +57 (1) 275-4021 after hours. Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime. See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crimes overseas.

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy in Bogota for assistance.

Colombian Border: The area within a 50-mile radius along the entire Venezuela and Colombian border is extremely dangerous. Cross-border violence, kidnapping, drug trafficking, and smuggling are common. Some kidnapping victims are released after ransom payments, while others are murdered. Do not attempt to cross the land border.

Tourism: No formal tourism industry infrastructure is in place on any level. Tourists are considered to be participating in activities at their own risk. Emergency response and subsequent appropriate medical treatment is not available in-country. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.

In Venezuela, it is illegal to take pictures of sensitive buildings, including the presidential palace, military bases, government buildings, and airports.

Drug trafficking is a serious problem in Venezuela and treated as such by Venezuelan authorities. Convicted traffickers receive lengthy prison sentences.

Some offenses committed overseas can be prosecuted in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see the Department of State website and the Department of Justice website on crimes against minors abroad.

Consular Access: If you are arrested or detained, the U.S. Department of State may not be informed of your arrest/detainment, particularly if you also hold Venezuelan citizenship. Ask police or prison officials to notify the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate immediately. See our webpage for further information. There have been instances of U.S. citizens in recent years who have been arrested and detained without being afforded due process or fair trial guarantees, or as a pretext for an illegitimate purpose. Due to the suspension of operations of the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, consular visits to detained U.S. citizens are not possible

Currency and Exchange: Venezuela has started to allow dollarized commercial transactions and shopping, but policies and availability are subject to change. More information is available on the Central Bank website. “Black market” currency exchanges – often offering significantly favorable exchange rates – are technically prohibited under Venezuelan foreign exchange controls. Violators may be detained by Venezuelan authorities and face criminal penalties.

Wire transfers: Wire transfers cannot be used reliably as a source of emergency funds, and receipt of funds is generally restricted to Venezuelan citizens and residents.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also pay fines or have to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.

Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:

LGBTQI+ Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTIQ+ events in Venezuela. For more detailed information about LGBTIQ+ rights in Venezuela, you may review the State Department’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. For further information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex+ (LGBTQI +) travel, please read our LGBTI Travel Information page.

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers with Disabilities: The law in Venezuela prohibits discrimination against persons with physical and mental disabilities, but the law is not enforced. Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is not as prevalent as in the United States. Expect accessibility to be limited in public transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Health

Please visit the U.S. Virtual Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Venezuela.

For emergency services in Venezuela, dial 171.

Ambulance services are not widely available. Training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards, and ambulances are not equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment. Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital.

We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas. We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Check with the Ministry of People’s Power of Economy and Finance to ensure the medication is legal in Venezuela.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A yellow fever vaccination required if coming from or transiting for more than 12 hours through Brazil. Carry your International Certificate of Vaccination (or yellow card) with you upon arrival.

Health facilities in general:

  • Do not depend on health care facilities in Venezuela for medical care. Serious medical issues will require costly medical evacuation complicated by restrictions on air travel to and from Venezuela.
  • Public medical clinics lack basic resources and supplies, including soap and water. In recent years hospital infrastructure has deteriorated significantly, and medical staff are in short supply. Patients frequently must supply their own water, medication, and medical instruments to receive care.
  • Private hospitals and clinics in Caracas and other major cities are adequate, but they are increasingly overcrowded and also experience shortages of public utilities such as electricity and running water.
  • Private hospitals and doctors require costly upfront payments prior to service or admission. Credit card payment is rarely available. If you cannot provide an upfront payment, you will be referred to a public institution.
  • Medical staff may speak little to no English.

Pharmaceuticals: Medical supply shortages in Venezuela are severe, and you should not expect to find necessary medications in Venezuela. Travelers should carry over-the-counter and prescription drugs sufficient to cover the entire duration of their trips.

Water Quality: Tap water is not potable, even in major cities. Expect frequent shortages in running water. Gastrointestinal diseases such as severe diarrhea are common throughout the country.

Diseases: The following illnesses are present:

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Resources for Travelers regarding specific issues in Venezuela.

Further health information:

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:

  • Avoid driving in Venezuela. If you do drive, drive defensively, as most drivers do not obey rules.
  • Do not drive at night outside major cities. Police and national guard checkpoints are mandatory, and criminals often set up fake checkpoints during nighttime to rob or kidnap victims.
  • Road damage is not clearly marked.
  • Traffic jams are common within Caracas during most of the day and are frequently exploited by criminals. Armed motorcycle gangs operate in traffic jams and have increased. Comply with demands as victims may be killed for not complying.
  • Do not use buses due to high levels of criminal activity.
  • Venezuela is experiencing severe shortages in gasoline, and you should plan accordingly.

Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information.

Traffic Laws:

  • Child car seats and seatbelts are not required and are seldom available in rental cars and taxis.
  • Some Caracas municipalities have outlawed the use of handheld cell phones while driving.
  • Stops at National Guard and local police checkpoints are mandatory. Follow all National Guard instructions and be prepared to show vehicle and insurance papers and passports. Vehicles may be searched.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed Venezuela’s Civil Aviation Authority is not in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Venezuela’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.

In May 2019, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued an order suspending all nonstop flights between the United States and Venezuela after the Department of Homeland Security concluded that conditions in Venezuela threaten the safety and security of passengers, aircraft, and crew traveling to or from that country.

Maritime Travel: Incidents of piracy off the coast of Venezuela remain a concern. Yachters should note that anchoring offshore is not considered safe. Marinas, including those in Puerto la Cruz and Margarita Island (Porlamar), provide only minimal security, and you should exercise a heightened level of caution in Venezuelan waters.

Mariners planning travel to Venezuela should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings website.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Venezuela. For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

Last Updated: May 11, 2021

Travel Advisory Levels

Information for Vaccinated Travelers

The CDC's latest guidance on international travel for vaccinated people can be found here.

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

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

Venezuela Map