Travel.State.Gov > Legal Resources > Judicial Assistance Country Information > Venezuela Judicial Assistance Information
DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION IS PROVIDED FOR GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND MAY NOT BE TOTALLY ACCURATE IN A SPECIFIC CASE. QUESTIONS INVOLVING INTERPRETATION OF SPECIFIC FOREIGN LAWS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED TO THE APPROPRIATE FOREIGN AUTHORITIES OR FOREIGN COUNSEL.
The U.S. Department of State strongly recommends 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 13, 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 the Department of State in one of the following ways:
Is Venezuela a party to the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra Judicial Documents in Civil and Commercial Matters?
Complete information on the operation of the Convention, including an interactive online request form are available on the Hague Conference website.
How should requests be completed?
Requests should be completed in duplicate and submitted with two sets of the documents to be served, and translations, directly to Venezuela’s Central Authority for the Hague Service Convention. The person in the United States executing the request form should be either an attorney or clerk of court. The applicant should include the titles attorney at law or clerk of court on the identity and address of applicant and signature/stamp fields.
Does Venezuela permit service via postal channels?
Venezuela formally objected to service under Article 10, and does not permit service via postal channels. For additional information and guidance see the Hague Conference Service Convention web page and the Hague Conference Practical Handbook on the Operation of the Hague Service Convention.
The United States and Venezuela are also parties to the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory and Additional Protocol. The United States only has a treaty relationship with countries party to both the Convention and the Additional Protocol, which relate to service of process. No formal letters rogatory in the traditional sense are required. Requests are prepared on a Convention form and transmitted to the U.S. Central Authority’s contractor, ABC Legal, for transmittal to the Venezuelan Central Authority.
Service on a Foreign State:
See also our Service Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) feature and FSIA Checklist for questions about service on a foreign state, agency or instrumentality.
Service of Documents from Venezuela in the United States:
See information about service in the United States on the U.S. Central Authority for the Service Convention page of the Hague Conference on Private International Law Service Convention site.
U.S. federal or state prosecutors should also contact the Office of International Affairs, Criminal Division, Department of Justice for guidance.
Defense Requests in Criminal Matters:
Criminal defendants or their defense counsel seeking judicial assistance in obtaining evidence or in effecting service of documents abroad in connection with criminal matters may do so via the letters rogatory process.
Is Venezuela a party to the Hague Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil and Commercial Matters?
The Venezuelan Central Authority for the Hague Evidence Convention designated to receive letters of request for the taking of evidence is the Ministry of Popular Power for Foreign Affairs.
How should letters of request be completed? Do they require transmittal via diplomatic channels?
See the Hague Evidence Convention Model Letters of Request for guidance on preparation of the letter of request. Letters of Request and accompanying documents should be prepared in duplicate and translated into Spanish. Such requests must be transmitted by the requesting court or person in the United States to the Venezuelan Central Authority and do not require transmittal via diplomatic channels.
Requests from Venezuela to Obtain Evidence in the United States:
The U.S. Central Authority for the Hague Evidence Convention is the Office of International Judicial Assistance, Civil Division, Department of Justice, 1100 L Street N.W., Room 8102, Washington, D.C. 20530
Are foreign attorneys permitted to take depositions of willing witnesses without the involvement of the host government or courts?
Venezuela objected to the provisions of Chapter II of the Hague Evidence Convention regarding the taking of voluntary depositions of willing witnesses by commissioners, including private attorneys and consular officers. Consequently, depositions of willing witnesses in Venezuela must be undertaken pursuant to a request to the Venezuelan Central Authority and in the context of the Venezuelan court system.
May consular officers conduct depositions of willing witnesses?
Depositions of willing witnesses, regardless of nationality, by U.S. consular officers in Venezuela are not permitted.
May local attorneys directly petition a court to conduct the deposition of an unwilling witness or must this be requested via letters rogatory?
Private attorneys from the United States attempting to conduct voluntary depositions of willing witnesses in Venezuela are subject to the penalties of local Venezuelan law.
Is Venezuela a party to the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization of Foreign Public Documents?
Venezuela’s competent authority for the Hague Apostille Convention will authenticate Venezuelan public documents with Apostilles.
How can I U.S. public documents for use in Venezuela?
For information about authenticating U.S. public documents for use in Venezuela, see the list of U.S. Competent Authorities.
To obtain an Apostille for a U.S. Consular Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the United States of America, contact the U.S. Department of State, Passport Services, Vital Records Office.