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Venezuela

If you’re travelling to Venezuela, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information. 

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Natural Disasters and Climate
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

Ireland is implementing the new EU ‘traffic lights’ approach to travel, which applies to countries in the EU / EEA. Our current advice for travel to these countries is ‘exercise a high degree of caution’. Our general advice for any other overseas travel remains ‘avoid non-essential travel’ or in some cases, ‘do not travel’.

Our TravelWise app has been suspended while we move to implement the new EU system. We apologise for this inconvenience. Updated information will continue to be provided on this website.

On 13 October, Member States adopted the EU Recommendation on a coordinated approach to travel restrictions in the context of COVID-19. This ‘traffic lights’ approach provides for regions across the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) to be categorised as green, orange, red or grey, on the basis of the risk levels associated with COVID-19. A combined indicator map will be published each week by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), based on agreed criteria, including the 14-day cumulative incidence rate, testing rate and testing positivity rates.

In line with the EU Recommendation, there will be no entry restrictions on passengers travelling from green regions. Each Member State will decide what entry restrictions it will apply to passengers travelling from red, orange and grey regions.

Information about what to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

All passengers arriving into Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form before entry. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Further information about current requirements for entry to Ireland is available on the Irish Government website and the HSE website.

In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas, other than to countries that are part of the EU ‘traffic lights’ approach, where the advice is to exercise a high degree of caution. Everyone is asked to comply with restrictions within Ireland, including those under the National Framework for Living with COVID-19. These are listed on the Official website of the Irish Government. The situation in relation to COVID-19 continues to evolve quickly around the world. Citizens who are considering any overseas travel are advised to carefully monitor the official advice and information from the public authorities in their destination.

If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:

Should you decide that you need to travel, you should inform yourself about any requirements in the destination to which you are travelling. Information about entry restrictions currently applied by other countries is available on the country-specific travel advice pages. Additional restrictions may be imposed, including during the duration of your visit. Flight restrictions and route cancellations continue to occur worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will operate as scheduled. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time. Any Irish citizen considering any overseas travel should monitor news and information from the public authorities in their country or region of destination. Citizens are advised to follow the public health guidelines of the local health authorities and to continue to practice physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette etc.

The purpose of the Department’s Travel Advice is to provide information to the general public so that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves. There are significant risks associated with international travel in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad, or those already abroad, are advised to monitor our travel advice, and follow us on Twitter. They are also advised to register with their local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Where to go for further travel information:

Overview

Security status

We advise you to avoid non-essential travel.

Latest travel alerts

COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus

In the last days, emergency responses to the COVID-19 crisis in many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean have included restrictions of flights from Europe; restrictive new quarantine arrangements in Central America as well as restrictions affecting admissions of Irish people already travelling in the region to other countries in Latin America.

There are no direct transatlantic flights to Ireland from the region. Therefore, given the uncertainty around transatlantic travel options into Ireland we strongly recommend that Irish travellers make early arrangements to travel out of /from the region.

Moreover, we very strongly advise against any further travel into the region until the COVID-19 crisis has been contained there.

Venezuela recorded its first two confirmed cases on the 13th of March. In addition to the travel restrictions put in place cancelling flights to and from Europe and Colombia for the next month, the country is under indefinite social quarantine since Tuesday 17th March.

General situation

Throughout 2019 and early 2020, there have been reports of civil unrest in Caracas. If you are in Caracas, you should avoid all demonstrations. Protests and demonstrations may emerge and turn violent without warning in locations throughout Venezuela. Remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings, and monitor developments closely.

Due to high levels of crime and extremely high homicide rates, increasing political and social unrest, shortages of food and basic medicines and lack of access to medical treatment, we advise you to avoid non-essential travel to Venezuela.

It is not advised to travel within 80km of the border with Colombia, particularly the states of Zulia, Tachira, Barinas, Apure and Bolívar. Drug traffickers and illegal armed groups operate in these areas and there is a risk of kidnapping.

Since April 2017 there have been regular large political demonstrations and protests in Caracas and other cities, which have led to arrests, injuries and deaths. Following nationwide protests during and after elections in July 2017 and May 2018, there have been continued reports of widespread disruption and violence. There have been reports of increased violence and disruption in early 2019. Avoid all political demonstrations, which can turn violent with little warning. Travel disruption due to road closures is common before and during demonstrations. It is advisable to maintain a supply of several days' worth of food and water. If you are currently in Venezuela and your presence is not essential, you should consider leaving by commercial means.

There have been recent outbreaks of diphtheria and of the Zika virus and adequate medical treatment is unlikely to be available to travellers in Venezuela.

There is currently an outbreak of Zika Virus (a dengue-like mosquito-borne disease) in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Irish Citizens especially those with a weakened immune system or women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant are advised to follow guidance available on the website  of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) at http://www.hpsc.ie/A-Z/Vectorborne/Zika/.

There is an extremely high level of crime, homicide and kidnappings in Venezuela, please read our safety and security section for more information.

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, start by talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

You can contact the emergency series in Venezuela by dialling (911).

There is no Irish Embassy in Venezuela and no Honorary Consulate. We are extremely limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Mexico.

If you phone outside of working hours, leave us a message giving:

  • Your name
  • The nature of your problem
  • Where you are now
  • Your contact details (mobile phone number or phone number of where you're staying)

We regularly monitor these messages and one of our staff members will be in contact with you.

EU DIRECTIVE ON CONSULAR PROTECTION
 
Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.

Our tips for Safe Travels:

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities.
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
  • Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Crime and political unrest

There are extremely high levels of serious crime in Venezuela. The risk of armed robbery and muggings, homicide, kidnapping and carjacking is high in all major cities in Venezuela, as well as in rural areas. Violent incidents occur regularly on public transport. In Caracas, the central area and the Sabana Grande areas are particularly dangerous, as are the barrios in western and eastern Caracas. If you're the victim of a crime, don't resist – victims are often killed or injured for failing to cooperate. Police response times are reported to be poor or non-existent.

Political demonstrations have increased in recent months and there is significant political and social unrest in Caracas and throughout Venezuela. Demonstrations occur regularly and some have resulted in violence. There have been regular large political demonstrations and protests in Caracas and other cities during April 2017, which have led to arrests, injuries, and deaths. Avoid all political demonstrations, which can turn violent with little warning. You should remain vigilant and informed. During and ahead of demonstrations, there's often travel disruption as a result of road closures. The authorities often use tear gas and buckshot to disperse protests.

Shortages

There are severe shortages of basic foodstuffs, bottled water, toiletries and medication, including basic over-the-counter medicine. Medical treatment, including emergency medical treatment, is unavailable in many parts of the country, including Caracas.

Airport

The road between Caracas and the airport (Maiquetia) is dangerous and there have been muggings and kidnappings by bogus taxi operators at the airport. There have been armed robberies on buses travelling to Maiquetia Airport, and along Avenida de La Libertador in Caracas. Incidents of violent crime within the airport are rising and foreigners are often targeted. Do not use ATMs are the airport. Do not take a taxi from the airport; ensure that a friend or trusted transportation service is waiting to collect you if you travel. There have been reports of muggings and kidnappings by criminals posing as taxi drivers or money changers.

If approached by an officer purporting to be an airport official, even if they are in uniform and/or present credentials, you should try to ensure that you remain in a busy area of the airport and, if possible, check with other airport or airline staff that the officials are genuine.

If you are taking an international flight from Caracas you should arrive at the airport three hours before departure, to allow time for security procedure. Don't stay in an airport hotel unless you can make safe transport arrangements between the hotel and the airport.

Air travel

Tourist travel can often involve flying in light aircraft. There have been several accidents in recent years on the main tourist routes, including Los Roques, Canaima and Merida - some with fatalities. The International Air Transport Association publishes a list of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices. A number of international airlines have reduced or suspended flights to Venezuela – you should contact your airline or travel operator in advance if you choose to travel for information on possible disruptions

Sea travel

There have been incidents of piracy and armed robbery against boats in and around Venezuela's waters, especially east of Puerto La Cruz and in waters between Venezuela and Trinidad. Take suitable precautions and avoid these areas if possible.

Kidnapping and border issues

There is a serious threat of kidnapping in Venezuela, including 'express kidnapping' (victims are kidnapped from the street and forced to withdraw money from an ATM). There are security concerns related to drug trafficking at both the Brazilian and Guyanese borders and security forces in these areas are scarce. The land borders between Venezuela and Colombia and Venezuela and Brazil have been closed since 11 December. In general, border closures are common and can happen at very short notice. We advise against all travel within 80km of the Colombian border due to particularly high rates of violence, trafficking and activities of armed groups.

Intoxicants

Travellers have been robbed and assaulted after accepting 'spiked' food and drink. Also be wary of accepting pamphlets as there have been reports of attacks and robberies occurring where pamphlets are distributed that are soaked in skin penetrating substances that intoxicate the victim.

Driving

Road conditions across Venezuela are poor. Carjacking is a problem by day and night. There are regular police and National Guard checkpoints throughout the country. Drive slowly through these and stop if asked to do so. There have been reports of attempts by the police and National Guard to extract bribes.

All vehicles must carry a spare tyre, wheel block, jack wrench and special reflector triangle. Driving under the influence of alcohol is common, especially during weekends. Many vehicles are in poor condition and drivers routinely ignore red lights. In the event of an accident, both vehicles must remain in the position of the accident until a traffic police officer arrives. Insurance companies won't pay claims on vehicles that have been moved without a police accident report.

Do not hitch hike under any circumstances

Taxis

When taking a taxi in Caracas or other towns and cities, use only pre-booked taxis rather than hailing them in the street. Hotels will normally book a taxi from a reputable company or supply their own driver service.

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Illegal drugs

Drug trafficking is a serious problem in Venezuela. Don’t handle illicit drugs. Arrests for drug trafficking are common and conviction leads to severe penalties, including up to two years being held on remand prior to sentencing and lengthy prison sentences (usually ten years) in harsh and dangerous conditions in Venezuelan jails. Many prisoners carry firearms and explosive devices and violence is common.

Be extremely wary of any offers of remuneration or hospitality in Venezuela in exchange for transporting packages in your luggage back to Ireland.

Military or strategic installations

It is an offence to photograph military or strategic installations including military airports and the Presidential Palace. Avoid plane spotting.

Natural Disasters and Climate

Natural disasters and climate

Rains

Venezuela has suffered exceptionally heavy rains, which have affected wide areas of the country. Travel has been affected in many areas, and road conditions remain poor. The rainy season extends from May to December when hurricanes, flooding, and landslides may occur. Transportation, utilities, emergency and medical care, as well as food, fuel, and water supplies may be disrupted. You can monitor local and international weather updates for the region through the US National Hurricane Centre, the World Meteorological Organisation and the Weather Channel.

Earthquakes

Venezuela lies in an active earthquake zone and is subject to tremors. Find out from local contacts or your hotel what you should do in the event of an earthquake.

Additional Information

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

If you are unsure about the entry requirements for Venezuela, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the nearest Embassy of Venezuela.

You can also check with them how long your passport must be valid for.

Passports

We advise you to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you when travelling to Venezuela and carry a photocopy of your passport at all times during your stay. If your passport is lost or stolen it can take up to 4 weeks to obtain a replacement.

Residency permits

If you are living in Venezuela, including Margarita, the only place where you can apply for or extend your residency permit is the main Venezuelan Immigration Office (ONIDEX) in Caracas. The telephone numbers are:  (0212) 483 20 70 / (0212) 483 35 81 / (0212) 483 27 06

There have been reports of other ways of getting a residency permit, including at least one company offering residency permits for the island of Margarita, but these permits may be of dubious legality and you should avoid them.

Dual nationality

Any dual national Venezuelan must use their Venezuelan identity documents to enter and leave the country.

Travelling with children

Children travelling unaccompanied, with a guardian, or with one parent must provide a letter from the non-travelling parent(s) confirming that they are satisfied for the child to travel without them. This letter must include all the travel details and must be notarised by a local notary public. If the child is resident overseas, the letter must be notarised by the nearest Venezuelan consulate/embassy. The child should carry this letter while travelling within in the country and also when leaving Venezuela. Children may be denied exit from the country if they do not have this letter

Health

Check with your doctor well in advance (8 weeks) of travelling to see what vaccinations you need for Venezuela. The Venezuelan Pharmaceutical Federation has reported that there is a shortage of 50% of medication supplies due to the economic crisis. Make sure you bring enough medication for your stay. Medical facilities in Venezuela vary widely in quality. More complex treatments may require evacuation to the US. The diphtheria outbreak that began in July 2016 in Venezuela remains active. Travellers going to areas with diphtheria outbreaks should ensure they have the necessary vaccinations in advance of travel.  

COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus

There is an ongoing outbreak of a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in China. Cases have been reported in a number of other countries.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Please be wary of these symptoms and seek immediate medical attention should such symptoms occur.

International travellers: practice usual precautions

HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is below.
Do:
• wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
• cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
• put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands
Don’t:
• touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean


Additional information on the Coronavirus can be found via the following links:

World Health Organisation

ECDC

HPSC

 

Swine flu

For up-to-date information on the swine flu epidemic in Venezuela, you should contact the nearest Venezuelan embassy  or visit the (Spanish language)website of the Venezuelan Ministry of Health.

Mosquito-borne diseases

Malaria is present in Venezuela so you should take medical advice on anti-malarial medication before travelling. Take adequate precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes by using bed nets and repellents, and wearing closed shoes, long sleeves and trousers.

Dengue fever is endemic to Latin America and can occur throughout the year. Take precautions against being bitten by Dengue-carrying mosquitoes, which are active throughout the day.

Yellow fever is a problem in Latin America and you may need a Yellow Fever Certificate to travel in the region.

Water

We recommend that you drink only boiled, filtered or bottled water during your stay.

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

The Embassy operates an out of hours service for Irish citizens requiring emergency assistance on weekends and public holidays. If you are in need of emergency assistance during these times, you should leave a message on the emergency message system by calling +52 55 5520 5803. The emergency message system is checked regularly outside of office hours and a member of the Embassy staff will contact you as soon as possible.

When you leave a message, remember to state your name, the nature of the problem, where you are now, and the details of how the Duty Officer can contact you (e.g. leave your mobile phone number, or the phone number of the hotel/hostel where you are staying).

Alternatively, you may contact the Duty Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin at +353 (0)1 408 2000.

Embassy of Ireland
Cda. Blvd. Avila Camacho, 76-3
Col. Lomas de Chapultepec
11000 México D.F.

Tel: +52 55 5520 5803
Fax: +52 55 5520 5892

Monday to Thursday 09:00-13:00; Friday 08:30-13:30

Contact us