Last Update: Reissued with updates to wrongful detention information.
Do not travel to Venezuela due to crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, kidnapping, and the arrest and detention of U.S. citizens without due process or fair trial guarantees. Exercise increased caution in Venezuela due to terrorism and wrongful detentions.
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, remain 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. 2020 and 2021 United Nations Human Rights Council Fact-Finding Mission reports documented human rights abuses attributed to the 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. Shortages of gasoline, food, electricity, water, medicine, and medical supplies continue 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.
The Department has determined that at least one U.S. national is wrongfully detained by the Venezuelan government.
Regime-aligned security forces have detained U.S. citizens for long periods. The 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.
Colombian terrorist groups, such as the National Liberation Army (ELN), Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia – People’s Army (FARC-EP), and Segunda Marquetalia, operate in Venezuela’s border areas with Colombia, Brazil, and Guyana.
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 for additional information on travel to Venezuela.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined Venezuela has an unknown level of COVID-19. Visit the CDC page for the latest Travel Health Information related to your travel.
If you decide to travel to Venezuela:
- Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before planning any international travel, and read the Venezuela Affairs Unit’s webpage for country-specific COVID-19 information.
- Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Stay alert in locations frequented by international visitors.
- 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.
- Monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans.
- Make contingency plans to leave the country.
- Have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance.
- Keep travel documents up to date and easily accessible.
- Develop a communication plan with family and/or your employer or host organization.
- Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney.
- Consider hiring a professional security 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).
- Leave DNA samples with your medical provider.
- 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 Country Security Report for Venezuela.
- 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 the high risk of indefinite arbitrary detention on specious charges without consular access.