A tourist visa is required for U.S. Citizens entering Venezuela, effective immediately
Just in the last day, March 2nd 2015 the Venezuelan Government published an official Gazette No. 40.611 declaring that all U.S. citizens planning tourism to Venezuela will now have to apply for a Tourist Visa. The requirement is effective immediately and it has been carried by the official national newspaper and we have called the Venezuelan Consulate confirming it.
This sudden announcement poses several complications
1. Americans who have existing reservations to fly there are not exempt. They will be turned back at the border if they are not in possession of a visa. The course of action recommended for a person in this situation is to contact the airline to see what can be done about the flight and to apply to the Venezuelan Consulate as soon as possible to get a visa.
2. The number of personnel in the Venezuelan Diplomatic Mission in Washington was reduced to only 17. Those applying for a visa to Venezuela may expect long delays in the process and the cost of it will $160.
3. A disparity in the number of officials is prompting the Venezuelan Government to request some U.S. Embassy staff to leave, which will cause a shift in the Venezuelan Consulate operations, delays are expected in the processing of visas as a result.
4. Venezuelans who are American Citizens: would have especial challenges. Venezuela does not recognize dual citizenship, so a visa in an American passport for someone born in Venezuela will not be issued . If they have a current Venezuelan Passport they may use that to enter Venezuela, however if they do not, they will need to apply to get one, and we already have heard it is already a very lengthy process.
The timeframe on getting a visa is unknown but expected to be slow. The fact that there is no transition period is already very challenging for anyone planning to visit Venezuela.