- Normal precautions
- High degree of caution
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Do not travel
- Safety and Security
- Local Laws and Customs
- Natural Disasters and Climate
- Additional Information
- Embassy Contact
Avoid Non-Essential Travel
General Travel Advice
The Department of Foreign Affairs strongly advises against non-essential travel to Venezuela at this time due to the security situation in the country.
Commercial flights to and from Venezuela are limited and subject to change or cancellation.
Irish citizens do not require a visa to enter Venezuela.
A valid passport is required for travel to Venezuela. Irish passports should have a minimum validity of six months. Passport cards cannot be used.
For more information on visas and passports, please see the Additional Information tab.
Visitors to Venezuela are advised to follow the guidance of national and local authorities and stay fully informed of what's going on by monitoring local news and social media.
The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.
You can contact the emergency services in Venezuela by dialling 911 Specific emergency numbers are:
- Police: 911
- Fire brigade: 911
- Ambulance: 911
Our tips for Safe Travels:
- Get comprehensive travel insurance that covers all your planned activities.
- 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.
As there is no Irish Embassy in Venezuela, we are limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Colombia.
Safety and Security
Safety and Security
Safety and security
We advise against all travel to all Venezuelan border regions until further notice. There are security concerns related to drug trafficking at the Brazilian, Colombian and Guyanese borders, and security forces in these areas are scarce. Cross-border violence, kidnapping, drug trafficking and smuggling occur frequently in these areas.
In general, border closures are common and can happen at very short notice. You should not use any of the borders’ land crossings.
Crime and political unrest
There are 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. Cases of 'express kidnapping' (where victims are kidnapped from the street and forced to withdraw money from an ATM) have been reported. In Caracas, the central area and the Sabana Grande areas are particularly dangerous, as are some neighbourhoods in western and eastern Caracas. Violent incidents occur regularly on public transport. Police response times are reported to be poor or non-existent. If you're the victim of a crime, don't resist – victims are often killed or injured for failing to cooperate.
Demonstrations occur regularly and some have resulted in violence. Avoid all political demonstrations, which can turn violent with little warning. You should remain vigilant and informed. During and ahead of demonstrations, travel disruption often occurs as a result of road closures. The authorities often use tear gas and buckshot to disperse protests.
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.
The road between Caracas and the airport (Maiquetia) is dangerous and there have been muggings and kidnappings by bogus taxi operators and money changers at the airport. There have been armed robberies on buses travelling to Maiquetia Airport, and along Avenida Libertador in Caracas. Incidents of violent crime within the airport have been reported and foreigners are often targeted. Do not use ATMs at 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.
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 procedures. Do not stay in an airport hotel unless you can make safe transport arrangements between the hotel and the airport.
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.
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.
Where possible, plan how you will travel to and from your destination. 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.
Visitors have been robbed and assaulted after accepting 'spiked' food and drink. Visitors should also be wary of accepting pamphlets, as there have been reports of attacks and robberies occurring whereby pamphlets are distributed that are soaked in skin-penetrating substances designed to intoxicate the victim.
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.
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.
All vehicles must carry a spare tyre, wheel block, jack wrench and special reflector triangle.
Do not hitch-hike under any circumstances.
Local Laws and Customs
Local Laws and Customs
Local laws and customs
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 potentially being held on remand for lengthy periods prior to sentencing, and lengthy prison sentences in harsh and dangerous conditions in Venezuelan jails. Many prisoners carry firearms and explosive devices, and violence in prisons is common.
Do not accept any offers of remuneration or hospitality in Venezuela in exchange for transporting packages in your luggage back to Ireland.
It is illegal to take photographs of military or strategic installations including military bases, airports and the Presidential Palace. Avoid plane spotting.
Natural Disasters and Climate
Natural Disasters and Climate
Natural disasters and climate
Venezuela can suffer heavy rains affecting wide areas of the country; the rainy season extends from May to December, when hurricanes, flooding, and landslides may also occur. Travel can be affected in many areas, and road conditions can worsen. Transportation, utilities, and 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.
Venezuela lies in an active earthquake zone and is subject to tremors. Monitor media reports and follow the advice of the local authorities. Find out from local contacts or your hotel what you should do in the event of an earthquake.
Entry requirements (visa/passport)
For air travel, Irish citizens do not need a visa to visit Venezuela for periods of up to 90 days. If you are arriving overland or by sea, you must consult your nearest Venezuelan Embassy/Consulate for advice on visa requirements. When entering the country, you may need to provide evidence of return or onward travel.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of six months from the date of entry into Venezuela.
We advise you to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you when travelling to Venezuela and to carry a photocopy of your passport at all times during your stay. If your passport is lost or stolen, it can take considerable time to obtain a replacement. Please take extreme care with your passport and other personal documentation.
Entry requirements change from time to time, so check these requirements with the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Venezuela.
If you are living in Venezuela, including Margarita, the only place where you can apply for or extend your residency permit is at the Servicio Administrativo de Identificación, Migración y Extranjería (SAIME) headquarters in Caracas.
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.
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 copy of their birth certificate and written, notarised authorization from the non-travelling parent(s) or legal guardian specifically granting permission to travel alone, with one parent, or with a third party. 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.
Check with your doctor well in advance (at least eight weeks) of travelling to see what vaccinations you need for Venezuela. Make sure you bring enough medication for your stay, bearing in mind the acute shortages of all medication in the country. 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 may still remain active. Passengers going to areas with diphtheria outbreaks should ensure they have the necessary vaccinations in advance of travel.
Contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
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 an issue in Latin America and you may need a Yellow Fever Certificate to travel in the region.
There have been outbreaks in recent years 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).
We recommend that you drink only boiled, filtered or bottled water during your stay.
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 +57 1 657 6060. 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 at +353 (0)1 408 2000.
Embassy of Ireland in Colombia
Edificio Tierra Firme
Ak 9 #115-30
Tel: +57 1 657 6060
Monday to Friday 09.00 am - 5.30 pm
Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.