Reconsider your need to travel to Venezuela due to high levels of serious crime, ongoing political uncertainty, food shortages and ongoing problems with local currency. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times. Monitor the media and other sources about possible new security risks.
Do not travel to within 80 km of Venezuela's border with Colombia. This affects travel to parts of Bolivar, Amazonas, Apure, Tachira, Zulia and Barinas that are within 80 km of the border. The presence of gangs and terrorist groups make the region unsuitable for travel.
- Constituent Assembly elections were held on 30 July 2017 and have been followed by civil unrest and violent protests. Deaths have occurred during protests, caused by unknown assailants or security forces. Demonstrations occur regularly in major urban centres particularly Caracas, Valencia, Maracay, Merida and San Cristobal and some have resulted in violence and arrests. Avoid all political gatherings and demonstrations as they have the potential to become violent. See
Safety and security.
- In December 2016, the land borders between Venezuela and Colombia and Venezuela and Brazil were closed for a number of days. Border closures occur frequently and with short notice. Border closures can last for many days.
- Venezuela has one of the world's highest crime rates. Violent crime, including murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, drive-by shootings and carjackings, is endemic. Australian officials have been instructed to adopt enhanced security measures when travelling by car.
- If you do decide to travel, avoid central Caracas and the Sabana Grande area due to high levels of crime. Avoid walking or driving in any isolated areas, particularly at night.
- Basic food, medicine and other personal care items are often difficult to obtain and there are often shortages. Protests, fighting and theft have occurred in reaction to the long wait times involved with queuing for basic necessities. Electricity rationing has occurred in the past and could return without warning.
- A number of major international airlines have reduced or suspended flights to/from Venezuela. Avianca, one of the larger airlines, temporarily suspended operations at the end of July 2017, and some other airlines have cancelled all flights. Contact your airline or travel provider for information on possible disruptions.
- The Maiquetia Simon Bolivar Airport area and the road between the airport and Caracas is particularly dangerous due to violent crime. There have been reports of muggings and kidnappings by criminals posing as taxi drivers. See
Safety and security.
- Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Venezuela. The
Canadian Embassy located in Caracas provides consular assistance to Australians in Venezuela. The Canadian Embassy has temporarily closed its office (as its location is close to protest areas) and has moved to an appointment only service, limiting assistance in an emergency. This service, which continues to be provided, includes the issuance of
Provisional Travel Documents. The
Australian Embassy in Chile can also assist Australians.
Travel Smart for general advice for all travellers.
A valid passport, with at least 6 months validity, and proof of onward travel (such as a return flight) are required to enter Venezuela. Entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact the nearest
Embassy or Consulate of Venezuela for up-to-date information.
A number of major international airlines have reduced or suspended flights to/from Venezuela. Contact the airline or travel provider for information on possible disruptions.
For entry to and departure from Venezuela, dual national children (i.e. under 18) travelling alone or with one parent require a notarised letter of consent signed by both parents providing details of travel, and a copy of their birth certificate, translated into Spanish and certified by a Venezuelan Embassy or Consulate. Australians travelling with children are advised to contact the nearest
Embassy or Consulate of Venezuela for further information.
Venezuela is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a serious and potentially fatal disease preventable by vaccination. Get vaccinated for yellow fever before travelling to Venezuela (see Health section). As the quarantine requirements for yellow fever vaccination differ between countries, check the yellow fever entry requirements for Venezuela and all countries you intend to enter or transit by contacting their
foreign missions in Australia. Some airlines may require passengers to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate before being allowed to board flights out of the country. For more information about yellow fever, including Australian re-entry requirements, see the
Department of Health website.
You are required to pay an airport tax on departure from any international airport in Venezuela. This must be paid in local currency and in cash. Check if the tax has been included in the price of your ticket.
If you are travelling to Venezuela through the United States, or if you are transiting Honolulu or another US point of entry, you are required to meet US entry/transit requirements. Check your visa requirements with the nearest
US Embassy or Consulate well in advance of your travel. You should also read our travel advice for the
Make sure your passport has at least six months validity from your planned date of return to Australia.
Venezuela has one of the world's highest murder rates. Actual crime rates may be higher than official figures indicate. Violent crime, including murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, drive-by shootings and carjackings, is endemic throughout Venezuela. The vast majority of murders and major crimes go unresolved.
Avoid central Caracas and the Sabana Grande area. There are increasing levels of crime in poorer areas of Caracas, in Cumana, Maracaibo, Paraguana, Valencia and on the islands of Los Testigos. These areas are seldom patrolled by police. The Avila National Park is a known target area for criminals. Avoid walking or driving in isolated areas, especially at night.
Street crime is common and often turns violent. Crime involving firearms occurs frequently. There have been recent reports of armed motorcycle gangs robbing passengers in vehicles stopped in heavy traffic. Victims who have resisted robberies have been killed.
Motorists have also been robbed after stopping to assess damage caused by objects thrown from a bridge or overpass. Drive with doors locked and windows closed at all times.
'Express kidnappings', where people are forced to withdraw funds from ATMs to secure their release, also occur. Victims have been killed or injured while resisting perpetrators' demands.
Violent robberies have taken place as victims leave automatic teller machines or exchange houses. Be particularly cautious when handling cash in public. Where possible, exchange money in secure locations (such as hotels) and only used reputable providers.
There have been reports of harassment and extortion by criminals posing as officials. Exercise care when dealing with those in official uniform or carrying official identification.
Travellers have been robbed and assaulted (including sexually assaulted) after accepting spiked food and drink. In some cases, hotel workers and taxi drivers have been implicated. Women should take particular care when dealing with strangers or new acquaintances and be especially cautious about accepting rides or invitations.
Petty crime such as pickpocketing is prevalent, particularly on public transport in Caracas. Thieves, sometimes armed, are known to target hotel rooms, safe deposit boxes and rental cars.
Crime rates are higher in 'barrios' or 'ranchitos' (slum areas) after dark. Tourist and resort areas may be targeted by criminal groups.
Incidents of violent crime occur regularly on Margarita Island (Isla de Margarita). Hotels and tourist areas have been targeted, and a number of tourists have been killed. Take extra security precautions on the island.
The Maiquetia Simon Bolivar airport area and road between the airport and Caracas is particularly dangerous. The road should be avoided at night, particularly between the hours of 11pm and 4am when there are fewer vehicles on the road. Incidents of muggings and kidnappings by criminals posing as taxi operators at the airport have recently been reported. Foreigners, including Australians, have been attacked and robbed. Licensed, radio-despatched taxis can be organised in advance by hotels or by telephone at the airport. Avoid sharing taxis with strangers. If possible, travellers are advised to arrive in or leave Caracas during the day and to organise transport to the city through their hotel before they arrive at the airport.
Advice to Australian officials: Due to high levels of serious crime in Venezuela, Australian officials have been instructed to adopt enhanced security measures when travelling by car.
Incidences of piracy have occurred off the shores of Venezuela. See our
Civil unrest/political tension
There were general strikes on 26 - 27 July 2017, followed by a large opposition-led street protest on 28 July. Further protests are expected.
Since April 2017, there has been an increase in the number of demonstrations and cases of civil unrest occurring regularly in major urban centres throughout Venezuela, particularly Caracas, Valencia, Maracay, Merida and San Cristobal. These have been violent and have resulted in numerous deaths, injuries and arrests.
Be aware that ongoing social and political tensions could prompt unpredictable violent incidents and a military response. Political demonstrations are common and can lead to disruptions to services. Prior notice of demonstrations is rare.
Since August 2015, there have been increased tensions on the Venezuela-Colombia border. The Venezuelan Government has closed the land border with Colombia on a number of occasions, often without notice due to security and smuggling concerns. The border crossings in the states of Tachira, Zulia, Apure and Amazonas could reopen and close again at short notice. Special measures have been implemented in border municipalities in these states which include restrictions on the right to free movement, assembly and protest. Do not attempt to cross the Venezuela-Colombia border by land. Gangs and terrorist groups are also present in the Venezuela-Colombia border region.
Long line-ups at grocery stores have led to fighting, looting and theft. Shortages of basic food items and necessities, including medicine and other personal care items have meant that these items are often difficult to obtain.
High levels of inflation with the local currency, the bolivar (VEF), can cause issues with accessing funds from Australian bank accounts. The 100 bolivar bank note was withdrawn from circulation in February 2017. Be aware that differences in exchange rates can result in much larger amounts of Australian dollars being required for small transactions.
In July 2016, the government removed electricity rationing that had been in place since April 2016. Electricity rationing could return without warning. Tensions remain high and demonstrations may continue. Avoid all political gatherings and demonstrations, as even peaceful protests can quickly turn violent.
Be particularly vigilant during days of national or commemorative significance, as the likelihood of civil unrest may increase.
National strikes can be called at short notice, potentially causing disruptions to air travel, public transport, banking facilities and government services.
Border areas: Do not travel to within 80 km of Venezuela's border with Colombia due to risks from terrorist groups and cross-border political tension. This affects travel to parts of Bolivar, Amazonas, Apure, Tachira, Zulia and Barinas that are within 80 km of the border. Colombian terrorist groups, such as the ELN, and narcotic gangs are active along Venezuela's border with Colombia, Brazil and Guyana. Kidnapping for ransom in these areas has resulted in the death of hostages, including foreigners. The Venezuelan military conduct search and arrest operations to maintain law and order in border regions.
Troop movements and border closures could occur at short notice.
Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. See our
Terrorist Threat Overseas bulletin.
There are limitations on foreign exchange transactions throughout Venezuela and money exchange facilities may be difficult to locate on weekends. It is illegal to exchange currency at any rate other than the official government rate. Exchanging currency on the black market is a criminal offence with possible penalties including prison sentences. Credit card transactions are charged at the official rate, but care should be taken when using credit cards due to the high levels of fraud.
In March 2017, the Venezuelan government removed the 100 bolivar note from circulation, with an intention to release new notes between 500 and 20,000 bolivars. Demand for large denomination notes is high and notes are in limited supply. Travellers may find it difficult to secure currency.
Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to
report a lost or stolen passport online or contact the nearest
Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.
Passport applications for Australian citizens in Venezuela are processed in Santiago, Chile. Due to difficulties in transferring money out of Venezuela and extended delivery times for couriers operating into and out of the country, Australian citizens who apply for passports while in Venezuela should expect significant delays.
When travelling by road outside major cities, there is a risk of extortion and being caught in road blocks set up by illegal armed groups, including some posing as police.
Driving in Venezuela can be dangerous due to poorly maintained roads and vehicles, and local driving habits, including driving while intoxicated and ignoring red lights at night. Rural roads are often unmarked with little or no street lighting. For further advice, see our
road travel page.
Much of the infrastructure in Venezuela is in a poor state of repair. Airlines, ferry companies and public transport providers, including state-owned companies, have been criticised for not carrying out routine maintenance on their fleets. Lack of adequate maintenance by providers (including the Caracas metro system and tourist ferries to Margarita Island) could lead to cancellations and delays, and could compromise safety.
The safety standards you might expect of transport and tour operators, including adventure activities such as diving, may not be of the same level as in Australia. Sufficient safety equipment may not be provided and recommended maintenance standards and safety precautions may not be observed. If you have concerns, ask about or insist on minimal safety requirements with tour operators.
Piracy occurs in the coastal areas of Venezuela. See our
piracy bulletin for more information. The International Maritime Bureau runs a 24-hour Piracy Reporting Centre based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which issues daily reports broadcast to all shipping on the Safety Net service of Inmarsat-C and weekly reports on its
The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the
Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Venezuela.
Refer to our general
air travel page for information on aviation safety and security.
You are subject to the local laws of Venezuela, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our
Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail. Research laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.
Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the
Consular Services Charter.
Penalties for drug offences, including possession, are severe and include lengthy jail sentences served in local jails that are dangerous and among the worst in the world. Possession of even small quantities of marijuana may lead to imprisonment.
Drug trafficking in Venezuela is a significant problem and authorities have invested in sophisticated detection methods in an attempt to identify drug traffickers. Travellers are screened for drugs on arrival and departure and can also be screened while waiting in the airport. See our
It is illegal to photograph military installations and establishments or sites of strategic importance such as the Presidential Palace and airports.
Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.
Information for dual nationals
Under Venezuelan Nationality and Citizenship Law, Australian-Venezuelan dual nationals are required to enter and leave Venezuela on a valid Venezuelan passport.
Australian-Venezuelan male dual nationals over 18 may be required to complete national service obligations if they visit Venezuela.
Dual nationals page provides further information.
Take out comprehensive
travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.
It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. Get vaccinated before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The
World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our
health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.
The standard of public medical facilities in major cities is limited and in rural areas is very limited. Basic medical supplies and pharmaceuticals are often in short supply. Good private hospitals and clinics can be found in Caracas and other major cities. Such facilities are very expensive and will usually request up-front cash payment. Medical emergencies may require evacuation to Caracas or to another country. Medical evacuation costs would be considerable.
Hyperbaric chambers are located at: Unidad de Buceo PDVSA in Lagunillas Norte; Hospital Naval Raul Perdomo in Ctia La Mar; Compania Oriente marine Group in Puerto La Cruz; and Venezuela Divers in Ciudad Ojeda.
Venezuela is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as endemic for yellow fever. Yellow fever is a potentially fatal viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, which is preventable by vaccination. We strongly recommend that you are vaccinated against yellow fever before travelling to Venezuela. See the Entry and Exit section for important information about vaccination certificate requirements. For more information about yellow fever, see the
Department of Health website.
Malaria occurs year-round in some areas of Venezuela, with the highest risk in rural areas of the States of Apure, Amazonas, Barinas, Bolivar (including the Angel Falls), Delta, Amacuro, Monagas, Sucre and Tachira. Chloroquine and sulfoxidine-resistant strains of malaria have been reported. Other insect-borne diseases (including dengue fever, Chagas disease and leishmaniasis) also occur with more serious outbreaks from time to time. Take the appropriate prophylaxis against malaria where necessary and take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent at all times.
There is widespread transmission of Zika virus in Venezuela. All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites. The Australian Department of Health advises pregnant women to discuss any travel plans with their doctor and defer non-essential travel to affected areas. Further advice for both females and males is available from the
Department of Health. Also see our
Zika virus travel bulletin.
Water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases (including HIV/AIDS, typhoid, hepatitis, tuberculosis, Venezuelan haemorrhagic fever, measles, mumps, rubella and rabies) are prevalent with more serious outbreaks occurring from time to time. Boil all drinking water or drink bottled water and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food. Do not swim in fresh water to avoid exposure to certain water-borne diseases such as bilharzia. Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering from diarrhoea.
Depending on the nature of your enquiry, your best option may be to first contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
The national emergency number is 171, but operators may not speak English.
Australia does not have an Embassy or Consulate in Venezuela. By agreement between the Canadian and Australian governments, the
Canadian Embassy in Caracas provides consular assistance to Australians in Venezuela. Clients need to make an appointment to seek consular services by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be provided further advice. The service includes the issuance of
Provisional Travel Documents.
Canadian Embassy, Caracas
Avenida Francisco de Miranda con Avenida Sur
Altamira, Caracas, Venezuela
Telephone: (58 212) 600 3000; 600 3042 or 600 3043
Facsimile: (58 212) 263 4981
The Australian Embassy in Chile can also assist Australians. The
Consular Services Charter explains what the Australian Government can and can't do to assist Australians overseas. See contact details below.
Australian Embassy, Santiago de Chile
Isidora Goyenechea 3621
13th Floor, Las Condes
Santiago de Chile
Telephone: (56 2) 2550 3500
Facsimile: (56 2) 2550 3560
Canadian Embassy in Caracas and
Australian Embassy in Santiago for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.
If you are unable to contact the Embassy in a consular emergency, you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre in Canberra on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.
Natural disasters, severe weather and climate
Venezuela is in an active earthquake zone.
The rainy season extends from May-December, when hurricanes, flooding and landslides can occur. However, tropical storms and hurricanes may occur in other months. In the event of severe weather, follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor the media for the latest developments. Seek local advice before entering affected areas.
If you are travelling during hurricane season, contact your tour operator to check whether tourist services at your planned destination have been affected.
The direction and strength of hurricanes can change with little warning. Information on hurricanes or other severe weather conditions can be obtained from
U.S. National Hurricane Center and Tropical Prediction Center or
In the event of an approaching hurricane, identify your local shelter. Flights in and out of affected areas could be delayed or suspended. Available flights may fill quickly. The hurricane could also affect access to sea ports in the region. In some areas, adequate shelter from a severe hurricane may not be available to all who may choose to stay. Familiarise yourself with your hotel or cruise ship evacuation plans. Carry your travel documents at all times (i.e. passport, photo identification) or secure them in a safe, waterproof location. We also suggest that you contact friends and family in Australia with updates about your welfare and whereabouts. For further information, see our
Severe weather page.
For additional general and economic information to assist travelling in this country, see the following links: