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Country Profile

Venezuela

Venezuela is a medium income country whose economy is dominated by a substantial oil industry. The political climate in Venezuela is highly polarized and volatile. Violent crime is a continuing problem. Assaults, robberies, and kidnappings occur throughout the country. Scheduled air service and all-weather roads connect major cities and most regions of the country. Venezuela’s tourism infrastructure varies in quality according to location and price. For an in depth country description of Venezuela, please read the Department of State Background Notes on Venezuela.

Venezuela

   
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 COUNTRY OVERVIEW
Country Name: Venezuela
Continent: South America
Capital City: Caracas
Boundary Countries:

Brazil, Colombia, Guyana

Recommended Hospitals in Capital:

C.A. Esculapio (Valencia), Caracas Adventist Dispensary, Centro Clinico Cientifico Esperanza Paraco (Anzoategui), Centro Clinico Leopoldo Aguerrevere (Caracas), Centro Clinico Maria Edelmira Araujo (Trujillo), Centro Medico de Caracas, Centro Medico Mazzari-Rey (Anzoategui, Centro Medico Nueva Esparta (Isla de Margarita), Centro Medico Paraiso (Zulia), Centro Medico Paso Real (Miranda)

Main Cities:

Caracas, Maracaibo, Maracay, San Cristobal, Ciudad Bolivar, Barcelona, Amuay, Puerto Cabello, La Guaira, San Fernando, Valencia, Barquisimeto, Puerto Ayacucho, Ciudad Guayana

Country Size: 912,050 sq km
Population: 26,414,816

 

COUNTRY GENERAL INFORMATION
Language:

Spanish (official), Numerous indigenous dialects

Currency: Bolivar (VEB)
Predominant Religions:

Nominally Roman Catholic 96%,  Protestant 2%, Other 2%

National Holidays: Independence Day, 5 July (1811)
Economic Status:

Venezuela remains highly dependent on oil revenues, which account for roughly 90% of export earnings, more than 50% of the federal budget revenues, and around 30% of GDP. Emboldened by his December 2006 reelection, President Hugo CHAVEZ , in 2007, nationalized firms in the petroleum, communications, and electricity sectors, which reduced foreign influence in the economy. Although voters in December 2007 rejected CHAVEZ's proposed constitutional changes, CHAVEZ still has significant control of the economy and has indicated he intends to continue to consolidate and centralize authority over the economy by implementing "21st Century Socialism."

Security:

National Armed Forces (Fuerza Armada Nacionale, FAN): Ground Forces or Army (Fuerzas Terrestres or Ejercito), Naval Forces (Fuerzas Navales or Armada; includes Marines, Coast Guard), Air Force (Fuerzas Aereas or Aviacion), Armed Forces of Cooperation or National Guard (Fuerzas Armadas de Cooperacion or Guardia Nacional)

US Presence:

U.S. Embassy Caracas
Calle Suapure and Calle F
Colinas de Valle Arriba
Caracas, Venezuela
Telephone: 58-212-975-6411
Emergency after-hours telephone: 58-212-907-8400
Facsimile: 58-212-907-8199

Document Requirements:

A valid passport and a visa or tourist card are required. Tourist cards are issued on flights from the US to Venezuela for persons staying less than ninety days. Persons traveling for reasons other than tourism, however, should consult the Venezuelan Embassy or nearest Venezuelan consulate regarding possible visa requirements for their specific purpose of travel. Venezuelan immigration authorities may require that US passports have at least six months validity remaining from the date of arrival in Venezuela. Some US citizens have been turned back to the US because their passports were to expire in less than six months. Passports should also be in good condition, as some US citizens have been delayed or detained overnight for having otherwise valid passports in poor condition.
US citizens residing in Venezuela should be careful to obtain legitimate Venezuelan documentation appropriate to their status. There have been numerous cases of US citizens who, having employed intermediaries, received what they believed to be valid Venezuelan resident visas and work permits. They were subsequently arrested and charged with possessing fraudulent Venezuelan documentation. ONIDEX, the Venezuelan government agency responsible for immigration documents, has informed the Embassy that the only valid resident visas are those for which the bearer has personally signed at ONIDEX headquarters in Caracas.
Venezuelan law requires Venezuelan citizens to enter and depart Venezuela using Venezuelan passports and Venezuelan immigration authorities are increasingly enforcing this requirement. In order to comply with US and Venezuelan law, persons who hold dual American-Venezuelan nationality must plan to travel between Venezuela and the US with valid US and Venezuelan passports. Please see our information on dual nationality for entry and exit requirements pertaining to dual nationals.
Venezuela's child protection law mandates that minors (under 18) who are citizens or non-citizen residents of Venezuela and who are traveling alone, with only one parent, or with a third party, must present a copy of their birth certificate and written, notarized authorization from the absent parent(s) or legal guardian, specifically granting permission to travel alone, with one parent, or with a third party. This authorization must reflect the precise date and time of the travel, including flight and/or other pertinent information. Without this authorization, immigration authorities will prevent the child's departure from Venezuela. The Venezuelan Government no longer recognizes blanket or non-specific travel authorizations. When a parent is deceased, a notarized copy of the death certificate is required in lieu of the written authorization. If documents are prepared in the US, the authorization and the birth certificate must be translated into Spanish, notarized, and authenticated by the Venezuela Embassy or a Venezuelan consulate in the US.  If documents are prepared in Venezuela, only notarization by a Venezuelan notary is required. A permission letter prepared outside Venezuela is valid for 90 days. A permission letter prepared in Venezuela is valid for 60 days.
Travelers entering Venezuela from certain countries are required to have a current yellow fever vaccination certificate. The Venezuelan Ministry of Health recommends the Yellow Fever vaccine for those travelers departing Venezuela, whose final destination is a country that requires that vaccine. This vaccine needs to be given at least 10 days prior to travel. Yellow Fever vaccine is effective for 10 years so travelers should check their shot records to be sure they are updated as needed. In addition, per the Venezuelan Ministry of Health, travelers should carry their International Certificate of Vaccination (or yellow card) with them, as they may be asked to present it upon arrival or departure.   Mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever are also common in some areas and travelers should take precautions to prevent infection.
An exit tax and airport fee must be paid when departing Venezuela by airline. In many instances, especially with non-US airlines, the exit tax and airport fee are not included in the airline ticket price and must be paid separately at the airport upon departure. At present, American Airlines does include both fees in the ticket price. Authorities usually require that payment be made in local currency. Both the departure tax and the airport fee are subject to change with little notice. Travelers should check with their airlines for the latest information.
For current information concerning entry, tax, and customs requirements for Venezuela, travelers may contact the Venezuelan Embassy at 1099 30th Street, NW, Washington DC  20007, tel.: (202) 342-2214, or visit the Embassy of Venezuela website. Travelers may also contact the Venezuelan consulates in Boston,Chicago, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, or San Juan.
The US Dept of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Venezuela.
Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.

Major Airports:

Airports:  44, Airports w/paved runways:  37

Maiquetia, Venezuela, Edo Vargas, Maiquetia, 1161, VENEZUELA
Tel: +58 (0)212 303 1329, +58 (0)212 303 1330
Fax: +58 (0)212 355 1224
Email: info@aeropuerto-maiquetia.com.ve
Website: www.aeropuerto-maiquetia.com.ve

Maracaibo Airport, Venezuela, Maracaibo, Edo Zulia, VENEZUELA
Tel: +58 (0)261 78979

 

Servicing Airlines:
Risks and Precautions:

Violent crime in Venezuela is pervasive, both in the capital, Caracas, and in the interior. The country’s overall per capita murder rate is cited as one of the top five in the world. The Venezuelan National Counter Kidnapping Commission was created in 2006, and since then, official statistics have shown alarming increases in reported kidnappings throughout the country. In fact, kidnappings in 2009 have increased anywhere from 40-60 percent from the previous year. Surveys show that the overwhelming majority of kidnappings and other major crimes are not reported to the police. Armed robberies take place throughout the city, including areas generally presumed safe and frequented by tourists. Well-armed criminal gangs operate widely, often setting up fake police checkpoints. Only a very small percentage of crimes result in trials and convictions.
The Embassy strongly advises that all arriving passengers make advance plans for transportation from the airport to their place of lodging. If possible, travelers should arrange to be picked up at the airport by someone who is known to them. The Embassy has received frequent reports of armed robberies in taxicabs going to and from the airport at Maiquetía. There is no foolproof method of knowing whether a taxi driver at the airport is reliable. As circumstances warrant, the Embassy sends out messages to US citizens who have registered on-line. These messages are also posted on the US Citizens page of the Embassy’s web site at http://venezuela.usembassy.gov/. US citizens traveling or residing in Venezuela are advised to take common-sense precautions and avoid large gatherings and demonstrations, no matter where they occur.
Venezuela is an earthquake-prone country and is occasionally subject to torrential rains, which can cause major disasters such as the one in Vargas State in 1999.
US citizen yachters should exercise a heightened level of caution in Venezuelan waters. Please consult the US Coast Guard web site at http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-o/g-opr/g-opr.htm  for additional information on sailing in Venezuela.

Mortality Statistics:

Infant MR total:  22.02 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:  TOTAL 73.45 years  (male 70.4/female 76.65)

Immunization Indicators:

Required: None

Recommended: Yellow Fever, Hep A & B, Typhoid, Rabies

Boosters: MMR, DPT

Note: Chloroquine is NOT an effective antimalarial drug in Venezuela and should not be taken to prevent malaria in this region.

If you will be visiting a malaria risk area in Venezuela, you will need to take one of the following antimalarial drugs: atovaquone/proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine (primaquine in special circumstances and only after G6PD testing).

 

Infectious Disease Concerns:

Malaria risk area in Venezuela: Risk exists in rural areas of the following states: Apure, Amazonas, Barinas, Bolivar, Sucre, Tachira, and Delta Amacuro. Risk in Angel Falls.
Drugs to Prevent Malaria (antimalarial drugs)  
Dengue, filariasis, leishmaniasis, onchocerciasis, and American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease) are other diseases carried by insects that also occur in this region. Epidemics of viral encephalitis and dengue fever occur in some countries in this area.  Schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection that can be contracted in fresh water in South America, is found in Brazil, Suriname, and north-central Venezuela. Do not swim in fresh water (except in well-chlorinated swimming pools) in these countries. (For more information, please see Swimming and Recreational Water Safety.)

Overall Quality of Medical Services:

Medical care at private hospitals and clinics in Caracas and other major cities is generally good. Public hospitals and clinics generally provide a lower level of care, and basic supplies at public facilities may be in short supply or unavailable. Cash payment is usually required in advance of the provision of medical services at private facilities, although some facilities will accept credit cards. Patients who cannot provide advance payment may be referred to a public hospital for treatment. Private companies that require the patient to be a subscriber to the service or provide cash payment in advance generally provide the most effective ambulance services. Public ambulance service is unreliable. US citizens should be aware that due to the currency restrictions in effect in Venezuela they might find it difficult to receive wire transfers from abroad, whether through a bank or Western Union. Such wire transfers cannot be used reliably as a source of emergency funds. US citizens traveling to Venezuela may also find it difficult to obtain certain prescription drugs, particularly name brands, and should ensure that they have sufficient quantities of all medications for the duration of their stay

Providers in Network:
Direct Payment: 3
Referrals: 124
View Network Providers
Recent Medical Threats/ Concerns/Warnings:

Please refer to the “Infectious Disease Concerns” section.

 

Communications Info:

Calling Code: +58 
Internet code: ve

 



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