Venezuelan passport

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Venezuelan passport
Pasaporte Venezolano Mercosur.jpeg
The current front cover of the Venezuelan biometric passport.
Date first issuedJuly 2007 (biometric passport booklet)
2015 (current version)
Issued by Venezuela
Type of documentPassport
PurposeIdentification
Eligibility requirementsVenezuelan citizenship
Expiration5 years
Coat of arms of Venezuela.svg
This article is part of a series on the
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Venezuelan passports are issued to citizens of Venezuela to travel outside the country. Biometric passports have been issued since July 2007, with a RFID chip containing a picture and fingerprints; passports issued earlier remained valid until they expired.

As of 2015 passports were 34 pages long and displayed a biometric symbol on the bottom of the cover. The cover is deep blue and shows the name Mercosur followed by "República Bolivariana de Venezuela" on the top.

The holder's personal information is written in a digital format on a plastic card which also bears a machine-readable zone on the bottom, and a picture of the holder on the left.

Starting from 5 November 2018, all new passport applications will be paid using the Petro, a cryptocurrency established by the Venezuelan government with the backing of oil, gasoline, gold, and diamond reserves.[1][2] The cost of a new passport will cost 2 petros ($120 USD [3]) or Bs.S 72,000.[4]

Controversies[edit]

Allegations of fraud[edit]

Part of a document sent by Misael López Soto to his superiors regarding irregularities at the Venezuelan embassy in Iraq.

On 8 February 2017, a joint CNN and CNN en Español investigation called "Passports in the Shadows" (Spanish: Pasaportes en la sombra) - based on the information provided by a whistleblower and subsequent investigations, reported that employees of the Venezuelan embassy in Baghdad, Iraq has been selling passports and visas to persons from Middle Eastern countries (specifically Syria, Palestine, Iran, Iraq and Pakistan) with dubious backgrounds for profits, including to members of the Lebanese group Hezbollah.

The Venezuelan immigration department, SAIME, confirmed the sold passports' genuineness as each passport came with an assigned national identification number, although the names of these individuals were altered when checking against the national database. At least one individual's place of birth was also changed from Iraq to Venezuela. According to Misael López Soto, a former employee at the Venezuelan embassy in Iraq who was also a lawyer and CICPC officer, the Bolivarian government would sell authentic passports to individuals from the Middle East, with the Venezuelan passport able to access 130 countries throughout the world without a visa requirement. López provided CNN documents showing how his superiors attempted to cover up the sale of passports, which were being sold from $5,000 to $15,000 per passport. López Soto fled the Venezuelan embassy in Iraq in 2015 to meet with the FBI in Spain, with a Venezuelan official who assisted him to fly out of the country being killed the same day. The investigation also found that between 2008 and 2012, Tareck El Aissami ordered for hundreds of Middle Eastern individuals to obtain illegal passports, including members of Hezbollah.[5][6]

The Venezuelan foreign minister, Delcy Rodriguez, denied the government's involvement when questioned by the reporters during the Seventy-first session of the United Nations General Assembly and accused the network of performing what she described as an "imperialistic media operation" against Venezuela for airing the year-long fraud investigation.[7]

On 14 February 2017, Venezuelan authorities ceased the broadcasting of CNN en Español two days after the Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, ordered CNN to "(get) well away from here".[8][9] The government deemed the report "(A threat to) the peace and democratic stability of our Venezuelan people since they generate an environment of intolerance."[10]

In addition, CNN en Español has been also accused of instigating religious, racial and political hatred, violence and other themes, according to the Venezuelan National Commission of Telecommunications director Andres Eloy Mendez.[11][12]

Material shortages[edit]

In March 2017, it was reported that SAIME lacks enough "materials" to cope with demands for passports. As a result, only approximately 300,000 passports were issued in 2016 while between 1.8 million and 3 million Venezuelans applied for passports. SAIME launched an online platform for applications while guaranteeing 72-hour delivery with doubled fees. The site has crashed numerous times since its launch.[13][14] Those outside Venezuela were solicited bribes usually many times of the cost of the passport.[15][16]

Due to these shortages, the Maduro government has since 1 November 2017 allowed Venezuelan passport holders to extend their passports by 2 years,[17] provided these passports have enough blank pages, although Venezuelan citizens with pending applications for new passports will end up having said applications cancelled if they exercised the former option.[18]

Visa requirements[edit]

Visa requirements for Venezuelan citizens
  Venezuela
  ID card travel
  Visa free access
  Visa on arrival
  eVisa
  Visa available both on arrival or online
  Visa required

Visa requirements for Venezuelan citizens are administrative entry restrictions by the authorities of other states placed on citizens of Venezuela. As of March 2019, Venezuelan citizens had visa-free or visa on arrival access to 135 countries and territories, ranking the Venezuelan passport 35th in the world in terms of travel freedom (tied with the Guatemalan passport) according to the Henley Passport Index.[19]

Venezuelans do not require a passport when travelling to Argentina, Brazil and Chile, as they are allowed to use their ID card (Cédula de Identidad) instead.

Image gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Venezuela Plans a Cryptocurrency, Maduro Says". The New York Times. 3 December 2017. Retrieved 2017-12-03.
  2. ^ Ulmer, Alexandra; Deisy Buitrago (3 December 2017). "Enter the 'petro': Venezuela to launch oil-backed cryptocurrency". Reuters. Retrieved 2017-12-03.
  3. ^ "Petro (PTR)". The Crypto Trader. 2018-02-21. Retrieved 2019-05-22.
  4. ^ Zerpa, Fabiola (October 6, 2018). "Crypto Now the Only Way Isolated Venezuelans Can Buy Passports". Bloomberg.
  5. ^ Zamost, Scott; Griffin, Drew; Guerrero, Kay; Romo, Rafael (8 February 2017). "Venezuela may have given passports to people with ties to terrorism". CNN. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Diplomático venezolano denunció la entrega de documentos a terroristas | Venezuela, Terrorismo, Hezbollah – América". Infobae. 24 November 2015. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  7. ^ Venezuela may have given passports to people with ties to terrorism
  8. ^ Venezuelan president says he wants CNN out of country just days after report on passports, visas being sold in Iraq
  9. ^ Venezuela bans CNN after report alleges Iraq passport fraud
  10. ^ CNN, Steve Almasy,. "CNN en Español kicked off air in Venezuela". cnn.com. Archived from the original on 2017-03-27.
  11. ^ http://www.trtworld.com/americas/venezuela-pulls-cnn-for-distorting-truth-298639
  12. ^ http://edition.cnn.com/2017/02/15/americas/cnn-en-espanol-venezuela-off-air/
  13. ^ Venezuelans passports in short supply as millions try to flee troubled nation
  14. ^ Venezuelans Are Trapped by a Chronic Passport Shortage
  15. ^ La crisis deja a los venezolanos sin pasaporte
  16. ^ Las alcabalas del pasaporte
  17. ^ https://www.fragomen.com/insights/alerts/passport-extension-process-released
  18. ^ http://www.thejournal.ie/venezuelan-passport-ireland-3789645-Jan2018/
  19. ^ "Global Ranking - Passport Index 2019" (PDF). Retrieved 4 April 2019.

External links[edit]