In January 2003, the Venezuelan government and the Venezuelan Central Bank (VCB) restricted the free trade of foreign currency and established an Exchange Control Regime.
The Venezuelan Constitutional Assembly enacted new Exchange Agreement N° 1 on 7 September 2018. The Exchange Agreement provides for new mechanisms for the settlement of transactions of acquisition and sale of foreign currency for the public and private sectors and abrogates the Exchange Agreements issued under the previous regime.
The VCB and the Popular Power Finance Ministry are authorised to determine the actions for development of the foreign exchange policy in accordance with Exchanage Agreement N° 1:
The following three mechanisms of operations are provided for the private sector:
- Acquisitions and sales of positions in foreign currency by persons of the private sectors and through the authorised exchange operators, presumably provided for high-value transactions.
- Retail exchange transactions up to 8,500 euros (EUR) of the equivalent value in other foreign currency per transaction.
- Negotiations in Venezuela currency of foreign currency-denominated securities issued by the private sector. In addition, special considerations are provided for export activities and tourism.
To date, regulations for implementation of the above-mentioned mechanisms, which are to be issued mainly by the VCB, have not been published. A new means of currency exchange was created by Resolution N°19-05-01 published in the official Gazette N°41.624 on 2 May 2019 whereby national banks sell to natural and legal persons through exchange tables.
Visas and permits
Visas must be obtained prior to entering Venezuela. In order to gain access to Venezuela, international assignees must have a valid visa issued by the Venezuelan Consulate. Obtaining a visa can take several months, so applications should be submitted well in advance. Please also note that visa applicants must have a valid passport that should not expire for at least six months from the application date.
The Venezuelan government issues various types of visas (in total 13 various types of visas); the most important are Transient Business Visa (TR-N), Transient Work Permit Visas (TR-L), Transient Family Visas (TR-F), and Resident Visas.
Do note that all of the documents to be submitted in Venezuela shall be filed in Spanish or translated by a certified translator, notarised and apostilled/legalized whenever it may apply.
Transient Business Visa (TR-N)
Business leaders, executives, representatives of companies or industries and micro-entrepreneurs who are not willing to migrate but need to enter the country to carry out legal and lucrative matters related to their businesses such as commercial, mercantile and/or financial activities. Is valid for one year, with multiple arrivals and departures and will allow permanence of 180 days continuous or not -non extendable. This visa does not allow the holder to work in Venezuela as a dependant.
The applicant -natural person or company, must formally file the request before a Venezuelan Consulate stating the purpose of the trip. As an independent body of the Venezuelan State, the Consul and/or the Consulate Officials are expressly authorised to request any supporting and personal document to the applicant like police certificate clearance, vaccines certificates, medical tests, professional resume, the company articles of incorporation, chamber or association recommendation or supporting letter, or any other they may deem necessary to check.
Transient Work Permit Visas (TR-L)
Companies wishing to hire a non-resident foreigner for work in a dependant relationship within the country must apply for a work visa (TR-L). This kind of visa may be granted for one year if a work permit is granted and can be locally extended for the same period. It may be also granted for three months without the need of a work permit, non-extendable. Both allows the applicant for multiple arrivals and departures and permanence for the same period. Further details are to be considered as drafted below.
To obtain the one year TR-L visa, the hiring company shall start the visa request process which comprehends:
- Filing for a work permit, locally, before the Ministry of Labour, where several documents will be requested to prove the local company qualification, tax solvencies, foreigners quota (maximum 10% of total foreigners in local payroll) and foreigners payments total amount (no more than 20% paid to Venezuelans), applicant high qualification for the job being applied for, and any other situation they may deem necessary to check. These scenarios are usually proved by submitting:
- Work Permit Request Form.
- Letter of Intention with a brief reasoning of why the applicant is needed, the role he/she will be responsible with, physical job to be address in country, salary amount and details (net salary, bonuses, house/medical allocation if any, etc) and the job description along with a vow to train local employees to perform said role.
- Copy of the company local complete payroll.
- In the case of transfer of qualified personnel, a Letter of Transfer issued by the headquarters must be submitted. It must state the motive for the transfer.
- In the case of direct contract of foreign personnel outside Venezuela, a document explaining the motives for contracting foreign personnel must be submitted.
- Notarised employment offer.
- Police clearance certificate
- Resume of the foreigner including hours worked, broad experience and academic/studies supporting documents.
- Full face photograph of the foreigner.
- Full copy of the passport of the applicant. If no more than 2 pages are empty, the request may be rejected.
- Medical tests. Express qualification for the job to be performed may be requested.
- Vaccines card certification for yellow fever and any other they may deem necessary to request.
- Labour related solvencies, such as Ministry of Labour, Social Security (IVSS), Training and Education (INCES), etc.
- Power of Attorney issued by the employer to the person in charge of requesting the work permit.
- Filing for the work visa issuance authorization, locally, before the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Justice. The request should be filled with:
- The request form indicating the Venezuelan consulate where the applicant will request the visa.
- Original of the granted work permit.
- Notarised employment offer.
- Biometric/ID page of the applicant passport.
- Power of Attorney issued by the employer to the person in charge of requesting the work visa issuance authorization.
To obtain the three months TR-L visa, the hiring company shall start the visa request directly before the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Justice with the very same requirements as stated in 2. above -except for the work permit, which is not necessary, and a specific employment offer, which shall state the three months threshold work timeframe.
Once the visa issuance authorisation is granted, the company should hand over it along with the work permit to the applicant for him/her to be able to formally request the visa before the Venezuelan consulate. Do notice that the consulate officials are authorized by law to request any other document they may deem necessary to grant the visa. If approved, the visa will be stamped in the applicant passport. If denied, a reasoned letter shall be sent by the consulate officials to the Venezuelan authorities.
Upon arrival, the one-year TR-L holder must request his foreigner ID -not available for the three months visa holder. The law also requests foreigners to register before the “Foreigners Registry” system of the Ministry of Interior and Justice, but, as of January 2023, said registry has not been enforced.
If the company aims the applicant to remain within the country for more than one year, the work permit should be renewed by formal request before the Ministry of Labour, as well as the visa before SAIME.
Transient Family Visas (TR-F)
The foreign employee with a TR-L visa can apply for a transient family visa (TR-F) for one’s spouse, non-emancipated children under 18 years of age, parents, and in-laws upon certified proof of the family tie and economic dependency. One then must present the following documents:
- Entry Application Form of the foreign family member.
- Marriage licence of the spouse.
- Birth certificates of the children.
- Full face and profile photo of the applicant.
- Passport copy of the family member.
- Power of Attorney or authorisation issued to the person in charge of requesting the TR-F visa.
- Tax stamps.
The TR-F visa is valid for one year, with multiple entries, and will allow permanence in the country for the same period. It can be extended in the country by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Justice, for the same period, upon ratification of the work permit by the Ministry of Labour.
The foreigner who has remained in Venezuela for at least one uninterrupted year with a TR-L or TR-F visa may apply for residency with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Justice. Resident visas are valid for five years and can be renewed every five years.