Virginia, US

Jun 11 2019

State Department Announces U.S. Will Recognize Five-Year Extensions of Venezuelan Passports

United States

At a glance

  • The U.S. State Department will recognize five-year validity extensions for Venezuelan passports pursuant to a new passport policy being implemented by the interim Venezuelan government.
  • Other immigration agencies have yet to issue similar announcements. DHS implementation of the policy will be critical to enable Venezuelans relying on the extension to enter the United States.

The issue

According to a State Department announcement, the United States will recognize the acting Venezuelan government’s decree to automatically extend all Venezuelan passports for five years beyond their expiration date.

For U.S. visa issuance and other consular purposes, the State Department will recognize any Venezuelan passport as valid for five years beyond its stated expiration, as long as the foreign national is otherwise admissible to the United States

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not yet issued a comparable announcement concerning recognition of automatic Venezuelan passport extensions. Until the agency does so, it is unclear how U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers will treat expired Venezuelan passports presented at the border.

As a reminder, due to unstable conditions in Venezuela, DHS suspended all commercial and cargo flights between the United States and Venezuela on May 15. The flight suspension followed the January suspension of U.S. consular services and ejection of U.S. diplomats from Venezuela.

What it means

The State Department announcement is welcome news for Venezuelan nationals, who face lengthy delays and other challenges in renewing passports due to the unrest in that country.  However, unless and until the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have confirmed their implementation of the new policy, Venezuelans may experience difficulty at the border upon their return to the United States. Venezuelan nationals who have an urgent need to travel or apply for a visa pursuant to the new passport extension policy should contact their designated Fragomen professionals to discuss the risks. 

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen.