Thursday, March 12, 2015


The new Venezuelan visa, which all US citizens and permanent residents must now acquire to travel to that country, may have effectively ruined the ability of Americans to go to that country on business. Whether this was the intention of the Government of Venezuela is not known, but the net effect of the  imposition of mandatory visas, will certainly be to rule out any timely business travel, if needed.

First of all, there has been a statement that there will be a 90-day waiting period for processing; any urgent visits, by Americans to Venezuela, to examine ongoing investments, purchase or sell, and close, a transaction, will be out of the question. Liquidation of assets will also be problematic, especially where the presence of the owner or operator is necessary, or required by local law.

Second, the application must be presented in person, forcing American businessmen who do not have a Venezuelan Consulate in their city, to undergo travel, probably multiple times, to secure a visa. I painfully recall making repeated trips to the Russian Consulate in Washington, when I needed a visa to lecture there; those trips can be expensive, and time-consuming.

Third, the requirements that the applicant must demonstrate that he or she has the financial capability to cover expenses while in Venezuela means that personal banking information must be given to officials in a corrupt country, where crime is rampant and uncontrolled. How will American applicants know that their personal information will not result in them becoming victims of financial crime ? Add this to the requirement that applicants must prove that they are residents of the US, through ownership or rental of real property, and you have a recipe for potential financial disaster. Would you give up this information to a dangerous foreign country, just for a visa ?

If one cannot travel there, when necessary, in real-time, Country Risk for Venezuela becomes a clear and present danger for investors, businessmen and financial professionals with interests in the country. It is suggested that those few remaining Americans whose risk appetite still allows them to do business inside Venezuela, should now consider an exit strategy, lest they sustain a total loss.

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