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Event: Do Not Travel – Dangerous Conditions and Threat of Detention Along the Colombian-Venezuela Border
August 31, 2022

Location: Border of Colombia and Venezuela 

Event: Do Not Travel – Dangerous Conditions and Threat of Detention Along the Colombian-Venezuela Border 

The Embassy advises U.S. citizens of the risk of detention when crossing from Colombia into Venezuela and recommends that U.S. citizens not travel to Venezuela.  The Colombia-Venezuela border is poorly marked, and U.S. citizens risk crossing into Venezuela accidentally and being detained for illegal entry.  If you choose to travel to Venezuela, do not attempt to enter Venezuela without a visa.   

The U.S. Department of State has categorized Venezuela as Level 4: Do Not Travel due to arrest and detention of U.S. citizens without due process or fair trial guarantees, or as a pretext for an illegitimate purpose; kidnapping; crime; wrongful detention; and other factors.  U.S. citizens mustobtain a visa to enter Venezuela.  Visas are not available upon arrival.   U.S. citizens attempting to enter Venezuela without a visa have been charged with terrorism and other serious crimes and detained for long periods.   The Maduro regime does not notify the U.S. government of the detention of U.S. citizens and the U.S. government is not granted access to those citizens.  The U.S. government has limited ability to provide consular services to U.S. citizens in Venezuela since the withdrawal of diplomatic personnel from U.S. Embassy Caracas. 

In addition, terrorist groups are known to operate in the Colombian departments of Norte de Santander and Arauca, along the Venezuelan border, which the U.S. Department of State has categorized as Level 4: Do Not Travel due to crime, terrorism, and other factors.  

U.S. citizens planning travel to the Colombia-Venezuela border area should review the U.S. Department of State’s Travel Advisories for both Colombia and Venezuela and the Department’s webpage on Travel to High-Risk Areas.  Consider drafting a will and designating appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney; discuss a plan with loved ones regarding care/custody of children, pets, property, funeral wishes, etc.; and share important documents, login information, and points of contact with loved ones so that they can manage your affairs if you are unable to return as planned. 

Actions to Take: 

    • Visit our website for information on Travel to High-Risk Areas 

    • Be aware of your surroundings. 

    • Do not travel between cities after dark. 

    • Avoid travel between Simón Bolívar International Airport and Caracas at night. 

    • Do not take unregulated taxis from Simón Bolívar International Airport, and avoid ATMs in this area. 

    • Avoid demonstrations. 

    • Monitor local media for breaking events and be prepared to adjust your plans. 

    • Have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance. 

    • Keep travel documents up to date and easily accessible. 

    • Develop a communication plan with family and/or your employer or host organization. 

    • Draft a will and designate appropriate insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney. 

    • Consider hiring a professional security organization. 

    • Establish a “proof of life” protocol with your loved ones, so that if you are taken hostage, your loved ones know specific questions (and answers) to ask the hostage-takers to be sure that you are alive (and to rule out a hoax). 

    • Leave DNA samples with your medical provider. 

    • Bring a sufficient supply of over-the-counter and prescription medicines. 

    • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. 

    • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter. 

    • Review the Country Security Report for Venezuela. 

    • Review the Traveler’s Checklist. 

    • Be prepared for an indefinite stay. There are limited international flights into or out of Venezuela and the Maduro regime has, at times, blocked U.S. persons’ access to departing flights. 

    • Be prepared for the high risk of indefinite arbitrary detention without consular access. 

  • Do not travel to the Colombian departments of Norte de Santander and Arauca.  If you choose to travel to these departments: 

    • Follow the actions for travel to Venezuela listed above. 

    • Do not go near the border due to the risk of crossing into Venezuela accidentally.  

    • Exercise vigilance. 


U.S. Embassy Bogota, Colombia 

Tel. +57-1-275-2000 or 601-275-2000 


 U.S. Department of State – Consular Affairs 

1-888-407-4747 or 1-202-501-4444 

 Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates 

 Follow us on Facebook and Twitter