The U.S. Embassy in Caracas has suspended business and tourist visa processing for first-time applicants, due to staffing shortages that have forced the embassy to curb services.

Key points:

  • The embassy issued a statement May 18, saying that it was no longer able to book new appointments for first-time business or tourist (B-1/B-2) visa applicants.
  • Embassy staff will attempt to schedule appointments for B-1/B-2 visa applicants who submitted an application fee on or before May 18. These applicants are urged to schedule an appointment as soon as possible once time slots are offered.
  • A limited number of appointments will be available to those renewing a valid U.S. visa or applying as a first-time applicant for any petition-based, student or investor visa (E, F, J, M, H, I, L, O, P, Q, R, T, U). These applicants should expect longer-than-normal wait times for appointments.
  • The embassy will continue scheduling appointments for immigrant visa applicants.

Background: The embassy said the service cutbacks are the result of the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry’s refusal to issue visas to embassy personnel and to technicians who maintain the embassy’s computer system. “For many months, we have not had sufficient embassy personnel to handle the existing workload in Venezuela and, despite our best efforts, large backlogs of visa applications have accumulated,” officials said in a statement posted to the embassy website. The statement said that full visa services would resume once staff members receive the visas they need and begin working.

BAL Analysis: The change could have a negative impact on Venezuelans, including oil and gas professionals, seeking business opportunities in the U.S. On top of that, even when full services are restored, embassy staff will be faced with a backlog of visa applications and possibly a raft of new applications that could cause significant processing delays.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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