Dear Realtor,

As I know many of you work closely with foreign investor clients who aim to acquire property in the United States for immigration purposes, I wanted to make you aware of today’s news bulletin from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela.

As of today, May 18, 2016, the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela will no longer be issuing business or tourist B-1 or B-2 visitor visas to first time applicants. Renewals of these visas may still be processed through the Embassy.

As for other petition-based, student or investor visas, such as the E, F, J, M, H, I, L, O, P, Q, R, T and U visas, the Embassy will still process first-time and renewal applications. Due to the limited number of staff, however, they are assuring substantially longer wait times that were previously typical.

The news release explains that the change in protocol is due to the fact that the Venezuelan government will not issue visas for U.S. Embassy staff. This is the most recent chapter in the ongoing saga which began in March of last year, when the U.S. Embassy was ordered by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government to cut their staff by 80 percent. They went from a staff of 100 down to just 17 as a result. These cuts created massive backlogs in visa processing and they have been unable to keep up with such an overwhelming amount of visa applications with only a skeleton staff.

As always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions on this or other legal issues.

Sincerely,

Don Gonzalez, Esq.