I was hoping to visit Venezuela’s Margarita Island so I could add it to my New Year’s Party Destination List when I read the bad news: a tourist visa is required to visit Venezuela. Once again, my travel plans have been thwarted by visa restrictions. (see Sudan, see China, see Myanmar.) The cost of obtaining a visa to enter Venezuela is only $30 but the Embassy of the United States for Venezuela advises that as of March 2015 visitors should apply for a visa 3 months before their intended arrival.
Clearly, that means I won’t be able to make it before New Years. This puts my travel to Venezuela on hold indefinitely as there are plenty of other places to visit with less hassle. Visas are a burden on travelers but the process of obtaining this one seems particularly cumbersome and confusing. Travelers can’t use a visa agency and have to apply at their local consulate. Furthermore, I’m not sure how long I would be required to surrender my passport during the application.
Like Brazil and Paraguay, Venezuela’s visa requirement is in response to the US imposing restrictions on foreigners looking to visit the United States. I understand the argument of fairness but there is more harm done to the tourist industry by keeping travelers out than the externality of promoting national pride i.e., you don’t want us, then we don’t need you.
To Venezuela I say keep the visa requirement if you must but let’s relax with the 90 day application period because I want a margarita.