Due to current political and economic upheaval, it is not recommended that expats consider Venezuela as a potential destination for employment at present. Shortages, as well as a drop in oil production, have had a significant impact on the nation’s economy. Over the last couple of years, 40% of the country’s teachers have left the profession, and many Venezuelans have left the country altogether.
The US State Department has warned that Venezuela is currently considered to be dangerous for expats and investors, who are at risk of being kidnapped or falling victim to extortion. Similarly, the UK’s FCO has advised against any travel to the nation, unless it is unavoidable.
Hopefully, the situation will soon change, and Venezuela will become a desirable destination for expats once more. Read on to learn about the steps you will need to take in order to relocate there.
The US State Department reports that the Venezuelan Embassy is currently not open for visa processing.
Under normal circumstances, you can apply for two main types of working visa:
1) The TR-L (Transeunte Laboral) visa and non-resident work permit: this is intended for temporary work and is valid for up to a year, but can be renewed. You will need a job offer from a Venezuelan-based firm in order to apply for this
2) The TR-N (Transeunte de Negocios) visa can be used for up to 180 days and is intended for non-immigrant traders, executives, representatives of enterprises or industries and micro-entrepreneurs. You will need to apply for this before you enter Venezuela
The country’s main industries are manufacturing and oil. Petroleum makes up more than 50% of the total GDP. Ordinarily, this provides scope for employment for expats with a background in the oil industry, but given the current travel advice, it is unwise to consider employment in this sector.
Venezuela works eight hours a day for five days a week (Monday to Friday). This means that the official working week is 40 hours.
Businesses are typically open from 8 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and from 2 p.m. to 5.15 p.m. Retail companies tend to close later.
You will be entitled to take 15 working days of paid annual leave after one year of employment. There are 10 public holidays.
Maternity leave consists of six weeks before giving birth and 20 weeks after giving birth. You will be entitled to 66.66% of your salary, paid by social security.
Although Venezuela has an official minimum wage, hyperinflation entails that this is constantly being hiked and devalued. The economy is basically in ruins.
See above for advice regarding travel restrictions. It is inadvisable to bring dependants to Venezuela at present.
Under normal circumstances, you can make speculative applications to companies.
There are recruitment agencies that cover Venezuela under normal circumstances.
A one-page CV/resume is acceptable, but you may wish to translate any salient details into Spanish.
Venezuela has anti-discrimination legislation, but this is piecemeal.
You may wish to translate your qualifications into Spanish and also have them apostilled.
Many foreign nationals can stay in Venezuela for up to 90 days on a tourist card, which is issued upon arrival, provided they arrive by air. If you plan to arrive in Venezuela by overland transport or by boat, you will need to obtain your visa in advance. This can be done at your nearest embassy or consulate. In order to pass through Venezuelan immigration, you must show proof of return or onward travel, and have a passport with a minimum validity of six months beyond your intended stay.
Visa extensions of up to 90 days can be applied for at the Servicio Administrativo de Identificación, Migración y Extranjería (SAIME) office. You must ensure you have the correct documents and visa fees before you go, and the application must be done before your tourist card/visa expires. Do not overstay your visa without arranging and paying for an extension, otherwise you will be fined and/or arrested when you try to depart.
Any dual nationals must use their Venezuelan identity to enter and exit the country. Any children travelling unaccompanied, with a guardian, or with just one of their parents will need to have a letter from the non-travelling parent (or parents) stating confirmation of consent. This letter must detail all travel plans and destinations within the country and must be notarised. It must be kept about their person throughout their travels and when they leave the country.
You may need a Yellow Fever vaccination in order to enter Venezuela. This will depend on a variety of factors, so make sure you check whether this applies to you. If you do require a vaccination, you will need to get this done at least 10 days before you travel.
There are various types of visa available for foreigners looking to visit and work in Venezuela. These range from types of visitor visa, which largely depend on income and whether you have relatives in Venezuela) to religious missionary visas and business visas. See a more comprehensive list below:
Business visitor visa (also applicable to entrepreneur/corporate visitor visas)
For those visiting for short periods of time for the purpose of business only. For example, for attending business meetings, corporate events, seminars, workshops, and networking.
This will usually require a minimum amount of funds to be invested in the country. This will usually be in the form of real estate investments, but can also include business investments.
Immediate family and dependants visa
Immediate family and dependents of Venzuelan nationals, citizens and residents include spouses, dependent children, dependent stepchildren, and parents.
Migrant domestic worker visa
This is a separate working visa category specifically for migrant domestic workers. For example, for maids, nannies, gardeners, and caretakers.
Non-immigrant visiting relatives visa
For family members wishing to visit longer than their visa exemption allows, but who have no intention of immigrating to Venezuela. This will usually require sponsorship, and proof of relationship to the sponsor.
Religious missionary / member of religious order visa
Those visiting on religious grounds in order to teach or preach will usually require a letter of invitation.
Returning foreign resident
For those who immigrated abroad and were required to give up their previous national/citizenship status.
For those who wish to study in Venezuela at a registered/endorsed/accredited educational establishment. This requires a letter of acceptance/enrollment.
For tourists who are not visa exempt.
For those travelling through Venezuela who are not visa exempt. This may be required for transit, if leaving the airport for between 24 and 72 hours.
If you wish to stay for longer than 90 days in Venezuela, and also wish to work there, then regardless of which country you are from, you must apply for:
• Residence permit (either temporary or permanent)
• Work permit
If you’re living in Venezuela and need to extend your residency permit, you must apply at the SAIME office. It is best to avoid companies offering residency permits, as they are not likely to be genuine.
Foreign employees must obtain work visas and work permits to work in Venezuela. Work permits are within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Justice and are issued by the Ministry of Labour. Work permits can be obtained through the process of starting up your own company, or through your employer. If the latter, then your employer should make the application from within Venezuela on your behalf. Work permits are issued for a period of one year with multiple entries.
Note: Some people are exempt from needing a work permit, including artists, foreign press correspondents and athletes carrying out profitable activities in Venezuela. In these instances, applicants, or their representatives in Venezuela, will need to obtain authorisation from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Justice.
For the work permit application, the following documents will need to be submitted by the applicant:
• A valid passport, valid for at least six months
• A (2x2) colour photograph taken within the last six months, with a white background
• A covering letter from your employer
• A copy of your employment contract
• Qualification and vocational certificates
• Marriage certificate and birth certificates of children under 18 years of age (if applicable)
• Police clearance certificate (valid for at least six months)
• Medical certificate, authorised and signed by a doctor
• Proof of adequate finances for the duration of your stay in Venezuela
In order to gain permanent residence status in Venezuela, applicants must already have been legally and continuously residing there for a period of at least 10 years. They must also pass a citizenship test, and they may need to meet other requirements, such as have proof of adequate financial funds. For natural-born citizens of Spain, Portugal, Italy, Latin American countries or Caribbean countries, this period is reduced to five continuous years. You can also submit an application if you are the spouse of a Venezuelan citizen who has been married and living in Venezuela for five continuous years. Any person born in Venezuela acquires Venezuelan citizenship automatically at birth, regardless of the nationality or residential status of their parents. In some instances, high value investors may also be granted residence status.
Many expats take out private medical insurance, even if this is not a requirement of residence, because healthcare is expensive in their destination country or because certain treatments and procedures are not available.
When taking out health insurance, be sure to check factors such as the annual and lifetime policy limits, whether there are any exclusions which are likely to affect you, whether you are limited to treatment from specific types of healthcare providers, and whether the policy covers emergency evacuation for medical treatment.
Too frequently, potential buyers of health insurance look only for the lowest cost of premiums before really considering the specific benefits and areas of cover they may actually need. Some plans are cheaper for a reason. Often they include large voluntary deductibles on any claim you might make in the future and may severely cap the benefits received under the plan. Clients should define their needs first, establish the particular area of cover they need, then determine their annual healthcare insurance budget. Only then should they look to premium comparisons, last of all.
Do not buy a plan without studying the policy wording carefully. If in doubt, ask, and only when completely satisfied complete all application forms fully, to the best of your ability.
Important questions to ask the insurance provider:
1. Does the plan allow for cooling off periods, cancellation and then repayment of premium in full?
2. Does the plan offer "Moratorium" or is it "Full underwriting" and do you need to have a medical examination before joining?
3. Does the insurer offer a 24 hour help line, 7 days a week, available from anywhere in the world (freephone)? Most insurers now offer this facility.
4. Are pre-existing conditions excluded when joining and if so, for how long are such conditions excluded?
5. Are all and any nationalities accepted or are there restrictions which apply to local nationals? Some insurers will only take expatriates abroad and not local nationals into an overseas plan.
6. Does the plan allow you to continue cover unbroken through your lifetime? In most cases insurers will continue to offer existing clients cover year on year, irrespective of age or claims history, although premium rates charged can increase dramatically with age.
7. Does the insurer allow for any doctor or consultant or hospital within the plan? Are there any restrictions in this respect? Most international plans do not place restrictions on either hospitals or doctors, but almost all demand that their help lines are called first, prior to approval of any inpatient care.
8. Does the insurer provide for the direct settlement of bills presented by hospitals worldwide, regardless of location (or do you have to pay first)?
9. What are the insurers procedures for outpatient claims? Do these require any pre-authorization or if stated in the plan can you just pay and claim? How long before you get money back from the insurer? 14 days? 28 days?.
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When considering renting or buying property in Venezuela, it is extremely important to take into account the current level of political and economic instability. The US and UK government advice is against travel unless absolutely necessary. It would be wise to get advice from someone already living there, before you make any decisions about relocating.
Even if you speak Spanish well, it is essential to negotiate through bi-lingual contacts and agents, since English is generally not widely understood throughout the country. In saying this, property owners who deal with expats are often bi-lingual. You may find that some property listings online are in English as well as in Spanish, but bear in mind that translation standards vary.
There are very few restrictions on foreigners renting property in Venezuela. A passport and a deposit will suffice in most cases, and deposits and monthly payments can be arranged via the internet or through local agents. Processing charges will apply and are negotiated with the agent directly.
There are many property agents, which you can find on the internet, especially for the capital city, Caracas, and for the popular island and coastal destinations, such as Margarita Island.
There are both furnished and unfurnished properties available throughout the country. However, it is important to note that there is a very high demand for two-bedroom properties in the capital.
Lease periods are variable and negotiable, but properties at the popular tourist coastal sites tend to have maximum leases of six months. In these areas, holiday property can be rented by the week or month, subject to availability.
The amount of notice you will need to give to terminate your lease will depend on the length of your tenancy, but you can expect it to be between one and three months. Deposits will vary, again depending on the length of your contract, but are typically equivalent to one to three months’ rent. In many cases, there is a ‘security deposit’ that is approximately 15% of the monthly rental price.
Throughout Venezuela, rent is comparatively cheap for basic accommodation, and the costs of utilities in Venezuela are almost negligible.
In Caracas itself, monthly rents are typically from $200 to $400 upwards for a single room apartment and a little more for a separate bedroom apartment. For a three-bedroom apartment, you can expect to pay from $450 to $1000 upwards.
Houses are also available in some parts of the city region, but you will need to use a local estate agent to assess availability and potential costs.
In the coastal and island regions, there are relatively low-cost single bedroom apartments, which are available from $300 to $600 per month upwards. A three- or four-bedroom house in the same region might cost from $2000 to $5000 a month upwards, depending on location and facilities.
Foreign nationals with valid passports are welcome to buy property in Venezuela, whether for retirement, holiday, or work-related purposes. Property can also be acquired indirectly, so foreigners may buy through foreign or local companies.
Property for sale in Venezuela is widely advertised on the internet, especially in the holiday coastal and island regions.
You may be able to find expats who are willing to help you online, but it is recommended that you visit your chosen area and make contacts while you are there.
You will need to appoint local agents to guide you through the process and help with translation. They will help you make an informe de la documentation, which is an intent to buy. An opcion a compra (option to buy) is then recommended – this is a legally binding agreement for purchaser and vendor, and it usefully locks the price as well, which is important in the current hyper-inflation environment. A deposit of around 20% to 30% will be demanded at this stage.
You will need a fiscal ID (RIF) from the local tax office, which can only be obtained in person. Bear in mind that Venezuelan government offices are rather formal, and you will need to wear formal clothing, as otherwise you may be refused entry. Gentlemen will be expected to wear trousers and a shirt, while ladies will be expected to wear a dress.
You will then be able to open a bank account and deal with notary and registry offices, as well as your agent and any local trader and suppliers.
Local mortgages are practically impossible for foreign nationals to secure. Also, if you do manage to secure one, the interest rate will be so high that it will render the mortgage uneconomical. Any financing required should be arranged in your home country.
All property transfers must be paid for in Bolivars, and correct documentation must be certified through notaries. Your local agents will arrange for the paperwork and funds transfer etc. Agent costs are typically 3% of the final property valuation, and this is payable up front.
Once you have purchased the property, your agent can manage it for you (for an agreed fee). They can make sure that your utilities are paid and that any maintenance is carried out. They will also be able to collect rent payments if you decide to let the property while you are not there. Additionally, they can assist with power of attorney should this be desired.
Fire and earthquake insurance should be arranged and paid for a year in advance. Your agent will recommend suitable insurers.
Expats considering buying property in Venezuela might want to contact others already living there for more information.
Property can be relatively cheap in Venezuela. For example, a beach-front condominium residence on the popular Margarita Island can be bought for $70,000, and a three-bedroom villa can be bought for under $100,000. However, larger properties can fetch much higher sums. There are also investment opportunities for entrepreneurs, such as hotel and holiday complexes.
The most popular websites for finding properties in Venezuela include:
Consider if you want (or are able) to transport your belongings yourself or whether you will need the services of a removals company that deals with international moves. Unless you are travelling very light, or making a fairly short move by road, you will probably need professional help to ship your possessions. Ask for quotes from several companies first, ensuring that they visit your home to carry out a survey of your requirements. It may be worth paying extra for the removals firm to pack your possessions for you, particularly if they are going to be transported to a distant country and need special protection for the long journey. Make sure you bring to their attention anything fragile or precious that needs particularly careful wrapping and packing.
Before agreeing to a quotation, ensure that you are fully aware of exactly what is covered in the price, and that the service to be provided meets all of your requirements. For example, does the service include both packing and unpacking of your household effects? What about disassembling and reassembling of furniture? If you are planning to put anything into storage in your destination country while you find accommodation, does the price include final delivery and unpacking at your home, or will you need to arrange collection of the items? Obtain a firm estimate of the likely arrival date of your items and obtain contact details for any agents that will be dealing with the removal in your destination country. Ensure that the removals company is aware in advance of any practical considerations such as the lack of an elevator to your apartment, or likely parking problems.
If using a removals company, you may be required to take out their insurance cover for your possessions. Whether or not this is the case, ensure that you have adequate insurance for anything of actual or sentimental value that could get lost or damaged during the move. Take the time to accurately complete or check an inventory of your possessions to be moved, as this will form the basis for any insurance claim for losses or damages. Find out if insurance is included in the price quoted by the removals company, or whether you are required to pay extra for this.
The removals company should arrange any customs and importation documents on your behalf, but if you are arranging the move independently you will need to find out what documents are required and what import duties and taxes are payable (and whether you are eligible for exemption from these).
Make sure that you set aside the important documents you will need for the journey, such as passports and air tickets, and keep these easily accessible in your hand luggage.
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QUICK LINK: Venezuela health insurance
You may have some diarrhea issues adjusting to the foods and liquids in Venezuela. You should preferably buy bottled water and not drink from the tap, but iced drinks and salads are generally fine (depending on the water supply quality of your native country). Be careful with expired foods and cheeses that are many days old. You usually find street vendors by highways, who sell food and who don’t always have much knowledge of hygienic food handling practices. Use common sense when selecting what to eat in the street.
In order to open a bank account in Venezuela a person must have an ID card, a reference from their current bank and personal references, a copy of a utility bill which has the current address on it, a completed application form and the minimum deposit required by the bank. The minimum deposit varies from bank to bank, but most will request one. If possible the personal reference should be provided by a Venezuelan. Some banks may allow you to open the most basic account with a minimum of paperwork, but these accounts will not have debit cards or credit facilities and you may be very restricted with the type of transactions that you are able to carry out.
A current account can be used for day to day payments of bills and other financial transactions. Deposits can be made by cheque, cash and bank transfers. Some credit facilities may be available if arranged in advance with the bank. A current account will have a debit card and cheque book issued and as an expat you may be asked for ID when you try to use it. It is a good idea to carry a local ID card or passport when you go shopping. Savings accounts are ideal for those who do not need to access funds on a regular basis. Account holders are issued with passbooks for savings accounts and the requirements for opening the accounts are the same as for a current account.
Unlike most other countries it is only possible to open current and savings accounts in the local currency. This is due to strict controls on the exchange of foreign monies. It also means that monies being transferred from other countries may be subject to stringent checks and charges. These regulations will vary from bank to bank and it is worth checking in advance to find out the policy of each individual bank.
Banks in Venezuela open from 8.30 am to 3.30 pm from Monday to Friday. Those banks which are located in busy shopping areas may extend their opening hours until 9 pm at night and include weekends in their opening hours. Some banks will have a customer service department that may be contactable by telephone after the usual working hours. Some banks have an online banking system which will allow account holders to pay bills and transfer funds at any time of day or night. However, some small local banks may prefer the account holder to use only their own branch for transactions like these, so you will need to ask if these restrictions are in place.
Most current accounts will give holders a card to be used in ATM machines. This gives access to funds 24 hours a day. Some banks may charge if you use the ATM machines of other banks. The machines are located outside most branches of banks and in busy shopping areas. Other charges that may be applicable include charges for some transactions, particularly foreign transactions, charges for unauthorised overdrafts and some administration fees. These charges will vary from bank to bank and it is worth talking to a few different banks prior to opening an account in order to establish which fees you may be charged.
As well as local banks there are several international banks with branches in the country. It may help to have an existing account with one of these banks but it is unlikely you will be allowed to have an account in any other currency. They may be able to help you to set up the account from another location but you will still be subject to the same checks and regulations.
You may also find that choosing an account with a local bank leaves you unable to use your debit card if you are in another country. If you need to travel and access funds in other countries you should make the bank aware of this so that they can ensure that you have the correct type of account.
There are many ways of sending money from one country to another. As always, expats can save themselves a lot of trouble and expense if they do a little research and shop around for the best deal.
International Bank Transfers
For most expats, currency transfer involves transferring small to medium sized amounts regularly from an existing bank account back home into a new overseas bank account in the local currency. These may be pension payments, benefits, or any other form of income.
Your home bank will usually be glad to oblige. You can set up facilities with them "on demand" whereby you fax or call them on the phone, provide a secret code or two, tell them the amount in question, and they will transfer it to your new bank, automatically converting it into the relevant local currency. Some banks also allow you to make international payments online. Whatever method you choose, transfers normally take between 3-7 days although 1-2 day transfers are often available but be prepared to pay more for these.
You can also set up regular transactions that are processed automatically on a fixed day of each month. Many state pensions and benefits can be paid directly into your new bank abroad without going through your home bank at all. Some private pension organisations may also offer the same facility.
When you first set up a transfer of funds abroad, the sending bank or institution will ask you for various codes that identify the destination bank. Often they will ask for IBAN (International Bank Account Number), BIC (Bank Identifier Code) or SWIFT codes but don?t panic - your new bank will give these to you and they may even already be listed in your new chequebook or bank statements.
As far as charges are concerned, you will probably be required to pay a flat fee per transaction. Additionally a percentage fee is often charged for the currency conversion itself. You may also find that your receiving bank charges you for receiving the transfer. Charges vary by bank but can quickly add up - ask your bank(s) for an indication of the fees involved.
As a general rule, transferring larger sums less frequently usually works out cheaper than transferring smaller amounts more often. However, if you need to transfer regular amounts of at least a few hundred pounds/dollars or need to make a larger one-off payment (e.g. for a house purchase) you should consider the services of a currency broker.
Cash Machine/ATM Withdrawals
Thanks to modern technology, most people abroad can go to a cash machine/ATM and withdraw local currency funds directly from their home bank account. This is a useful option to have for expats but exercise caution - many banks make hefty charges for using this type of facility. You may also find that withdrawal limits are in place (as a security measure) even if you significant funds in your account back home.
You can also use VISA or Mastercard credit cards to obtain cash in this fashion and if you pay the amount off quickly and avoid interest charges then fine - but once again credit card charges for cash withdrawals can be high. Check the rates carefully.
Currency brokers (also called foreign exchange brokers) offer significant advantages over traditional banks. Firstly, brokers will often be able to offer you a better rate than your bank. Secondly, the entire process is more transparent - many banks require you to accept the exchange rate available on the day they process your transaction, whatever and whenever that may be, but a specialist broker will offer greater flexibility, even allowing you to specify the rate you want in advance.
Currency brokers are smaller companies than major banks so always check their background carefully. Ask existing expats for their own experiences and recommendations before choosing a firm to handle your own foreign exchange requirements.
A good broker will discuss all the options with you and enable you to make the best decision for your circumstances. Using a broker will typically off the following advantages:
1) Currency brokers generally provide superior exchange rates to the high street banks. The currency brokers have access to the interbank rate and do not have the high costs that the banks have. This means that they can usually offer better exchange rates.
2) Use of a free Market Watch/Order Service: This allows you to tell your currency broker your target or budget exchange rate and they will ring you if that exchange rate level is reached. As the rate moves every few seconds, currency brokers can act as your eyes and ears on the market.
3) Ability to fix the exchange rate in advance using a Forward Contract. If you know you need to convert/move funds in the future but don?t yet have the money you can reserve a rate in advance using a Forward Contract. During this period, you are exposed to exchange rate movements and therefore, a forward contract is ideal if, for example, you have agreed to buy a house and want to fix the rate now but will not be making payment for a couple of months.
Savings from currency brokers can vary from between 1 and 4 per cent on the exchange rate alone, and specialists do not typically charge any fees for transmitting the funds abroad, unlike banks which often levy expensive fees or charges. If you are emigrating and transferring a large sum of money - such as the proceeds of a property - a foreign exchange company could potentially save you thousands.
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If you are intending to move to Venezuela, you may be wondering which languages are spoken here and if you will be able to make yourself understood if you are a native English speaker.
Note that due to current political and economic upheaval, it is not recommended that expats consider Venezuela as a potential destination at present. The US State Department has warned that the country is currently considered to be dangerous for expats and investors, with a risk of kidnapping and extortion. Similarly, the UK’s FCO has advised against all but essential travel to the nation. However, it is hoped that the situation will change.
The official language of the country is Spanish (Castilian), although many indigenous languages are spoken here, too, from local peoples such as the Caribs, the Arawaks and the Chibcha. These tongues include Wayuu (the most commonly spoken, by about 300,000 people), Warao, Yanomami, Manduhuaca, Panaré, Pemón and Nhengtu, but there are many more: it is estimated that around 40 languages are spoken here and some are on the verge of becoming extinct.
Most colonizers of Venezuela came from the Canary Islands and there is still considered to be a strong similarity between the accents of these two places. The dialect of Caracas is held to be a standard and is used in the media, but there are other dialects across the country, including Andean.
In addition to Spanish, you will also hear:
English began to be spoken in the country as a result of the emergence of the oil industry at the start of the 20th century. Venezuela has one English language newspaper, founded in 1946. English is taught – and is mandatory – in secondary schools and as part of the bachillerato (the Venezuelan equivalent of the baccalaureat). It is also studied at university level. A number of English words have crept into Venezuelan Spanish, resulting in a kind of hybrid language: you may hear English words with Spanish endings, for instance.
Despite this, the standard of English spoken by Venezuelans may be low, and it is advisable that you learn at least some Spanish. The upper and middle classes, the younger generation and people in urban areas are most likely to speak English, but if you are travelling beyond cities such as Caracas, you will find that proficiency varies greatly and may be erratic. In very remote Amerindian areas you may find that people do not even speak Spanish.
In your workplace, the lingua franca is likely to be English, particularly if you are in the oil industry, but Spanish will be widely used as well. Written communication will probably be in Spanish, for example.
You will have the opportunity to learn Spanish in the country: there are private language schools in Caracas but expat learners have also recommended the city of Merida, in the Andes, and Margarita Island: not only because language provision is good but also because these places have a reputation for being safer than other parts of the country.
To achieve a foundation in the Spanish language before you go, or indeed to consolidate it when you arrive, there are a large number of courses available on the internet – some of which are free up to a certain level. Linguistic experts generally recommend an immersive learning experience, as the quickest way to attain fluency in any language, and immersive courses can be found locally: CELA language training on Margarita Island offers them, for instance.
In daily life, you will be constantly exposed to the Spanish language, and whilst you may find it daunting to begin with, a little persistence and practice will rapidly improve your ability to communicate effectively. If you are planning to go out to the country as a couple, it can be a good idea to make a pact to speak in Spanish together during your time out of class. Immersing yourself in Spanish language television and newspapers is also highly productive.
You may be intending to go out to the country to teach English, when the political situation quietens down. Note that the US State Department reports that the Venezuelan Embassy is currently not open for visa processing.
It is always easier to get work in international education if you have at least a certificate in either TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages). Most job opportunities in Venezuela are in private language schools, international schools or universities. Hiring usually takes place in January/March or June/August.
It is also preferable if you have experience in teaching schemes such as the Cambridge English exams or IELTS (International English Language Testing System): the English test for study, migration or work. Some teaching experience in the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) will also be helpful. This assesses analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English for use in admission to graduate management programs, such as the MBA. You may also find work more easily if you are experienced in teaching English for particular sectors, such as tourism and hospitality, or in business and finance. Salaries are quoted at a monthly rate of US$400 – 600. This is a country to visit for the cultural experience, rather than for high levels of remuneration.
It will also be helpful to have at least a Bachelor’s degree as most language schools require this: basically, the rule of thumb is that the more qualifications you have, both in TEFL and in academic subjects, the easier you will find it to get work. If you are looking for work in translation, you will obviously need a high level of proficiency in Spanish.
The official language of Venezuela is Spanish (Castilian), although many indigenous languages are spoken here. Education is conducted in Spanish.
Basic education in Venezuela is free and compulsory between the ages of 6 and 15. Secondary education lasts for two years and is also free, but is not compulsory. A large percentage of Venezuelan adults do not have any secondary education. Public spending on education increased substantially in the latter half of the twentieth century but was mainly targeted at university level, with limited expenditure in lower educational sectors.
If they can afford it, parents tend to educate their children in Venezuela’s private sector.
In 2016 the Ministry of Education reported that there were just over 4,000 private schools / centres of education in the country. It is worth noting, however, that some of these have closed as a result of the recent instability. Hyperinflation and economic collapse have impacted negatively on the private and public sectors.
Some possibilities should the political situation allow include the British School, Caracas, which provides a British style education based upon the framework of the National Curriculum for England, with focus on Venezuelan culture and history. It also offers the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.
The Colegio Internacional de Caracas (CIC) is a private English language school in Caracas, serving the educational needs of students from pre-nursery through high school. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and by the International Baccalaureate Organization in its Middle Years (MYP) and the Diploma Program (DP).
It also offers an Early Learning Program (Pre-Nursery age two years through Kindergarten); an Elementary Age Program; and a Secondary Program. CIC is an active member of the Venezuelan Association of North American Schools (VANAS).
You will also find a number of faith-based Catholic institutions, for example those founded by the Jesuits.
You will need to contact your chosen school directly for updated fees, given the monetary upheaval in the country.
You may find that you need to make one-off or regular payments such as capitalisation fees or enrolment fees: these can vary so do check with the school and make sure that you are aware of what you are paying. You may be able to pay in termly instalments. Check if there are any sibling reductions. Competition can be fierce in the private sector so make sure you contact your selected school early on.
Enrolment policies will vary from school to school, but your child may be asked to take a proficiency test (for example in English or maths).
Homeschooling is not common although not actually prohibited by law.
Note that due to current political and economic upheaval, it is not recommended that expats consider Venezuela as a potential destination at present, particularly with regard to bringing your family with you.