The Prime Minister of Aruba and the crisis team appointed by the Aruba Government met earlier this week and updated the Prime Minister of the current situation in Venezuela. The Prime Minister stated that the Aruba-Venezuela borders will remain closed until December while the government decides which actions to undertake.
After months of deliberation and consultation with the Minister of Foreign Relations of the Kingdom and the Prime Ministers of Aruba and Curacao, the decision was made to introduce a temporary Visa for visitors for Venezuelan passport holders.
The introduction of this measure is the Minister of Foreign Relations’ competence, as Visa policies are matters of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The temporary Visa policy was needed as the situation in Venezuela has worsened and illegal migration has become alarming. Many countries have already introduced a Visa for Venezuelan migrants, like Peru, Panama, Ecuador, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago and Chile.
The introduction of the Visa is an integral element of a series of measures that are in place to tackle the migratory flow towards the ABC islands. The duration of this policy depends on the situation in Venezuela. As soon as the situation improves, the Visa policy will be halted. The introduction of the Visa will take about 6 months. It will take time since resources and additional personnel is required at the Dutch embassy in Caracas to process the visa requests.
Another measure complementing the Visa policy is the:
- ESTA-A, a travel authorization
- Advanced Passenger Information system, a travel authorization to verify the information of the travelers in advance
- Pre Boarding checks, a procedure to control all traveler before boarding.
It is important to clarify that the Visa policy will include exceptions. Venezuelan travelers with a valid US visa or visitor’s permit for countries like the USA, Canada, Great Britain and Ireland, are not required to request the Visa for the ABC islands.
The policy for Saint Maarten is different as the island is divided between the French and Dutch territories. For the effective introduction of the Visa for Saint Maarten, the Minister has to negotiate with the French part to have an effective border control without the Visa. It is the intention for Saint Maarten to also be included in the Visa policy.
The Prime Minister also stated that the Visa request should be made at the Embassy of the Netherlands in Venezuela. Aruba plays no role whatsoever in this procedure as this is the Minister of Foreign Relations’ competence since Visa policies are matters of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. This policy will apply in the event of the possible re-opening of the Aruba-Venezuela border to better control Venezuelans entering Aruba. The situation is being monitored.