Arrest of a U.S. Citizen

Please contact the American Citizens Services Unit (ACS) immediately at +58 0212-975-6411 to report the arrest of a U.S. citizen in Venezuela.  U.S. citizens living or traveling in Venezuela are subject to Venezuelan law.  The U.S. Embassy in Caracas has no legal jurisdiction over the court system in Venezuela.  The U.S. Embassy does, however, assist and protect U.S. citizens who are arrested or imprisoned in Venezuela.  Please see the Department of State’s webpage on Arrest or Detention of an American Citizen Abroad and Foreign Affairs Manual (FAM) Sections 7 FAM 400, 7 FAM 420 and 7 FAM 440 for more information about the kinds of assistance consular officers can provide to detained U.S. citizens.

The U.S. Embassy CAN:

  • Provide a list of local attorneys, including those who speak English, if available.
  • Contact family, friends or employers of the detained U.S. citizen with their written permission.
  • Visit the detained U.S. citizen regularly and provide toiletries, reading materials and vitamin supplements, where appropriate.
  • Help ensure that prison officials are providing appropriate medical care.
  • Provide a general overview of the local criminal justice process.
  • Inform the detainee of local and U.S.-based resources that may be available.
  • Ensure that prison officials are permitting visits with a member of the clergy of the religion of your choice, if requested.
  • Establish an OCS Trust, so friends and family of the detained U.S. citizen can transfer funds to the imprisoned U.S. citizen, when permissible under prison regulations.
  • Issue an Emergency Medical or Dietary Assistance (EMDA) loan.

The U.S. Embassy CANNOT:

  • Get the U.S. citizen out of jail.
  • State to a court that anyone is guilty or innocent.
  • Provide legal advice or represent U.S. citizens in court overseas.
  • Serve as official interpreters or translators.
  • Pay legal, medical, or other fees for U.S. citizens overseas.