The long road to getting a passport in Venezuela

The long road to getting a passport in Venezuela
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Up to forty thousand people from Venezuela cross every day into Cucuta, the main Colombian border. They are in search of food, security, medicine and jobs, all of which have been in short supply since the country's economic crisis.

For those that make the decision to leave their country, whether temporarily or more permanently, migrating can be a difficult task. Trying to do so without a passport can be nearly impossible, yet Venezuelans face multiple difficulties when trying to obtain this vital document. The process implies economic challenges and a long and complicated procedure. Some of them can wait years to get a passport.

"There are people I know who have been trying [to get a passport] since 2016, and they haven't managed to get it yet", two young Venezuelans told Euronews as they prepared to have their passports stamped.

Obtaining a passport in Venezuela is easier if you have the economic means, "you can get it if you pay. They were asking me for 10 million bolivares", said one Venezuelan who had successfully crossed into Colombia. The minimum wage in Venezuela is around 400-500 thousand bolivares* per month, meaning getting enough money to pay for a passport is practically impossible for many.

Venezuelans are going to Colombia to escape a financial crisis that has grappled the country since 2013. This year, Venezuela expects an inflation rate of 13,000%. The economic situation has led to severe scarcity, where basic products like bread, flour, milk, and even toilet paper, are nowhere to be seen.

The difficulties they endure to obtain a passport have an impact on the number of Venezuelans who cross illegally into Colombia. It's estimated that 230,000 illegal Venezuelan migrants live in Cúcuta.

Watch Euronews Monica Pinna's full report and find out more about the Venezuelan exodus.

*[Editor's note: The integral minimum wage in Venezuela, including the state's food voucher, is around 1.300.000 bolivares]