US Unveils New Immigration Process for Venezuelans

President Biden’s administration has published new regulations outlining how Venezuelans can obtain one of the 24,000 visas to be made available

Photographer: Paul Ratje/Bloomberg
October 19, 2022 | 12:41 PM

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Caracas — The administration of US President Joe Biden has authorized a new immigration program for Venezuelans, which implies a new regulation of the application process and outlines the eligibility of those seeking to obtain one of the 24,000 visas on offer.

The regulations include the mandatory requirement of a valid passport for Venezuelan applicants, and a sponsor of each application.

The website of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) states that the new regulations are aimed at alleviating the migratory crisis of Venezuelans at the US-Mexico border, the numbers of whom have has quadrupled in recent months.

The main elements of the new procedure are as follows:



The program is aimed at Venezuelan citizens, family members (spouse, partner or unmarried children under 21 years of age) and not related to the sponsor, and who is residing outside of the US.

The sponsor is the person who must file Form I-134 on behalf of the intended beneficiary, and who must provide his or her own commercial travel to a US airport.

This beneficiary must also submit to and pass the required verifications and investigations, not be a permanent resident or dual national of any country other than Venezuela, and not currently hold refugee status in any other country. However, this last requirement does not apply to immediate family members (spouse, partner or unmarried child under 21 years of age) traveling with an eligible Venezuelan national.


Minors under 18 years of age must travel in the care and custody of their parent or legal guardian.

Applicants must not have been removed from the United States within the last five years or be subject to a veto based on a previous removal order. They also must not have crossed irregularly between ports of entry after October 19 of this year, nor have crossed the Mexican or Panamanian borders illegally.

Vaccination and other public health requirements will also be required.

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Sponsors can be:

  • US citizens;
  • Lawful permanent US residents, lawful temporary residents, and conditional permanent residents;
  • Lawful nonimmigrants with lawful status (i.e., those who maintain nonimmigrant status and have not violated any of the terms or conditions of their nonimmigrant status);
  • Asylum seekers, refugees, and persons with temporary permission to stay (parolees);
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders
  • Beneficiaries of deferred action (including deferred action for childhood arrivals), or of Deferred Enforced Departure.
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It is the sponsor who must file Form I-134 with USCIS on behalf of a Venezuelan beneficiary and include information about them and their contact details, such as their email address. If approved, the beneficiary will be sent information about the next step in the process to be considered for authorization to travel to the United States.

There are six key steps, which are outlined in the regulations:

1. Economic Sponsorship: through the form, information will be collected from both the sponsor and the beneficiary. USCIS will then screen the sponsor to ensure that he or she can financially support the person he or she agrees to support, and to protect him or her from exploitation and abuse.


2. Biographical Information: If the sponsor is approved, the beneficiary will receive an email to create a myUSCIS account and receive instructions on the next steps. The beneficiary must confirm their biographical information in myUSCIS and certify that they meet the eligibility requirements.

3. CBP One Mobile Application Request: After confirming biographic information in myUSCIS and completing the required eligibility declarations, the beneficiary will receive instructions through myUSCIS on how to access the CBP One (Bureau of Customs and Border Protection) mobile application to enter their information.

4. Advance Authorization to Travel to the United States: After completing the previous step, the beneficiary will receive a notification in their myUSCIS account confirming whether Customs and Border Protection will provide them with advance authorization to travel and to seek to obtain temporary permission to stay. If approved, the authorization is valid for 90 days. Beneficiaries are responsible for providing their own air travel. Approval of advance authorization to travel does not guarantee entry or that temporary permission to stay will be granted.

5. Obtain Temporary Stay Permit at Port of Entry: Once the beneficiary arrives at the selected airport, Customs and Border Protection will inspect and consider the beneficiary for discretionary temporary stay permission on a case-by-case basis. Beneficiaries will undergo additional checks and screening, which will include additional biometric fingerprint screening consistent with the inspection process.


6. Temporary Stay Permit: Beneficiaries who obtain a temporary stay permit pursuant to the process may receive it for up to two years, and will be eligible to apply for employment authorization under existing regulations.

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Form I-134

The US-based sponsor must file Form I-134, Declaration of Economic Sponsorship, with the USCIS for each Venezuelan national or immediate family member they wish to support, including minors.

To do so, they must access the portal and register with a user. The US government will investigate what the sponsor has reported to ensure that they are able to financially support the beneficiary, and will report back to the sponsor.


Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization

After the beneficiary receives permission from US authorities, he or she may be eligible for employment authorization at the discretion of the USCIS. To apply, the beneficiary must file Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, with category code (c)(11), and pay the required fee or request a fee waiver.

There will be fee waivers for the filing of such a form, and those who are deemed eligible must mail the form.

Those requesting a waiver of the Form I-765 filing fee or who are eligible for a fee waiver must file Form I-765 by mail.

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