Demystifying Venezuelan Landing Permits and Overflights
On July 17, 2012, requirements for Venezuelan landing permits changed – in a positive way. It’s now possible, in many cases, to operate to Venezuela without a landing permit. However, for operations that still do require landing permits, the process remains the same. Despite long lead times and rigorous documentation requirements, landing permits can be successfully obtained with sufficient lead time when working with an experienced 3rd-party provider.
Best practice is to plan early, be aware of all documentation requirements, and have a back-up plan ready in the event you do not receive the requested permit. When planning to overfly the country, it’s important to confirm you have no outstanding navigation (nav) fees due as this will result in denial to enter Venezuelan airspace.
Because of challenges with Venezuelan landing permits and overflights, it previously made our list of 10 Potentially Challenging International Permits for Business Aviation Operators.
Here are key tips to help you understand and navigate the Venezuelan flight permit process:
1. Landing permits are no longer required for many operations, but not all
As of 17 July 2012, non-Venezuelan registered aircraft do not require landing permits when remaining less than 72 hours in the country. However, aircraft may only operate to Venezuela twice in a period of 30 calendar days without a landing permit and can only operate into an Airport of Entry (AOE). To make domestic flights within Venezuela, or to fly to airports other than AOEs, a landing permit is required. A permit request form must be filled out. Permits can be issued for a 90-day period when submitting all currently required documentation. Renewal is permitted for another 90 days to cover a total of 180 calendar days.
2. Landing permits are not required for tech stops, with conditions
It’s always been possible to make a single tech stop in Venezuela, with either a private (non-revenue) or charter (non-scheduled commercial) operation, without need for a landing permit. For tech stops without landing permits, operators have been able to uplift fuel; however, crew changes or passengers embarking or disembarking is not permitted. In practice, many operators avoid tech stops in Venezuela in order to limit complications and/or delays should a mechanical issue occur on the ground.
3. Permits are not required for overflight, but beware of outstanding fees
No permits are needed for either private non-revenue or charter (non-scheduled commercial) overflight of Venezuela. You will, however, be denied entry to Venezuelan airspace if outstanding nav fees are owed. Some operators do not find out about their outstanding nav fees until they try to enter Venezuelan airspace and are denied entry. In such cases, you’ll need to reroute around Venezuelan airspace. Also, it’s important to note that if you have outstanding nav fees and your destination is in Venezuela, you will permitted to land but will be not be permitted to depart until proof of payment is registered at INAC. Due to a lengthy fee payment process overdue charges cannot be settled last minute.
4. Any outstanding nav fees must be paid prior to overflight
Plan on 8 – 10 days lead time to determine what nav fees, if any, are outstanding and to settle these fees. The best way to do this is via INAC (the Venezuela Civil Aviation Authority). Be aware that INAC requires you contact them directly and not utilize a 3rd-party provider.
5. If your flight requires a landing permit, lead times can be very long
While official landing permit lead time is 15 working days, you’ll need to add 8 – 10 working days to this in order to determine if outstanding nav fees are owed and to pay them. If all required documentation is correct and in order, plan on a minimum of 25 days to secure a Venezuelan landing permit. In practice, the landing permit process can often require 30 – 35 days. Short-notice applications are seldom, if ever, confirmed. One-time landing permit validity is tied to the time period given in your submitted letter of authorization. Blanket landing permit approvals are obtainable on a case-by-case basis, but they require additional documentation.
6. Venezuela has very specific requirements for requesting landing permits
When requesting Venezuelan landing permits, there’s a long list of documentation that must be submitted, according to Venezuela’s specific requirements. Some documents may be submitted electronically, but certain documents must be original and couriered to Venezuela. Insurance documentation needs to include specific verbiage – covering liability, medical expense coverage, and even aircraft seating configuration. Be aware that with the revised regulations only the letter of authorization must be translated into Spanish. It’s important to also send all documentation at one time, not separately.
7. You must provide extensive documentation for landing permits
Landing permits for Venezuela only became a requirement a few years ago. Over time, additional documentation requirements have been put in place. The latest landing permit requirements include a letter of authorization and a color photo of the aircraft. An official questionnaire must also be submitted detailing the reason for your visit, itinerary, and disclosing addresses of any property in Venezuela owned by the aircraft owner. At the moment, 12 documents are necessary for a landing permit – not including power of attorney. Be aware that any pilot 40 years of age or over must possess a 1st class medical certificate issued within the past six months. Keep in mind that as of 17 July 2012 you do not require a Venezuelan landing permit when operating to an AOE and staying in the country less than 72 hours if operating to the country twice or less a month.
8. A 3rd-party is highly recommended to arrange landing permits
INAC wants to have one point of contact when landing permits are requested. Best practice is to use a well-experienced 3rd-party provider with Spanish language skills as your intermediary. INAC hours are Mon-Fri 0900-1400 local; the office is closed on weekends and holidays. Plan on 48 hours’ lead time for landing permit revisions, assuming a landing permit has already been approved. If a landing permit has not yet been approved, a schedule revision will start the landing permit application process from the beginning.
9. Plan “B” options may be available
When planning a short-notice trip to Venezuela that requires a landing permit, or if your landing permit is not approved in time, best option may be to land at Curacao (TNCC) or Aruba (TNCA) and charter onward transportation to Venezuela. When using a Venezuelan-registered charter operator, or non-Venezuelan operator with a blanket landing permit, you’ll avoid the landing permit process.
Allow plenty of lead time when requesting Venezuelan landing permits. Have all documentation in order and be sure to submit all documentation at one time, not in phases. Talk with your legal department to confirm that your company allows submission of articles of incorporation to INAC, as this is proprietary information.
If you have any questions about this article or would like assistance planning your next trip to Israel, contact Christine Vamvakas at firstname.lastname@example.org.