Judge overturns passport requirement for Venezuelans but government adds new rule

Aug 25, 2018

A Quito judge ruled that the interior ministry’s order that Venezuelans entering Ecuador present a valid passport was illegal Friday afternoon. Judge Judith Naranjo ordered the requirement suspended for a period of 45 days pending an appeal by the ministry.

Venezuelans wait Friday to enter Peru at the Huaquillas broder crossing.

Naranjo agreed with Ecuador’s ombudsman’s office that Venezuelans have the “right to emigrate with only their national identity card as stipulated by both the constitution and the Organic Law of Human Mobility.”

In addition, she said requiring passports from foreign nationals of one country and not others, violated Ecuadorian law.

The interior ministry responded to the judge’s order by announcing a new requirement for Venezuelans entering the country: that they prove that their identity cards are legal. “Venezuelans will need to present a certificate of validity for the identity card issued by a regional or international body recognized by the government of Ecuador,” the ministry said “The certificate of validity must be duly apostilled by the government of Venezuela.”

The ministry maintains that many Venezuelan identity cards are counterfeit but advocates for the refugees say the new requirement may be more burdensome than the one for passports.

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It is not known whether the new requirement will be legally challenged by the ombudsman. Representative for the office, Ernesto Pazmiño, said he is studying the issue.

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