Colombia employs strict screening procedures for detecting narcotics smuggling at its international airports. Travelers are occasionally questioned, searched, fingerprinted, and/or asked to submit to an abdominal X-ray upon arrival or departure. Most airport inspectors do not speak English, and travelers who do not speak Spanish may have difficulty understanding what is asked of them. Please refer to the section on Criminal Penalties for further information on the strict enforcement of Colombia’s drug laws.
Customs Regulations: Travelers generally must not enter or exit Colombia while carrying cash or other financial instruments worth more than 10,000 U.S. dollars. If you do, you must declare it and be able to prove the legal source of the financial instruments. Colombian authorities may confiscate any amount over $10,000, and may initiate a criminal investigation into the source of the money and the traveler’s reasons for carrying it. Recovery of the confiscated amount generally requires a lengthy, expensive legal process and may not always be possible.
If you need to send large sums of money to or from Colombia, contact the nearest Colombian consulate, or speak with Colombian customs officials and seek advice from an attorney or financial professional.
Colombian law prohibits tourists and business travelers from bringing firearms into Colombia. Illegal importation or possession of firearms may result in incarceration.
Artifacts: Colombian law forbids the export of pre-Columbian objects and other artifacts protected by cultural patrimony statutes. Under an agreement between the United States and Colombia, U.S. customs officials are obligated to seize pre-Columbian objects and certain colonial religious artwork if they are brought into the United States.