How to Enter Colombia

Do I need a passport or visa to enter?

All U.S. citizens who do not also hold Colombian citizenship must present a valid U.S. passport to enter and depart Colombia. According to Colombian law, U.S-Colombian dual nationals MUST present a Colombian passport to enter and exit Colombia. Be aware that any person born in Colombia or of Colombian parentage may be considered a Colombian citizen, even if never documented as such. Colombian citizens who naturalized as U.S. citizens before 1990 are deemed to have lost their Colombian citizenship as of the date of naturalization and do not need to show a Colombian passport. Colombian Immigration authorities suggest that these passengers travel with proof of their date of naturalization.

U.S. citizens traveling to Colombia do not need a Colombian visa for a tourist stay of 90 days or less. Travelers entering Colombia are sometimes asked to present evidence of return or onward travel, usually in the form of a plane ticket.

Entering the Country by Road: U.S. citizens traveling overland must enter Colombia at an official border crossing. If you’re taking a bus to Colombia, make sure prior to boarding that your bus will cross the border at an official entry point, because if you enter Colombia at an unauthorized crossing, you may be fined or even face a jail sentence. If you plan to enter Colombia over a land border, be sure to read our information on Traffic Safety and Road Conditions below.

The length of stay granted to travelers is determined by the Colombian immigration officer at the point of entry and will be stamped in your passport. Before the visa expires, travelers may request an extension of up to 90 days. Extensions may be requested by visiting an office of the Colombian immigration authority (Migración Colombia) after arrival in Colombia. Fines are levied if a traveler remains in Colombia longer than authorized, and the traveler cannot leave Colombia until the fine is paid. Any traveler possessing a Colombian visa with more than three months’ validity must register the visa at the Migración Colombia office within 15 days of arrival in Colombia or face fines. The Migración Colombia office in Bogota is located at Calle 100 and Carrera 11B-29, telephone (571) 511-1150. This office is open from Monday to Thursday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Fridays from 07:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Exit Tax: No arrival tax is collected upon entry into Colombia, but travelers leaving by plane must pay an exit tax at the airport, in cash. Most airlines include all or a portion of this fee in the cost of your airline ticket. Check with your airline beforehand to find out how much you will have to pay at the airport. According to “Aeronautica Civil”, the authorities in charge of the airport tax, the exit tax is divided in two categories: the Tasa Aeroportuaria of US$35.00 and Timbre Aeroportuario of $US37.00 (both of these fees are updated annually). In some instances, an additional administrative fee of US$15.00 may be charged. Some foreign travelers who’ve been in Colombia for less than 30 days have obtained an exemption from this tax by taking their documents immediately upon arrival to the Aeronautica Civil desk in the El Dorado international terminal and requesting the exemption.

Lost or Stolen Passport: If your U.S. passport is lost or stolen in Colombia, you must obtain a new one before departing the country. You must then present the new passport, along with a police report describing the loss or theft, to a Migración Colombia office. Information about obtaining a replacement passport in Colombia is available on the U.S. Embassy Bogota’s website. The Embassy in Bogota or the U.S. Consular Agency in Barranquilla will provide guidance on contacting Migración Colombia when you apply for your replacement passport.

For further specific guidance on Colombian entry requirements, including information about Colombian visa, contact the Colombian Embassy at 2118 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008; telephone (202) 387-8338; or the nearest Colombian consulate. Consulates are located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco, Tampa, and San Juan, Washington, D.C., and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Colombia has no travel restrictions on travelers with HIV/AIDS.

Information about dual nationality or the prevention of international child abduction can be found on our website. For further information about customs regulations, please read our Customs Information page.

Additional Exit Requirements for Minors: To prevent international child abduction, Colombia has implemented special exit procedures for Colombian children under 18 who depart the country alone, without both parents, or a without a legal guardian. These procedures apply to U.S. citizen children only if they are dual nationals or if they are legal residents of Colombia. The procedures can be complex and time-consuming, especially if the absent parent is outside Colombia, so advance planning is essential.

The procedures are as follows: When exiting the country, a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate, along with a written, signed, and notarized authorization from the absent parent(s) or legal guardian must be presented. The authorization must be notarized by a Colombian authority and explicitly grant permission for the child to travel alone, with one parent, or with a named third party. If a parent is deceased, a notarized copy of a death certificate is required. If one parent has sole custody of the child, that parent may present a custody decree instead of the other parent’s written authorization. In cases where a Colombian citizen or dual national child has been adopted in a U.S. Court, the adoption decree must be legalized (Exequatur) by the Colombian Supreme Court.

If the documents originated in the United States, they must first be translated into Spanish and then signed in front of a Colombian consul at a Colombian consulate. Then, upon arrival in Colombia, the documents must be presented to the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for certification of the consul’s signature.

Alternatively, the documents can be translated into Spanish, then notarized by a notary public in the United States, and authenticated by requesting an apostille from the competent authority in the state where the documents were prepared. They can then be sent to the Department of State in Washington for a federal apostille. The document, translation, and apostille should be presented to immigration officers at the airport when the child travels.

If the documents originated in Colombia and are written in Spanish, only notarization by a Colombian notary is required. For documents originating in countries other than the United States or Colombia, please inquire with the Colombian Embassy serving that country.

In cases where the absent parent refuses or is unable to provide consent, the other parent can request assistance from the Colombian child protective service, Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar (ICBF). In appropriate cases, ICBF will investigate and may issue a document that will allow the child to travel without both parents’ consent. This process may take a significant amount of time and is not within the control of the U.S. government.

Special Travel Circumstances in Colombia

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.


You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.

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