Colombia Passport Visa | Since emerging from decades of civil unrest, Colombia has established itself as one of the world’s top destinations. And rightly so: this exquisite South American nation is blessed with natural beauty – think high Andean peaks, Caribbean beaches, pristine Amazon jungle – not to mention mysterious archaeological sites, colonial treasures and thriving cities. It’s a joy to travel around.
About Colombia Country
How to Get Colombia Visa and Passport
At the heart of it all is Bogota, the pulsating capital. Once synonymous with drug cartels and gangs, the city has recast itself as one of South America’s trendiest destinations; a place of hip bars and street art, vibrant markets and colourful architecture. Sprawled across the Andean plateau, Bogota offers a fabulous mix of old and new; the cobbled streets of La Candelaria offer a stark contrast to the urban chic of Zona Rosa. But it works.
Elsewhere, Colombia’s colonial towns have been lovingly preserved, most notably the UNESCO-listed city of Cartagena. But don’t stop there. Other historic settlements also warrant a visit, amongst them the cities of Mompós, Villa de Leiva and Barichara. The mysterious “lost city” of Ciudad Perdida is also worthy of a detour, but you may leave with more questions than you arrived with.
The more you travel around Colombia, the more you marvel at its diversity. While the Caribbean and Pacific shores boast beautiful beaches, islands and coral reefs, the lofty Andes offer high-altitude plains, snow-capped mountains and limpid lakes. Then there are the eastern lowlands with their grassy wetlands and bountiful birdlife, not to mention the virgin forests of the Amazon.
Colombian culture is no less magical. Garcia Marquez’s land of magic realism is alive with festivals and music; the high-energy city of Cali is recognized as the salsa capital of Colombia, while bustling Barranquilla hosts a dazzling carnival to rival Rio’s. To cap it all off, visitors can expect a warm welcome from the country’s friendly inhabitants, who, after years in the wilderness, can finally show their true colours. And what a picture they paint.
Please Note: Our visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing, We strongly recommend that you verify critical information unique to your trip with the relevant embassy before travel. See also: List of countries with Visa Application form
Colombia Visa and Passport Requirements
|Passport required||Return ticket required||Visa Required|
A passport valid for six months is required by all nationals referred to in the chart above to enter Colombia.
Visas to Colombia are not required by nationals referred to in the chart above for stays of up to 90 days.
Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements.
Any foreign nationals arriving on a visa with a validity of more than three months need to register with Migración Colombia within 15 days of arrival.
Types and Cost
Enquire at the relevant consulate about the current visa fees.
Visitor (tourist or temporary): multiple entries within six months; business: multiple entries within three or four years (depending on the type of business visa) with maximum stays of one year each.
Transit passengers do not require a visa or to pay departure tax providing they do not leave the airport and make their connecting flight within 24 hours of arrival.
Consulate (or consular section at embassy) or online (www.cancilleria.gov.co/en/procedures_services/visas).
Enquire at the consulate for forms and details on how to obtain temporary residence in Colombia.
Visa processing usually takes five working days, or eight days if the application is referred to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
You may be asked to provide proof of sufficient funds to cover your costs in Colombia. Up-to-date bank statements showing more than £1,000 will suffice. In practice, this is rarely requested.
Apart from your passport, you are theoretically required to show an onward or return ticket. In practice, this is rarely required.
Extension of stay
Extensions for up to a further 120 days are available from Migración Colombia. Visitors cannot stay for more than 180 days within a 12-month period.
Entry with children
There are no restrictions on entry with children, but children of Colombian nationality must have the written consent of both parents to travel without them, even if travelling on another nation’s passport.
Entry with pets
You can take your pet to Colombia provided they have been vaccinated against rabies (unless coming from a rabies-free country or under four months old), distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis and parvovirus, and they have a licensed vet’s certificate. However, for the purpose of travelling it is best to leave pets at home.
Embassies and tourist offices
British Embassy in Colombia
Telephone: (1) 326 8300.
Address: Piso 8, Edificio ING Barings, Carrera 9, No 76-49, Bogotá, ,
Opening times:Mon-Thurs 0830-1230 and 1330-1700, Fri 0830-1330.
Embassy of Colombia in the UK
Telephone: (020) 7589 5037 ; (020) 7927 7123 (consular section).
Address: Kensington, Hans Crescent, London, SW1X 0,
Opening times:Mon-Fri 0900-1800.
Embassy of Colombia in the USA
Telephone: (202) 387 8338.
Address: NW, 2118 Leroy Place, Washington, DC, 20008,
Opening times:Mon-Fri 0900-1800.
Proexport Colombia (tourist office)
Telephone: (1) 427 9000.
Address: Piso 36, Calle 28A, No 13A-15, Bogotá, ,
Colombia Health Care and Vaccinations
*Under International Health Regulations (2005), a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travellers over 1 year of age arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited for more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. It is worth noting that travel to some neighbouring countries, including Ecuador and Venezuela, will likely require the yellow fever vaccination, in which case it is better to get it in your home country rather than having to pay a great deal for it in unhygienic conditions at a border. Check in advance with the authorities of the countries you plan on visiting after Colombia if they require a yellow fever certificate from travellers who have been in Colombia.
International travellers under the age of 39, coming from the Carribean cities like Barranquilla, Cartagena and Sta. Marta are now required to show proof of vaccination against measles.
Although cases of Zika infection in Colombia have dropped dramatically since the initial outbreak in 2015, there is still has a high risk of infection within the country and all travellers are advised to practice strict mosquito bite avoidance at all times.
The World Health Organisation recommends travellers to Colombia protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing light-coloured clothes that cover as much of the body as possible, sleeping under mosquito nets and using repellents that contain DEET (diethyltoluamide), IR 3535 ((3- [N-butyl-N-acetyl], aminopropionic acid ethyl-ester) or KBR3023 (also called Icaridin or Picaridin). Pregnant women are advised to postpone non-essential travel until after pregnancy and pregnant women whose sexual partners live in or travel to areas with Zika virus transmission should follow safe sexual practices or abstain from sex for the duration of their pregnancy. Women who are pregnant, at risk of getting pregnant, or planning pregnancy should seek further advice from their doctor before travelling to Colombia.
Health facilities in the main cities are good, and pharmacies stock most drugs at prices that tend to be lower than in the UK or USA. In rural areas, medical services can be very limited and travellers who become ill in remote areas should try to get to a city as soon as possible to be treated. Visitors travelling to jungle areas are advised to carry first aid kits, including antibacterial ointment and coverings for wounds which can become easily infected and not heal well in the humidity. When travelling to the coast or jungle areas, travellers should take DEET-containing insect repellent in order to avoid any mosquito-borne illnesses. Travellers are strongly advised to take out full medical insurance – Colombia has many adventurous activities on offer and you should ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all of them.
Food and Drink
All water should be regarded as being potentially contaminated outside major cities. Water used for drinking, brushing teeth or making ice should have first been boiled or otherwise sterilised. Bottled water is widely available throughout the country however, including in rural towns, so you can always make sure you have some. Milk may be unpasteurised in places and should be boiled.
Only eat well cooked meat and fish. When buying food from stalls or markets, try to ensure that the food has not been sitting there for a while, and is kept hot enough to kill germs. Vegetables should be cooked and fruit peeled. There is an abundance of fruit available throughout Colombia, which includes pre-cut fruit put into bags and sold on beaches or from stalls in tourist areas. Buying whole fruit from the markets is both cheaper and more hygienic, and will help avoid contamination.
Vaccination against hepatitis B is sometimes recommended, especially for those spending long periods of time in Colombia or anyone who could have sexual relations with the local population. Hepatitis C occurs. Outbreaks of dengue fever sometimes occur, particularly in areas along the Caribbean coast and in the Chocó, Antioquia, Córdoba, Sucre, Bolivar and Atlántico departments.
Take care when going from sea level to high altitude – if you’re sensitive to it, don’t go on any major hikes the first day you arrive in Bogotá. Allow several days to acclimatise to altitudes over 2,500m (8,200ft). Initial symptoms include headaches, breathlessness (especially when walking up hills), dizziness and nausea. This should pass within 72 hours.
Colombia Public Holidays
New Year’s Day
St Joseph’s Day
Note: When this holiday does not fall on a Monday, it is observed the following Monday.
Battle of Boyac
All Saint’s Day
Independence of Cartagena City
Note: When this holiday does not fall on a Monday, it is observed the following Monday.
Money and duty free for Colombia
Currency and Money
Colombian Peso (COP; symbol Col$) = 100 centavos. Notes are in denominations of Col$100,000, 50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000 and 2,000. Coins are in denominations of Col$1,000, 500, 200, 100, 50 and 20. US Dollars are sometimes accepted, but be aware that you may be viewed as a rich tourist if you try to pay with dollars and you might find that the prices go up. Also be aware that there are a large amount of counterfeit US dollars in Colombia, so if you need change, get it in Colombian Pesos.
Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted, American Express and Diners Club less so. There are ATMs throughout the main cities; some will allow cash withdrawals using Visa, MasterCard or Cirrus. Ensure you know the number to call to cancel your card quickly if it is stolen, and inform your bank beforehand that you will be travelling to Colombia in case your accounts are frozen upon use.
There are ATMs throughout the main cities; some will allow cash withdrawals using Visa, Mastercard or Cirrus. While the prevalence of ATMs is increasing throughout the country, in smaller, rural towns and villages you should ensure you have enough cash to last until you get back to a bigger city. ATMs can be temperamental, run out of money or not work for you when they worked perfectly well the day before. Try to use ATMs in the daytime rather than after dark, and within banks with security guards if possible.
The most commonly accepted traveller’s cheques are those issued by American Express and Citicorp. Traveller’s cheques can be exchanged at banks, hotels or bureaux de change. They are generally not accepted as a form of payment, other than at major hotels. While safe, generally traveller’s cheques should be avoided in case you can find nowhere which will take them; ATMs are a much more efficient way of handling your money. If you do choose to bring traveller’s cheques, make sure you take them in US Dollars.
Mon-Fri 0900-1500. On the last business day of every month, banks close at 1200.
The import and export of local and foreign currencies is unlimited, but amounts exceeding the equivalent of US$10,000 must be declared.
Currency should be exchanged at hotels, banks and bureaux de change only, though most places charge commission. Travellers are advised against changing money on the street. The US Dollar is the easiest currency to exchange. When crossing borders, in particular in Ipiales, be very careful with the money changers, and make sure you do the calculations on your own.
Colombia duty free
The following items may be taken into Colombia by travellers 18 years of age and older without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes and 50 cigars and up to 250g of tobacco.
• 2 bottles of alcoholic beverages.
• Goods for personal use to the value of US$1,500.
Ammunition and firearms (unless prior authorisation has been obtained), vegetables, plants or plant material, and meat and animal food products.
Taking cultural artefacts out of the country is prohibited, so if tour guides offer to sell you goods from tombs, politely decline. Colombian coffee is not prohibited, but will most likely be opened and checked. Drugs are absolutely forbidden, with harsh penalties for non-compliance.
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