Colombia: Requirements and procedures for a person born in another country to Colombian parents to acquire citizenship; requirements and procedures for the spouse and child of a citizen to obtain permanent residency; rights and social benefits available to permanent residents [COL104916.E]

Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Ottawa

1. Acquiring Colombian Citizenship

The Colombian Constitution of 1991 states the following:

[translation]

Article 96

[Amended by Legislative Act No. 1 of 2002]

Colombian nationals are:

  1. By birth:
    1. The natives [naturales] of Colombia, with one of two conditions: that the father or the mother have been natives or Colombian nationals or that, being children of aliens, any of their parents should have been domiciled in the Republic at the moment of birth.
    2. The children of a Colombian father or mother who have born in a foreign land and later domiciled in Colombian territory or registered in a consular office of the Republic.
  2. By adoption:
    1. Aliens who apply for and obtain [a] card of naturalization, in accordance with the law, which shall establish the cases in which Colombian nationality is lost through adoption.
    2. Latin Americans and Caribbeans by birth domiciled in Colombia, who, with the authorization of the Government and in accordance with the law and the principle of reciprocity, request to be registered as Colombians before the municipality where they are established.

....

(Colombia 1991)

In correspondence with the Research Directorate, an official at the Colombian embassy in Ottawa provided the following information:

A foreign national with a Colombian parent can become a Colombian citizen if the person obtains a Colombian birth certificate (Registro Civil de Nacimiento) at either a notary in Colombia or a Colombian consulate abroad. It is not necessary that the parents of the foreign national be registered at the consulate. The requirements to obtain the Colombian birth certificate are:

  • An original copy of the birth certificate from the country where the foreign national was born. The birth certificate must be issued by the competent authority in that country and must be [translation] "legalized" or have the appropriate seal, depending on the country.
  • Valid citizenship cards (Cédula de Ciudadanía) or Colombian passports of both parents. If a parent is deceased, the person must provide a death certificate issued by a Colombian authority.
  • A copy of a document that evidences the applicant's blood type and Rh blood group.
  • The presence of the applicant during the process to provide his or her fingerprints (ibid. 25 June 2014).

In further correspondence, the official at the Colombian embassy also said that, if the applicant provides all the required documentation, the Colombian birth certificate is issued that same day (ibid. 27 June 2014a). Once the person has the Colombian birth certificate in his or her possession, he or she may apply for a citizenship card, which takes about six months for applications made outside Colombia (ibid.). The website of the National Civil Registry (Registraduría Nacional del Estado Civil), the government agency responsible for issuing the citizenship card in Colombia and abroad (ibid. 3 July 2014a), indicates that applications made within Colombia for a citizenship card take three months to process (ibid. 3 July 2014b). The website also states that applications of persons older than 25 years of age take eight to nine months to process, since the application is subject to a [translation] "technical search ... to establish that the person does not have another identity" (ibid.). The official at the Colombian embassy added that, once the person has the citizenship card, he or she can apply for a Colombian passport, which takes about five days to process (ibid. 27 June 2014a).

The official at the Colombian embassy also explained that, once the person has the citizenship card, he or she can start the process to obtain Colombian birth certificates for his or her foreign-born children as enunciated above (ibid.). The Colombian birth certificate is required to issue Colombian passports to the applicant's children; otherwise, children need the applicable visa to travel to Colombia (ibid. 3 July 2014c).

2. Colombian Visas for Foreign Spouses

Decree No. 834 of 2013, which regulates immigration procedures in Colombia, outlines three types of visas: NE (Business), TP (Temporary), and RE (Resident) (ibid. 2013, Art. 5). TP visas are issued to foreigners who do not seek to settle in Colombia (ibid., Art. 7), whereas RE visas are issued to those who do (ibid., Art. 8). The website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores) indicates that Colombian visas are not renewable, and foreigners wishing to extend their stay in Colombia must apply for a new visa before the current one expires (ibid. 4 July 2014c).

2.1 Temporary Visas

The website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicates that foreign-born spouses or partners of Colombian citizens may apply for a TP-10 visa, which has a validity of three years (ibid. 4 July 2014a). This visa authorizes its holder [translation] "to exercise any legal occupation in the country," including employment (ibid.). Additional information on the rights and benefits of temporary visa holders could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

The website of the Colombian embassy in Ottawa enumerates the following requirements to obtain a TP-10 visa:

  • A copy of the data page of the valid passport.
  • A copy of the stamped passport page showing the last entry into, or exit from, Colombia, if applicable.
  • A copy of the last Colombian visa issued, if applicable.
  • A power of attorney if the application is being done through a third party.
  • An original copy of the Marriage Certificate (Registro Civil de Matrimonio) issued in Colombia, or a legalized copy of the document that evidences the common law relationship according to Colombian law. This document must be issued within the three months prior to the date of the TP-10 visa application.
  • A copy of the citizenship card of the Colombian spouse or partner.
  • A letter from the Colombian spouse or partner requesting the issuance of the TP-10 visa for his or her foreign-born spouse or partner.
  • If the Colombian spouse or partner cannot be present at the consulate and it is not a first-time application, the foreign spouse or partner must have a power of attorney to represent his or her Colombian spouse or partner.
  • The fee: US$50 for processing and US$205 (ibid. 27 June 2014b) once the visa is approved (ibid. n.d.).

The website also points out that all foreign documents submitted in support of an application for a Colombian visa must be legalized and officially translated into Spanish, and that an interview or additional documentation may be required by the authority processing the application (ibid.). According to the web portal of the Colombian government, TP-10 visas are processed within four business days (ibid. n.d.).

2.2 Resident Visas

Decree No. 834 of 2013 states that persons who hold a TP-10 visa for a period of at least three continuous and uninterrupted years are eligible to apply for a RE visa, which will be valid for five years (ibid. 2013, Art. 8). The website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia indicates the following requirements for TP-10 visa holders to obtain a resident visa:

  • A copy of the data page of the valid passport.
  • A copy of the stamped passport page showing the last entry into, or exit from, Colombia, if applicable.
  • A copy of the last Colombian visa issued, if it does not have a Quick Response Code or Optical Character Recognition.
  • A power of attorney if the application is being done through a third party.
  • A copy of the TP-10 visa and, if requested, the safe-conducts along with the Migratory Movement Certificate issued by the Special Colombia Migration Administrative Unit within the three (3) months prior to the date of the visa application.
  • A letter from the Colombian spouse or partner requesting the issuance of the resident visa for his or her foreign-born spouse or partner.
  • The visa application.
  • The fee: US$50 for processing and US$385 for the visa (ibid. 7 July 2014).

The website further indicates that resident visa holders are authorized "to exercise any legal activity in the country," including employment (ibid.). In correspondence with the Research Directorate, an official from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia indicated that holders of RE visas may apply for Colombian citizenship as follows:

  • Latin Americans and citizens of Caribbean countries: one year after the issuance of the RE visa.
  • Citizens of Spain: two years after the issuance of the RE visa.
  • Citizens from other countries: five years after the issuance of the RE visa, or two years if the holder is the spouse or partner of a Colombian citizen or if he or she has Colombian children (ibid. 11 July 2014).

Additional information on the rights and benefits of temporary visa holders could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response.

2.3 Foreigners' Identification Cards for TP-10 Visa Holders

The website of the Colombian embassy in Ottawa indicates that holders of Colombian visas with a validity period longer than 3 months must register with Migración Colombia within 15 days of entering the country (ibid. 27 June 2014b). Migración Colombia is the government agency responsible for border migration control (ibid. 4 July 2014b). The website of Migración Colombia indicates that upon registration, foreigners may apply for a Foreigner's Identification Card (Cédula de Extranjería) (ibid. 4 July 2014d). Even though TP-10 visa holders are not included among those foreigners who are required to obtain a Foreigner's Identification Card, the website indicates that they can do so [translation] "voluntarily to facilitate the exercise of the rights that the document affords to its holder" (ibid.).

Information on the rights afforded to foreigners with a Foreigner's Identification Card could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within the time constraints of this Response. However, the Constitution of Colombia states the following:

[translation]

Article 100

Aliens will enjoy in Colombia the same civil rights which are granted to Colombians. Nevertheless, for reasons of public order, the law may subordinate them to special conditions or deny the exercise of specific civil rights to aliens. Similarly, aliens will enjoy, in the territory of the Republic, the guarantees conceded to nationals, except for the limitations that the Constitution or the law establish.

Political rights are reserved to nationals, but the law may concede to aliens resident in Colombia the right to vote in elections and in popular consultations of municipal or district character. (ibid. 1991)

The following are the requirements to obtain a Foreigner's Identification Card for the first time:

  • A passport and a valid visa.
  • The application (ibid. 4 July 2014d).
  • The application's requirements are the following:
  • A copy of the data page of the passport.
  • A copy of the stamped passport page showing the last entry into the country.
  • A copy of the Colombian visa.
  • A copy of a document that evidences the applicant's blood type and Rh blood group.
  • A 3 x 4 photo.
  • The fee: 156,300 pesos [C$90] (ibid. 4 July 2014d).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

Colombia. 11 July 2014. Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Cancillería. Correspondence from an official to the Research Directorate.

_____. 7 July 2014. Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Cancillería. "RE." [Accessed 7 July 2014]

_____. 4 July 2014a. Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Cancillería. "TP10." [Accessed 4 July 2014]

_____. 4 July 2014b. Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Migración Colombia. "Misión - Visión." [Accessed 4 July 2014]

_____. 4 July 2014c. Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Cancillería. "Preguntas frecuentes: Visas." [Accessed 4 July 2014]

_____. 4 July 2014d. Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Migración Colombia. "Cédula de Extranjería." [Accessed 7 July 2014]

_____. 3 July 2014a. Registraduría Nacional del Estado Civil. "Funciones de la Registraduría Nacional del Estado Civil." [Accessed 4 July 2014]

_____. 3 July 2014b. Registraduría Nacional del Estado Civil. "¿Cuáles son las dificultades para la entrega de la Cédula de Ciudadanía?" [Accessed 3 July 2014]

_____. 3 July 2014c. Embassy of Colombia in Ottawa . Correspondence from an official to the Research Directorate.

_____. 27 June 2014a. Embassy of Colombia in Ottawa. Correspondence from an official to the Research Directorate.

_____. 27 June 2014b. Embassy of Colombia in Ottawa. "Clases de visas." [Accessed 27 June 2014]

_____. 25 June 2014. Embassy of Colombia in Ottawa. Correspondence from an official to the Research Directorate.

_____. 2013. Decreto Número 834 de 2013: Por el cual se establecen disposiciones en materia migratoria de la República de Colombia. [Accessed 4 July 2014]

_____. 1991 (Amended 2013). Political Constitution of Colombia of 1991 (Constitución Política de la República de Colombia de 1991). Translated by Anna I. Vellvé Torras, Jefri J. Ruchti, and María del Carmen Gress. In World Constitutions Illustrated. Edited by Jefri Jay Ruchti. Buffalo, NY: William S. Hein & Co., Inc.

_____. N.d. Portal del Estado Colombiano. "Visa Temporal TP-10 (Cónyuge o compañero(a) permanente de nacional colombiano(a))." [Accessed 4 July 2014]

Additional Sources Consulted

Oral sources: Representatives of the following organization could not provide information for this Response: Migración Colombia.

Internet sites, including: Colombia – Caprecom, Embassy in Washington, DC, Ministerio de Salud y Protección Social, Ministerio de Trabajo, Presidencia de la República; Lexdir; Nueva EPS; United Nations – Integrated Regional Information Networks, Refworld, ReliefWeb.