ColombiaOfficial Name: Republic of Colombia
Must be valid at time of entry
BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:
One page required for entry stamp
TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:
Not required for stays less than 90 days
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:
10,000 USD maximum
CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:
10,000 USD maximum
Embassies and Consulates
Calle 24 Bis No. 48-50
Bogotá, D.C. Colombia
Mailing address: Carrera 45 No. 24B-27 Bogotá, D.C. Colombia
Telephone: +(57) (1) 275-2000
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(57) (1) 275-2701
Fax: +(57)(1) 275-4501
U.S. Consular Agent - Barranquilla
Calle 77B No. 57-141, suite 511
Centro Empresarial Las Americas, Barranquilla, Atlantico
Telephone: +(57) (5) 353-2001
Emergency After-Hours Telephone: Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Bogota: +(57) (1) 275-2701
Fax: +(57) (5) 353-5216
For hours and services, please visit the U.S. Embassy Bogota website.
See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Colombia for information on U.S.- Colombia relations.
Entry, Exit & Visa Requirements
All U.S. citizens who do not also hold Colombian citizenship must present a valid U.S. passport to enter and depart Colombia. U.S. citizens traveling to Colombia do not need a Colombian visa for a tourist/business stay of 90 days or less. Before the visa expires, you may request an extension of up to 90 days by visiting an office of the Colombian immigration authority (Migración Colombia). You will face a fine if you remain in Colombia longer than authorized, and you will not be able to leave Colombia until the fine is paid. Any traveler possessing a Colombian visa with more than three months’ validity must register the visa at a Migración Colombia office or on-line within 15 days of arrival in Colombia or face fines.
Visit the Embassy of Colombia website for the most current visa information.
Please see our website for Special Entry/Exit Instructions for U.S. Citizens Born in Colombia and Additional Exit Requirements for Minors. U.S. citizens traveling overland must enter Colombia at an official border crossing. Failure to do so, even if you are taking a bus, may result in a fine or even a jail sentence. We strongly advise U.S. citizens against entering Colombia overland; Colombia’s border areas with Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Brazil and Venezuela are off-limits to U.S. government personnel unless specific authorization is granted.
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 can report the loss/theft of a passport on the Colombian National Police website.
The U.S. Department of State is not aware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents of Colombia.
Find information on dual nationality, prevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites.
Safety and Security
Please read the current Travel Warning for Colombia.
Demonstrations: Demonstrations and protests occur frequently in Colombia, particularly in Bogota. You should avoid areas of demonstrations as they can become violent.
Crime: Robbery and other violent crimes, as well as scams against unsuspecting tourists, are common in urban areas. Firearms are prevalent in Colombia; muggings or robberies can quickly turn violent. There has been an increase (since when?) in violent and petty crime, including a significant increase in pickpocketing of passports in the El Dorado Airport in Bogota.
ATMs: People are sometimes robbed after using automatic teller machines (ATMs) on the street. Use ATMs inside shopping malls or other protected locations.
Taxis: U.S. government personnel are prohibited from hailing taxis on the street due to the risk of assault or robbery. U.S. citizens have been killed during robberies while using taxis, most recently in September 2015 in Medellin. Typically, the driver—who may be one of the conspirators—will stop to pick up armed cohorts, who enter the cab, overpower and rob the passenger, as well as force the victim to make multiple ATM withdrawals. Use telephone or internet-based dispatch service applications whenever possible. Many hotels, restaurants, and stores will call a taxi for you. When a taxi is dispatched, the dispatcher creates a record of the call and the responding taxi.Authorized taxi booths are present in most airports in Colombia.
Disabling Drugs: Criminals in Colombia may use disabling drugs such as scopolamine to temporarily incapacitate unsuspecting victims and then rob or assault them. Avoid leaving food or drinks unattended at a bar or restaurant, and be suspicious if a stranger offers you something to eat or drink.
See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams.
Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police at 123 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +57 (1) 275-4021.
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
For further information:
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Call us in Washington at 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
- See the State Department's travel website for Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, and Travel Alerts.
- Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
- See traveling safely abroad for useful travel tips.
Local Laws & Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Some laws are also prosecutable in the U.S., regardless of local law. See our website on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Colombia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long pre-trial detention and lengthy prison sentences under harsh conditions, with significant expense and great hardship for themselves and their families. Colombian law requires that released offenders serve a lengthy period of parole in country, during which the offender is given no housing and may lack permission to work. Family members must often support the offender until the parole period expires.
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.
Customs Regulations: Travelers generally must not enter or exit Colombia while carrying cash or other financial instruments worth more than 10,000 USD. If you do, you must declare it and be able to prove the legal source of the financial instruments.
Colombian law prohibits tourists and business travelers from bringing firearms and ammunition into Colombia. Colombian law also restricts the importation of plants and animals (or products made from either).
Donations of Goods: Visit the web site for Colombian Customs detailing charitable import regulations.
Artifacts: Colombian law forbids the export of pre-Columbian objects and other artifacts protected by cultural patrimony statutes. U.S. customs officials are obliged to seize pre-Columbian objects and certain colonial religious artwork brought into the United States.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the Department of State’s Faith-Based Travel Page.
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Colombia. Legal prohibitions on discrimination are not fully enforced. The government has taken measures to increase the rights and protection of LGBTI persons, but there are reports of societal abuse and discrimination in rural areas on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Access to buildings, sidewalks and transportation is extremely difficult for persons with disabilities. Most hospitals in major cities are wheelchair accessible. Sidewalks (if they exist) are uneven and rarely have ramps at intersections. Pedestrian crossings are infrequent and motorists almost never give pedestrians the right of way. Buses and taxis do not have special accommodations for disabled persons.
Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Medical care is adequate in major cities but varies greatly in quality and accessibility elsewhere. Uninsured travelers may be relegated to treatment in public hospitals where care is below U.S. standards.
Elective Surgery: Three U.S. citizens died after plastic or other elective surgery in 2014. For more information, visit the website of Colombian Society for Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Travelers to Bogota may need time to adjust to the altitude of 8,600 feet.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Be aware that U.S. Medicare does not apply overseas.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
If traveling with prescription medication, check with the government of Colombia to ensure the medication is legal Colombia. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription.
The following mosquito-borne diseases are prevalent:
- Yellow fever
Zika Virus: Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that can be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby as well as through sexual contact. The CDC has concluded that the Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects in some fetuses and babies born to infected mothers. For additional information about Zika, including travel advisories, visit the CDC website.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further health information:
Travel & Transportation
Road Conditions and Safety: Due to the security environment in Colombia, U.S. government officials and their families are not permitted to travel by road between most major cities. They also cannot use inter-city or intra-city bus transportation or travel by road outside urban areas at night. You are encouraged to follow these same precautions. Please refer to the Travel Warning for Colombia for details.
Although some of Colombia’s roads and highways have greatly improved in recent years, road travel throughout Colombia can still be dangerous, especially at night. Some roads are poorly maintained, or vulnerable to heavy rains and mudslides. Mountain roads may lack safety features such as crash barriers or guard rails, and conditions are frequently made more treacherous by heavy fog. Highways are often unmarked and unlit, and do not have signs indicating destinations. In addition, slow-moving buses and trucks frequently stop in the middle of the road unexpectedly. In the countryside, livestock is often herded along roads or grazes on roadsides. Due to a lack of sidewalks, many roads are also used by pedestrians.
The use of motorcycles is widespread in most major Colombian cities. According to the Colombian National Institute of Pathology and Forensic Science (Instituto Nacional de Medicina Legal y Ciencias Forenses), 45% of traffic fatalities in 2014 involved motorcycles. There were 2,914 motorcycle accidents in 2014. U.S. government officials may not use on-road motorcycles because of security and crime issues.
Traffic Laws: Traffic laws in Colombia, including speed limits, are often ignored and rarely enforced, creating dangerous conditions for drivers and pedestrians in major cities. Under Colombian law, seat belts are mandatory for front-seat passengers in a private vehicle. Car seats are mandatory for children, and a child under ten years old is not permitted to ride in a front seat. It is against the law to talk on a cellular phone while driving in Colombia, and violators may be fined. While driving outside major cities, you must drive with your lights on.
If you are involved in an accident, you MUST remain at the scene without moving your vehicle until the authorities arrive. This rule is strictly enforced, and moving a vehicle or leaving the scene of an accident may constitute an admission of guilt under Colombian law.
Public Transportation: U.S. government officials may not use public transportation because of security issues and crime. You should not hail a taxi on the street.
Please refer to our Road Safety page for more information. Also, we suggest that you visit the website of the Colombian agency for tourism promotion and the national authority responsible for road safety, the Instituto Nacional de Vias.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Colombia’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Colombia’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.