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International Parental Child Abduction

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Country Information

Colombia

Colombia
Republic of Colombia
Reconsider travel due to crime and terrorism. Exercise increased caution due to civil unrest and kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Reissued with updates to high-risk areas.

Reconsider travel due to crime and terrorism. Exercise increased caution due to civil unrest and kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do Not Travel to:

  • Arauca, Cauca (excluding Popayán), and Norte de Santander departments due to crime and terrorism.
  • The Colombia-Venezuela border region due to crime, kidnapping, and risk of detention when crossing into Venezuela from Colombia.   

Country Summary: Violent crime, such as homicide, assault, and armed robbery, is widespread. Organized criminal activities, such as extortion, robbery, and kidnapping, are common in some areas.

The National Liberation Army (ELN), Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People’s Army (FARC-EP), and Segunda Marquetalia terrorist organizations continue operating and launching attacks in Colombia. They may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, police stations, military facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas. While terrorists have not specifically targeted U.S. citizens, the attacks could result in unintended victims.

Demonstrations occur regularly throughout the country. Large public demonstrations can take place for a variety of political and economic issues. Demonstrations can shutdown roads and major highways, often without prior notice or estimated reopening timelines. Road closures may significantly reduce access to public transportation and may disrupt travel both within and between cities. Nationwide protests in 2021 resulted in fatalities and injuries.

U.S. government employees must adhere to the noted restrictions:

  • U.S. government employees are not permitted to travel by road between most major cities.
  • Colombia’s land border areas are off-limits to U.S. government personnel unless specifically authorized.
  • U.S. government employees may not use motorcycles
  • U.S. government employees may not hail street taxis or use public transportation.

Read the country information page for additional information on travel to Colombia.

If you decide to travel to Colombia:

Arauca, Cauca, and Norte de Santander Departments – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Violent crime, including armed robbery and homicide, is widespread.

Terrorist groups are active in some parts.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens as U.S. government-personnel travel to these areas is severely restricted due to security concerns.

Colombia - Venezuela Border – Level 4: Do Not Travel
U.S. citizens are advised not to travel to the border of Colombia and Venezuela.  U.S. citizens are at risk of detention when crossing into Venezuela from Colombia. The Colombia-Venezuela border is not clearly marked, and U.S. citizens should not go near the border due to the risk of crossing into Venezuela accidentally. U.S. citizens attempting to enter Venezuela without a visa have been charged with terrorism and other serious crimes and detained for long periods.   For more information, see the Venezuela Travel Advisory.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

... [READ MORE]

Hague Convention Participation

Party to the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes
U.S. Treaty Partner under the Hague Abduction Convention?
Yes

What You Can Do

Learn how to respond to abductions FROM the US
Learn how to respond to abductions TO the US

Embassies and Consulates

U.S. Embassy Bogota

Physical Address:  Calle 24 Bis No. 48-50, Bogotá, D.C., Colombia
Mailing address:  Carrera 45 No. 24B-27, Bogotá, D.C. 110111, Colombia
Telephone:  +(57) (601) 275-2000
Emergency after-hours telephone:  +(57) (601) 275-4021
Email:  ACSBogota@state.gov

Consulates

U.S. Consular Agency Barranquilla
Calle 77B No. 57-141, Suite 511
Centro Empresarial Las Americas 1, Barranquilla, Atlántico, Colombia
Telephone:  +(57) 605-353-2001 and +(57) 605-369-0149
Emergency after-hours telephone:  +(57) (601) 275-4021
Email:  conagencybarranquilla@state.gov

For hours and services, please visit the U.S. Embassy Bogota website

General Information

Colombia and the United States have been treaty partners under the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague Abduction Convention) since June 1, 1996.

For information concerning travel to Colombia, including information about the location of the U.S. Embassy, the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, entry/exit requirements, safety and security, crime, medical facilities and health information, traffic safety, road conditions and aviation safety, please see country-specific information for Colombia.

The U.S. Department of State reports statistics and compliance information for individual countries in the Annual Report on International Child Abduction. The report is located here

Hague Abduction Convention

Hague Abduction Convention

The U.S. Department of State serves as the U.S. Central Authority (USCA) for the Hague Abduction Convention. In this capacity, the Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs, Directorate for Overseas Citizens Services, Office of Children's Issues facilitates the submission of applications under the Hague Abduction Convention for the return of, or access to, children located in countries that are U.S. treaty partners, including Colombia. Parents are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State for assistance prior to initiating the Hague process directly with the foreign Central Authority.

Contact information:

U.S. Department of State 
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Office of Children's Issues
CA/OCS/CI 
SA-17, 9th Floor 
Washington, DC 20522-1709
Telephone: 1-888-407-4747
Outside the United States or Canada: 1-202-501-4444

The Colombian Central Authority for the Hague Abduction Convention is the Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar (ICBF). ICBF's role is to perform the duties given to central authorities under the Hague Abduction Convention, including processing Hague Abduction Convention applications for return of and access to children. They can be reached at:

Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar (ICBF)
Sede Nacional Avenida Carrera 68 No 64 C 75
Bogota, DC, Colombia
Telephone: 011-57-1-437-7630, Extension 101105
E-mail
Website

To initiate a Hague case for return of, or access to, a child in Colombia the left-behind parent must submit a Hague application to the ICBF. The USCA is available to answer questions about the Hague application process, to forward a completed application to the ICBF, and to subsequently monitor its progress through the foreign administrative and legal processes.

There are no fees for filing Hague applications with either the United States or Colombian central authorities. Attorney fees, if necessary, are the sole responsibility of the person hiring the attorney. Additional costs may include airplane tickets for court appearances and for the return of the child, if so ordered.

Return

A parent or legal guardian may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for return to the United States of a child abducted to, or wrongfully retained in Colombia. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand whether the Convention is an available civil remedy and can provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

Visitation/Access

A person may file an application under the Hague Abduction Convention for access to a child living in Colombia. The criteria for acceptance of a Hague access application vary from country to country. The U.S. Department of State can assist parents living in the United States to understand country-specific criteria and provide information on the process for submitting a Hague application.

 

Retaining an Attorney

Parents pursuing Hague applications in Colombia must be represented by an attorney. Parents may choose either to hire a private attorney or request that an attorney be appointed for them by the Colombian Central Authority. Some parents have reported that they prefer hiring their own private attorneys, because they tend to be the most responsive in following up on cases and providing direct information to a court. A privately-hired attorney should contact the Colombian Central Authority as soon as possible after the Hague Abduction Convention application has been filed with the Colombian Central Authority. 

The U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia posts a list of attorneys  including those who specialize in family law.

This list is provided as a courtesy service only and does not constitute an endorsement of any individual attorney. The Department of State assumes no responsibility or liability for the professional ability or reputation of, or the quality of services provided by, the following persons or firms. Professional credentials and areas of expertise are provided directly by the lawyers.

Mediation

The Colombian Central Authority strongly promotes mediation in abduction cases and if the case is filed with the ICBF, the ICBF and/or the Colombian judiciary may first attempt to mediate between the parties in Hague Abduction Convention cases. Mediation has resulted in several returns of children to the United States since 2009.

Exercising Custody Rights

While travelling in a foreign country, you are subject to the laws of that country. It is important for parents to understand that, although a left-behind parent in the United States may have custody or visitation rights pursuant to a U.S. custody order, that order may not be valid and enforceable in the country in which the child is located.  For this reason, we strongly encourage you to speak to a local attorney if planning to remove a child from a foreign country without the consent of the other parent.  Attempts to remove your child to the United States may:

  • Endanger your child and others;
  • Prejudice any future judicial efforts; and
  • Could result in your arrest and imprisonment.

The U.S. government cannot interfere with another country’s court or law enforcement system.

To understand the legal effect of a U.S. order in a foreign country, a parent should consult with a local attorney in the country in which the child is located.  

For information about hiring an attorney abroad, see our section on Retaining a Foreign Attorney. 

Although we cannot recommend an attorney to you, most U.S. Embassies have lists of attorneys available online. Please visit the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate website for a full listing.

For more information on consular assistance for U.S. citizens arrested abroad, please see our website.

Country officers are available to speak with you Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.  For assistance with an abduction in progress or any emergency situation that occurs after normal business hours, on weekends, or federal holidays, please call toll free at 1-888-407-4747. See all contact information.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this flyer is provided for general information only, is not intended to be legal advice, and may change without notice. Questions involving interpretation of law should be addressed to an attorney licensed in the relevant jurisdiction. 

 

Last Updated: June 26, 2018

Assistance for U.S. Citizens

U.S. Embassy Bogota
Calle 24 Bis No. 48-50
Bogotá, D.C. Colombia
Telephone
+(57) (1) 275-2000
Emergency
+(57) (1) 275-2000
Fax
No Fax

Colombia Map