International Parental Child Abduction

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Country Information

Colombia

Colombia
Republic of Colombia
Exercise increased caution in Colombia due to crime and terrorism. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Exercise increased caution in Colombia due to crime and terrorism. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel to:

  • Arauca, Cauca (except Popayan), Chocó (except Nuquí), Nariño, and Norte de Santander (except Cucuta) departments due to crime and terrorism.

Reconsider travel to:

  • Several departments throughout the country due to crime and terrorism.

Violent crime, such as homicide, assault, and armed robbery, is common. Organized criminal activities, such as extortion, robbery, and kidnapping for ransom, are widespread. 

While the Colombian government signed a peace agreement with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) terrorist group, some dissident groups refuse to demobilize.

The National Liberation Army (ELN) terrorist organization continues plotting possible attacks in Colombia. They may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.

U.S. government personnel cannot travel freely throughout Colombia for security reasons.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Colombia:

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

Violent crime, including armed robbery and homicide is widespread. 

Terrorists 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 cannot travel to these areas without permission from the Embassy’s Regional Security Office. When permitted, U.S. government personnel must travel to the cities of Popayan (capital of Cauca) and Nuqui (capital of Chocó) by air.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Several Departments throughout the Country – Level 3: Reconsider travel

Violent crime, including armed robbery and homicide, is widespread in the following departments. 

Terrorists groups are active in some parts.

Reconsider travel to:

  • Antioquia department north of Medellin
  • Caquetá department
  • Casanare department
  • Cesar department outside of Valledupar
  • Cordoba department outside of Montería
  • Guainía department
  • Guaviare department
  • Meta department
  • Putumayo department
  • Valle del Cauca department outside of Cali and Palmira area
  • Vaupes department
  • Vichada department

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens as U.S. government personnel cannot travel to these areas without permission from the Embassy’s Regional Security Office.

U.S. government officials and their families are generally permitted to travel to the major cities of Valledupar, Monteria, Cali, and Palmira by air.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Travel Restrictions for U.S. Government Personnel

U.S. government personnel must request advance permission for any travel outside of Bogota and the Atlantic Coast corridor from Cartagena to Santa Marta, and sometimes are required to travel in armored vehicles or carry personnel trackers. U.S. government officials and their families are generally permitted to travel to major cities only by air. They cannot not use inter- or intra-city bus transportation or travel by road outside urban areas at night. During daylight, they are permitted to use only the following routes:

  • Main highways between Bogota and Bucaramanga, and between Bogota and Ibague.
  • Highways between Manizales, Pereira, and Armenia and within the “coffee country” provinces of Caldas, Risaralda, and Quindío.
  • Highway 90 from Cartagena, through Barranquilla to Santa Marta.
... [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

Calle 24 Bis No. 48-50
Bogotá, D.C. Colombia
Mailing address:
 Carrera 45 No. 24B-27 Bogotá, D.C. 110111 Colombia
Telephone: +(57) (1) 275-2000
Emergency after-hours telephone: +(57) (1) 275-4021
Email: 

Consulates


U.S. Consular Agency - Barranquilla
Calle 77B No. 57-141, suite 511
Centro Empresarial Las Americas, Barranquilla, Atlantico,
Colombia
Telephone:
+(57) (5) 353-2001
Emergency after-hours telephone: Please contact the U.S. Embassy in Bogota: +(57) (1) 275-2701
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 Parental Child Abduction (IPCA). 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) 275-4021
Fax
No Fax

Colombia Map