COVID-19 Travel
May 28, 2021

COVID-19 Travel Guidance for U.S. Citizens

COVID-19 Alert
June 17, 2021

Update on U.S. Passport Operations

International Travel

English

Country Information

Colombia

Colombia
Republic of Colombia
Do not travel to Colombia due to COVID-19. Exercise increased caution in Colombia due to crime, terrorism and kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory.

Do not travel to Colombia due to COVID-19. Exercise increased caution in Colombia due to crime, terrorism and kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory. 

Read the Department of State’s COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel.   

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Colombia due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated with an FDA authorized vaccine. Before planning any international travel, please review the CDC's specific recommendations for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers. Visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions in Colombia.

Do Not Travel to:

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

Reconsider Travel to:

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

Country Summary: 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 country information page.

If you decide to travel to Colombia:

Arauca, Cauca, Chocó, Nariño and Norte de Santander Departments – 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 cannot travel to these areas due to security concerns.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Several Departments throughout the Country – Reconsider Travel

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

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

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 because of security restrictions and limited domestic travel options.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Last Update: Reissued after periodic review with updates to COVID-19 information.

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Embassy Messages

Alerts

Quick Facts

PASSPORT VALIDITY:


Six months’ validity is strongly recommended.

BLANK PASSPORT PAGES:


One page required for entry stamp unless enrolled in Migración Automática, a program for frequent travelers.

TOURIST VISA REQUIRED:


Not required for stays 90 days or less.

VACCINATIONS:


Yellow fever vaccination is required for travelers coming from certain countries or visiting certain national parks.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR ENTRY:


10,000 USD maximum.

CURRENCY RESTRICTIONS FOR EXIT:


10,000 USD maximum.

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) (1) 275-2000
Emergency after-hours telephone: +(57) (1) 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) (5) 353-2001
Emergency after-hours telephone: 
+(57) (1) 275-4021
Email:
conagencybarranquilla@state.gov

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

Destination Description

See the Department of State’s Fact Sheet on Colombia for information on U.S. - Colombia relations. 

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

Please visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on entry/exit requirements related to COVID-19 in Colombia. 

All U.S. citizens who do not also hold Colombian citizenship must present a valid U.S. passport to enter and leave Colombia. U.S. citizens do not need a Colombian visa for a tourist or business stay of 90 days or less or for cumulative stays of 180 days or less per calendar year. Before your 90-day stay expires, you may request an extension of up to 90 additional days from the Colombian immigration authority (Migración Colombia). You will face a fine if you remain in Colombia longer than allowed, and you may not be able to leave Colombia until the fine is paid. Any traveler entering with a Colombian visa of any type (as opposed to visa-free entry described above) with more than three months’ validity must register the visa at a Migración Colombia office or online within 15 days of arrival in Colombia or face fines. You may be denied entry to Colombia if you do not have a return ticket. Visit the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism website for the most current visa information.

Visit the CDC Traveler View website for vaccination information and the Colombian Ministry of Health website for yellow fever vaccination requirements.

Please review our informational sheet 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. If you do not, you may be fined or jailed. We strongly advise against entering Colombia overland. Colombia’s border areas are off-limits to U.S. government personnel unless specifically authorized.

Lost or Stolen Passport: If your U.S. passport is lost or stolen in Colombia, you must obtain a new one before leaving the country. You can report the loss or theft 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. Travelers should bring medication sufficient for their entire stay.

Find information on dual nationalityprevention of international child abduction, and customs regulations on our websites.

Safety and Security

Terrorism: Consult the Department of State’s global travel advisory on terrorism. Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists around the world are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as:

  • High-profile public events (sporting events, political rallies, demonstrations, holiday events, celebratory gatherings, etc.)
  • Hotels, clubs, and restaurants frequented by tourists
  • Places of worship
  • Schools
  • Parks
  • Shopping malls and markets
  • Public transportation systems (including subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights) 

In Colombia, the National Liberation Army (ELN) and dissident groups from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) continue plotting and executing attacks. In September 2020, the Minister of Defense attributed some violence and destructive protests in Bogota to members of ELN and FARC dissidents. In January 2019, the ELN detonated a car bomb in front of a police academy in Bogota, killing 22 cadets and injuring 87.

Demonstrations: Demonstrations occur frequently, particularly in Bogota. They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly become violent. Avoid areas around protests and demonstrations and check local media for updates and traffic advisories.

Crime: Crimes and scams against tourists are common in urban areas, including in affluent neighborhoods. Firearms are prevalent in Colombia, and muggings or robberies can quickly turn violent. In January 2021, two instances of robbery and extortion in Barranquilla involved hand grenades. Drive-by motorcyclist snatchings of cell phones, bags, and valuables are extremely common. U.S. citizens have been robbed by individuals posing as police officers and have reported sexual assaults throughout Colombia.

ATMs: Use ATMs inside shopping malls or other protected locations, which are safer from robbery than ATMs on the street.

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. Use a dispatch service or cell phone app whenever possible.

Disabling Drugs: We receive regular reports of criminals using drugs to temporarily incapacitate unsuspecting victims and then rob or assault them. Avoid leaving food or drinks unattended at a bar or restaurant and use caution if a stranger offers you something to eat or drink.

Scams: See the Department of State and the FBI pages for information on scams. Scams are often initiated through internet postings and profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers often pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help. Common scams include romance/online dating and free trips/luggage.  We have also received reports of scammers posing as U.S. government officials soliciting payment for services, penalties, and visa- or immigration-related issues. Ensure that vacation home rentals, including on major commercial sites, are safe and legitimate before your arrival.

Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police by dialing 123 and contact the U.S. Embassy at +57 (1) 275-2000 or +57 (1) 275-4021 after hours. Local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes. U.S. citizen victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact us for assistance. See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.

We can:

  • Help you find appropriate medical care
  • Assist you in reporting a crime to the police
  • Contact relatives or friends with your written consent
  • Provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion
  • Provide a list of local attorneys
  • Provide our information on victim’s compensation programs in the United States.
  • Provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
  • Help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
  • Replace a stolen or lost passport

Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the Embassy for assistance. Help in domestic violence situations is available, in Spanish, by calling 155 (*155 from a cell phone).

Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in or near major cities, and even then response times may be drastically different from what travelers are accustomed to in the United States. First responders generally only speak limited English, if any, and are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities or to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.

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. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities prior to practicing or operating a business. 

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, 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 hardship for themselves and their families. Colombian law may require 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 uses strict screening procedures to detect 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. Luggage is sometimes damaged during screening procedures. Most airport inspectors do not speak English.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods: Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also incur fines or be required to give them up if you bring them back to the United States. See the U.S. Department of Justice website for more information.

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 funds. We have received reports of customs officials confiscating high-value jewelry that was not declared upon entry.

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).

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 following webpages for details:

Ayahuasca/Hallucinogens: Traditional hallucinogens, often referred to as ayahuasca, can be marketed to tourists as “spiritual cleansing” and typically contain dimethyltryptamine (DMT), a strong psychedelic that is illegal in the United States and many other countries. Risks to travelers while intoxicated include robbery, assault, illness, or death, often at great distances from reliable medical facilities. We receive occasional reports of U.S. citizens suffering these consequences. People claiming to be shamans or spiritual practitioners are neither licensed nor regulated.

LGBTQI+ Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTQI+ events in Colombia. Legal prohibitions on discrimination are not fully enforced. The government has taken measures to increase the rights and protection of LGBTQI+ persons, but there are reports of societal abuse and discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  

See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.

Travelers with Disabilities: Colombia prohibits discrimination against persons with physical or mental disabilities, but the law is not fully enforced. Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is not as prevalent as in the United States. Expect accessibility to be limited in public transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure, including sidewalks, intersections, buses, and taxis.

Students: See our Students Abroad page and FBI travel tips.

Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.

Cruise Ship Passengers: See our travel tips for Cruise Ship Passengers.

Health

Please visit the Embassy’s COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Colombia. For emergency services in Colombia, dial 123 from any mobile phone or land line. We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.

Ambulances: Ambulance services are widely available in larger cities, but injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance.

Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Many care providers in Colombia only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on the type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.

We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor’s prescription. If traveling with prescription medication, check with the Colombia National Directorate of Taxes and Customs  to ensure the medication is legal in Colombia.

Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Visit the CDC Traveler View website for vaccination information and the Colombia Ministry of Health website for yellow fever vaccination requirements.

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.

Health facilities in general:

  • Adequate health facilities are available throughout the country, but health care in rural areas may be below U.S. standards.
  • Hospitals and doctors often require payment upfront prior to service or admission. Credit card payment is frequently but not always available.
  • Private hospitals usually require advance payment or proof of adequate insurance before admitting a patient.
  • Medical staff may speak little or no English.
  • Psychological and psychiatric services are limited, even in the larger cities, with hospital-based care only available through government institutions.

Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery:

  • U.S. citizens have suffered serious complications or died during or after having cosmetic or other elective surgery in Colombia. 
  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for information on medical tourism, the risks of medical tourism, and your preparation before traveling to Colombia.
  • We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation in the event of unforeseen medical complications.
  • Your legal options in cases of malpractice are very limited in Colombia. 
  • Although Colombia has many elective/cosmetic surgery facilities that are on par with those found in the United States, the quality of care varies widely. If you plan to undergo surgery in Colombia, make sure that emergency medical facilities are available and that professionals are accredited and qualified.

Pharmaceuticals:

  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication back to the United States. Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States. Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States. Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration websites for more information. 
  • Colombia does not allow the sale of certain psychiatric medications. Travelers should carry a sufficient supply for their trips. Please review the Colombia National Drug and Food Surveillance Institute website for drug unavailability.

Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy:

  • If you are considering traveling to Colombia to have a child through the use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) or surrogacy, please see our ART and Surrogacy Abroad page.
  • Although surrogacy agencies/clinics claim surrogacy is legal, there is no legal framework for foreigners or same-sex couples to pursue surrogacy in Colombia. As a result, surrogacy agreements between foreign or same-sex intending parents and gestational mothers may not be enforced by Colombian courts.

Water Quality: In rural areas, tap water may not be potable. Bottled water and beverages are generally safe and plentiful, but be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Be aware that ice for drinks may be made using tap water.

Altitude: Many cities in Colombia, such as Bogota, are at high altitude. Be aware of the symptoms of altitude sickness and take precautions before you travel. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Travel to High Altitudes.

Adventure Travel: Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Adventure Travel.

Diseases: The following diseases are prevalent:

Further health information:

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety: Due to the security environment in Colombia and poor infrastructure, 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. Follow these same precautions.

Road travel in Colombia can 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. Slow-moving buses and trucks frequently stop in the middle of the road unexpectedly. In the countryside, livestock is often herded along roads or left to graze on roadsides. Due to a lack of sidewalks, roads are also used by pedestrians.

The use of motorcycles and bicycles is widespread throughout Colombia. U.S. government officials may not use motorcycles because of security concerns.

Traffic Laws: Traffic laws are often ignored and rarely enforced, creating dangerous conditions for drivers and pedestrians. Seat belts are mandatory for all passengers in a private vehicle. Car seats are mandatory for children, and a child under ten years old is not permitted to ride in the front seat. It is against the law to talk on a cellular phone while driving.

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: Do not hail taxis on the street. U.S. government officials may not hail street taxis or use public transportation in Colombia because of security concerns.

See our Driving and Road Safety Abroad page for more information. Visit the website of the Colombia national authority responsible for road safety, the Instituto Nacional de Vias.

Tourist Vessels: Small tourist boats sometimes sink off the northern coast between Cartagena and the nearby islands, particularly in the months of December and January when seas are rough. U.S. citizens have died in boating accidents. Check for lifejackets and safety equipment before boarding a tourist vessel.

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.

Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Colombia should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website and the NGA broadcast warnings.

For additional travel information

International Parental Child Abduction

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Colombia.  For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act (ICAPRA) report.

 

Last Updated: May 6, 2021

Travel Advisory Levels

Information for Vaccinated Travelers

The CDC's latest guidance on international travel for vaccinated people can be found here.

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