Colombian Citizenship is an attractive option for foreigners who have fallen in love with Colombia and for children of Colombian citizens. Colombia is rich in cultural heritage, has a diverse and friendly population, and offers many opportunities to invest, work, and explore.
According to the Colombian Constitution, a person is a Colombian citizen if they were born in Colombia or if at least one of their parents is a Colombian citizen. However, this blog will outline a few additional ways foreign citizens can obtain Colombian Citizenship.
At the basic level, most foreigners need to reside in Colombia for 2-5 years and pass the Spanish language exam. Additionally, foreigners must demonstrate knowledge of Colombian history, culture, and politics.
Once an individual has acquired Colombian Citizenship, they are entitled to the rights and privileges of Colombian citizens, including the right to vote and participate in politics. They will also have access to social services and protection under Colombian law.
Dual Citizenship in Colombian
Colombia allows for Dual Citizenship, which means that a person can hold both Colombian Citizenship and the Citizenship of another country. That is excellent news for most foreigners as they can benefit from the perks of being a Colombian without renouncing their Citizenship in another country.
Apart from being able to travel freely between both countries, Dual Citizenship will allow foreigners several advantages, including the ability to live and work in both countries and access social services and benefits.
However, foreigners should be aware that each country will have different rules and regulations regarding Dual Citizenship. Each foreigner should understand the legal implications of dual Citizenship before applying. Dual citizens may be subject to taxation in both countries and may be obligated to fulfill certain obligations (for example, Jury Duty in the United States).
How to Get Colombian Citizenship
Colombian Citizenship can be obtained in numerous ways depending on nationality and situation. However, in every situation, applicants must have a Colombian Resident Visa before applying for Citizenship.
Citizenship by Birthright:
Those who are the child of Colombian Citizens can obtain Colombian Citizenship by proving they are the child of a Colombian Citizen and obtaining a Colombian birth certificate.
Latin American or Caribbean Citizens By Birth
Individuals born in Latin American or Caribbean Countries can apply for Colombian Citizenship after having a Resident Visa in Colombia for 1 year.
Latin American Countries Include:
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
List of Caribbean Countries:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- The Bahamas
- Dominican Republic
- Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Saint Lucia
- Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
- Trinidad and Tobago
Spanish Citizens By Birth
Individuals born in Spain who have resided continuously in Colombia for two years with a Resident Visa can apply for Colombian Citizenship.
Non-Latin American, Caribbean, or Spanish Citizen Who Has Resided in Colombia For 5 Years
Those not born in Latin America, the Caribbean, or Spain must reside continuously in Colombia for five years under a Resident Visa before applying for Citizenship.
Additionally, a few scenarios may alter the timeline of a foreigner's ability to apply for Citizenship.
1. Spouse or Permanent Partner of a Colombian National
If a foreigner has resided continuously in Colombia for two years with a Resident Visa before filling out the application with the following criteria:
- Married to a Colombian National
- The Permanent Partner of a Colombian National
2. Parent of a Colombian National
If a foreigner who has resided continuously in Colombia for two years with a Resident Visa before filling out the application and is the parent of a Colombian National.
Colombian Citizenship by Marriage
Foreigners married to Colombian citizens can apply for Colombian Citizenship after two years of continuous marriage and residency in Colombia.
It's a common misunderstanding that marrying a Colombian national will fast-track you to Colombian Citizenship. Marrying a Colombian Citizen does decrease the time a foreigner needs to hold a Resident Visa. However, foreigners cannot apply for a resident visa without first applying for a Migrant Visa.
In order to obtain Colombian Citizenship through Marriage, the process is as follows:
- You will first need to apply for your Migrant Visa.
- You must hold your migrant visa for no less than two years. During this time, you must have your permanent residence in Colombia.
- After living in Colombia for two years, you must apply for a Resident Visa.
- After living in Colombia for two years under a Resident Visa, you can apply for Citizenship.
Colombian Citizenship By Descent
Foreigners who are the children of Colombian citizens are eligible to apply for Colombian Citizenship by descent.
The application process involves submitting documentation to the Colombian consulate, including a valid passport, a birth certificate, and proof of the parent's Colombian Citizenship.
If the applicant's parent(s) has passed away, Citizenship is still possible if the applicant can provide the correct documentation and a death certificate(s).
Once the application is approved, the child will be granted Colombian Citizenship, and they will be able to obtain a Colombian passport and other documents.
Applying for Colombian Citizenship
To apply for Colombian Citizenship, you must meet specific eligibility requirements and follow the necessary steps.
It's important to note that the process for obtaining Citizenship can be complex and time-consuming, and it is recommended that applicants seek the assistance of a qualified attorney or immigration specialist to guide them through the process and ensure that all requirements are met.
1. Determine If You're an Applicant
The first step to applying for Colombian Citizenship is determining if you're eligible. You are eligible if you're a child of a Colombian Citizen or you've held a Resident Visa for a minimum of 1-5 years, depending on your nationality and situation.
2. Gather Documentation For Citizenship Application
- A copy of the birth certificate. Duly apostilled will be required.
- If applying as a child of a Colombian National, An original and photocopy of the "cédula de ciudadanía" of the parent(s). If one of the parents is not Colombian, a valid passport or identity card and a photocopy of it must be presented.
- If the father or mother has died, a copy of the death certificate or death record duly apostilled will be required.
- Valid passport or identity document.
- The applicant must know their blood type.
Apostilles authenticate the seals and signatures of officials on public documents issued by a federal agency or certified by a foreign consul. An apostille certifies the document(s), so the document can be recognized in foreign countries.
Birth Certificates and official government documents will need to be apostilled by their country of origin before being accepted by Colombia.
Additionally, all documents issued in a language different than Spanish must include an official translation.
3. Apply for Colombian Citizenship
Applicants can apply in person at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or through the Colombian consulate in their country of residence. Applicants will also be required to complete an interview and a test in Spanish about the Colombian constitution, history, and geography.
While the process for obtaining citizenship can be complex, becoming a citizen of Colombia can offer many benefits, including the ability to vote and work freely in the country, as well as access to public services and social programs. With careful planning and preparation, you can successfully navigate the process of obtaining Colombian citizenship and enjoy all the benefits that come with it.
It is recommended that applicants seek the assistance of a qualified attorney or immigration specialist to guide them through the process and ensure that all requirements are met.
Daniela Cordoba is a lawyer specializing in immigration and commercial law. Daniela Cordoba has helped individuals and businesses live and operate in Colombia for over a decade. She also has training in compliance with the respective accreditations to serve as Compliance Officer.
For the past decade we have been helping travelers secure visas to Colombia.
We work with you 1:1 to ensure you not only have the best chance of getting approval, but that you have every one of your questions answers.
You don't have to worry about having to translate emails or communication, our team is fluent in English and can help you with whatever you need.