Visa for asylum seekers in Colombia
First of all, it is important to mention that a refugee and an asylum seeker are legally different. The first, whose status has already been recognized due to serious human rights violations and persecution, risk to safety and life in their country of origin and who the government of their own country was unable or unwilling to protect from such dangers. The second refers to a person who has not been legally recognized as a refugee and is awaiting a decision on his or her asylum application on the same grounds as the refugee.
How can I obtain a visa for asylum seekers in Colombia?
An asylum visa is obtained in Colombia once the condition is recognized, for which a procedure must be completed before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Internal Working Group for Refugee Status Determination (Grupo Interno de Trabajo de Determinación de la Condición de Refugiado – GIT Refugio):
- If entering the country through land borders, ports or airports, the application may be submitted to Migración Colombia and will be sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for review.
- If the request is made within the country, it should be made directly to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the post office: email@example.com y firstname.lastname@example.org The application must include personal and family data, explaining the reasons for leaving the country and the reason for not being able to return.
- *If the application is submitted 2 months after entry into Colombian territory, the reason for not submitting the application upon entry must also be explained.
- When the authorities review the content of the application, you will receive a free safe-conduct for up to 180 days, which is renewable, until a decision is made on the application.
*The laissez-passer is a temporary document issued by the Special Administrative Unit of Migration Colombia to foreigners when required due to the circumstances of their migratory situation.
What information is required for an asylum visa in Colombia?
- Names and surnames of the applicant and his/her beneficiaries
- Photocopy of passport and/or identity card from your country. If you do not have such documents, you must submit a letter explaining why and stating that you are who you say you are.
- Date and manner of entry into the country.
- Address, telephone number and/or e-mail contact.
- Reasons why his life was in danger and why he cannot return to the country.
- Additional documents considered relevant.
- Recent 3.4 cm color photograph on blue background of each of the applicants.
- Applicant’s signature.
- Inform the means by which you want to be contacted and notification.
Once the application is submitted, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will issue a summons for an interview to learn more about the situation. Attendance to the interview is essential since, in case of non-attendance, the process will be understood to have been withdrawn and it will be archived and the safe-conduct will be cancelled.
It is important to mention that refugees in Colombia enjoy rights such as: access to health care, family unity, having a travel document and a visa, having a foreigner’s identity card, access to formal employment, among others.
In this sense, once the refugee status is recognized, it will be possible to request the Type M refugee visa, which will be valid for up to 3 years, allows accumulating time for the Resident visa and working in the national territory. The additional requirements to the general ones are:
- Copy of the administrative act by virtue of which refugee status is recognized in Colombia.
- Visa application letter signed by the foreigner.
- Hold a valid passport or travel document.
In short, in Colombia, the asylum or refugee visa is a category within the type M visas and it is possible to apply for it once the process refugee recognition.