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How to apply for asylum in Colombia?

April 03, 2023

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How to apply for asylum in Colombia?

Migratory flows have occurred during the last couple up of years in increased quantities. Colombia has been one of the countries that has been affected by these migratory movements since 2015. In response to these migrations, different foreigners of various nationalities have entered the country, due to the political conditions of theirs, requesting the figure of asylum or refuge.

For all of the above, Colombia is involved in the cause of the protection of refugees by ratifying the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees and the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees. The procedure in Colombia to recognize refugee status is governed by Decree 1067 of 2015.

If you are in a situation of vulnerability where you cannot remain in your country of origin and want to apply for asylum in Colombia, at AGT Attorneys, we have specialists in immigration law who can advise you on your asylum application before the Colombian government.

Do not hesitate to contact us by filling out this contact form or through our WhatsApp number +57 310 5706331.

What does it mean to be a refugee?

According to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the legal definition for refugees is:

    "Refugees are people who are outside their country for fear of persecution, conflict, generalized violence, or other circumstances that have seriously disturbed public order, and consequently require international protection."

Therefore, they are people who are leaving their country of origin because internal problems do not allow them to live a dignified life with the full exercise of their rights.

When speaking of refugees, there should be no confusion with the term migrants. This is because refugees are subject to special protection under international law, while migrants are a broader group considered to be people who have resided in a foreign country regardless of their reasons for moving.

When can asylum or refugee status be requested in Colombia?

The accredited entity to resolve asylum or refugee applications in Colombia is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Through the Internal Refugee Working Group (which acts as the technical secretariat of the Advisory Commission for the Determination of Refugee Status "CONARE"), it will receive, analyze and carry out the respective study of the applications.

As mentioned above, Decree 1067 of 2015 is the one that regulates the entire administrative procedure for asylum applications. Its articles establish the circumstances under which a person may request the recognition of his or her refugee status:

    1. If the person is outside his or her country of origin and cannot return to it for fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, membership in a social group or political opinion.
    2. Having to leave their country of origin because his or her life, liberty or security is threatened by internal circumstances of conflict, massive violation of human rights, foreign aggression, among others, which have resulted in a significant disturbance of public order.
    3. The people who consider that there is imminent danger of suffering acts of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment in their territory.

If you consider that you are in a situation similar to those mentioned above, you can consult us at AGT Attorneys, about applying for asylum or refuge in Colombia.

Our lawyers, experts in Immigration Law and International Law, will offer you legal support and guidance in your application before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so that your situation is regularized, and you find the proper protection.

Contact us by filling out this contact form or through our WhatsApp number +57 310 5706331.

How do I apply for asylum in Colombia?

In the event that you are going to request asylum or refuge in Colombia, two situations may arise that will determine how you will have to process your request.

In the first place, if you enter Colombia through land borders, ports, or airports due to the aforementioned circumstances of danger, you are allowed to submit your asylum or refugee application to the Special Administrative Unit of "Migración Colombia".

In these cases, when people are already in Colombian territory, Migración Colombia will send such request to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for its development. In this regard, the request must be made in writing and must contain the reasons for leaving the country of origin and the reasons why they consider that their life and integrity are in danger.

Secondly, if the person is already in Colombia and intends to apply for asylum or refuge, the application must be submitted directly to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In this request, additional information and personal data must be included along with those of their family, indicating the reasons that led them to leave the country of which they are a national. At the moment, the Internal Refugee Working Group handles any of the following emails to send the request for asylum or recognition of refugee status:
  • refugiados@cancilleria.gov.co
  • refugiadosencolombia@cancilleria.gov.co
  • Taking into account the terms for submitting an asylum or refugee application in Colombia, this procedure must be carried out within 2 months after entering the country. In those cases in which the request is made out of time, that is, after 2 months, it must be indicated in detail why the request was not submitted at the time of entry.

    What information must be submitted in the asylum application?

    Decree 1067 of 2015, when regulating the asylum application process or recognition of refugee status, has determined that these are the data that must be included in the application:

      1. Name and surname of the applicant. In the case of requesting beneficiaries, include those of the beneficiaries as well.
      2. Detailed description of the reasons for the request (danger, threat to life, internal political conflict, among others).
      3. Documents that certify or support the situation described above, if available.
      4. Photocopy of the identity document. In case you do not have an identification document, you must argue in writing why you do not have one.
      5. Date and mode of entry to the country.
      6. Address, contact telephone number and/or e-mail address. Changes to this information must be notified to the Internal Working Group.
      7. 3x4 cm color photograph, with blue background, of the applicant. It is recommended that the photo be taken recently to the application.
      8. Attach the signature of the person requesting asylum.
      9. Indicate by which means the applicant wishes to be contacted by the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

    With respect to the request for asylum or refuge in Colombia, all information and personal data will be handled with complete discretion and confidentiality by the authorities, taking into account the reasons that lead to make such request. Therefore, no notice will be given to the authorities of the foreigner's country of origin for his or her own safety.

    What are the steps involved in applying for asylum or refugee status in Colombia?

    The application for asylum or recognition of refugee status in Colombia is in the hands of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, under the direction of the Internal Refugee Group. They will be in charge of determining whether an application will be accepted or rejected.

    In the first step, when the information contained in the application is verified, the applicant will be granted a free safe-conduct for up to 180 days, which may be renewable, while the application is being resolved.

    After which, the Ministry will call the applicant for an interview. The purpose of this interview is to get to know in depth the situation of the foreigner and the danger to which they are exposed. It is necessary to attend this interview, since if you do not attend it, it will be understood that you do not intend to continue with the application. You have the opportunity to reactivate your process within the following month, if the non-attendance was caused by force majeure.

    In the event that the application is approved, and the applicant is recognized as a refugee, they will be granted a travel document and a Colombian stay visa. This visa allows them to apply for a foreigner's identification card before Migración Colombia. The refugee status allows them to stay and work in Colombia.

    Otherwise, if your application is rejected, once the proper notification is made, you may file an appeal for reconsideration within a maximum period of 10 days.

    Refugee Visa Type M

    Resolution 5477 of 2022, has a Refugee Visa within the category of Migrant Visas. This visa is for foreigners to whom the Colombian State has recognized the condition of Refugee. It allows accumulating time for the Resident Visa.

    As any other type of visa, it has some general requirements that must be fulfilled within the application and some specific to the subcategory. We invite you to visit our blog about Visas for Foreigners in Colombia to have more information about the general requirements that all visa applications must have in our country.

    Regarding the specific requirements for the Refugee Visa, these are:

      1. Copy of the administrative act, by virtue of which the refugee status is recognized in Colombia.
      2. Visa application letter signed by the foreigner.
      3. Holding a valid passport or travel document.

    This visa may be valid for up to 3 years and allows its holder an open work permit to perform any lawful activity within the national territory.

    What rights does a refugee have in Colombia?

    The recognition of refugee status is a protection tool of international law, this was created for those people who are in a state of vulnerability and cannot return to their countries of origin because their lives are in danger.

    Colombia, being a member of international instruments that seek to protect refugees and grant them protection within its territory, must guarantee refugees rights in its territory so that they can develop and move forward with their life plans. These are some of the rights that must be guaranteed:

    • Access to formal and decent work
    • Access to health care
    • To have identity documents, such as a foreigner's identity card.
    • Protection of the family unit
    • Granting of travel documents and visas.

    Do you need legal advice in your asylum or refugee application in Colombia?

    Colombia has received a remarkable migratory flow during the last decade, receiving since 2015 foreigners from various parts of the world and the continent who for different reasons must change their residence. In some cases, the reason people arrive to Colombian territory is due to dangers or threats in their own countries that prevent them from returning permanently.

    At AGT Attorneys, we are aware that asylum or refugee applications are of vital importance for the lives of the applicants. Therefore, our lawyers specialized in Migration Law and International Law offer you close accompaniment and the best legal guidance so that you can access this international protection in Colombia.

    In our firm, AGT Attorneys, our legal professionals will help you to draft the documents, collect the information and submit the asylum application before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a prompt and efficient manner.

    Write to us on our Contact Form, schedule your legal appointment with our lawyers through the following link or contact us at +57 310 5706331. We will be happy to assist you!

    If you found this article helpful then let us know in the comments section below. Likewise, feel free to share it using the share options below. Want us to cover another topic of your interest pertaining to legal affairs? If so, then like us and follow us on social media, and post to any of our social media profiles the topic you'd like us to discuss: Facebook AGT Attorneys and Twitter @AttorneysAGT

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    Categories: Visa to Colombia

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