Colombian Visa TP7 Cedula, Step 5
This last step is one you must definitely do yourself. It involves getting blood typed, photographed, and finger-printed — not things you can delegate!
You will be taking your passport (with the Colombian visa from Bogota already glued into it) to the local Migración Colombia office where you live. Each local state government (departamento) has at least one of these offices, located in the capital city of the department. If you’re lucky, there’ll be an office in the same city where you live. If not, you may have a bus ride ahead of you.
There’s a lot of details, but it’s really not too bad if you plan and know what to expect. I was happy that Langon sent me all the steps and everything I needed to know — address where to go, office hours/phone, what papers to take with me, a link to another online form to fill out, how to pay the local agency, etc.
To read up on this yourself go to: https://www.sivirtual.gov.co/en/web/guest/memoficha-tramite/-/tramite/T703. This site also has a map of all the offices in Colombia with addresses and hours.
Blood Type Test
Yes, this is required. It may be inconvenient and you may already know your blood type, but you still have to do it here. You need to submit a document in Spanish from a local laboratory with the results. Only your blood type (A+, B-, etc) is tested for, nothing else.
Look for a “Laboratorio Clínico” near you for the blood test. Let them know you want a blood type test for your “cedula de extranjeria”. It’s not unusual for them, they’ll do it quickly. No need to even call ahead or make an appointment. I was in and out in about 20 minutes, at a cost of approx $3 USD. But be sure to take your passport with you, they’ll want some ID.
What they’ll give you is a one page “report” with their info, your info, and your blood type. Put it with your package of papers to take to the local Migración Colombia office.
Yes, more forms to fill out. Remember, you’re now working with the local government agency so they have their own forms. Fortunately it can be done online. Note: I was told that in the past the online form was optional – you could chose whether to fill out the electronic form or go to their office and fill out a paper one. But now filling out the electronic form is mandatory!
Here’s where to go: http://apps.migracioncolombia.gov.co/registroProd/public/formularioRegistro.jsf
The good news is that you’ve already been asked all this info previously. Basics such as your passport number, name, address, phone number, etc. They’ll also want your new Colombian Visa number. Plus there’s a place to upload a pdf of your passport photo page.
The bad news is that it’s not a super robust and well designed site. It’s a bit clunky and unpredictable in places. For example, I uploaded the wrong document so I clicked on a link to delete the uploaded document. But instead, it wiped out my entire application… everything I had already entered so carefully! Arrgghhh! Proceed with caution.
- When you submit your application you’ll be given a long (14 digits or so) application number. Write it down carefully and accurately! It won’t be emailed to you and you won’t see it again. And it’s the very first thing the people at the local Migración Office will ask you for.
- I also did not see any way to partially fill out the form and later go back to it. So if you submit it and then think of a mistake you made or something else to add, there was no way to make a correction. Of course software changes and this could be rectified by the time you read this. But don’t assume it’s possible. Enter everything accurately and completely on your first pass.
- One last thing: I suggest printing out the entire application showing all your entries and take it with you as well. I did this and was glad I did. Not so surprising, the local worker asked me for the same info all over again, even though I had input everything into their system. It was nice to have my printed copy to refer to.
Be prepared to pay — options
There’s one last fee, this time to the local office. At the time of this writing it was $173,000 COP (about $57 USD). Be aware that the offices do not accept cash. But they will happily accept your Visa/Mastercard (debit or credit) even if from a foreign bank. Paying by card is by far the easiest way to go.
Here’s why… if you don’t have a card and can only pay by cash, you’ll need to do an extra step. You have to go the Migración Office and start the process, getting a “receipt number” of some sort. Then with that number you must go to Banco de Occidente and deposit the fee into their account using the receipt number. You get a deposit slip from Banco de Occidente. Take that back to Migración as proof you have paid and carry on.
Other documents needed
I was advised by Langon to also take with me a printed copy of my passport photo page, my new visa page, and most recent exit/entry passport stamps. However, the officer that processed me did not care to see them at all. When I handed him my “package” of documents, he simply shoved those back to me. I later asked Langon why was I told to take them if they weren’t needed. They explained that each Migración Office has slightly different processes and quirks regarding what they want you to present. Since it’s impossible to know exactly which office wants what, they take the fail-safe approach of having you bring everything that might be asked for.
I was also told that you can make an appointment at your local Migración Office to avoid office wait time. I couldn’t find a way to do this online. But I imagine you could make a phone call to the local office to set an appointment. I just showed up and took my chances, ending up with about a 1½ hour wait.
At the Migración Office
Once I got my turn at the desk, my processing time for everything was close to an hour. I can’t tell you why it took so long or if all the offices are similar. But I can tell you that it was all done twice and seem terribly slow and inefficient to me. I was photographed twice, had all my fingerprints done twice, asked all the same questions twice.
Perhaps it was the same programmers that designed the online form? And the poor guy made a simple mistake, lost everything entered and had to start all over?! Who knows. But as is wise with all interactions with government agencies, take your good humor and patience with you.
By the time you leave the Migración Office you’ve got another little dated stamp in your passport with yet another assigned number. This one is your cédula number. But you don’t have your actual cédula quite yet. A bit more waiting and another trip back to Migración.
Finally… your cédula
The Migración Office will tell you when to come back to finally pick up your card. From what I read on the internet it’s supposed to take about 3 working days. That’s also what I was told as I left Migración — come back in 3 days. So I came back but it was not ready. So I waited another week and came back again. Still not ready. This time they promised they would call me when it was ready for pick up. When the call finally came, it was a full 3 weeks from the day I went in and registered!
I have no idea what took so long or if the offices in other cities/departments have this type of unusual extended wait time. I did my registration in Armenia in the department of Quindio. It’s the smallest of all the departments in Colombia. Perhaps the bigger departments with bigger offices and lots more customers process things more efficiently? That’s a mystery I will leave to you.
Fortunately, I did not need to have the actual cédula for anything, so the long wait didn’t matter to me. And I had legally met the 15 day requirement… I only needed to register with Migración within 15 days of getting the visa. It was totally out of my control how long it took them to actually produce a small plastic card!
Next year I’ll post about the renewal process. Until then, adiós!
Posts in Colombian TP-7 Visa series:
The TP-7 category I used. What I will share that may help you.
Simple basic research is the key to making the right choice for you.
Income needed. How to get your official proof-of-income letter.
What to expect using a visa service. Who I picked, why, costs.