Marrying and Sponsoring a Colombian Citizen

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Marriage to a Colombian Citizen

Every country has laws that apply to its citizens marrying a person from a different country. Getting married to a Colombian citizen to eventually bring them to Canada to live is a process with many steps.

You must demonstrate to Colombian officials that they are not currently married to anyone else – either you have never been married, or all divorces are finalized – that your identity is proven and that you have never committed any crimes in Colombia. This is done by providing various documents, including an Affidavit of Single Status, to the Colombian government either in Colombia or via a Colombian embassy.

If you want to bring your Colombian spouse or partner to live in Canada, you must then file a sponsorship application for them to become a permanent resident. If they would like to visit you in Canada while their application is in process, they must also apply for a visitor visa. For more information, please see our family sponsorship page and our visitor visa page.


Colombian Marriage Basic Requirements

In order to marry a citizen of Colombia, you must demonstrate to the Colombian government that you are eligible to do so. This includes:

  • Proof of country of birth
  • Proof of single status
  • Proof of age requirement


Family Members

If your Colombian spouse has dependent children, this does not affect the Colombian Marriage document application.

If you have dependent children, they have no effect on the application to marry a Colombian citizen.


List of Colombian Consulates in Canada


Calling Colombia from Canada

To make a direct call to Colombia from Canada, you need to follow the international dialling format given in the box below. The dialling format is same for calling Colombia mobile or land line from Canada.

To call Colombia From Canada

Dial 011 – 57 – Area Code – TEL #

011 – Exit code for Canada, and is needed for making any international call from Canada

57 – ISD Code or Country Code of Colombia

List of Area Codes for Major Centres in Colombia (for landlines only)

Apartado 4 Envigado 4 Pereira 6
Armenia 6 Facatativa 1 Piedecuesta 7
Barrancabermeja 7 Florencia, CAQ 8 Popayan 2
Barranquilla 5 Floridablanca 7 Riohacha 5
Bello 4 Giron 7 Santa Marta 5
Bogota 1 Ibague 8 Sincelejo 5
Bucamaranga 7 Itagui 4 Soacha 1
Buenaventura 2 Manizales 6 Soledad 5
Cali 2 Medellin 4 Tunja 8
Cartagena 5 Monteria 4 Tulua 2
Cartago 2 Neiva 8 Valledupar 5
Cucuta 7 Palmira 2 Villavicencio 8
Dos Quebradas 6 Pasto (San Juan de) 2 Yopal 8

The “area” code for cell phones is 3.


Calling Canada from Colombia

To make a direct call to Canada from Colombia, you need to follow the international dialling format given in the box below. The dialling format is same for calling Canada mobile or land line from Colombia.

XX – 1 – Area Code – TEL #

Access code for Colombia can be one of the following numbers, depending on your provider:

00444 – Comcel
005 – Orbitel
007 – ETB
009 – Telefonica

1 – ISD Code or Country Code of Canada

Area code – There are 18 area codes in Canada. The area code is the first three digits of your telephone number.

List of area codes in Canada

Province Code Province Code
Alberta 403 / 587 (southern Alberta)

587 / 780 (central and northern Alberta)

Nunavut 867
BC 236 / 250 / 778 (majority of BC)

236 / 604 / 778 (Metro Vancouver)

Ontario 226 / 519 (southwestern Ontario)

249 / 705 (northeastern Ontario)

289 / 365 / 905 (Greater Toronto Area)

343 / 613 (eastern Ontario)

416 / 647 (Toronto)

807 (northwestern Ontario)

Manitoba 204 / 431 PEI 782 / 902
New Brunswick 506 Quebec 418 / 581 (eastern Quebec)

438 / 514 (Montreal)

450 / 579 (Greater Montreal)

819 / 873 (remainder of Quebec)

Newfoundland and Labrador 709 Saskatchewan 306 / 639
Northwest Territories 867 Yukon 867
Nova Scotia 782 / 902


Time Difference

Knowing the time difference between the country from which you are calling and the recipient’s country will ensure that you are not making untimely calls.

Colombia Time Zone

Colombia Standard Time is 5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (GMT-5). Colombia does not practice daylight savings time.

Canadian Time Zone # of Hours difference with Colombia # of Hours during DST
Pacific (BC, Yukon) Colombia is 3 hours ahead Colombia is 2 hours ahead
Mountain (Alberta, western Nunvaut, Lloydminster, Saskatchewan) Colombia is 2 hours ahead Colombia is 1 hour ahead
Saskatchewan Colombia is 1 hour ahead Colombia is 1 hour ahead
Central (Manitoba, Northwest Territories, central Nunavut, northwestern Ontario) Colombia is 1 hour ahead Same time
Eastern (most of Ontario, most of Quebec) Same time Colombia is 1 hour behind
Atlantic (Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI, eastern Quebec) Colombia is 1 hour behind Colombia is 2 hours behind
Newfoundland Colombia is 90 minutes behind Colombis is 2.5 hours behind


Colombian Money

The peso is the currency of Colombia. Its ISO 4217 code is COP and it is also informally abbreviated as COL$. However, the official peso symbol is $. As 20 July 2011, the exchange rate of the Colombian peso is 1750 Colombian pesos to 1 U.S. dollar.

Currently Circulating Banknotes

1000 pesos

It depicts the picture of Jorge Eliécer Gaitán (body until the chest) and a crowd.


2000 pesos

It depicts the pictures of Francisco de Paula Santander on the front while at the back the door of the Casa de la moneda.


5000 pesos

It depicts the picture of José Asunción Silva on the front while at the back the Outdoors and a fragment of the poem Nocturnal.


10000 pesos

It depicts the picture of Policarpa Salavarrieta on the front while at the back the Guaduas main plaza, place of birth of Policarpa Salavarrieta.


20000 pesos

It depicts the picture of Julio Garavito Armero on the front while at the back the Moon, a reference to the Garavito Crater.


50000 pesos

It depicts the picture of Jorge Isaacs on the front while at the back the A paragraph of La María.


Colombia Coins in Circulation

The names and relative values of the coins:

  • Five Pesos – (5 Pesos)
  • Ten Pesos – (10 Pesos)
  • Twenty Pesos – (20 Pesos)
  • Fifty Pesos – (50 Pesos)
  • One Hundred Pesos – (100 Pesos)
  • Two Hundred Pesos – (200 Pesos)
  • Five Hundred Pesos – (500 Pesos)
  • One Thousand Pesos – (1,000 Pesos)


Colombian Wedding Traditions

Every country has its own wedding traditions. Colombia is no different; with plenty of traditions for matrimonial ceremonies. While each wedding tradition is unique to the family and couple that practice it, there are general similarities that run throughout Colombian wedding traditions.

It starts as soon as the couples are engaged; they then take off to the bride’s family home to be blessed by the local priest. With gold rings and arras which are little gold coins (usually thirteen) that lay with the rings on the pageboy’s to signify abundance in hand, both sets of parents standing by, and usually whichever grandparents you can rustle up grandmothers are key here, being the matriarchs of the household. The priest blesses the couples, the wedding rings, their future kids, and the good fortune in finding each other.


At the bridal shower, the bride’s mother will give her a variety of monogrammed items to take to her new home: towels, pyjamas, bed sheets, and table clothes among others. The night before the wedding, the bride is thrown a serenata by her groom in her family home. The Serenata is a pre-wedding tradition in Colombia in which the groom surprises the bride with a serenade (this often happens after she has gone to sleep).Often the Serenata involves a band and a surprise party with the friends and family of the bride and groom. The band sings some songs, but the groom must also serenade his bride with songs of his own. The Serenata can last all through the night, and often involves drinking copious amounts of aguardiente, the traditional Colombian liquor and also eat mini empanadas. The bride and groom are given gifts such as silver goods, plates, platters, and tea sets for their new marital home. The groom must organize the entertainment, typically a mariachi band, who are a group of sombrero-ed Mexicans that sing traditional ranchera love songs, and if the bride’s very lucky, maybe the groom will join in.


On the wedding day, the church will be abundantly decorated with flowers as will the venue for the reception, usually held in country clubs or haciendas estates. There are no groomsmen or bridesmaids; accompanying the bride will be little flower girls wearing a floral circlet that matches her own and carrying little baskets filled with petals, and a page boy carrying a cushion with the blessed gold rings and arras covered in a piece of lace which will later be turned into the first child’s christening hat. After the bride and groom exchange rings, the groom lights the candle on his left, the bride lights the one on her right; together they light the central candle, and extinguish their original ones. This is to signify that they have become one body, and then they dance out of the church holding the lit candle.

The reception will have lots of floral table designs which are for the women to take home alongside being extravagantly decorated throughout, as well as having well-manicured gardens, using garlands and wreaths to bring in more colour. Silver sugar-coated almonds arranged like flowers are scattered across all across the tables, and the wedding cake is always black fruit cake soaked in red wine, the cake plate, knife and slice will be decorated with flowers as well. After the groom throws the garter into the audience, all the men put their shoes under the bride’s dress for her to pick a shoe at random, thereby selecting the next man to be married. There are no speeches just a lot of champagne and the main event is dancing; there will be a band playing throughout the evening, playing all the traditional styles of music loved by Colombians across the generations such as vallenato, reguetón and meringue being some of the favourites.

Before they leave, the couple will be toasted with champagne, their champagne glasses will be monogrammed and they will drive off into the night to start their married life together and the guests will continue to party on in their honour.


Traditional Wedding Food



Arroz con Coco

It is a common side dish of the Caribbean.



A type of bread made from corn flour, cheese and eggs.




Traditional wedding candy


Colombian soup

It’s potato-based with chicken, corn on the cob and three kinds of potatoes served with cream, capers and avocado. It’s the perfect soul food.


Wedding Presents: Personal exemptions

Personal exemptions are based on the amount of time you have spent in Colombia. These exemptions apply if:

  • You are a Canadian resident returning from a trip in Colombia
  • You are a former resident of Canada returning to live in the country from Colombia
  • You are a temporary resident of Canada.

For a minimum absence of 24 hours you can claim goods worth up to $50 Canadian (excluding alcohol and tobacco). For 48 hours, you can claim goods worth $200. And for seven days, you can claim goods worth $750. Children and infants are also eligible for personal exemptions; parents or guardians can make the declaration on behalf of the child, as long as the item is for the child’s use.

Except for certain restricted items (such as firearms and explosives) you can bring back any amount of goods. But if the amount is more than that of your personal exemption, you will have to pay duty and any provincial or territorial assessments that apply. And if you don’t qualify for a personal exemption, you will have to pay duty on the entire amount of the goods you bring in the country.


You must declare all gifts to the Canada Border Services Agency. Gifts worth CDN $60 or less each may be brought into Canada duty-free and tax-free, but must be declared. For gifts worth more than CDN $60, you may have to pay duties and taxes on the excess amount. Tobacco and alcohol cannot be imported as gifts.

If you got married in Colombia within three months of coming to Canada or if you plan to marry no later than three months after arriving in the country, you can bring in your wedding gifts free of duty and taxes. However, you must have owned and possessed the gifts while in Colombia and before you arrived in Canada. In this instance, the requirement to have used the goods does not apply. These same conditions apply to household goods you bring in as part of a bride’s trousseau from Colombia.


Ownership, possession and use requirements

To import goods duty- and tax-free, Settlers must have owned, possessed and used the goods prior to their arrival in Canada and Former Residents must have owned, possessed and used the goods for at least six months before returning to resume residency.

It is important that you meet these three requirements. For example, if you owned and possessed the goods without using them, the goods will be subjected to duty and taxes. Please note that leased goods are subject to duty and taxes because the Canada Border Services Agency does not consider that you own them. If you have bills of sale and registration documents, they can help you prove that you meet these requirements.


Declaring your goods

When you arrive, even if you have no goods with you at the time, you must give your list of goods to the border services officer at your first point of arrival in Canada. Based on the list of goods you submit, the officer will complete a Form B4 , Personal Effects Accounting Document, assign a file number to it and give you a copy of the completed form as a receipt. You will need to present your copy of this form to claim free importation of your unaccompanied goods when they arrive. Goods to follow may be subject to import restrictions before you can import them.

To facilitate the clearance process, you can complete Form B4, in advance before your arrival at the first port of entry in Canada.


Emergency Information for Canadians in Colombia

Canadian Consulates in Colombia

Embassy of Canada in Bogota

Cra. 7, No. 114-33, Piso 14

Postal Address:
P.O. Box 110067, Bogotá, Colombia

Telephone: 57 (1) 657-9800
Fax: 57 (1) 657-9912
E-mail: [email protected]

View Larger Map

Consulate of Canada in Cartagena

Edificio Centro Ejecutivo Bocagrande
Carrera 3, No. 8-129, Oficina No. 1103

Telephone: 57 (5) 665-5838
Fax: 57 (5) 665-5837
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: colombia.gc.c

View Larger Map


Canadian Government’s Travel Alerts for Colombia


Religion in Colombia

Religion in Colombia is an expression of the different cultural heritages in the Colombian culture including the Spanish colonisation, the Native Amerindian and the Afro-Colombian.

In the late 1980s, Colombia remained an overwhelmingly Roman Catholic country. More than 95 percent of the population had been baptised in the Catholic Church, and the Colombian variant was widely renowned as one of the most conservative and traditional in Latin America. Colombians were among the most devout of Latin American Catholics. The church as an institution was authoritarian and paternalistic and had traditionally been associated with elite structures in the society.



Catholicism was the official religion of the country since the Spanish colonization until the 1991 constitutional reform (National Constituent Assembly), which granted equal treatment from the government to all the religions. However, Catholicism is still the main religion in Colombia by number of adepts, with an estimated of 75% of the national population in nominal Catholicism, from which about 25% are practising Catholics. According to the CIA Factbook, 90% of the population identifies themselves as Catholic; 10%, other.

Colombia is often referred as the Country of the Sacred Heart, due to the annual consecration of the country to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in a Te Deum directed by the President of the republic. Colombia has been re-consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 2008, in a country-wide ceremony celebrated by the main Bishops and with the presence of the Colombian President who also happened to be a catholic


Bahá’í Faith

The Bahá’í Faith in Colombia begins with references to the country in Bahá’í literature as early as 1916, with Bahá’ís visiting as early as 1927. The first Colombian joined the religion in 1929 and the first Bahá’í Local Spiritual Assembly was elected in Bogotá in 1944 with the beginning of the arrival of coordinated pioneers from the United States and achieved an independent National Spiritual Assembly in 1961. By 1963 there were eleven local assemblies. In the 1980s institutions were developed in Colombia that have influenced activities inside and independent of the religion in other countries. The Association of Religion Data Archives estimated some 68,000 Bahá’ís (0.2% of the population) in 2005.



The statistics for Islam in Colombia estimate a total Muslim population of 10,000, representing 0.02 percent of the population. There are a number of Islamic organizations in Colombia, including Islamic in San Andrés, Barranquilla, Bogotá, Guajira, Nariño, and Santa Marta. There are also primary and secondary Islamic schools in Bogotá and Maicao. Maicao plays host to the continent’s second largest mosque, the Mosque of Omar Ibn Al-Khattab.


Other religious affiliations

A 2001 poll commissioned by the country’s leading newspaper, El Tiempo, indicated that the religious demography is as follows:

  • 81% Roman Catholic.
  • 13.5% Protestants
  • 1.9% No religious beliefs
  • 2.3% Jewish
  • 3.6% Other faiths:
  • Seventh-day Adventist Church: about 180.000 members
  • The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: about 130.000 members
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses: about 120.000 members.
  • Bahá’í Faith: about 68,000
  • Judaism: between 5.000 and 10.000 members.

Almost all cities and towns in Colombia have a church, but there are also temples, mosques and synagogues, especially in the largest cities.

Bogotá Colombia LDS (Mormon) Temple


Sinagoga Bet El, Barranquilla, Colombia


Romantic, Scenic and Historic Places in Colombia

A Colombia honeymoon can wrap you in colonial charm, ecotourism, island adventures, city excitement, and much more at very affordable rates. Colombia boasts of vacation venues ranging from beaches and islands to snowy Andean mountain tops.


Hotel Charleston – Bogotá

This luxury hotel is located in Bogotá (Centro Comerciale), close to Andino Commercial Center, Park 93, and Parque Del Chico. Local attractions also include Nemesio Camacho Stadium and National University of Colombia.


Cabrera Imperia – Bogotá

This luxury hotel is located in Bogotá (Centro Comerciale), close to Andino Commercial Center, Parque Del Chico, and Park 93. Local attractions also include Nemesio Camacho Stadium and National University of Colombia.


Hotel Avia 93 – Bogotá

This romantic hotel is located in Bogotá (Chico), close to Park 93, Parque Del Chico, and Andino Commercial Centre. Also nearby are Av. Chile Shopping Centre and Hacienda Santa Barbara Mall.


Hotel Casa Medina – Bogotá

This luxury hotel is located in Bogotá (Chapinero), close to Av. Chile Shopping Centre, Nemesio Camacho Stadium, and National University of Colombia. Also nearby are El Campin Coliseum and Andino Commercial Centre.


Hotel de la Ópera – Bogotá

The small romantic hotel is the result of merging a colonial-era building with a 19th century building. The boutique-style hotel features a small spa and pool and a restaurant. It is located in the heart of old Bogotá, within walking distance of the presidential palace and the Museum of Gold.


Virrey Park – Bogotá

This romantic hotel is located in Bogota (Chico), close to Park 93, Andino Commercial Center, and Parque Del Chico. Local attractions also include Nemesio Camacho Stadium and Av. Chile Shopping Centre.


Hotel Casa Pestagua – Cartagena

It is a restored 18th century aristocrat’s mansion with spacious grounds. It is located one block off Old City of Cartagena’s main square.


Hostal Trés Banderas – Cartagena

Hostal Trés Banderas is a restored colonial house with a sun-faded aristocratic feel. It is located in the Old City, the pedestrian-friendly historic part of Cartagena.



Las Islas del Rosario Beach – Bolivar

Among Cartagena’s beaches, Las Islas del Rosario is the most popular. The beaches are part of a national park, which partly explains the pristine sands and waters. The park spans several small islands, all reachable via boat, about 28 miles from downtown Cartagena.


Cartagena’s Beaches

Cartagena’s city beaches offer reasonable stretches of sand and unbeatable convenience. Fit a short walk or swim into your urban exploration and visit one of the main city beaches. To the south, you have Bocagrande, El Laguito and Castillo; to the north are La Boquilla and Marbella. Bocagrande is well-equipped for tourism, with plenty of hotels, restaurants and discos

Bocagrande Beach


La Boquilla Beach


Castillo Beach


El Laguito Beach


La Boquilla Beach


Palomino Beach – Magdalena


Playa Blanca – Magdalena

Besides the Islas del Rosario, Playa Blanca ranks high among Cartagena’s most popular and worthwhile beaches. The white sand beach is only a 15-minute boat ride from downtown Cartagena.


Taganga Beach – Magdalena


San Bernardo – Sucre

Also located just south of Cartagena, San Bernardo Island offers more pristine beaches, all accessible by boat. Like Las Islas del Rosario and Playa Blanca, the beaches of San Bernardo Island are generally cleaner and quieter than any you’ll find on the mainland. However, San Bernardo’s beaches stand out from the others for the strong sea currents.


Historic Places


The capital of Colombia, Santafé de Bogotá has a rich colonial tradition with a number of landmarks from that period preserved as historical landmarks. Most of these are in the La Candelaria, the oldest district in the city. The Capitol Municipal Palace and several churches are worth a visit.



The old walled city and fortress repelled invaders and pirates in its early days. Now it welcomes visitors to its colonial charm, energetic nightlife and nearby attractions.


Ciudad Perdida

Ciudad Perdida Archaelological Park, also known as Teyuna, is on the Buritaca River in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountain range. Ciudad Perdida, which means “lost city,” is not easy to get to but visitors can enjoy the beauty of exotic forests, waterfalls and hanging bridges on the way. Discovered in the 1970s, Ciudad Perdida was built in A.D. 700 as a city of the Tayrona Empire. Visitors who make the jungle trek to Ciudad Perdida will see about 200 terraces built for living spaces, streets, paths, aqueducts, a sewage system and other aspects of life in the ancient city.


Isla Gorgona

This former prison island in the Pacific Ocean is now a nature reserve open to visitors who wish to tour the prison ruins, see abundant wildlife, including monkeys, snakes, whales and sea turtles, or dive off the island.


San Agustín Archaeological Park

San Agustín Archaeological Park, in southwest Colombia in an area called the Department of Huila, has 500 stone statues built by an ancient and unknown Indian culture. The statues are believed to have been created as a part of the native people’s mythology, relating to the supernatural world and power of the dead and as part of funeral sites. San Augustin includes four small, man-made hills called mesitas. These hills have statues, tombs, artificial monticules and funerary complexes. Another part of the park is Bosque de las Estatuas, which means “forest of statutes.” This forest includes 39 standing statues mixed in with the natural plants of the area.


Santa Marta and Parque Tayrona

Santa Marta is Colombia’s first Spanish settlement. Located on the coast, it boasts great beaches and access to Tayrona and Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta national parks, plus the famed lost city of the Taironas.


Sponsoring Your Colombian Spouse to Canada

Sponsoring your spouse to come to Canada can be a complicated process to learn more about it, click the button below:

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Sponsorship Review

Immigroup will review your completed spousal sponsorship application. . Immigroup will make sure you have not made any mistakes on your application or in gathering the documentation of your relationship. We will assess your sponsorship letter and give you peace of mind that you are submitting an application with a very good chance of success. Don’t lose sleep at night worrying about whether you’ve done enough. Call us at 1-866-760-2623 for a review.

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