Colombian residents of Galicia, Spain, have demanded a permanent consulate due to extreme delays at the nearest mobile office, in order to avoid having to travel to Madrid for documentation, Spanish news agency EFE reported Friday.
Colombians living in various parts of Galicia, an autonomous area of northwestern Spain, and other regions of the country’s northwest, travel to the Galician city Vigo when the consulate comes to town, for business related to passports, authorizations, criminal background checks and other legal documents.
However, many have to camp out in the open air over night in order to conduct business within the three-day time period that the consulate is in town, due to the length of the lines.
This has led to people negotiating their spots in line in order to be attended more quickly, for which residents said that they often had to pay the equivalent of between $71-$85, a price which increases as the end of the clinic’s time in the area approaches.
Despite the mobile service, many remain outside the queue at the end of the three-day period and are then forced to travel to the Colombian consulate in Madrid to conduct their business.
The complaints expressed to EFE coincided with a belief that there is a need to open a fixed consulate in Galicia.
The Colombian Consul General in Spain, Lucy Osorno, admitted that “there is a lot of demand and very little personnel,” and said that between all of the various demands, the number attended was close to 1,000.
Osorno said that she was conscious of the need for the northwestern peninsular area to have a permanent consulate, but said that she didn’t know what “the budgetary conditions” of the Colombian Foreign Affairs Ministry permitted.