Having entered Colombia with a U.S. passport, you would expect to be able to leave the country with the same passport without difficulty if you have otherwise respected the visa duration. This apparently is not always so. The following two cases may surprise you.
My wife’s American cousin came to visit her elderly parents in Colombia a couple of weeks ago, a routine she has followed without problem for many years. All went well until she entered the emigration hall in Medellin prior to her scheduled departure. The emigration officer on noting from her U.S. passport she had been born in Colombia asked if she had a Colombian cedula. She replied “Yes, I have double nationality” and offered to show her cedula to him but he refused her offer and instead asked for her Colombian passport. She told him she had never asked for a Colombian passport as she had left Colombia for the USA as a child some 40 years ago and traveled under her USA passport ever since. She was devastated by his reply, “You are Colombian and you will not be leaving Colombia until you are able to produce a Colombia passport”.
She and her American husband who was accompanying her protested to no avail…. “You are going nowhere”. In increasing desperation she explained she was a registered invalid in the USA who had scheduled hospital appointments within days for follow up to recent surgery and her son was presently seriously ill in a clinic and it was his birthday the next day. Her tears and pleadings were to no avail. Her husband was permitted to board the plane (he was due back at work the next day) and she was left in a shocked state at the airport in only the clothes she stood in, all her affairs having already checked in as baggage.
My wife’s cousin is still here some days later trying to obtain the obligatory Colombian passport and find ways to pay for a replacement US$ 900 ticket HOME.
Of course, the above may have just been an exceptional case involving an obstructive officer having a bad day but a 2nd case I heard of at the same time seems suggestive of new emigration policy directives?
In the second case, my neighbor son was confronted by similar issues at Bogota airport last week when trying to board a flight to the U.S. He also has double nationality (Colombian and German) and he had intended to use his German passport as it simplified the visa requirements. Not having his Colombian passport with him he was required to go home to collect it and subsequently missed his flight.
So what is happening here, do any Colombia Reports readers have an idea? Better still, perhaps Mr. DAS could kindly enlighten us. Until someone can point out the national interest the DAS is trying to protect here I can only surmise the development of a form of arrogance that where double nationalities are concerned all other nationalities are subjugated to the Colombian nationality?