The US is opening two new visa application centers in Bogota and Medellin, speeding up the process by which Colombians can obtain visas, local media reported Monday.
As of May it will be possible to process paperwork for new applicants in these new centers before going to the embassy in Bogota.
The US embassy announced Monday that the two new visa processing centers would speed up applications for visas which have doubled in the last two years.
The U.S. Consul General in Colombia, Roberto Powers, told Colombia’s El Tiempo newspaper the decision to open these centers was to cater to “the unprecedented number of applications for visas in the past two years, demonstrating the thriving relationship between Colombia and the United States.”
From May 12 2014, first-time Colombian applicants for either an immigrant visa (resident) or non-immigrant visa (tourist, business and study) can go to one of these centers to deliver their photographs, fingerprints, and complete an application form. These were all functions previously done at the embassy in Bogota.
Applicants wishing to renew their non-immigrant visas will also be able to complete the entire application process in Medellin and Bogota visa centers without having to go to the Bogota embassy.
This is the latest move that makes it easier for Colombians to travel abroad. In late February, the European Union decided to abolish Schengen visa requirements for Colombian citizens, allowing nationals freer entry into 26 European countries.
In March, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the US was looking to follow the EU’s lead in waiving visa requirements for Colombians.