Another Consulate

Colombia approves our visitor visas

By Clarissa Murray

On Friday we received our Colombian visitor visas! Of all the tasks we’ve had to complete to bring Alejandro home, this one required the least amount of waiting.

Last week we filled out the online application and uploaded the necessary paperwork. We discovered that photo size requirements for Colombia are different than for American Passports, but managed to find a place that would prepare them correctly.

Compared to the Spanish Consulate, wait times at the Colombian Consulate in Newark, N.J. only lasted a few minutes each. (Photo by Alan M. Murray)

Then, we took a quick trip to the Colombian Consulate in Newark, NJ, to pay our fee (if you do this in person, it’s faster) for the “estudio de visa” [visa study].   Based on our experience in the Spanish Consulate, we expected things to be busy and that we would have to wait a long time. At first we thought we would have to go to New York City again, but one of our friends from Colombia told us that there is also a consulate in New Jersey that is much more responsive to phone calls and is an easier trip.

He was right. They were easy to reach by phone, and after checking in we only had just enough time to watch a few minutes of a Bogotá news broadcast on a large television in the waiting area before they called our number.

A few days later we were notified that we were missing a document and had to submit six months of financial statements to prove we can afford to make the trip home. Two days later we received an e-mail letting us know our visas had been approved. So on Friday we took one more trip to Newark to pay the second fee for the visa and collect the visa documents, a pair of color prints on regular copy paper with an SQR code on the bottom that officials can use to access our information.

We are still waiting for final approval on our I-800 application from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) – hopefully it comes soon. Once we receive this document, we anticipate things will move a little faster, since one of the next steps is making travel plans so we can go to Colombia and bring him home.