March 16, 2024


 min read

Colombian Citizenship by Adoption 101








Colombian Citizenship by Adoption 101


Colombian Citizenship by Adoption Overview

Colombian citizenship by adoption is a legal process that allows foreign individuals or couples who have adopted a child in Colombia to obtain Colombian citizenship by adoption. This citizenship is granted in recognition of the child's new familial ties within the country. It is regulated by the Colombian Constitution and Law 1098 of 2006, which set out the legal framework for adoption procedures and the acquisition of Colombian citizenship. 

Generally, Colombia has been known to have a substantial number of international adoptions each year. Today, Colombia's adoption program is gaining popularity, and the number of children adopted in the last five years has increased. In 2022, 235 children were placed for adoption. This compares to 297 children in 2021, 137 in 2020, and 244 in 2019. These figures reflect a dynamic landscape in international adoptions within Colombia, indicating an evolving trend in intercountry adoption practices.

Benefits of Colombian Citizenship

Obtaining Colombian citizenship through adoption is a unique and deeply meaningful process that grants individuals a range of valuable rights and opportunities. From economic opportunities to cultural integration, the benefits of Colombian citizenship via adoption are numerous and compelling. The most important ones are listed below. 

  1. Legal Rights and Protections

As a Colombian citizen, you have the full legal rights and protections guaranteed by the Colombian constitution. This includes the right to legally reside and work in Colombia without any restrictions. Additionally, Colombian citizens enjoy the right to seek legal redress and protection under Colombian law, ensuring their fundamental rights are upheld.

  1. Access to Social Services

Colombian citizens are entitled to access various social services provided by the government, including healthcare, education, and other public amenities. Colombian citizens typically have access to free or subsidized education in public institutions, which can be advantageous if you have children or are planning to pursue further education.

  1. Economic Opportunities

You can pursue any employment or business opportunities available in the country. Colombia's dynamic economy offers a diverse range of sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing, technology, and services, providing ample opportunities for career growth and entrepreneurial ventures. In addition, Colombia has established trade agreements with 17 countries, further enhancing its attractiveness for international business ventures.

  1. Dual Citizenship

Colombia allows dual citizenship, so if your home country also permits it, you can retain your original citizenship while enjoying all the benefits of being a Colombian citizen. This provides a valuable opportunity to maintain strong ties with your country of origin, fostering a sense of belonging and allowing you to easily travel and conduct business in both nations.

  1. Global Mobility

As a Colombian citizen, you may find it easier to travel to certain countries due to the diplomatic agreements and visa-free arrangements that Colombia has with other nations. Possessing Colombian citizenship can open doors to a wider range of international travel opportunities, offering you greater flexibility and convenience in exploring the world.

  1. Property Ownership

Buying and owning property in Colombia may be easier for citizens, and you may not face the same restrictions or requirements as foreign nationals. Investing in Colombian real estate can be an attractive option for citizens, given the steady appreciation in property values over recent years, offering potential financial gains alongside the other benefits of citizenship. Colombian home prices have risen by 37.9% in the last 5 years.

Colombian Citizenship by Adoption Requirements

Colombia has specific requirements for individuals seeking Colombian citizenship through adoption. Here are the general requirements: 

  1. Eligibility for Citizenship 

To be eligible for Colombian citizenship through adoption, you typically must be a foreign national who has adopted a Colombian child.

  1. Comply With Legal Regulations 

Colombia is a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Rights of the Child and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). As a result, all intercountry adoptions, for example, between Colombia and the United States must comply with the requirements of this Convention. 

  1. Eligibility for Adoption

Prospective adoptive parents must meet the eligibility criteria set forth by Colombian adoption authorities. This typically includes age requirements, financial stability, mental and physical health, and a clean criminal record. 

Depending on the age of the child, applicants must be at least 25 years old and no more than 60 years old. Parents must be at least 15 years older than the child they want to adopt and no more than 45 years older. The program is for single women, men, and couples of the same gender. A couple must have been married for at least 2 years.

Additionally, Colombian authorities may assess your financial stability and ability to provide for the adopted child as part of the adoption process. 

  1. Consent and Requirements for the Child

The child's biological parents or legal guardians must typically consent to the adoption, unless the court has terminated their parental rights. The child's best interests are a primary consideration in the adoption process.

  1. Residence Requirements

You must reside in Colombia during the adoption process and apply for a resident (R) visa prior to submitting a citizenship application. The exact duration of residence may vary depending on the specific circumstances. 

People from Latin America and the Caribbean have to reside in Colombia for 1 year. Spanish citizens must live in Colombia for 2 years. Other citizens need to live in Colombia for 5 years. However, for individuals who are either married to a Colombian, engaged in a committed long-term relationship with a Colombian, or have children who hold Colombian citizenship, the residency period is reduced to 2 years.

  1. Language Proficiency 

In order to get Colombian citizenship by adoption, you must pass a Spanish language test. Those who can provide evidence of a Colombian high school diploma or university degree, as well as those older than 65, are exempt from this requirement. The Spanish examination is unnecessary for natives of Spanish-speaking nations.

Colombian Citizenship by Adoption Documents 

To get Colombian citizenship by adoption, you will need to follow a specific process and provide certain documents. Please see the list of required documents below: 

  • A written request addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, detailing the applicant's motivations;
  • A photocopy of the current foreigner's ID card or Passport and Colombian Resident Visa;
  • The applicant's birth certificate;
  • Proof of profession or position, supported by a certificate from the applicant's employer;
  • If the applicant is a self-employed professional: the application should include a copy of the Registro Único Tributario – RUT (Single Tax Registration) form, an income tax report, and a withholding tax certification;
  • If the applicant is a partner or owner of a commercial enterprise, they must attach a Chamber of Commerce certificate issued no more than six (6) months before the petition date;
  • Proof of basic knowledge of Colombia's Constitution, history, and geography, as well as proficiency in Spanish;
  • A certificate of civil marriage registration, if applicable;
  • A written commitment that: The military status (for men) will be determined if nationality is granted, unless the applicant provides evidence to the contrary with a certificate from the relevant authorities in their home country. (Applicants over 50 years old and women are exempt from this requirement.);
  • Five (5) recent 4x5 cm photos with a blue background.

According to the "Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents, 1961", documents issued in countries that are signatories to this Convention must bear the Apostille. Moreover, any document issued in a language other than Spanish must be translated by a sworn/official translator.

How to Apply for Colombian Citizenship by Adoption

Applying for Colombian citizenship by adoption involves a legal process that can be quite complex. Here is a step-by-step overview:

Step 1. Meet Eligibility and Adoption Requirements

You have to ensure that you meet the eligibility criteria for adoption in Colombia. These criteria typically include age limits, marital status, and background checks. 

Work with a Colombian adoption agency or an attorney to identify a child eligible for adoption and initiate the adoption process. You will need to complete all the necessary legal requirements for the adoption, in particular filing a petition to adopt with the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (Instituto Colombiano de Bienestar Familiar - ICBF).

Step 2. Adoption Court Process

In some cases, you may need to attend court hearings and complete the legal adoption process in Colombia. This involves providing documentation, attending interviews, and demonstrating your ability to care for the child.

Step 3. Obtain the Child's Colombian Birth Certificate

Once the adoption process is complete, you will need to obtain a new Colombian birth certificate for the child with your name listed as the parent.

Step 4. Apply for a Visa in Colombia 

At this step, you may need to establish residency in Colombia before applying for citizenship. To do it, you initially apply for a migrant (M) visa and then, after 2 years, a permanent resident (R) visa. Adoption will qualify you for Colombian citizenship after 5 years of permanent residence. This term may be shortened for Spanish-speaking individuals. 

Step 5. Gather Required Documents

At this step, you will have to collect all the necessary documents, translate them, and certify them based on the requirements

Step 6. Submit Citizenship Application

Submit your application for Colombian citizenship to the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores). You may need to go to their office in person or use their online application portal

Step 7. Pay Application Fees

After application submission, you will pay the required fee for processing your citizenship application. The fee is COP 350,000 (approximately USD 90). 

Step 8. Attend Interviews or Appointments

Once the application is submitted and service fees are paid, you should be prepared to attend any interviews or appointments scheduled by the Colombian immigration authorities as part of the application process.

Step 9. Wait for Approval

After submitting your application, you usually wait for a decision on your citizenship application. The processing time is about 6-8 months. 

Step 10. Take the Citizenship Oath and Receive Colombian Citizenship Certificate

Once your application is approved, you will be invited to take the Colombian citizenship oath. This may involve attending a ceremony and swearing allegiance to Colombia. After taking the oath, you will receive a Colombian citizenship certificate, passport, and ID card. 

Tips How to Get Colombian Citizenship by Adoption from Golden Harbors Experts

Embarking on the journey to obtain Colombian citizenship through adoption can be a transformative experience. Our team is well-versed in facilitating the process of acquiring Colombian citizenship, and we are here to provide you with the following valuable tips for navigating this process seamlessly: 

  1. Research and Understand Adoption Laws in Colombia

Familiarize yourself with the adoption laws and regulations of Colombia. Different countries have varying requirements for adoption, so it's important to know what is expected. It is also crucial to acquaint yourself with the specific procedures involved in the adoption process in Colombia, including steps like court hearings, administrative paperwork, and any required post-placement assessments. 

  1. Engage with a Reputable Adoption Agency

Select a reputable adoption agency with experience in Colombian adoptions. You can find a list of Colombian adoption agencies here. Ensure they are licensed, have a good reputation, and can guide you through the entire process. It is advisable to research and compare multiple adoption agencies, considering factors like their track record in successful Colombian adoptions, client testimonials, and any affiliations with accredited organizations.

  1. Attend the Required Seminars or Training

Many countries, including Colombia, require prospective adoptive parents to attend adoption seminars or training sessions. These are designed to prepare you for the responsibilities of adopting a child and to help you understand the cultural and legal aspects of adoption. Organización para la Excelencia de la Salud (OES) runs one of the most popular seminar-workshops, titled "Step by Step for the Adoption, Implementation, and Evaluation of Clinical Practice Guidelines."

  1. Legal Representation

It is advisable to have legal representation throughout the adoption and citizenship processes to navigate the legal complexities and ensure compliance with Colombian laws. Golden Harbors team can guide you through the required documentation, applications, and any necessary court appearances, ensuring that all legal aspects are properly addressed. Our experienced team is proficient in the Colombian legal system and can offer tailored advice for achieving positive outcomes.

FAQ Colombian Citizenship by Adoption

Can a foreigner adopt a Colombian child?

Yes, a foreigner can adopt a Colombian child. Colombia has international adoption programs in place and works with various countries to facilitate adoptions. Foreign prospective adoptive parents must meet certain eligibility criteria, which may include age requirements, marital status, financial stability, and good physical and mental health. 

Is Colombian citizenship automatically granted to foreign adopters?

No, Colombian citizenship is not automatically granted to foreign adopters. To acquire Colombian citizenship by adoption, the adoptive parents must go through a separate legal process after the adoption is finalized. 

Can a child adopted in Colombia retain their original nationality?

Yes, a child adopted in Colombia can usually retain their original nationality. Colombian law generally allows dual citizenship, which means the child can hold both their original nationality and the citizenship of the adoptive parents.


Residence Benefits

Swipe icon


Fast application processing

2-3 months


Global mobility and freedom

no residence limits. In order to maintain residence status, it is necessary to spend six months per year in Colombia


Business opportunities

expansion, entry into the Latin American market, and access to development projects in Bogota, Cali, Barranquilla, and other cities


Global mobility and freedom

Option to purchase commercial and residential real estate with an annual return of up to 5%, and a return on initial investment in 5 years


The clear path to Colombian citizenship

residents can apply for Colombian citizenship if they have been in Colombia for 10 years


Global mobility and freedom

family members (spouse, financially dependent parents, and children) can apply for a residence permit together with the main applicant


Rights of a resident

a residence permit is issued with the rights to work, do business and study


Global mobility and freedom

Colombia has a favorable tax regime, with low taxes and generous incentives for foreign investors


Residence Permit

Processing Time and Terms

Enter your estimated application start date for the Colombian Residence Permit and receive a clear timetable for each step

Step back

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.


Sign a service agreement with Golden Harbors, pay the initial service and due diligence fees, and fill out application forms


Prepare the necessary documentation for your chosen residency category


Open a bank account and make the investment


Apply for a visa at the Colombian Embassy or Consulate. The processing time will vary depending on the embassy or consulate handling your application


Visit Colombia and apply for a residence permit. Within two months, the Immigration Service will review the application and make a decision

There are Always Options to EXPAND YOUR BOUNDARIES! Let's Discuss Yours

Every client is unique

Every case requires an individual approach and solution. Our years of experience in the industry allow us to provide both.

We will answer all your questions and provide detailed information about the available second passport and residency programs to help you make the right choice.


Lead Attorney at Golden Harbors

Staff Headshot


Lead Attorney at Golden Harbors