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Common Problems Getting Married at a Colombian Notary


Here we have a list of very common problems which occur when a foreigner gets Married to a Colombian in Colombia. The marriage process is legally finalized by a Colombian Notary. Whether a person gets married at a church or not. Documents must be presented to a local notary office that operates similar to a clerk of court in the United States.

In our office, we have helped over 200 couples get married in Colombia. Below is a very important list of popular issues to consider before a couple begins the process of planning a marriage in Colombia, things to be careful of with Colombia marriage. 

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Planning a marriage in Colombia: Consider this list of very common problems which occur when a foreigner gets Married to a Colombian in Colombia. The marriage process is legally finalized by a Colombian Notary. Click here to see Colombian Marriage Requirements...

Related Topics of Interest for You:

Colombian Prenuptial
How to Divorce in Colombia
Colombian Child Custody

Potential SUPRISE Problems which can stop your dreams of a Marriage in Colombia are:

Inventory of Assets – Minors of Either Parent Require a months long process called inventory of assets
Marriage License / Permission – Notary time to issue permission to marry may take 15 business days.
Notary calendar Opening for marriage – may be booked for more than a month so be prepared to shop around different notaries
Notary Approvals Vary – Documents which work in one notary may not be approved in another notary and vice versa.
Power of Attorney – If your not in the country its important to get a power of attorney to allow a person to present documents on your behalf to push process forward.
Advanced Approval – If your on a tight travel schedule be prepared to express mail all of your original documents so that notary will put your marriage on the calendar before you arrive.
Marriage of Two foreigners – may not get married in Colombia if they have not been living here a very long time. Possible Solution is the CIVIL UNION. (ask James Lindzey for more info)
Old Documents not Valid –  may not be presented. All FOREIGN documents must be less than 90 days old.
City of Domicle – You must marry in the same city that you reside in.
Colombian Citizens – must have original cedula to marry
Certificate of being single – had different requirements depending on the notary. Sometimes this may be declared in Colombia but other times this document must come from country of origen. This is a very delicate and potentially marriage stopping document. (ask James Lindzey for more info on this subject)
Place of Translations – Depending on the notary you will have to translated all documents to spanish either in your home country or in Colombia. This depends on the notary.
Same Sex Marriages – are legal but certain notaries may make your life difficult.
Document Certifications (Apostille or Legalization) – Documents must be apostilled or legalized before you bring them to Colombia.
Previous Divorces – If you were divorced then you must get a new copy of your divorce, apostille/legalize and translate.
Colombian Registration of Previous Divorces – Some Colombians forget to register dirvoce(s) from previous marriages from their birth certificate. This can cause a loss of important time during process.
Previous Name Changes – If anyone has changed a name then name change documents must also be presented in legalized format as explained above.
Birth Certificate must match Cedula or Passport – If a birth certificate for either side is not exactly the same as the Colombian ID, or Passport, then the ID or passport must be corrected before the marriage is allowed.
Post Marriage Name Changes – Name changes are allowed for Colombian Citizens. (keep in mind childrens last names have special rules, but you  may also change childrens names after birth in the case you want them to have fathers last name only)
Use Estate Planning & Prenuptials – Remember Colombia has a prenutials, living trusts to protect your assets. Living with someone for 2 years in Colombia automatically creates a civil union. If you will move to another country get a prenput for that country as well.
Use an Expert in Foreign Marriages to help – As you can see many things can go wrong with a marriage in Colombia, especially when organizing marriage with a foreigner. Many people have to get documents from overseas 2 times due to strict marriage laws.
Symbolic Marriage – Is a Colombian marriage too complicated? Alternately you may use  a Symbolic Marriage for the family
That is the end of my top 22 items to consider when getting married to avoid suprises! If you need help, remember you can schedule a consultation directly with James Lindzey just about any day of the week, except Sunday.

We charge just 350 USD for our very popular marriage legal services package! This includes helping you with the certification of a common law marriage, or a normal civil marriage plus the Colombian marriage visa. We will also substitute the Colombian visa application with the American Tourist or Canadian Tourist visa for Spouses of Citizens of these countries.

If you are already married outside of Colombia, then we can register your marriage in Colombia so that you can proceed with the marriage visa.

New 2020 Colombian Health Insurance requirement – All visa applications must have proof of health insurance to get approved. For new applications you have the choice of Foreign or Colombian health insurance polices. All visa renewals will require Colombian EPS insurance, but requirements are very strict. Please see details by clicking here: Colombian Health Insurance Visa Requirements.

Remember our facebook page is and our visa blog where you can find information like in this email can be found at:

Watch our YouTube video so you can understand why the common law, or civil union process is much faster and normally requires less documentation from overseas. Click here to see the video.  For couples married overseas, (outside of Colomiba),then we can assist with the legalization of foreign marriage in Colombia.

Colombia visa services include:  We prepare your complete immigration package, documents, online application, and finally your cedula application *foreign resident id card.  Most foreigners choose common law unless for personal or religous reason a civil marriage is required.

1) Many people arrive in Colombia without correct legalization of documents, and for this reason… it’s extremely important to start the process with us before you send or bring documents to Colombia! Common errors are expired documents, incorrect stamps, missing stamps, poorly worded certifications, invalid documents. This problem can be solved by hiring us before you arrive in Colombia so we take the time necessary to guide you through the document legalization and collection process. We will then be able to verify and review documents as you get them.

Information regarding the  Cost of the Marriage visa in Colombia:

Sometimes this visa requires a personal appearance for the first time by both applicants if done in the country. The government will charge you 263 dollars for the visa and application fee. The visa issue time is the same day if presented in Bogota.  The cedula will cost you about 80 dollars. The notaries will charge you about 60 dollars for your common law marriage. We have only 2 notaries that we work with which are friendly to foreigners doing common law without requiring a high number of documents from overseas.

Colombia visa services include:  We prepare your complete immigration package, documents, online application, and finally your cedula application *foreign resident id card.  Most foreigners choose common law unless for personal or religous reason a civil marriage is required.

Symbolic Ceremony:

Symbolic Ceremonies are good for those who will not use a minister, father or other religuos figure.

If not all of the foreign documents are accepted or ready for the notary, but you want to have the ceremony now, then the symbolic ceremony is  a great alternative. Many times notaries can not able to make it to ceremony so the symbolic ceremony is a great option here as well. If you are waiting to get married in another country, but you want to have a ceremony in Colombia first, (example K-1 USA Fiancee Visa), then the symbolic marriage is a great option.

Related Articles of Interest: Colombia Visas

Related Topics of Interest for You:

Colombian Consulates in The United States

Click the name of the Colombian consulate closest to you to get permission for the next flight. If you have problems communicating with the consulate and you would like help please let us know. We charge a small fee for assisting with documents and forms in Spanish.

Visas By James

Since 2005, our visa agency Visas by James has obtained hundreds of visas for foreigners who wish to study, work, invest, and live in Colombia. We are the oldest expat visa business in Colombia. We also have more attorneys in office than any other visa agency in Colombia. In addition to our visa services we offer a full range of legal and accounting services to our clients. By having a legal and accounting firm work on your application, we are able to handle any surprises or last minute requests by immigration officials.

Our Story


James Lindzey the owner of Visas by James has worked as a private investigator and paralegal in the United States from the 90s until he moved to Colombia in 2005. James arrived in Colombia in 2005 and started doing visas for expats in 2007.

In addition to our visa services our agency offers a full range of legal and accounting services to our clients. We are able to assist better in document collection services in the United States because of James legal experience in the United States.


Our Services

Many visas require obtaining complicated documents in the United States or Canada. Just another reason why you should choose our firm.

We organize your immigration profile so that your Colombian visa application is successful.
We elaborate and structure all the necessary documents for your Colombian visa application.
Presentation of a Colombian visa before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or any Colombian consulate
Registration and orientation when you are getting you Colombian ID (Cedula de extranjeria).
We monitor your immigration process.
Translation Legalization and apostille of the documents required for your visa application.
Chat Over WhatsApp – get your visa questions answered fast.
Online quotes – get immediate quotes for visa and other legal services
Courier your passport to Bogotá to get the visa in your passport.
Office in El Poblado in Medellin services.

Please let us know if you need more information, or we can set up a consultation in order to provided you personalized guide.

Our main office is located in Medellin, Colombia near Parque Lleras in El Poblado. We have representation in Bogota, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale. Our main office address is  Cra 39#5A-95, Oficina 709, Edificio Avangarde. We accept walk in appointments but its always nice if you can let us know ahead of time so we can schedule a time. Areas codes in Colombia have changed. To reach our office please call (57) 604-444-6634.

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