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Must you carry your passport at all times while in Colombia?

Owatonna, Minnesota
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Must you carry your passport at all times while in Colombia?

Are foreigners required to carry their original passports on them at all times while visiting Colombia?

I spent a weekend in Colombia a couple of years ago (travelling from Ecuador) and I asked the DAS agent at the airport in Medellin about this issue. He said that it was my choice, but that in case anyone checked me out it was technically what was required. So, for the three days I was in the country I kept it on me very carefully.

Now I am going back to Colombia to travel there for two weeks and want some good advice about this. What have the rest of you been told by DAS or the Police about proper ID requirements? Are you really ever asked for it outside the airport?

It is certainly not that I plan to do anything wrong that would warrant getting the attention of the authorities--I am thinking of situations like random police inspections out in the street or in public places, when I could be asked for identification and have a problem if I did not show my original passport to them.

I normally do not carry my passport on a day to day basis while in another country because there is too much risk of loss or theft, and because quite frankly I haven't needed to--I only use it at places like a bank or when registering for language classes, and I have never been asked for it randomly. However, in Colombia I do'nt know if security is a lot tighter than Mexico or Ecuador and I sure don't want to be in trouble for not having it either.

Thanks for any advice you have about this little detail.

CDY
Medellin, Colombia
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for Panama City
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1. Re: Must you carry your passport at all times while in Colombia?

I have a cedula here - but before that I never carried my passport - just to be safe - carry a copy or your photo page and a copy of the page with date stamp on it when you entered the country - in living here for 2 years I have never once been stopped to show my passport - if you are going to a club or buying something you will need ID - so carry it then.

Oakland, California
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2. Re: Must you carry your passport at all times while in Colombia?

No keep it locked somewhere safe. As CDY says, carry a photocopy if you want to be extra careful. I've found my California driver's license is fine as ID when using credit cards, etc.

Edited: 12 June 2012, 04:44
Bogota, Colombia
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for Colombia
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3. Re: Must you carry your passport at all times while in Colombia?

I would get a couple of photocopies of your passport,make sure to include your Colombian entry stamp.Papeleria stores do cheap photocopys.

lock your passport up in a secure location..if not hide it in a secure location(under your clothes)

Most of the time you won't be asked,unless you look like a scruffy hippy. However on a recent trip,we were asked twice while traveling - San Gil. Airlines,banks,some hotels will also ask for a passport.

Paris, France
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4. Re: Must you carry your passport at all times while in Colombia?

As others have said, carrying a copy of your passport with an official ID such as a driver license should suffice. For instance, my son was visiting me iin Bogota this weekend carrying only his NY driver license and a copy of his passport. As we entered a Transmillieum station he and all other young males were pulled aside and ID'd. He handed over just the driver's license and was let go. They never asked for a passport and seemed fine with what he handed them.

CDY
Medellin, Colombia
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for Panama City
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5. Re: Must you carry your passport at all times while in Colombia?

Generally the cops here aren't interested in tourists or ex-pats ID's - I have walked by cops who were stopping almost everyone - when they saw I was a gringo - they ignored me - not the same if you are driving or riding a moto - better have all your papers in order.

That is a far cry from my experience when living in Panama where the cops would go out of their way to stop tourists and ex-pats - they were always trying to shake you down for $20

Medellin, Colombia
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6. Re: Must you carry your passport at all times while in Colombia?

Agreed. I have been in Colombia for a few years. Have never been in a situation where I couldn't show my drivers license vs a passport except for checking in at a hotel.

Owatonna, Minnesota
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7. Re: Must you carry your passport at all times while in Colombia?

Thanks for the responses! I really appreciate it! I am also glad to see that in your experiences the local police do not seem to have been going out of their way to harass or single out foreigners. Am I reading you all correctly?

CDY
Medellin, Colombia
Destination Expert
for Panama City
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3,807 posts
98 reviews
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8. Re: Must you carry your passport at all times while in Colombia?

Yes - cops are very pleasant to tourists/ ex-pats - in two years never been hit up for anything -

UK it's a OK
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9. Re: Must you carry your passport at all times while in Colombia?

Usually the Colombian police would let me through any security barriers as soon as I spoke to then in English but I always carry a colour copy of the photo / details page of my passport.

The copy came in very useful when a more senior policeman stopped me at a National vs Medellin football match asking to see my match ticket and ID but one glance over the paperwork, a couple of questions (in English) and I was waived on my way.

All very nice and polite.

10. Re: Must you carry your passport at all times while in Colombia?

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