Colombian nationality law

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Colombian nationality is typically obtained by birth in Colombia, birth abroad when at least one parent was born in Colombia, or by naturalization, after five years of permanent residence and meeting specific requirements.[1] It is defined by Article 96 of the Constitution of Colombia and the Law 43-1993 as modified by Legislative Act 1 of 2002.[2]

Nationality by birth[edit]

Everyone born in Colombia acquires Colombian nationality, as long as at least one parent is either a Colombian citizen or resident.

A child born outside Colombia who has at least one Colombian parent can be registered as a Colombian national by birth, either upon returning to Colombia (for residents) or at a consulate abroad (for non-residents).

Nationality by naturalization[edit]

A person who has lived in Colombia as a permanent resident for five years may apply for naturalization with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.[3] There are exceptions to the usual residence requirements in some cases, including:

  • one year of residence for citizens of a Latin American or a Caribbean country;
  • two years residence for citizens of Spain;
  • two years residence for a person married to a Colombian citizen or who has Colombian children.


The person is also expected to pass a test related to Colombian history, geography and constitution. A Spanish language test is also required for people who are not native Spanish speakers.

Those who have a bachelor's degree from a Colombian university or are over 65 years old are exempt from these tests.

Dual nationality[edit]

Colombian nationality law acknowledges that a Colombian by birth or by naturalization as well can also have other nationalities.

Colombians who acquired Colombian nationality by birth cannot be deprived of it under any circumstances, so acquiring another nationality does not in itself result in the loss of Colombian nationality. A person who renounced their Colombian nationality may recover it later.

Nevertheless, certain government positions are barred for those with dual citizenship. For example, career diplomats may not hold dual citizenship as per Colombian law, but an individual with dual citizenship might be appointed to a diplomatic position, but will not acquire career rights.

Colombian citizenship[edit]

Colombia law differentiates between nationality and citizenship. Nationality is the attribute of the person in international law that describes his relationship to the State, whereas citizenship is given to those nationals (i.e. those that hold the Colombian nationality) that have certain rights and responsibilities to the State. The 98th article of the Colombian constitution establishes that Colombian citizens are those nationals that are 18 years of age or older.[4]

Colombian citizens are allowed to vote on elections and exercise the public action of unconstitutionality.


  1. ^ "Obtención de la nacionalidad colombiana por adopción" (in Spanish). Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Colombian. Retrieved 13 October 2010. 
  2. ^ Congreso de Colombia (25 January 2002). "Acto Legislativo 1 de 2002". Diario Oficial 44693 del 31 de enero de 2002 (in Spanish). City of Bogotá. Retrieved 20 December 2015. 
  3. ^ "Ley 43 de 1993" (in Spanish). Congreso de Colombia. 1 February 1993. Retrieved 10 May 2016. 
  4. ^ "Constitución Política de Colombia" (PDF) (in Spanish). Presidencia de Colombia. 1991. Retrieved 27 December 2010.