It’s common to use a Colombia notary for many documents used for visas, apartment rentals, property purchases, marriages and divorces. We provide a 2020 guide to Colombia notaries in Medellín and Colombia.
Since living in Medellín for over eight years, I have needed to use notaries each year. I have needed to notarize each of my apartment rental contracts. And I needed to notarize documents for each of my Colombian visas. Also, I was married in Colombia at a Colombia notary.
Note the above photo is Notaría 19 in the Belén neighborhood in Medellín.
Finding a Colombia Notary in Medellín
In every city in Colombia you will find notaries. In Medellín, there are 31 Colombia notaries, which are numbered from Notaría 1 to Notaría 31. And in El Poblado there are seven notaries: 2, 12, 17, 20, 22, 25 and 26.
Here is a complete list of Medellín notaries. Note that each notary office can have different hours. Some are open during lunch, while others aren’t. And a few notaries are open on Saturday. Also, these notary offices are best to call, as emails for these notary offices found on the Internet typically won’t work.
The cost of Colombia notary services varies depending on the service. Here is a partial list of current costs at a notary in Medellín:
- Authentication of signature – 2,261 pesos
- Digital signature – 8,092 pesos
- Birth certificate – 7,250 pesos
- Marriage certificate – 7,250 pesos
The cost of civil marriage in Colombia at a notary, including everything related to a escritura pública, costs approximately 110,000 to 180,000 pesos and can cost more if a translator is needed.
Also, notaries are used during property purchases in Colombia. We previously provided a property buyers guide for foreigners.
You can use your passport at a Colombia notary if you are a tourist. But if you have a cedula (local Colombia ID after receiving a visa) you need to use your cedula at a Colombia notary.
When I have used notaries in Medellín, the process has been relatively painless. You just show up at the notary office, stand in line normally for only a few minutes, sign the document, pay and receive your document that is notarized.
Finding notaries in other cities in Colombia is easy, just Google search for “City Notaria”. For example, a Google search for “Bogotá notaria” finds the Notariavirtual website with a list of 40 notaries in Bogotá.
In Sabaneta, south of Medellín, a Google search finds just one notary.
Getting Married at a Notary in Colombia
In Colombia, you can get married at a church or at a notary. Here I’ll look at my experience with a civil marriage at one of the notaries in Medellín. Note that religious marriages must also be registered at a notary.
Your first step in a civil marriage at a notary in Colombia is to contact the one you use to discuss what documents are required and the procedure. Documents required can be different from notary to notary. In addition, the documents required depend on your situation.
For example, if you or your partner have kids it can be more complicated. Also, not all notaries are used to working with foreigners. So, it’s important to talk to a notary to find out the documents they require for your situation.
Over three years ago I was married at Notary 17 in El Poblado located at Calle 8 #42-15. This notary has much experience with foreigners and the process was straightforward in my experience. The documents required were:
- Photocopy of my wife’s cedula.
- Notarized copy of my wife’s birth certificate not older than 90 days – the long form folio version which showed her marital status. Note that Colombia has a national registry of births and marriages so a birth certificate in Colombia is a living document.
- My U.S. birth certificate with an apostille and Spanish language translation not older than 90 days.
- My U.S. divorce decree with an apostille and Spanish language translation not older than 90 days.
- Photocopy of my cedula (I had a previous visa so already had a local cedula ID). If I didn’t have this cedula, a photocopy of my passport would have been needed.
I translated my documents from the U.S. to Spanish using a visa agency in Medellín with official Colombian translators that translate into Spanish.
When I brought all the documents to the notary they reviewed the documents and scheduled the civil wedding with the notary. Since I spoke sufficient Spanish a translator wasn’t needed. And once I was married in Colombia I was eligible for a Colombia marriage visa.
Documenting a Civil Partnership at a Colombia Notary
Colombia also has the option for documenting a civil partnership, which can also be used for a “marriage” visa. A civil partnership is like a common-law marriage. Two consecutive years of cohabitation in Colombia essentially represents a legal and defacto marital union in Colombia.
Documenting this type of relationship requires a declaration in front of a Colombia notary. This is called a declaracion union marital de hecho and should be documented in a public escritura and this document can be used to get a visa.
Technically a couple should be living together under the same roof and the relationship is reportedly supposed to have been for two years. But I have met some expats that received this declaration with shorter relationships.
Notary for Documents Used in the United States
While you are in Colombia, it is possible to get documents notarized for use in the United States. A Colombia notary can’t be used for notarizing a document to be used in the U.S.
Both the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Consular Agency offer notary services for documents for use in the U.S. that need a U.S. notarized signature. And these offices provide U.S. notary services regardless of your citizenship.
At the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá, notary services are available by appointment only. You can make an appointment here. And at the U.S. Consular Agency in Barranquilla, all services are appointment only. So, call first at (5) 353-2001 or (5) 353-2182.
The cost for notary services at the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consular Agency is $50 per notarization.
Using NotaryCam Online for Notarizing Documents Used in the United States
It is possible to use NotaryCam online in Colombia to notarize documents for use in the U.S. This way you avoid a trip to Bogotá or Barranquilla to get a document notarized at the U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consular Agency.
I have used NotaryCam multiple times while in Colombia to notarize documents for use in the U.S. NotaryCam uses a webcam, which enables you to talk live to a notary and signing is done electronically. NotaryCam uses the following process:
- Upload your document
- Call/request a live eNotary
- eNotary will confirm your ID
- eSign your document
- Notary will eNotarize your document
- Notarized documents are sent via email
The NotaryCam cost is $25 per document if you are in the United States (verified by IP address) or $79 if you are in a foreign country. In my experience, using NotaryCam was a painless process that enabled me to avoid a trip to Bogotá or Baranquilla and also save money.
Medellin Guru’s Series of Visa Articles
Colombian notaries are used for some of the documents required for Colombian visas. And the Medellin Guru website has a comprehensive series of visa articles.
The Colombian visa changes that went into effect in mid-December 2017 were significant. So, on the Medellin Guru site, we have a comprehensive series of visa articles that are kept up-to-date and should answer most visa questions. These articles include:
- Colombia Visa Guide: Ultimate Guide How to Get a Colombian Visa
- How to Obtain a Colombian Visa with Up-to-Date Info – an overview of all the Colombian visas
- Coronavirus Impacts on Colombian Visas and Tourist Visas
- Visa Agencies: A Guide to Visa Agencies in Medellín and Colombia
- 7 Common Colombian Visa Mistakes: How to Avoid Them
We have looked in detail at the seven most popular Colombian visas used by foreigners:
Also, we have looked in detail at three additional Colombian visas, which are less popular for foreigners:
- Rentista visa (annuity visa) – for foreigners with a fixed income
- Beneficiary visa – for relatives of visa holders
- Expertise visa – for professionals
Furthermore, we have a guide to how apply for a cedula extranjeria in Colombia and a guide to using notaries in Medellín and Colombia. Finally, Medellin Guru has partnered with a visa agency to offer Colombia visa services.
All of our Colombia visa articles were updated in early 2019 to ensure they are up-to-date and were updated again in early 2020. In addition, all visa articles on this website will be kept up-to-date as new details are disclosed.
Using a Visa Agency if Needing a Visa for Longer Than 180 Days
If you are in Colombia and not located in Bogotá and applying for a Colombia visa plus you don’t want to travel, you can use a visa agency to obtain a Colombian visa. A visa agency can handle the online application. And it will courier your passport to Bogotá to get the visa in your passport.
Medellin Guru has partnered with what we believe is the best visa agency in Medellín to offer Colombia visa services. Features of this service include:
- Online chat – get visa questions answered fast.
- Online quotes – get immediate visa quotes.
- Courier your passport to Bogotá to get the visa in your passport.
- Office in El Poblado in Medellín.
- Competitive price compared to other visa services.
The Medellin Guru visa service partnership was launched in March 2019. And in the first 17 months, 239 visas were successfully received by clients.
Also, this visa agency provides services for renewing a U.S. passport, obtaining a visa stamp in your passport and extending a tourist visa. So, in total we had 273 clients of the Medellin Guru visa service in the first 17 months.
We reviewed all the Colombia visa agency services in Medellín and found one agency that offers a more efficient visa service with more features and more comprehensive communications including online chat, WhatsApp, Skype, email and phone plus a low price and a convenient office in El Poblado.
Our visa partnership is an affiliate relationship (like the Amazon affiliate program). If you use our visa partner, Medellin Guru receives a small commission and you support the website. This is at no additional cost to you. The price remains the same, whether you use a button or affiliate link on this website or not.
Furthermore, the visa agency we partnered with offers visa services anywhere in Colombia. So, if you are located in another city in Colombia you can use this service.
The Bottom Line: Colombia Notary: Guide to Using Notaries in Medellín and Colombia
Once you start living in Colombia, you will find that you will need to use Colombia notary services from time to time. However, notaries in Colombia are relatively easy to use.
But if you are getting married in Colombia, make sure to check with the Colombia notary to find out what documents are required and the cost. The documents required and cost can vary from notary to notary.
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Editors note: updated on February 12, 2020 with current information for 2020.