Notaría 19 - Colombia Notary: Guide to Using Notaries in Medellín and Colombia - Medellin Guru
It's common to use a Colombia notary for many documents used for visas, rentals, marriages and divorces. We provide a 2021 guide to Colombia notaries.

Colombia Notary: Guide to Using Notaries in Medellín and Colombia

It’s common to use a Colombia notary for many documents used for visas, apartment rentals, property purchases, marriages and divorces. We provide guide to Colombia notaries in Medellín and Colombia, updated for 2021.

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 but a reader reports that this notary moved to Arkadia mall in Belén.

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.

Notaria 25 in El Poblado, Medellín

Notaria 25 in El Poblado, Medellín

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 for 2021:

  • Authentication of signature – 2,280 pesos
  • Digital signature – 8,568 pesos
  • Birth certificate – 7,500 pesos
  • Marriage certificate – 7,500 pesos

The cost of civil marriage in Colombia at a notary, including everything related to a escritura pública, costs approximately 120,000 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.

Notaria 69 in Bogotá, photo courtesy of Notaria 69

Notaria 69 in Bogotá, photo courtesy of Notaria 69

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.

There is only one Colombia notary in Sabaneta

There is only one Colombia notary in Sabaneta

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. And a U.S. notary cannot work in Colombia unless they work at the U.S. embassy or consular agency in Barranquilla. U.S. notary commissions reportedly must be done in the geographic state were they were issued.

U.S. notary services in Colombia are only available at the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá and at the U.S. Consular Agency in Barranquilla.

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.

NotaryCam website: providing online U.S. notary service

NotaryCam website: providing online U.S. notary service

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:

  1. Upload your document
  2. Call/request a live eNotary
  3. eNotary will confirm your ID
  4. eSign your document
  5. Notary will eNotarize your document
  6. 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:

We have looked in detail at the seven most popular Colombian visas used by foreigners:

  1. Retirement visa
  2. Marriage visa
  3. Investment visa
  4. Resident visa
  5. Work visa
  6. Student visa
  7. Visitor visa

Also, we have looked in detail at three additional Colombian visas, which are less popular for foreigners:

In addition, we have a guide to Colombia tourist visas and how to extend a tourist visa. Also, we have a guide to renewing U.S. passports in Colombia and a guide to obtaining a Colombian passport.

Furthermore, we provide information about travel insurance that meets the insurance requirement for Colombian visas. And 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 2020 to ensure they are up-to-date and are being updated again in 2021. 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 was launched in March 2019. And in 32 months, 492 visas have been successfully received by clients.

Also, our visa service renewed 56 American passports in Bogotá using our passport renewal service and provided visa stamping service to 10 clients (getting the visa in a customer’s passport who applied for a visa himself before the pandemic). In addition, 28 clients extended tourist visas using our tourist visa extension service.

So, in total we had 586 clients of the Medellin Guru visa service in 32 months.

In addition, many more visas are in process – short, medium or longer term, depending on client needs.

Use the Medellin Guru Visa Service

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.

Sign up for the Free Medellin Guru Newsletter – You can see all of the previous Medellin Guru weekly email newsletters and sign up here.

Editors note: updated on February 12, 2020 with current information for 2020.

Editors note: updated on February 9, 2021 with current information for 2021

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30 thoughts on “Colombia Notary: Guide to Using Notaries in Medellín and Colombia”

    1. Hey Jeff!
      Did you need a notarised copy of your passport or was a normal copy enough? Is it possible to present the marriage request with a power of attorney in case I’ll not be in Colombia by then?

      A last question: I’ve read on some notaries website that it is requested that the birth certificate has a marginal note stating “valid for marriage”, is this applicable only for the birth certificate of the Colombian spouse? I am Italian and I was told there is not such a note on my international birth certificate, nor it can be added as all birth certificates are valid for any use. Did you need one on yours?

      Thanks a lot!

      • You need to be there for the marriage. I had a cedula so did not use my passport. Colombia’s birth certificate is a living document and includes marriages and divorces. So it will show that it is valid for marriages. Needs to be dated within 90 days of the marriage.

        • Thank you! And what about my birth certificate? Does it need to have a specific annotation stating “valid for marriage”?

          • Colombia birth certificates will say this. No other country does this.

    2. Hey Jeff!
      I am italian living in Germany and I’ll soon marry my Colombian boyfriend in Colombia before moving together to Germany.
      It will be a Civil Marriage.
      As far as I could read, marriages are by default under community of property in Colombia, is that true? Is there a possibility to choose division of asset, and renounce any future claim on each other upon marriage?

      I read about prenuptial agreements, can those be done directly at the notary before marriage?

      Thank you for any information you might have on the topic.
      Best regards,

    3. Geoffrey February 9, 2021

      As soon as I moved to Colombia I noticed the very large number of notary offices, even notary buildings, all over the place and most with lots of customers and activity. Before retiring to Mexico and then to Medellin I lived all my life in the US where I never saw a notary office; let alone one with loads of customers all day every day. I noticed this in Mexico or in any of the other 8 Latin American countries I’ve visited. I’ve often wondered why does it seem that there is SO much of this in Medellin and presumably in all of Colombia.

    4. Ariella Moses January 15, 2021

      Are you sure you used your divorce decree and not the divorce certificate? I was told I needed my certificate, not the decree. Thanks for your help

      • Yes, divorce decree with translation. Requirements may very depending on notary.

    5. Victor Angel Sanchez March 17, 2020

      Thanks for all the good info Jeff. I’m still trying to figure out this CO marriage process, well, the objective is finding the best way to get my fiancee her US visa. From what I read, getting married first in CO seems like the best bet with appeasing the US gov, but as of right now, I only have a copy of my birth certificate, but you did mention in the article, notaries vary in terms of document requirements. I’m wondering if I should figure out a way to get this done sooner than later b/c of this corona-virus travel ban situation that’s happening globally, meaning, in 2 months, we both might be on some kind of lock down for who knows how long. So, do you have any idea of the most lenient notary in the Medellin area?

      also, a little bit of a typo above: using NotaryCam was a painless precess that enabled me to avoid a trip to Bogotá or Baranquilla and also save money.

      Thanks for the info

      • For the Colombia marriage process if you are from another country you need your birth certificate with an apostille and Spanish language translation with everything not older than 90 days.

        See our article article about marriage visas that has some information about my experience getting married with requirements. https://medellinguru.com/marriage-visa/

        We used notary 17 in El Poblado, which has experience working with foreigners. And thanks for catching the typo, fixed.

    6. Hi, my daughter is getting married in Bogota. We have all documents except one. The notary is asking for a document from the United States stating that her children she already has , have no assets. Where do we get this. We have called everyone we can think of in the United States and they don’t know what they are asking for. Any help would be greatly appreciated

    7. So I went to Notary 6th. He was able to understand un poco english and helped me out with no problems. Price was 6000. Def. recommend him. Cheers, Marc

    8. Marc, hope you find one and share it here. That being said, its hard to find English speakers here except in places that specifically cater to foreigners such as Hospital Fundacion Santa Fe Bogota. I’vegotten around with basic Spanish and carry a letter of common questions, answers, and my information en Espanol – including notario poders and banking. Buena suerte

      • Hey, I need a proof of identity in English. So I guess he must be able to read it. Thank you anyway. I will let you know, what I found out. Best, Marc

        • wow, thats the other way around. You could provide a Spanish translation of the document for their reference.

    9. Great article. Do you know if any of those in el poblado speaks English? I need to get my identity proofed for a US document and also later need a poder for the buying process of a foreign car.

    10. Hello jeff I hope that you can also help me in my situation. I meet this girl 2 years ago we are now engaged. The problem is my divorce is not finalize yet. We were 7 months pregnant and we lost the baby and my fiance is going trough a hard time with the lost of the baby. I decided to move to Colombia to be with her but I don’t know which visa to apply for so i can work in Colombia for the one year period it takes for the sponsorship paperwork from the Canadian government to go through. I need to be with her during these hard times and I also have to prove to my government that we are living together for one full year. Any tip on the visa i should apply for which would allow me to live and work in Colombia would be very helpful.

      • Hi Renny, I recommend looking at our Colombian visas article with the list of visas to see which visas best work for you – https://medellinguru.com/colombian-visa/. Also, in that visas article is a list of visa agencies you could talk to about your visa options.

        • Hi Jeff,
          Do you know how it was possible to get the common law partner authentication with less than 2 years of cohabitation for some of the expats you met? I’m interested!


    11. Regarding wills/inheritance, Colombia has “Forced Heirship” meaning your assets will be EQUALLY divided – spouse and children. If this is your only marriage, then that’ll probably be fine. I also added my wife’s name to the condo escritura using a POA. (She hasn’t been to Colombia yet) My attorney is Laura Osorio (Medellin).

    12. Fernando Monroy September 5, 2018

      Great and useful article. Keep up the good work.

    13. Interesting post, but nothing is said relative to wills. As many expats buy property in Medellín, I assume that it is important to make a will here, even if you have one in your home country, so that it’s more easily acted upon under Colombian law. But nothing is said about that issue. This may be due to the fact that as an American you think of lawyers to write up wills. But in all countries which do not function under the Common Law system (all of Latin America, most of Europe, the Province of Quebec in Canada: that is lots of your non American readers) wills are done by a Notary.

      Also, I wanted to ask about how a notary office works. Contrary to North America where you would make an appointment and then see the notary personally, but here it’s seems to be a “chain service” where lots of people arrive without appointments for different needs and are passed on to assistants, and maybe, eventually, a Notary for signatures. Not sure how that works and your post gives little information about that. Could you elaborate.

      • Thanks for the suggestion about Colombia wills. Colombia wills has been added to a list of possible future articles. In the U.S. you don’t make appointments at notaries. Notaries are everywhere in the U.S. Banks in the U.S. will have them and third party mail services offer notary services in the U.S.

        And yes, in Colombia Notaries you are passed to assistants. When I was married in a notary I dealt with an assistant and only saw the notary for the marriage. When notarizing a doc you deal with assistants and the doc is passed to the notary for signature.

      • David P Bingham February 12, 2021

        I’ve wrestled with this issue for 2 years and talked with several attorneys. First if you have heirs here you need nothing. Upon your death your assets automatically go to your Heirs. If your Heirs are in a foreign country that could be a problem. Next is a Will were you name beneficiaries, but then you will need their I.D. for each and they may be required to sign at the Notary when the will is registered. ( I had a will drawn up leaving property to an organization, they required I transfer the property to them now, which gave them full control, I would become a tenant paying the bills) Finally, there is a Civil Trust which I just completed. The Civil Trust you name a Administrator who’s only function is to disposed of your property in your behalf. You can transfer assets to the Administrator now ( not good idea). Or you name the life event that prompts your Administrator to dispose of your assets. While you keep full control . (Similar to a Living Trust) Their are different life events you can name, terminal illness, disease or death. You can name different administrators for different assets. Or simply name one Administrator to dispose of all assets. Then write a separate side agreement with the administrator as to how you want your assets divided. But, once the administrator disposes of the property, they can do what ever they want with the money.

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