The Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued Resolution 5477 on July 22, 2022, bringing significant changes to the Colombian visa application process. One of the new requirements for many visas is submitting a judicial, criminal, or police certification from your country of origin or residence. This document shows if a person has any criminal offenses and is obtained from relevant authorities in different countries. If you are a U.S. citizen, you must provide the FBI Background Check as the type of U.S. Criminal Record required, as the national authority can certify your police record in the country.

U.S. Citizens Living in Colombia
U.S. Citizens Living in Colombia

To provide more information on this requirement, we wrote this blog hand-in-hand with our partner expatgroup.co. They have launched a service for all U.S. citizens interested in applying for a visa and obtaining the FBI Background Check from Colombia. This service includes the process of taking fingerprints in Medellin, as well as the translation to spanish and the apostille process. If you want to quote your FBI Background Check online, click on the green button below, and we’ll send you to our partner as a referral from Medellin Guru with no additional cost.

New Visa Resolution Impacts (Resolution 5477)

What changes have the new Resolution 5477 made regarding the FBI Background Check for visa applications in Colombia?

Previously, in Resolution 6045 of 2017, it was the Ministry’s task to verify the background check (Article 38). However, with the entry of the new resolution in 2022, the applicants also must provide the Background Check for the visas that require it as a mandatory document. Also, the government can request additional documentation for any visa category under discretionary authority, including criminal records. Even if your visa doesn’t require the Background Check as a mandatory requirement, if the Chancellery requests it, you must provide it as soon as possible.

Here is proof that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is requesting the FBI Background Check for the Digital Nomad visa application process, even if it wasn’t a specific requirement by law from the beginning.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Additional Requirement
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Additional Requirement

This phenomenon has been occurring in Colombia since 2024, and it is extending to different visa categories, not only with the Colombian Digital Nomad Visa. We recommend that all our readers provide the document in the first submission step with the rest of the mandatory documents to avoid the risk of being required.

What Colombian Visas require the FBI Background Check as a mandatory requirement?

Criminal records are required for the Mercosur Visa, Andean Visa, and Retirement Visa. The FBI Background Check will only apply to American Citizens who want to apply for the Pensioner Visa, as the first two visas are for Latin Americans. Anyone from a country other than the USA must obtain criminal records from their country of origin for the last 3 years, as Article 77 of Resolution 5477 mentions.

When the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requires the criminal record certificate as an additional document for any other visa, you must submit it 10 days after the Requirement (as you could see in the past example) because this action converts the background check into a mandatory document. The real problem begins with the criminal record process.

For U.S. Citizens, getting an FBI Background Check on its own can take between 5 to 6 weeks. As the “Requirement Status” on visa applications just gives you 10 days starting from the official communication or 30 days, starting from the study payment, you can lose the first process and maybe start from zero on your application when your FBI Certificate is ready.

For U.S. citizens, the certificate should cover the last three years. If you have lived in the U.S. for this period, you can obtain your certificate from the FBI or the Sheriff’s office. If you have lived in Colombia or any other country for part of this period, you will need certificates from both countries.

We recommend that you process and submit the FBI Criminal Record in advance. This will avoid delays in your application and all the extra costs involved in repeating the whole process.

An U.S. Citizen taking his fingerprints in Medellin for his FBI Background Check
An U.S. Citizen taking his fingerprints in Medellin for his FBI Background Check

Understanding the FBI Background Check Process

All documents from abroad must be:

  • Up-to-date (issued within the last three months)

  • Signed by the competent authority

  • Apostilled

  • Officially translated into Spanish

For the documents to be valid for the visa process, they must include:

  • An updated date (no older than three months)

  • The full and legible name of the visa applicant

  • The official signature and logo of the issuing entity

Addressing Registered Records

If your background check report includes any records, even if they are expired, the Colombian government may decide to approve, reject, or deny your visa application based on their assessment of the potential risks these records may pose.

How to Obtain the FBI Background Check from Colombia

There are three ways to request your FBI criminal record:

FBI Background Check Online

FBI Background Check by Mail



By FBI approved channeler

Step-by-Step to Obtain the FBI Background Check Online


1. Start Your Request

Visit edo.cjis.gov and enter your e-mail address to get started.

2. Receive Instructions

Check your email for a link and PIN to complete the online application.

3. Complete Application

Follow the link, enter the PIN, accept the privacy terms, and fill in your details.

4. Submit Fingerprints

Inside the U.S.:

Visit a participating post office for fingerprinting.

Outside the U.S.:

Send your fingerprint card (form FD-258) and confirmation email copy to:

FBI CJIS Division
ATTN

ELECTRONIC SUMMARY REQUEST

1000 Custer Hollow Road

Clarksburg, WV 26306

5. Proceed with Payment

Complete the payment as instructed.

Step-by-Step to Obtain the FBI Background Check by Mail


1. Complete Form

Fill out the applicant information form.

2. Fingerprinting

Use the standard fingerprint form (FD-1164) available at local police departments (fingerprint card).

3. Make Payment

Pay $18 to the Treasury of the United States by credit card, money order, or certified check.

4. Mail Documents

FBI CJIS Division – Summary Request

1000 Custer Hollow Road

Clarksburg, WV 26306

 

5. Receive Response

You will receive a document certifying your criminal history status.

Step-by-Step to Obtain the FBI Background Check by FBI-Approved Channeler

Approved channelers expedite the process by handling your application and submitting your fingerprints and personal data to the FBI. They receive the results and share them with you.

expatgroup.co can help you obtain your FBI Background Check from Colombia, taking your fingerprints in its office in Medellin. They can make the process for you and receive your FBI Certificate valid for your visa.

Benefits of the expatgroup.co’s FBI Background Check Service

Benefits of the expatgroup.co's FBI Background Check Service
Benefits of the expatgroup.co’s FBI Background Check Service



Fingerprints in Medellín

You can take your fingerprints in expatgroup.co’s office



Do it from Colombia

You don’t have to go to USA to get the Criminal Records



Without Mistakes

Avoid mistakes and rejections submiting correct fingerprints



Affordable Pricing

With just one payment, you’ll obtain all the features of your packcage

You can take your fingerprints for the FBI Background Check in expatgroup.co's office
You can take your fingerprints for the FBI Background Check in expatgroup.co’s office
Avoid mistakes and rejections with correct fingerprints for the FBI Background Check
Avoid mistakes and rejections with correct fingerprints for the FBI Background Check

How to obtain the FBI Background Check with apostille and translation

You can use the expatgroup.co apostille and translation service added to the FBI Background Check Service Package. If you want their professional help, click on the green button below, and we’ll send you to our partner as a referral from Medellin Guru with no additional cost.

 If you want additional help with your visa, we can redirect you to take all the necessary steps with them from the beginning.

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Sample Fingerprinting Form
Sample Fingerprinting Form

The Botton Line: How to Obtain the FBI Background Check for a Colombia Visa

To comply with Colombia’s updated visa regulations, U.S. citizens must now submit an FBI Background Check when applying for certain visas following the Resolution 5477 of 2022. This requirement extends to Retirement Visa and it ‘s been requested for other visa categories. The FBI Background Check must be translated into Spanish and apostilled, a process facilitated by services such as those offered by expatgroup.co, which includes fingerprinting in Medellin.

Given the potential for delays (obtaining the FBI Background Check can take 5 to 6 weeks) we advice of submit this document to avoid processing setbacks. 

This recent change underscores the importance of promptly obtaining and submitting the FBI Background Check to meet visa requirements. Preparing this documentation in advance allows U.S. citizens to prevent delays and complications in their visa applications, ensuring a smoother process.