Announcement of Ten-Year Visa Validity for Colombians Visiting the United States

Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
April 15, 2012

The State Department is pleased to announce an increase in the validity of visas for Colombians traveling on a temporary basis to the United States from five years to ten years. This means that most Colombian applicants who qualify for a B-category non-immigrant visa may be issued a 120-month, multiple-entry visa.

This extension of visa validity is supporting of the expanding partnership between the United States and Colombia on a broad array of issues, which has resulted in increased exchanges for tourism and business. The extension is also consistent with the passage of the U.S.-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, which can increase investment between our two countries. A growing Colombian economy will lead to a growth in travel for education and training, tourism, and economic activities.

Approximately 577,000 Colombians visit the United States annually, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Changes in visa reciprocity have no effect on visa eligibility or security screening procedures. Visa applicants will be subject to the same standards of eligibility for a U.S. visa as before the change in validity.

Benefits of the Visa Validity Extension:

  • Colombians qualified for a temporary visa to the United States will only need to apply to renew their visa once every ten years.
  • U.S. and Colombian businesses and service providers, including the tourist industry, will benefit from increased travel between the two countries.

By: Cynthia Haley, a Foreign Service Officer whose prior tours of duty include La Paz, Bolivia; Ciudad Juarez, Mexico; San Salvador, El Salvador; Manila, Philippines, and Washington, D.C. She currently serves in El Paso, Texas, as the Director of the State Department’s newest passport agency.

The El Paso Passport Agency, located less than ten blocks from the U.S.-Mexico border, celebrates its grand opening today. As the State Department’s newest passport facility, the El Paso agency will provide a valuable service to area residents by facilitating cross border travel.

By offering expedited service, the El Paso agency will make it more convenient for U.S. citizens to get a passport if they are traveling within 14 days or have a life or death emergency. Currently, applicants in this area of the country who need expedited service must travel several hundred miles to Houston or Tucson. The new agency complements the existing passport acceptance services provided by post offices and the District Clerk’s office…