How to Get a Copy of a Registro Civil in Colombia Originally Registered at a Colombian Consulate in the U.S

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For context: I am an American-born citizen with dual citizenship in Colombia. In Colombia, I have both a Colombian passport and cédula de ciudadanía. I registered my registro civil de nacimiento at the Colombian Consulate in Orlando, Florida and, after an atrocious experience there, decided to apply for my passport, register my marriage, and the registro civil de nacimiento for my oldest child who was born in the U.S. at the Colombian Consulate in San Francisco, California. I’ve lived in Colombia since December 2022 and have twice needed an updated copy of my registro civil de matrimonio for my partner’s Colombian visa application. Sharing that before you read further to be sure this will be helpful for you and the answers you’re looking to receive.

If you need a copy of your marriage certificate in the United States, you can easily request a copy from an authorized online service like VitalChek and you’ll receive it in 1-3 weeks or so. It doesn’t matter if you live in the same state it was registered or not — you simply fill out the form, VitalChek performs electronic identity validation, the government agency where your document was registered does its thing, and if everything checks out your order is mailed to you.

Colombia is not quite there yet. Any registro civil or “civil registration” such as birth, marriage, or death certificates can only be managed at the notaria where they were originally registered. This is particularly difficult for someone like me who is currently living in Colombia and registered a child’s registro civil de nacimiento (birth certificate) and registro civil de matrimonio (marriage certificate) at a Colombian Consulate in the United States.

Los registros civiles de nacimiento, matrimonio y defunción de tomo y folio solo pueden ser consultados en la oficina donde fueron inscritos.

This post will cover:

Reasons Why You Need a Recently Issued Copy

Because it’s required when the spouse of a Colombian national is applying for a Visa M Cónyuge a.k.a. spouse visa and I believe the Visa M parent of a Colombian child. My registro civil de matrimonio was registered at the San Francisco Colombian Consulate in February 2020. The visa application specifically requests an authentic copy of the Colombian marriage certificate “expedida dentro los 3 meses previos a la solicitud de la visa” or “issued within 3 months prior to the visa application.” (Source) So we needed a recent copy when we first applied in 2023 (his visa was only granted for a year) and again in 2024. When he reapplied this year, he was granted a two year visa so we won’t be needing to go through this process again until 2026. Hopefully.

For reference, the image below with the notary seal and date is what they’re specifically looking for. This, for me, has usually been done on the back of the copy of my registro civil de matrimonio.

Re-emphasizing that this copy must be issued within 90 days of your application submission. In each instance, this was one of the final documents we needed to submit, and we did so about a week after the stamp was issued.


Other reasons you’d need to get a copy of a registro civil:

  • You lost the one you had.
  • If you’re the parent of a Colombian national and you are flying out of the country without the other parent, you’re required to show their registro civil de nacimiento to “corroborar el grado de parentesco con el menor” or “corroborate the degree of relationship with the minor.” (Source) I was told both by the notary and by the immigration officer that the registro civil needs to be issued within 30 days of your flight (along with other paperwork that is required showing that the parent not traveling knows and approves the flight itinerary) — but have heard other parents being able to use old copies and be fine. Like many things in Colombia, sometimes it just depends on the day and who you’re talking to.

So how do you get a recently issued copy of the registro civil that was originally submitted at a Colombian Consultate in the United States? You have two guaranteed options: go in person to the Notaría primera in Bogotá or request it via email.

Option 1: In-person at the Notaría Primera in Bogotá

What to bring:

  • Identification (I brought my cédula de ciudadanía)
  • Copy of the registro civil you need issued. They should be able to find it by your name, but at the very least I’ve always been asked for the “Indicativo Serial.” (I brought my registro de matrimonio)
  • Payment for the copy in cash or you can pay via transferencia to their Bancolombia account (In April 2024, it cost 9.800 COP$. Cost can be found on the Notaría Primera website under “Valor del Registro Civil”)

What to do:

  • Go to the Notaría Primera de Bogotá – Calle 16 No. 4 – 62, Bogotá.
  • Reference the image at the top of this post. You’ll see #4-62 is the main entrance in the middle of the building with double doors. To the right is #4-60. First you enter through #4-60 and head upstairs. Wait in line to speak to the person behind the desk on the right. You’ll see two doors on the left, ignore those. 
  • Tell them you need a copy of the registro you need with that day’s date. 
  • Make the payment
  • They’ll give you a receipt and tell you roughly how long it’ll take to receive the copy. DO NOT THROW AWAY THE RECEIPT. That day they told me it would be about 45 minutes. 
  • Up to you where you want to wait. There’s a Mexican restaurant a couple doors down from the Notaría and a Juan Valdez next to that. There’s also a seating area with tables and chairs available in the main entrance directly next to where you pick up your copy.
  • When it’s time for you to grab your copy or you want to sit in the seating area provided, enter through the main entrance (#4-62) and walk past desks on the left hand side. You’ll run into the seating area when you see wooden chairs and tables.
  • To see if your registro is ready for pick up, wait in the “Secretaria de Despacho” line to the right of the seating area.
  • Once it’s your turn, give them your receipt and let them know you’re picking up the copy of the registro. They’ll take your receipt and give you the copy that has that day’s date! 

What I do immediately after - digitize the document:

  • Especially helpful when you’re on a time crunch or if you’re like me and want to move along with the application process immediately —I digitize the document so I can forward it to who it needs to go to and save for my records. Right across the street from the Notaría there’s a little shopping center where there’s a souvenir shop, jewelry store, and photo copy/internet cafe with a sign “Internet Banda Ancha Papeleria Fotocopias Impresion Laser.” When you exit the Notaría go across the street, down the stairs, and it’ll be a few doors down on the right hand side
  • 5 minutes and 3.500 COP$ later the registro de matrimonio was scanned and sent to my WhatsApp. I saved it to my Google Drive and immediately forwarded it to the lawyer submitting our application. It’s possible to submit on your own without help, but this is a task we chose to delegate and pay a service to help us with the process. Very worth it IMO.
Photo copy shop across from the notary

Cost Breakdown:

Item Cost (COP$)
Round trip one-day flight from MDE to BOG purchased day before
Uber to notary from airport
Notarized copy with date and stamp
Scanned copy sent to me via WhatsApp
Uber to notary from airport


497.160 or ~$130 USD

Time Breakdown:

Item Time (Hours)
Time from my front door to the gate and back home (no checked bags)
Flight time to BOG and back to MDE
Time to request the copy at the notaria and receive it
Drive time to and from the notaria and back to the airport
Getting the document scanned and digitized


7.2 hours

Plus an extra 3 hours at the airport lounge in Bogota before my return flight. I scheduled my return flight the same day but after business hours in case I ran into problems at the notary. Thankfully it was a breeze with no problems, but honestly you just never know in Colombia or with traffic in Bogotá. Plan accordingly.

Option 2: Request by Email

What to do:

  • Email I would check to confirm the contact is the same as it is on this website or this website.
  • I would first reach out to confirm you can receive your recently issued copy and what information they’ll need from you. That’s what I did and below is the information they required at the time I inquired in March 2024.
  • In the body, I wrote: 
    • “Necesito una copia del registro de [which registro civil you need you need] identificado con número serial [insert serial number here] que incluya el sello de la fecha en que fue emitida la copia.”
    • And included the following information:
      • Nombre
      • No. Indicativo Serial del registro de matrimonio
      • País de registro
      • Dirección
      • Ciudad para el envío
      • Teléfonos del contacto y a nombre de quien se envía el sobre
      • Correo electrónico
    • The screenshot of my Bancolombia transfer for proof of payment for the copy and mailing fee. (Account number can be found in either website linked in the first bullet)
    • A copy of my registro de matrimonio to reference
  • I received an email the following day confirming receipt and that my request was being processed.
  • I received my physical copy in the mail 2.5 days later via ServiEntrega.

Cost breakdown:

Item Cost (COP$)
Notarized copy with date and stamp
Mail within Colombia fee


24.800 or ~$6.50 USD

Time breakdown:

Item Time
Original email confirming they can send me the copy digitally and what information they need. This is the time it took from when I sent it to when they responded. I'm sure this will vary so plan accordingly for delayed response times.
12 hours
Email the information and payment on a Wednesday evening.
10 minutes
Wait time until receiving the physical copy via ServiEntrega the following Saturday afternoon
2.5 days


3.5 days

Option 3: Go to your Local Registraduría

This is not a guarantee and did not work for me but wanting to reference it in case you might have more luck. I’ve also heard in the event of an emergency, you might be able to get the document from a local Registraduría — but again, not confirmed. I went to 3 different offices in Medellín and they all told me I had to go to Bogotá or to email the Notaría Primera.

You can find where your local Registraduría offices are located at this link or Google “Registraduría [insert city here].”

I would bring your cedula, copy of the registro civil you need, and cash to pay for the copy.

Which to Choose?

If you have the time to spare and they’re able to send you the copy via email, that’s going to be the best use of your time and money.

If you’ve never been to Bogotá and want to make a little trip out of it, there’s plenty to do and see. In 2023 when I first needed a copy, we spent a few days with family which is always nice. In 2024 we were in a bit of a time crunch which is why I flew in that morning and returned to Medellín that evening.

If you have any questions about either of the processes that I didn’t cover, please comment below and I’ll be happy to answer if I’m able.

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Welcome! I’m Sarah. I started this blog to be a resource for others around a few of my favorite things: living in Colombia, DIY projects, places traveled, and day-to-day life. My hope is that it can a place of inspiration and encouragement to help you plan the next project or adventure of your own!

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