If you don’t know about this, and you’re planning to visit Colombia, your wallet will be in for a LARGE goddamn shock. That was the case for quite a few people that were in line with us when we entered the airport in Cartagena this past long weekend.
The exact explanation for the reciprocity fee (as stated on the Colombian immigration page) is:
This is a reciprocity fee for Canadian citizens demanded by the Canadian Government which obeys the biometric data imposition to Colombian citizens that request visa. The PLATINUM ticket cost is to use the Single Platform Migration Information - PLATINUM used as a tool for the Immigration Control process. This payment DOES NOT guarantee the entry to Colombia and won’t be reimbursable.
Basically, since December 1st, 2014 Canadians are required to pay this fee to enter Colombia. No, this is not a visa though. When you get a visa it means you’ve been granted entry to the country, you could pay this fee and STILL be denied entry. We legitimately only pay this tax because apparently Canada isn’t so welcoming to Colombians trying to come visit us. Got it?
This post isn’t to complain about the fee, that ain’t it. I respect the level of petty by the Colombian government. This post is to just let people know this exists because we noticed in the line MANY of the other visitors were completely unaware and one family in front of us suddenly had to shell out an extra $400 for their trip that they obviously didn’t plan for. Most people look up on Google if they need a tourist visa to enter a country (we do NOT for Colombia) but this fee may not come up in your search.
The cost (currently) is $201.00 COP which amounted to $88.00 CAD. You could pay with cash, credit cards or debit cards. When you enter the customs area there is actually a whole separate line JUST for Canadians to pay this fee.
There are exemptions for the fee: “Children under the age of 14 and adults older than 79 years are exempted. Canadians travelling only to the archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina are also excluded.” (Gov’t of Canada Page)
ABSOLUTELY DO MAKE SURE TO KEEP THE CARD AND RECEIPT!
When I went to leave Colombia at the end of the trip, there was no stamp in my passport for Colombia. I guess the person who had questioned me on the way into the country forgot to give me one. So there I am standing, with NO proof of legal entry into the country. Luckily, I had kept the ticket for the reciprocity fee AND the receipt of payment which obviously proved I had legally entered. The border agent then gave me my stamp for Colombia and let me proceed to go home. But what if I hadn’t kept the receipt? You think my IG photos tagging their beaches would have sufficed or nah?
Just saying, I rather you all be prepared and ready than deal with any unnecessary bullshit or money issues.