Beginning April First of this year, Colombian visitors to México must undergo a mandatory pre-screening in order to enter the country. This procedure was negotiated between the foreign ministries of both countries due to both the rising number of Colombians abusing visa-free travel to Mexico in order to enter the US illegally, and the large number of complaints by Colombian visitors to Mexico of mistreatment by Mexican immigration authorities.
In a rising number of cases, legitimate Colombian visitors to Mexico have allegedly been harassed and mistreated by Mexican authorities, or otherwise been denied entry, losing prepaid vacation packages and other arrangements such as entry to events or meetings.
“We have agreed on an electronic pre-check system where any Colombian tourist who buys a ticket to Mexico will be subject to that electronic pre-check, in such a way that if there is any reason for the immigration authorities to not admit him, they will be notified here in Colombia, before getting on the plane, in such a way that we prevent what has happened during the last year and a half from happening and that is that when they arrive in Mexico they are not admitted, they lose their hotel package, their tickets and all the effort they had made several families for spending a few days of tourism in Mexico,” said Colombia’s Vice President and Chancellor Marta Lucia Ramirez.
The pre-registration form can be accessed by clicking here.
Last year, of the 1.5 million visits by Colombians to México, 6,000 were turned away. A number far higher than for example, the 900 that were rejected from Spain. Now, if a Colombian is to be denied admission to México, he or she will receive notice before boarding the flight.
The negotiations also stave off for now Mexico reimposing visa requirements on Colombians, a measure the country has already taken for visitors arriving from Ecuador, Brazil and Bolivia. Mexico has been under pressure from neighboring US due to the large number of migrants using Mexico as a “trampoline” for entering the US illegally.
Illegal Colombian Migration Surging
Colombia has now overtaken countries such as Haiti, Venezuela and El Salvador to become the fifth highest source of non-Mexican migration through the US southern boarder with Mexico. According to the US Customs & Border Patrol service, a record 9,600 Colombians were taken into custody in February alone, not counting those that successfully evaded the border authorities. 23,985 Colombians were processed at the border, up 287% from the previous fiscal year.
The US has pressed Mexico to take a stricter stance towards migrants who clearly intend to simply pass-through México as opposed to legitimate visitors with tourism, family or business plans.
“During the month of March, Migration Colombia has received nearly 600 Colombian citizens, all of legal age, returned from the United States on 6 flights, which have been paid for by the American authorities, said Colombia’s immigration authority, Migration Colombia in a written statement. “From Migration Colombia we call on our compatriots not to risk their lives in this type of journey and we will continue working with all the migratory authorities of the region, in order to maintain an orderly and safe migration, which allows protecting people.”
Above photo: A week ago, Vice President Chancellor Ramírez led the negotiations with the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, for Latin America and the Caribbean of Mexico, Maximiliano Reyes Zúñiga, who made a visit to Bogotá, where the previous procedure was finalized. (Courtesy Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)