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Having a baby in Colombia

Hello fellow Expats!  I am a US Citizen and my wife is Colombian.  We are expecting our first child together in July.  I have already reviewed all of the US Embassy info and paperwork required and it all seems very easy and straight forward.  HOWEVER, I have learned that not many things are ever very easy and straight forward in Colombia.  So I was hoping that someone might be able to let me know about any pass experience (personal or 3rd person) of having a child in Colombia and apply for US Citizenship and hopefully Colombian citizenship as well (duel citizenship). 

Thanks,
Michael

Hi 

my Canadian friend and her British  husband  had a baby here in Bogota last december
and I remember her having a hard time tying to get her child a Cadanian citizenship. well at the end was much easier to get a Britsh citizenship for her baby. here in Colombia they ask for some paperwork that have to be done first where the parents come from in your case US!
AND you both have to prove that you both are the biologic parents
The doctor who treats your wife have to testify in a notary and declare that you are the parents of the child.

it may change taking in consideration that your wife is Colombia in case she don't have the American Citizenship
in my opinion the best way and easy is to have your child in the state
hope all is good
and congratulation to both of you

Hello Michael,

I am a Colombian with a Canadian husband we had our daughter in Ecuador in 2009, We wanted her to have the 3 citizenship so did all the process as soon She got born. The Colombian embassy only ask for few documents such as the Ecuadorian birth certificate that shows we are both her parents and we had her Colombian citizenship in about an hour!, in your case because the baby is getting born in here by the time your wife and baby are leaving the hospital they should give you a document that you need to bring to the registraduria and there should be no problem for you to register your child.

In the Canadian embassy they did ask for different documents that only took a bit of our time but once we had everything only needed to wait for her citizenship which took couple months with no complications.

It is always stressful having to do all this documents but it you fill all the forms correctly there should be no reason for you to have any inconvenience.

When is the baby getting born? Please let us know how everything goes ;)

Congratulations on your baby!

Julieth

Hi Michael,

My husband and I are both U.S. citizens and we just had a son in April.  Everyone born in Colombia is a Colombian citizen, so the birth certificate itself is proof of citizenship.  Once you pay the bill at the hospital, they will give you the birth certificate, which counts as proof of Colombian citizenship.  Then you go to the Embassy and get the CRBA (consular report of birth abroad), and once you have that you can apply for the baby's American passport.

One thing to keep in mind is that whenever your child exits the country (if you go to visit U.S. relatives, for instance), he will have to exit on his Colombian passport.  He can't use his American passport to exit Colombia.  So make sure you actually get the Colombian passport for him before you make any travel plans.

Best wishes,

Heather

Thank you all for the great replies and sorry for my delayed reply.  I've been busy with work and had some computer problems. 

All the paperwork seems pretty straight forward and I am sure the process should be fairly painless. Accept for the having to travel back and forth to the interview with my infant child. 

My son, Martin, is due the first week of July.  We decided to have him here in Colombia for convenience (since we live here) and financially it makes much more sense.  In the states it was costing us an estimated $22K.  Here, out of pocket it is costing us under $2K USD. We decided not to go through our insurance here because we wanted to select our own doctor and hospital. 

Heather, thanks for the heads up on the travel and passports situation.  We will want to head back to the states for x-mas to introduce Martin to his new family.  So we have about 5 months to get both of his passports ready to make it much easier to get through customs (on both sides).   

I will certainly re-post to let everyone know how it goes.  Thanks again!

Michael

Just a quick update.  Martin was born a healthy 6 lbs 2 ounces and with more hair on his head than me.  We chose Hospital de Caldas, in Manizales, which I think is a nice and decently equipped hospital for this sized city. It was also out of our insurance network so we had to pay totally out of pocket, but it was well worth it.  We paid for the full service / private treatment.  Total cost was 1.8 mil pesos (about $950 USD).  The hospital staff was very friendly, professional and very helpful.  Some even spoke a little English. Our private doctor cost us 1 mil pesos, which again was well worth it as he was great (he speaks English as well). 

We just go our "long form" birth certificate for us to submit with the rest of the paperwork. So once I have more news on the US Embassy and citizenship, I will certainly make a new post.

Thank you again everyone for your help and if anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask.

Cheers,
Michael

Congratulations to both of you.

Hi!  I am currently living and working in manizales with my husband.  We're both american and weighing the options of staying in colombia to start our family or moving back home to North Carolina.  It seems that financially it would be advantageous to stay in Colombia but we would like to know more about prenatal and labor care here.  If you are willing to communicate with me about your experience in manizales, I would love to talk with you.

I would be happy to.  I'll respond to your PM.

Hi there, congratulations on your lovely family here in Colombia!
I was wondering if you could tell me a bit more about how it all went in hospital de caldas in Manizales? I live in a small town 2 hours from Manizales, there is a hospital here but as you can imagine its quite basic, i´m weighing up all the pros and cons of having my baby here or in Manizales and would love to here what advice you may have.
If you have a chance please send me a message.
Thanks

Certainly I would be more than happy to give more information... I have sent several emails to several people asking questions, so to save some time I am just going to post my email response with the most detail of QnA:

Yes, living abroad certainly has it's perks and Manizales is a nice place to live, especially if you like a relaxing life.  There isn't too much to do for young families though.  However that is starting to change. 

Q - How did you find care throughout the pregnancy?   Did you have regular visits and just generally how did you find the care in comparison to what you might experience in the States?

A  -  We used both public insurance and paid out of pocket for the DR of our choice because we didn't have private insurance at that point.    We went to the public insurance only because IF something happened the insurance company would help cover costs.  The public insurance wasn't anything special; just your basic check up and care.  Our specialist Dr who we paid out of pocket for (about 50 mil per visit) was great; very attentive, knowledgeable and answered our calls at any time of the day, night or morning.  Nothing less than I would expect from a well paid, profession Dr. 


Q - If there were any complications with the pregnancy, did you feel they were adequately addressed? 

A -  My son was born about 8 days early because my wife's embryonic fluid was low.  The public insurance refereed us to a specialist who we visited and quickly followed up with our own Dr.  Both DR's said the birth would be sooner, but our private Dr reserved the operating room for C-section for the following morning 6 am.  He even agreed to induce labor before performing the C-section (to simulate a more natural childbirth), but wasn't needed as my wife Nidia went into labor at 1 am.  By 3 am we where checked into our own private room getting prepped.  The hospital staff was very friendly and attentive.  Of course we paid cash, out of pocket for their best service and I feel we received it.  The total birthing service with 2 days in a private room and excellent care came to roughly 1.900.000 mil pesos.


Q - Did your doctor(s) speak English? 

A - Our private Dr. spoke English and the Dr who delivered Martin spoke English.  A few of their staff spoke some English and their client care specialist spoke English.  Someone was always near by to help translate for me when needed. 

Q - Did you and your wife explore other labor options (home or water birth) and if so, how did you find the options in Manizales? 

A -  We asked around but there wasn't much information available.  The hospital did say that they would research and try and set up for a water birth if we wanted, but my wife wasn't really that interested in doing anything out of the norm. 

Q - If the labor happened in a hospital, how did you find the conditions?  We lived in Costa Rica before Colombia and the birthing rooms in the hospitals there were large rooms with the potential to room 30 laboring women AND husbands were not allowed to come.  I am really asking if the hospital rooms were private, if the husband was allowed to be present, and how sterile or home-y did the environment feel? 

A -  There were other couples having children and I must admit I felt bad that the mother went through it alone. A nurse came into our private room (big enough for 2 couples) and asked if we would allow another expecting mother to wait in our room because there wasn't any room in the other waiting room.  Of course we said yes, but they wouldn't allow her husband to join her.  There was about 15 minutes that my wife and I were separated while they prepped her and I got ready.  And there was about 20 seconds I was separated from my son when they insisted that I exit the room through a separate door so I could change back into my clothing but I waited until my mother in law was able to wait with my son while changed faster than a nascar pit team.   

Q - What was your experience with pain medication during labor?  I am interested in a natural birth (if it works out that way) and I want to be able to make my own choice about whether or not I take medications during the birth.  Did you find that the doctors were particularly pushy with medication? 

A -  Our private Dr made his recommendations and was more than happy to answer questions and work with us with any special requests.  The hospital staff couldn't answer my questions about the different medications they would use, etc and said that I was the first person to ever ask.  Nidia never even knew she was having contractions, so pain was never an issue for her.  But I can't be sure if they honored our wishes or just said they did and still did what they wanted anyway because it all happened so quickly. 

Q - We have pretty good health care coverage through our jobs.  Did you find that your insurance covered most medical expenses during the pregnancy and birth?  I have been told by coworkers that had children here in Colombia that they did not pay "a dime."  I would just like to see if this is a common experience. 

A -  We didn't really use the public insurance and didn't have private so anything that wasn't public I paid for out of pocket and the hospital gave me a cash discount.  All in all with all expenses out of pocket including 3rd sonograms I paid less than $1,800 USD.  I think the total hospital bill was about $1K USD.  I was told IF we had private insurance everything would be cover except maybe for some co-pay fees.  We only used the public insurance for more for "if" something happens, the public insurance would cover it.

Q - How did you decide on which doctor and hospital to use? 

A -   From what I am told there are a handful of good doctors in Manizales.  We chose the doctor that delivered my wife other family members.  I can't recall his name but I will get you his name and telephone.  My sister in law is an ER doctor and helped us with getting all the best Dr's, offices. clinics, etc.  We had a private tour of the hospital and I wasn't 100% impressed with their facility but I was satisfied and comfortable enough to trust them.  Overall I was very satisfied. 

Q - Did your hospital have a lactation specialist to help with nursing (if you chose to nurse)? 

A - I don't know if there were any specialist or not but there was a nurse that came in to help as we had some complications.. Martin didn't take right away and had to be fed from a glass, but quickly caught on.  We visited another Doctor who was able to help us further.  I believe he was a public health care doctor, part of our regular check up visits. 

I am sure you will have some more questions that come up.  Feel free to ask and I will get you the specific information soon. 

Regards,
Michael

We do not have permanent residency yet, we have been here 4 years, and we are having a baby in November. If the baby is born here will it have citizenship here? If not, and the birth cert is here and we have a US passport for the baby , can the baby exit the country with US passport only considering the Birth Cert is Colombian?

Ariels.10 :

We do not have permanent residency yet, we have been here 4 years, and we are having a baby in November. If the baby is born here will it have citizenship here? If not, and the birth cert is here and we have a US passport for the baby , can the baby exit the country with US passport only considering the Birth Cert is Colombian?

Well, according to here:
http://www.gerencie.com/como-se-adquier … ombia.html
...your baby will have Colombian citizenship as a result of being born in Colombia and that you have established residency in Colombia, as foreigners.  It is not clear that you must have permanent residency status, this just says "domiciliado":
"En Colombia la nacionalidad se adquiere por nacimiento y por adopción. Por nacimiento:

    los naturales de Colombia, que uno de los padres sea natural colombiano o que siendo extranjeros uno se encuentre domiciliado en el momento del nacimiento."

The official version says the same thing, per Article 96, from the Cancillería:
http://www.cancilleria.gov.co/sites/def … dadpdf.pdf

But your baby is also considered a US Citizen if the requirements are met as explained here:
http://www.uscis.gov/us-citizenship/cit … gh-parents

To get the definitive answer however I would call (or visit) the US Embassy in Bogotá, whose contact link is at the bottom of the page here:
http://bogota.usembassy.gov/

The child will take the citizenship of the country they are born in automatically.  You will need to apply for his U.S. Citizenship, U.S. birth certificate and Social Security card in order for him to be a U.S. citenzen. Once your child is a Colombian citizen in Nov. the father and mother "automatically" qualify for Colombian residency, good for 5 years. 

BUT check with the U.S. Policies to avoid problems with your child gaining US citenship. You will have to prove to the embassy that one of the parents has been in the USA within the past 5 years (I believe it is 5 years). They need proof in tax return or paying into social security. But if push comes to shove they need to accept the entry and exit stamps on your passport as proof of your last time in the USA.  You also must go to the embassy to apply for the U.S. Citizenship and passport.

All this information I provided is current up until 2 years ago.  I will have to go through this process again in December for child #2.

Be sure to start screening hospitals and doctors if you haven't already.  Be sure they will allow the father to stay with the mother before, during and after the birth because not all do or someone might not get the memo that you have permission. So on delivery day be sure to confirm this with the head nurse as well.

Congrats and best of luck.

Also check very carefully with your insurance provider about their coverage and hospital. You don't want to be turned away from the hospital and sent to another 1 hour away because the hospital is "full" or the covered doctor is not in that day.  This has happened with public insurance. 

You've been here 4 years so you know how culture dictates that someone must makeup an answer, instead of saying "I don't know, but let me ask for you".

Best of luck with your pregnancy and birth @Ariels.10.  I am a Certified Doula (trained and previously practiced in the USA), and I live near Cali.  If you decide to have the baby here and need assistance preparing for the birth and support during labor, please let me know and I would love to help.

Hi dc_vida!  My husband and I, who are both from the US, live in Manizales and are hoping to start our family here in the next year.  I am very interested in a home birth and would like to know if you could point me in the right direction regarding my research.  Can you please respond with your email address or email me at ++++  I look forward to hearing from you!

Thank you,
Jodi

Moderated by Maximilien last year
Reason : avoid posting your personal details pls

I am an American citizen, currently living in the US. My ex is a Colombian citizen, currently living in Colombia. If she has our baby in Colombia is she required to put my name on the birth certificate? If she doesn't add my name to the birth certificate, do I have any legal rights to our child?

Those are questions to ask a lawyer.

From my experience she is not obligated to put your family name or list you as the biological father. She can always claim she doesn't know who he father is. You would than have to contract a lawyer to demand a blood test and start down the legal road. 

You can try and sway her in telling her that with you as the birth father (assuming you are a legal US citizen) the child is entitled to US citezenship, which makes her legally eligible for immediate legal residency in the USA, making it very easy for her to travel to the USA and live there if she chooses and even help family with immigration.  It would in that sense make it beneficial for her and the baby.  Not to mention also get any type of finicall assistance from you.

Best of luck and remember to talk with a lawyer, preferably one in the USA that works on hear issues specifically with Colombia. He legal system down here really sucks, so best of luck.

Thanks so much!

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