HOW THE CENTRAL AUTHORITY WORKS IN COLOMBIA

This article will provide guidance on how the central authority works in Colombia.  Colombia joined the Hague Service Convention on November 1st, 2013. As a result, dealing with a defendant in Colombia has become considerably simpler during the serving process.  In the absence of an objection from the receiving state, service can be effected by mail, direct communication between judicial officers (including solicitors) of the two countries, or, alternatively, by the involvement of a competent process server in the receiving country. Click here for a video on International Process Service.

A document with judicial or extrajudicial implications can be sent from one State Party to the Convention to another State Party for service in the receiving State Party according to the procedures outlined in the Hague Service Convention for the International Service of Civil and Commercial Documents. Along with one legal channel (via the Central Authority of the destination State), the Hague Service Convention permits other informal methods of transmission. Click Here for Frequently Asked Questions About Process Servers!

Serving foreign parties with legal papers in Colombia may be done in either the formal way of the Hague Service Convention or in an informal manner via an agent.  Serving court papers in Colombia is no easy feat. However, such assignments are gladly accepted by Undisputed Legal. We are aware of the unpredictability of international service and would like to assure you that your documents will be delivered securely. If you found this article helpful, kindly consider leaving us a review. Click the link to share your feedback, and we would greatly appreciate a five-star review.

Background

The Republic of Colombia is a law-based democracy. A government’s authority is divided among the legislative, executive, and judicial departments. The civil law tradition is upheld by Colombia’s judicial system. A unitary republic characterizes the political system of Colombia. There are thirty-two divisions reporting to the federal government, including a capital district. Click Here for information on the Code of Civil Procedure in Colombia.

In Colombia’s presidential democratic system, the head of state also serves as head of government, chief executive officer, and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The typical hierarchy of the judicial branch follows the Apex Court (the Supreme Court,) trial courts (Juzgados), and superior tribunals (Tribunales Superiores del Distrito Judicial) for the Judiciary.

Judgment is handed down by many branches of government, including the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Justice, the Superior Judicature Council, the Council of State, the Office of the Public Prosecutor of the Nation, and individual courts and judges. Additionally, Congress and the military criminal justice system are involved in the administration of justice. Subject to the conditions imposed by law, individuals might be temporarily endowed with the power to administer justice in the roles of arbitrators or conciliators.  A private process service agency like Undisputed Legal is highly effective in order to ensure that your papers adhere to the requirements of different courts.

It is necessary for international treaties to be authorized by Congress before they may be implemented. Ultimately, it is up to the Constitutional Court to determine whether or not these laws may be put into practice, as well as any legislation passed by Congress. Letter exchanges, ratifications, or accession may go on as needed if the Court deems them legitimate. 

Reactive procedures enforce compliance with these criteria. This includes standards pertaining to actions for restitution, bringing criminal proceedings, and sanctions for noncompliance. The procedures for disciplinary action, criminal prosecution, and restitution are outlined in the Uniform Disciplinary Code, the Penal Code, and Law 610 of 2000, which addresses fiscal responsibility. Furthermore, there are various systems in place to ensure that public officials carry out their responsibilities correctly. These include the civil service system, public official orientation and re-orientation programs, the voluntary codes of ethical conduct addressed in Presidential Directive 09 of 1999 (mentioned in the previous question), and citizen-accessible tools. It is important to be familiar with the jurisdiction’s legal requirements that the receiving country is adhering to. At Undisputed Legal, our local process servers undertake the service of papers in Colombia. We ensure that your papers are handled by individuals intimately familiar with the country’s requirements. 

Understanding the Authorities concerning the Hague Service Convention in Colombia

The  Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MRE), formally known as the Chancellery ( Cancillería), is a Cabinet position in the Colombian government. It is responsible for the country’s diplomatic missions overseas and the formulation of foreign policy related to state affairs.  The Directorate General for Migration, Consular Affairs, and Citizen Service, Ministry of Foreign Relations, is designated under the MRE as the Central Authority in Colombia.

It is also important to consider the supervisory entities in Colombia. The Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic and the Office of the Attorney General (Ministerio Público) function as oversight entities. Members of the former include the nation’s prosecutor general, public defender, local solicitors and agents, representatives from municipalities, and any other authorities designated by law. Human rights, public interest, and official behavior of government employees are all under the purview of the Attorney General’s Office. Fiscal management and administration output control are responsibilities of the Office of the Comptroller General. 

How should Process Service be done in Colombia?

Colombia is relatively new in the Hague Service Convention roster of countries. The Convention became effective for the country in November 2013, and typically, the procedures for service take significant time to settle. However, service by mail should not be a default service since most countries have strict regulations against it.

It is also important to ensure that letters of request also include translations. No actual requirement is specified in Colombia’s submission to Article 5(3); however, a preference is noted if the form were in Spanish, even though they know that Article 7(2) states that it is not mandatory.  If the party does not have the served papers translated into Spanish, the request will most likely be refused, not only by the Central Authority but also by the local authorities responsible for carrying it out.  

The Central Authority should also include a USM-94. It is important to make sure a court official or an attorney signs it, and be quite cautious that it is thorough and to the point. This is when a private process service agency like Undisputed Legal can be helpful. We can ensure your papers are cared for and adhere to service requirements.

 Notary Services in Colombia

Anyone wishing to utilize legal papers in the US may take use of the notarial services that are accessible.  The United States Embassy in Bogota offers a notary public.  It is important to ensure that the not-yet-signed paperwork is in its proper position and that the paperwork is filled out with the correct names, locations, and dates.  The Consular Officer will be the one to witness your signature and oath.  It is important to specify which pages need a notarial seal. 

All signatories and witnesses require a legitimate form of government-issued picture identification with a signature, such as a passport, national ID card, U.S. driver’s license, etc.. It is essential that the names on the document(s) that the client wants to have notarized match the names on the form of identification.  One seal will cost the party USD50.  It is essential to bring witnesses if the document specifies their attendance.  It is not possible to rely on consular personnel as witnesses.  A valid picture ID is also required of witnesses. 

Virtual notarization, webcam notarization, or online notarization are various terms that describe the same process of notarizing documents using the internet with the use of audiovisual technology. Even though a lot of states will recognize papers that have been notarized using an internet service, the party should check with the state where they want to submit their document to see if there are any specific requirements or restrictions. It is important to go straight to the consulate with the paperwork written in the destination nation’s language, so it has legal implications overseas and not in Colombia solely. For instance, in order for the document to be apostilled by the French consulate in Bogotá, it must already be written in French if it is to be sent to France. The U.S. Embassy and Consular Agency in Barranquilla offers many different notarizations. Affidavit of Single Status, Power of Attorney (POA), Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), and Sworn Statement DS-3053 Federal Benefits Document Verification Statement. An individual’s statement that has been notarized is called a sworn statement or affidavit.

No document issued in the United States may be apostille, certified, or issued by the U.S. Consular Agency in Barranquilla or the U.S. Embassy in Bogota. It is preferable to enlist the help of a private process service agency since our local process servers can help smooth out the course of service. 

Apostilling your papers

Public papers published in countries not parties to the ‘Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents’  or the Apostille Convention of 1965 require the certification of legalization before the Colombian Consul’s signature may be endorsed.

The foreign authority of the non-Convention member state must issue the paper and show the paperwork to the Colombian consulate that has accreditation in that nation. Getting the Colombian consul’s signature authenticated at Bogota’s Apostille and Legalizations Office is important.

In the event that the issuing nation does not have a Colombian Consulate, the document may be legalized via a friendly country with the Consul’s signature authenticated by the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Bringing the paperwork to the Colombian Consulate accredited in the welcoming nation is important. Finally, at Bogota’s Apostille and Legalisation Office, it is important to have the Colombian consul’s signature legalized. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not required to legalize documents issued by Colombian Consuls as Notary Public. These documents include authorizations, survival certificates, powers of attorney (special and general), public deeds, civil registrations, and certifications. The Colombian consul’s signature may be legally apostilled at no cost via the Office of Apostilles and Legalisations.

Valuing a document with a Colombian notary public is necessary before it may be used legally outside Colombia. After obtaining the authenticated document, the next step is to visit the destination country’s consulate. It is often a lengthy process for an apostille since the party must bring a copy of the document translated by an official translator so that the consul may apostille it. Before sending a power of attorney to the US, it must first be authenticated by a Colombian notary public. Then, it must be translated into English by an official translator. Finally, it must be brought to the US Consulate in Bogotá or another city to be notarized and apostille by an embassy consul. From outside their own nation, consuls serve as de jure witnesses. Consequently, involving some of the services of a private process service agency like Undisputed Legal can save you the hassle of getting your papers apostilled.

Power of Attorney in Colombia

Any legal document, such as a power of attorney, extrajudicial declaration, or civil registration, may be sent to the nation of its intended use once enacted. A power of attorney can be very helpful here, especially for the incorporation of businesses. In order to complete the process of forming or registering the business, the party’s physical presence cannot always be enacted. The steps involved in forming a corporation may be lengthy and intricate, including drafting the bylaws, submitting the necessary paperwork, registering with the appropriate authorities, creating a corporate bank account, etc. 

Here’s where a Power of Attorney (POA) / ‘Poder’ might be a helpful tool. It allows a trusted local partner to finish the formation on your behalf.  A legal instrument known as a Power of Attorney (POA) or ‘Poder’ authorizes another person or entity to handle an individual’s legal matters (typically business-related) in their place. When doing business in a foreign country, such as when an American firm sets up in Colombia, a power of attorney (POA) is often necessary.   A power of attorney (POA) is often used to incorporate a business. The POA grants the local person or company (often a law firm or attorney) the authority to incorporate the company on the grantor’s behalf. 

It should be noted that a POA / ‘Poder’ may be authorized by national legalization, an apostille (if the country is a party to the Hague Convention), or a national notary.  For both individuals and businesses, a poder can be  a General Power of Attorney or a Designated Agent/Restricted Agent Power of Attorney. The major difference between the two is that the agent is granted limited control of the grantor’s affairs via the special power of attorney, with the POA defining which affairs the agent may handle.  Apart from these two options, there is also a possibility for individuals to undergo an enduring power of attorney. Making and registering an everlasting power of attorney is something a party can do if they are unable to make certain choices for themselves. This document will allow someone whom the party can trust to make these choices. An ensuring power of attorney allows you to choose an attorney or lawyers to act on your behalf and specifies the actions they may undertake. All parties involved, including the attorney and two witnesses, must sign a written document to establish an enduring power of attorney. It has to spell out exactly what powers the individual will want their lawyer to have. 

Parties have two options for creating a power of attorney [A.] a formal instrument or [B.] an oral statement in court. Because of the need for actual, authenticated, and notarized evidence to complete formal processes by most nations and their financial institutions, the latter method of forming a POA is highly advised. 

For a business, the grantor of the poder will communicate with the partner about the grantor’s business needs and requirements. The power of attorney (POA) will be drafted and sent to the grantor by the local partner (lawyer, firm, etc.,) who will get the power of attorney notarized and apostille-proof. The local partner must receive the POA via regular mail.  Apostille countries must be Hague Convention members. 

If you are looking to serve your papers across Colombia, Undisputed Legal has local servers that can assist you with service, skip tracing,  and compliance with the Hague Service Convention’s regulations. With our comprehensive suite of services, our clients can be certain they have met all the legal and regulatory requirements. We aim to make delivery of your papers a breeze and can help you in the makings of your case to boot. 

OUR PROCESS

Documents can be faxed at (800)-296-0115, emailed to ps@undisputedlegal.com, mailed to 590 Madison Avenue, 21 Floor, New York, New York 10022, or dropped off at any of our locations. We do require pre-payment and accept all major credit and debit cards. Once payment is processed, your sales receipt is immediately emailed for your records.

Drop-offs must call and make an appointment first to be added to building security to permit access to our office. Documents for service must be in a sealed envelope with payment in the form of a money order or attorney check (WE DO NOT ACCEPT CASH) payable to UNDISPUTED LEGAL INC.  Our receptionist receives all the documents.

DOMESTIC COVERAGE AREAS:

Alaska | Alabama | Arkansas | Arizona | California | Colorado | Connecticut | District of Columbia | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Iowa | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maryland | Massachusetts | Maine | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | North Carolina | North Dakota | Nebraska | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | Nevada | New York | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Virginia | Vermont | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming

INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE AREAS:

Albania | Andorra | Anguilla | Antigua | Argentina | Armenia | Australia | Austria | Azerbaijan | Bahamas | Barbados | Belarus | Belgium | Belize | Bermuda | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Botswana | Brazil | British Honduras | British Virgin Islands | Bulgaria | Canada | Cayman Islands | Central and Southern Line Islands | Chile|China (Macao) | China People’s Republic | Colombia | Costa Rica | Country of Georgia | Croatia | Cyprus | Czech Republic | Denmark | Dominican Republic | Ecuador | Egypt | Estonia | Falkland Islands and Dependences | Fiji | Finland | France | Germany | Gibraltar | Gilbert and Ellice Islands | Greece | Guernsey | Hong Kong | Hungary | Iceland | India | Ireland | Isle of Man | Israel | Italy | Jamaica | Japan | Jersey Channel Islands | Jordan | Kazakhstan | Korea | Kuwait | Latvia | Lithuania | Luxembourg| Malawi | Malaysia | Malta | Mauritius | Mexico| MonacoMontenegro | Montserrat | Morocco | Namibia | Netherlands | New Zealand|Nicaragua | Norway | Pakistan | Panama | Paraguay | Peru | Philippines | Pitcairn |Poland | Portugal | Republic of Moldova | Republic of North Macedonia | Romania |Russian Federation | Saint Vincent and the Grenadines | San Marino | Saudi Arabia | Serbia | Seychelles | Singapore| Slovakia | Slovenia | South Africa | Spain | Sri Lanka | St. Helena and Dependencies | St. Lucia | Sweden | Switzerland | Taiwan | Thailand | Tunisia | Turkey | Turks and Caicos Islands| UkraineUnited Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland | Uruguay | US Virgin Islands | Uzbekistan | Venezuela | Vietnam

OFFICE LOCATIONS

New York: (212) 203-8001 – 590 Madison Avenue, 21st Floor, New York, New York 10022
Brooklyn: (347) 983-5436 – 300 Cadman Plaza West, 12th Floor, Brooklyn, New York 11201
Queens: (646) 357-3005 – 118-35 Queens Blvd, Suite 400, Forest Hills, New York 11375
Long Island: (516) 208-4577 – 626 RXR Plaza, 6th Floor, Uniondale, New York 11556
Westchester: (914) 414-0877 – 50 Main Street, 10th Floor, White Plains, New York 10606
Connecticut: (203) 489-2940 – 500 West Putnam Avenue, Suite 400, Greenwich, Connecticut 06830
New Jersey: (201) 630-0114 – 101 Hudson Street, 21 Floor, Jersey City, New Jersey 07302
Washington DC: (202) 655-4450 – 1101 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 300, Washington DC 20004

FOR ASSISTANCE SERVING LEGAL PAPERS IN COLUMBIA

Pick up the phone and call Toll Free (800) 774-6922, or click the service you want to purchase. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to assist you. We can handle all your Colombia process service needs; no job is too small or too large!

Contact us for more information about our process-serving agency. We are ready to provide service of process to all our clients globally from our offices in New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Westchester, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Washington, D.C.

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives”– Foster, William A

Sources

1. Only the president of the republic has the authority to express approval by creating the appropriate reservation in the event that a multilateral treaty’s terms are deemed unenforceable by the Constitutional Court.

2. Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores

Dirección de Asuntos Migratorios, Consulares y Servicio al Ciudadano

Contact details:

Address: Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores

Dirección de Asuntos Migratorios, Consulares y Servicio al Ciudadano

Carrera 5 # 9-03 Bogotá, Colombia, Carrera 5 #9-03

3. Separate from other branches of government, the electoral system includes the National Civil Registry Office, the National Electoral Council, and any additional entities required by law. Everything having to do with people’s identities, as well as the planning, execution, and supervision of elections, are within its purview. 

4. There are several services that the U.S. Embassy or Consular Agency is unable to provide.

  1. Apostille, Credentials, and Verified Copies
  2. Status Verification for Federal Benefits
  3. Apostille, Credentials, and Verified Copies

5.  As an example, the U.S. Embassy in Bogota and the Office of Children’s Issues contacted the Colombian Central Authority to inquire about the legal requirements for the authorization of adoption service providers (ASP). This was done in accordance with Article 12 of the Hague Adoption Convention, which aims to promote international adoption as a viable option for the permanent placement of children in Colombia.

6. Monday through Friday, 7:30 am to 7:30 pm, Office of Apostille and Legalisations, Autopista Norte No. 166 – 68

COLOMBIA – International Permit

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