I am adding a review of the portion of the K-3 process which takes place in Bogota, Colombia. This will include the Laboratory Exams, Medical Exams, Visa Fee Payment and the Interview Day. I will also add a version in Spanish. Please keep in mind that this information is based on my wife's successful K-3 interview in mid June 2008 at the Bogota embassy. Your experience or that of others may vary.
I am just starting to work on this and it is quite incomplete. I have only just started adding things and many areas will be filled with more detail. However, I decided to post the work in progress as even this limited information could be helpful to someone. I will be adding more information over the next few days.
Please feel free to offer any corrections or ask for specific information to be added. I will try to be as accurate and complete as is useful. If you would like to contribute but don't want to hassle with editing the page, please send a private message to ColombianoGringo through VisaJourney.com
Nature of the exams
The applicant will have to undergo a blood test and a chest X-ray. The blood test is primarily for HIV. A positive HIV result will normally cause a visa to be denied. I do not know of any exceptions. That is beyond the scope of this document.
You are not required to fast before this exam.
Laboratory Location and Hours
You must have these test done at the single authorized laboratory. No exams from any other laboratories will be accepted by the embassy.
Instituto y Laboratorio Clínico
Calle 38 No. 8-28, Local No. 1
The laboratory sees patients from 7am to 10 am Monday through Friday. You do not need an appointment, but it is a good idea to show up early.
What to Bring
The applicant will need to bring their passport, the interview letter from the embassy and one of the six visa photos you should have taken by this point.
Laboratory Exam Experience
There’s not much to say about the laboratory exams except that the lines are pretty long. When my wife went, there was only one lady attending at the main desk and only one taking blood, so be prepared for a wait. It would be best to schedule your medical on a different day if is convenient to do so. It is possible to have the medical exam on the same afternoon, but you may be forced to return to the medical exam location on the following day to pick up your test results.
Laboratory Exam Cost
The cost for the laboratory exam is normally $150,000 COP and can only be paid in cash.
The applicant will need to also undergo a medical exam by one of the following doctors. No examinations performed by other doctors will be accepted by the embassy. You should call to make an appointment as soon as you know your interview date.
Dra. Maria Consuelo Gonzalez
Cra. 8 No. 49-25, Cons. 302
Tels. 288-7629, 245-9290
Dr. Jairo H. Roa
Centro Medico La Sabana
Cra. 7 No. 119-14 , Cons 325
Tels. 2151763, 6589366
Dr Roa is a male and if a female applicant has a problem disrobing for a male doctor, you should try the other doctor who is a female. Her appointments seem to fill up quickly, so if you want to use her, call her office as soon as you know your interview date.
The embassy requires that the applicant receive or provide a history of certain vaccinations. The embassy includes a list of required vaccinations in their appointment package, but the doctor performing your medical exam will determine what vaccinations are needed in each case.
It is highly advisable to call the office of the doctor who will perform your medical exam and ask them for the specific requirements in your case. These will vary by age, sex and health.
If you have already received the required vaccines through your health care provider, make sure to bring any available records.
If you have not received the required vaccinations, you will need to have them performed at a Red Cross location in your city or wait to have them done during your medical exam. Keep in mind that people often experience mild adverse reactions to vaccinations and it is a good idea to have them done before your medical exam so you avoid possibly feeling ill the days leading up to and including your interview day. From most accounts, it seems best to have any Red Cross vaccinations administered no more than a week before your medical exam.
The examining doctor will decide if you meet the vaccination requirements and if you need any additional vaccinations. You may be required to receive additional vaccinations at the time of your medical exam. There is an additional cost for vaccinations beyond the standard medical exam fee.
Medical Exam Experience
My wife went to Dr. Roa. The exam is very brief. You will be asked to take off all your clothes and put on a robe. He will ask you about any current or past illnesses, any medications you may be taking and about any family history of major illnesses.
Medical Exam Cost
The cost for this exam is normally $135.000 COP and can only be paid in cash.
You will be charged more if the doctor decides that you have not received all required vaccinations.
Visa Fee Payment
Authorized Payment Locations
You will need to pay your visa fee at an authorized Banco de Credito location in Bogota or selected other cities. Not all Banco de Credito locations are authorized to accept your payments.
Here is a list of Banco de Credito locations in various cities that are authorized to accept visa payments. .
What to Bring
You will need to bring your passport, the interview letter and two of the six visa photos you should have by now. You will also need two copies of the the form DS-156 (see the following section for details).
You will need to have both copies of your DS-156. If you have not filled it out or if you have the English version, you will need to fill it out in Spanish. At the location we visited(Santa Barbara in Bogota), there was a nice young lady that will help you fill out the form.
Banco de Credito has a web form that allows you to fill out the DS-156 online in Spanish. We did not use it, but were told that it works well. You will need your case number and the applicant's passport number. You can access this form here 
Do not attach your photos to the two copies of your DS-156 until you have paid the fee. You may be required to fill out another copy at the bank and would be forced to remove and possibly damage your pictures.
You will then have to pay the equivalent of $350 in Colombian pesos. They only accept cash. They appear to update the amount in pesos on a monthly basis. Once you pay, the teller will mark up your DS-156 and print out some bar code stickers which will be affixed to your passport. Do not remove these.
When we went to pay, the teller gave us two blank copies of the DS-157 form and said to fill them out before the interview. I told her that this was not needed for a K-3, but she insisted. We filled them out that night just in case, but they were not needed nor even mentioned at the embassy. I suppose that this is for another type of visa.
Make sure to get to the embassy before 7am. We were told to queue in line 3 with other immigrant visa applicants. At 7am, we were allowed to enter the main gate where we went through a body scanner and all bags and jackets were put through a separate scanner. Any electronic items with a camera must be surrendered at this point. You will be given a wooden token in order to reclaim your item when you leave.
We were then guided to the inner courtyard waiting area. This is an open air area, but it is covered by a roof. Make sure to wear warm clothes. Wear some comfortable shoes that will keep your feet warm. The seating is very uncomfortable. Your choices are either a stone bench or some metal grill type chairs.
To be added.
Organizing and submitting your documents
Once inside, you will be directed to line up at “Window 40” which is nothing more than a little desk with a sign on it that says “40”. You will be given a folder in which to put all the documents required for your visa. On the left inside of the folder is a list of the required documents. Make sure to put your documents in that exact order and don’t include anything else. The only evidence that should go in here is anything related to your I-134 Affidavit of Support. I included my last three tax returns along with the related W-2 forms and my last three pay stubs. Do not include your relationship evidence(photos, correspondence,etc.) in this folder.
You will then sit and wait until you are called to another window. In our case, it was window 32. I suppose that the famous “witch” referred to by some is the lady at this window. However, we found her to be cordial and pleasant. She asked us for my (petitioner) birth certificate, but it turns out that she already had it and just hadn’t seen it. She should have all documents that the petitioner sent in with your original I-129F petition package. The applicant will turn in your folder at this window and then go sit back down and wait for what could be several hours.
After what could be a long while, you will be called to a window to be fingerprinted. In our case, this was done at Window 2 using a digital fingerprint scanner. All ten fingers will be scanned. After this, you will again be asked to sit and wait to be called.
Our Experience during the interview
You may be called at any point after fingerprinting to be interviewed. In our case, we had been waiting for hours without being called. At around 1pm, a lady asked for all immigrant visa applicants who had been waiting since 7am and had not yet been interviewed to line up and give their names. After a bit more waiting, my wife was finally called to window 3 for her interview.
The interview only took a few minutes. She was asked the following questions.
- How and where did you meet?
- Where and when were you married?
- How many times has your husband visited you in Colombia?
She was only asked to show our wedding and honeymoon pictures although we had literally hundreds of pages of evidence. She was asked a few simple questions about the location and circumstances of some of the photos.
At this point, she asked if I was her husband and asked to interview me.
She greeted me and thanked me for coming to the interview. She then stated that she thought that I had come to Colombia a lot to see my wife. She said that both of these things were very positive.
My portion of the interview was a lot more conversational. We covered the following general topics.
- How and where we met.
- How we stay in contact.
- My family in Colombia and my frequent visits prior to meeting my wife(Part of my family is from my wife's city).
- Where I live in the US.
She then said that everything looked good for the visa and congratulated me. She then directed me to the Domesa booth to arrange delivery.
You can no longer pick up your visa at the embassy under any circumstances. The applicant should not plan any travel until they have been approved and have made arrangements for visa delivery.
Your visa will be delivered by Domesa, a private courier company used by the embassy. You have a few options when it comes to delivery. The costs for delivery vary by method and location.
Option 1: Picking up your visa at a Domesa office
You can pick up your passport, visa and related documents at selected Domesa offices in Bogota and a limited number of other cities in Colombia. If you live outside of Bogota, do not assume that this option is available in your city. Even if you know of a Domesa office in your city, they may not be able to provide the service.
This is usually the fastest method, especially when picking up your documents at the Domesa office in Bogota. You can normally pick up your visa at the Bogota Domesa office in 3-4 business days. Other cities take a few more days.
Option 2: Having the visa delivered to your home
Domesa will deliver your passport, visa and related documents to your home if you live in certain Colombian cities. Again, do not assume that your city has passport delivery service just because Domesa provides general courier service to your city. This option normally takes 6 to 8 business days.
Optionless: When Option 1 and 2 aren't available
If Domesa does not provide passport delivery or pickup service in your city or town, you will have to pick it up in a city with a Domesa office that offers passport service or you will need to have it delivered to someone you know in a city with Domesa passport delivery service.
Contacting the Embassy
You may contact the Embassy's Immigrant Visa Unit to ask questions or discuss your case.
You may only call the Immigrant Visa Unit on Wednesdays between 2pm and 4pm Bogota time. The visa unit will not answer your calls at any other time or day.
Their phone number in Bogota is 315-1566. From the US it is 011-57-1-315-1566. Make sure to have your case number available if you have specific questions about your case.
You can email the Visa Unit at IVbogota@state.gov
They are normally prompt and will answer you in one or two days.
Useful Related Links
Bogota Embassy Immigrant Visa Section
This contains information about K-3 and other visas. You can also find appointment lists here.
This forum thread contains hundreds of pages of useful information for spouse and fiance visa applicants going through the Bogota embassy.
Colombia Club Guide & Tips
A collection of useful tips from the Colombia Club topic
We're Here for You!
NOTE: The above information does not address the specific requirements for any given case and is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.