El Dorado airport in Bogota, Colombia, has witnessed the arrival of African citizens in recent hours, who remain in the international transit area awaiting connections to El Salvador. This situation has highlighted the responsibility of airlines to ensure that each passenger complies with the corresponding immigration requirements.
The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Francisco Coy, emphasized that some passengers remain in the transit area for up to 24 hours, sometimes even longer, due to various factors, including the airlines’ lack of adherence to national immigration regulations.
Connecting flights bound for El Salvador
In response to this situation, a process is being initiated to ensure compliance with immigration provisions by the airlines, involving Colombia’s Migration Department in verifying the documents and requirements of transit passengers.
Coy underscored that less than 10% of passengers awaiting connections do not meet the requirements of the destination country, especially El Salvador, and these individuals are returned to their port of origin.
The relaxation in the application of rules and the overbooking of tickets by airlines has been cautioned by the Deputy Minister. This situation has led to more rigorous observation and verification by immigration authorities.
Regarding unaccompanied minors, a care protocol has been established by entities such as Colombia’s Migration Department, the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF), and the Civil Aviation Authority, in collaboration with airlines, to identify and assist these cases.
Resolution 3717 of 2023, which establishes the visa requirement for 27 nationalities in transit to a third country, includes 14 African nationalities. This regulation replaced Resolution 5488 of 2022, which required transit visas for 41 nationalities.
According to the Deputy Minister, historically, this group of nationalities has not generated a large volume of transit visa applications. However, the current situation has led to increased attention and verification of immigration requirements at the El Dorado airport.