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Colombia Implements Hotel Guest Immigration Tracking Program

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By JAVIER MANJARRES

During a recent trip to Bogota, Colombia, I went through the usual U.S. Immigration and Customs process leaving the United States, before having to go through the same process upon arriving in Colombia. You know, answering  the usual questions about, what is the purpose of my visit? Where will I be staying, and for how long?

But what really struck me as odd, and interesting at the same time, was when I went to check into my hotel shortly after my arrival.

As I checked in, the hotel owner, who just happened to be there, processed by reservation, and asked me to fill out and sign a special immigration register. I quickly asked her what this was for, and told her that I had never seen anything like this before, prompting her to explain that this was a new feature in Colombia’s immigration reform policy.


The hotel owner explained to me, as she confirmed by reservation matched my U.S. Passport information, that hotels are now asked to have their guests (foreign nationals or Colombian residents) to resubmit the same information that is requested upon their arrival at any customs checkpoint within the country.

How it works is simple. After the hotel’s immigration register is completed, the hotel then logs onto the country’s online immigration website and enters the hotel guests information. The hotel is required to keep a daily log of the guest’s comings and goings.

Colombian authorities then proceed to scrutinized and run the hotel guest through immigration “lists” or whatever the country uses to ‘vet’ individuals, for a second time. If a hotel guest(s) is flagged by the immigration system, authorities can, and have, go to the hotel and question, or in some cases, haul off any suspected guest(s) who may have outstanding warrants, or are being sought by any domestic or foreign policing agency.

Marco Rubio arriving in Miami after a 2012 trip to Cartagena, Colombia. Rubio's visit was made before the new immigration tracking policy was put in place/ The Shark Tank

Marco Rubio arriving in Miami after a 2012 trip to Cartagena, Colombia, pre-Colombian tracking policy./ The Shark Tank

Here is what the Colombian government’s official immigration and customs website says about the “Hostelero” program, and its requirements. (This is a Spanish to English translation the site provides)

Hosting Services: In hotels, pensions, hostels, residences, hostels and other establishments that provide the hosting service and camps in any form, are authorized to request identification presentation to foreigners for purposes of registration or service delivery and keep a daily log of foreigners with continuous numbering of entry and exit of the users of these services, which containing the following information: full names, nationality and identity, date of birth, gender, profession, place of origin, destination and arrival and departure. These establishments will report daily to the Special Administrative Unit Migration Colombia, the news about the entry and exit of foreign definitive means established for that purpose, subject to the revision that may be made ​​at any time the immigration authorities.

The owners or managers of real estate, estates, apartments, houses or properties for the hotel, who leased or serving lodging and camping in any form to foreigners, must inform the Special Administrative Unit Migration Colombia in writing or in the form provided for this.  Finally, within five (5) business days of having made the formal surrender of the property, for which you must enter the same information provided in the first paragraph of this Article.

The immigration authorities are empowered to exercise control of these facilities at any time.

Special Administrative Unit Migration Colombia regulate the information required in the preceding paragraph by administrative act. The owners, managers, charterers, forks and bailees of hotels, pensions, hostels, residences, apartment, farms, houses apartments and other service establishments providing lodging and camping in any form, provide information to the Special Administrative Unit Migration Colombia, on registration of Colombian citizens, when so required.-migracioncolombia.gov.co

Here is the scanned immigration registrar of the hotel I stayed at in Colombia.

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The fail-safe immigration plan of Colombia is a bit intrusive, but could be a necessary evil, as the country is still dealing with the Marxist Terrorists group, FARC, which is responsible for conducting numbers terrorist attacks within the country every year.

I don’t foresee a system like this to be implemented in the United States, but considering that the U.S. and its interests, are a constant target for foreign terrorists, a secondary line of defense like this could be a smart move down the line.

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About author

Javier Manjarres

As the managing editor of The Shark Tank, Javier was awarded the 2011 CPAC Blogger of the Year. Countless videos and articles from the Shark Tank have been featured on Fox News, The Hill, Wall Street Journal, and other national news publications. Javier has also appeared on Univision’s “Al Punto” and numerous radio shows, including being the weekly 92.5 Fox News' DayBreak with Drew Steele political contributor

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  • Lisa

    This is the best story I’ve ever read on your e-newsletter!! Thank you Javier. The U.S. should put something like this in place ASAP. Not to mention keeping up much better with our temporary residents, and what they are doing. (Such as getting welfare, but finding plane fare to travel to Chechnya, or where-ever it was, and learn bombmakng.)

  • Gloria

    Excellent story. I think if the U.S. enforced the law already on the books and allow the Border Patrol and DHS to do their jobs, we would have less of a problem. Our representatives are counting votes, not illegals.

  • http://www.titusvillepatriots.ning.com Don Forward

    I got use to this when I worked in Russia. Constantly having to check in as an expat at hotels. Only difference was it was all done by hand at that time.
    Venezuela didn’t make me feel much better and not nearly as organized as Colombia and Russia.

  • http://guyinism.com DirkJohanson

    There’s like a grand total of 25 foreigners in FARC, and I doubt many would be flying in since one can drive right into Colombia from Venezuela along the Caribbean without even passing through a border crossing, and can even enter without a border crossing through Panama if they are FARC-type mountain men material.

    I suspect that these measures have a lot more to do with of course the drug trade, but also with keeping track of American men and our capital flow. Millions of American men are looking forward to retiring or otherwise getting out of the dystopian feminist nightmare that is the contemporary United States for pinker pastures, or at least pastures where people still publicly say hello to each other and a regular guy isn’t the subject of constant criticism, mockery, and distain. And if there is one bad thing I can say about Colombia, a country I adore and which is one of the most highly-regarded of those pastures – is that perhaps more than any other country in the world, Colombia is the United States’ bitch.

    OK, there is actually another bad thing – almost complete absence of household automatic dishwashers – but the wealth disparity there ameliorates for that.

  • Jean

    Why would anyone think this is a good idea? Why are people so willing to give up their privacy, and provide to the government information that they have no good reason to ask for? The exchange of liberty for security is rarely worth it. I sincerely hope that none of you are under the impression that this will have the slightest impact on terrorism.

    What do you hope for next, a requirement to register your daily movements when you aren’t on vacation?

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  • FLMom98

    On a vacation to Paris in 1991, my husband and I had to register at the front desk of the hotel, showing them our passports. My parents were with us and my father said that this was an improvement – in 1957, when he stayed with my mom in a hotel in Italy, they had to surrender their passports to the front desk!

  • http://www.bogotaplazahotel.com bogotahotel

    Wow….that’s a very impressive idea, how i wish all countries must implement a policy like that.

  • Cathy Bernstein

    As someone who travels most of the year for business and have visited colombia countless times for business i have to say that i have never felt the hotels have ever been intrusive. As an American citizen i actually feel secure when this kind of practice is implemented, as a matter or fact i feel it is so irrelevant and miniscule compared to all the great things i would put my emphasis on when i write about my experience when i go to a country of such beauty and wonderful culture as Colombia. I actually have not heard anything negative from any of my colleagues who travel along with me. We are delighted by the timeless architecture, the welcoming people, the modern fashions. I consider Colombia a much safer place than a decade ago when the civil war in the country was their main problem. Being that your name Javier manjarres comes from the latin origin i am intrigued as to why you emphasize your only subject about your recent trip as ssomething mostly negative. I am interested to know what is your nationality and how long was your stay.