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Emergency Assistance
 

Emergency Services

The Embassy encourages all U.S. citizens to have a copy of important phone numbers handy and/or pre-programmed into their phones. In an emergency, U.S. citizens may have to call for help themselves, as assistance from onlookers and passersby may not necessarily be forthcoming. __________________________________________________


Emergency Phone Numbers:

The following phone numbers are valid throughout Colombia.

Police / Fire / Medical Emergency: 123 

U.S. Embassy Bogota After Hours Emergency Hotline: (57) 1 275 2000

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Victims of Crime

If you are injured or are the victim of a crime, you should contact the police immediately to report the incident and request a police report. If you need an attorney, please refer to Attorneys in Colombia for a list of law firms. You are not required to report the crime to the U.S. Embassy, but if you choose to contact us, we can help explain the local criminal justice process and connect you to local and U.S.-based resources. We cannot investigate crimes, provide legal advice, or represent you in court. For detailed information on how we can help, please visit Travel.State.Gov.

Medical Emergencies

If you need medical assistance, please refer to the list of Colombia Medical Facilities and Doctors to find contact information for local doctors, dentists, and hospitals known to treat foreigners.  If you require ambulance transport to a hospital, please call 123.

Fire Emergencies and Traffic Accidents

In the case of a fire emergency or a traffic accident, please call 123. If you require medical attention, please call an ambulance at 123, and refer to our list of Colombia Medical Facilities and Doctors

Arrest and Detention

If you are detained by Colombian authorities, the Embassy will do all we can to assist. When the arrestee states his/her U.S. citizenship and requests notification to their U.S. consular representatives, Colombian authorities will inform U.S. Embassy Bogota of the detention of that American citizen without delay.  The Consular Officer will visit the arrestee as soon as possible after notification. The Embassy cannot act as your attorney. If you need an attorney, please refer Attorneys in Colombia for a list of law firms.

Destitution

If you need emergency financial assistance, the fastest and most efficient method for friends or family to send money internationally is via Western Union or MoneyGram.

  • Western Union has various locations throughout Colombia. The money transfer information is sent through the company's international computer network and the recipient can collect the funds a few minutes after the transaction is complete. Western Union charges a 0.5% service fee. Funds can be picked up in person, or delivered by courier to the recipient at the address provided by the sender. Please see their website here to find a location near you.
  • Similar to Western Union, MoneyGram transfers funds electronically through its network of over 50,000 international agents. However, unlike Western Union who charges a flat fee, MoneyGram’s fee is based on the origination and destination cities, amount of money sent, and the desired speed of transaction completion. Please see their website here for locations.

The U.S. Department of State can also assist relatives in the U.S. who wish to send money in an emergency, but this option is slower. Details below:

  • An OCS Trust can be used to send money to a U.S. citizen in an emergency financial situation. When one uses this service, a Department of State trust account is established in the recipient’s name in order to forward funds overseas. There is a $30 processing fee, and the person sending the funds must transfer the money to the Department of State via Western Union, bank wire, or cashier’s check. Upon receipt, the Department of State sends a telegram to the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad authorizing disbursement the next work day. The recipient must contact the Embassy or Consulate to arrange receipt; funds are normally disbursed in the foreign country’s currency and not in U.S. dollars. Depending on how the funds are transferred to the Department of State, it can take 3-10 business days to complete the transfer to the recipient overseas.

What if no one can send me money?

  • In certain cases, the U.S. Consulate may be able to help a needy American return home. However, applicants must meet strict criteria, and the Consulate must exhaust all other resources before the applicant would qualify for a loan. If a loan is disbursed, the applicant’s passport will be cancelled and they will not be permitted to leave the U.S. again until they repay the full amount of their loan. Assistance will not be provided to pay existing debts, including medical bills.