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Immigration to Colombia

Immigration to Colombia has been historically low when compared to similar countries such as Venezuela, due to economic, social, and security issues linked mainly to the Colombian armed conflict. Colombia inherited from the Spanish Empire harsh rules against immigration, first in the Viceroyalty of New Granada and later in the Colombian Republic. The Constituent Assembly of Colombia and the subsequent reforms to the national constitution were much more open to the immigrants and the economic aperture. However naturalization of foreigners, with the exception of those children of Colombians born abroad, is still very difficult to acquire due to paperwork and bureaucracy. Immigration in Colombia is managed by the "Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad" (DAS).

Immigration by origin


The city of Cali has the largest Asian community because of the its proximity to the Pacific Coast, they also live around the nation in other cities such as Barranquilla, Bucaramanga, Bogota and Medellin, the DANE say the Chinese population is growing 10% every year.


About 3,000 North Americans arrived in Barranquilla during the late 19th century. By 1958, American immigrants comprised 10% of all immigrants living in Colombia. There are now between 30,000-40,000 United States citizens living in Colombia. The barrio El prado, Paraiso and some others were created by Americans, also schools and universities were built by American architects such as the Universidad del Norte, the American School and many more.


Many Arab immigrants have arrived in Colombia from Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine. The Arabs settled mostly in the northern coast, in cities such as Barranquilla, Cartagena, Santa Marta, and Maicao, where about 50% of the population have Arab ancestry. Gradually they began to settle inland too except for Antioquia).


Early Jewish settlers were converted Jews, known as Marranos, from Spain. In the years prior to World War II there was a second wave of Jewish immigrants fleeing persecution from the Nazis. Most Colombian Jews live in Barranquilla, Medellin, Bogota, and Cali. There are only nine synagogues throughout the entire country.


Gypsies came during colonial times, often forced by the Spanish to move to South America. Gypsies also came during World War I and World War II. Most of them settled in the metropolitan area of Barranquilla.


Besides the descendants of the conquistadores, who mixed with the indigenous peoples, there was a wave of Spanish immigrants fleeing persecution from the Franquistas during and after the Spanish Civil War.


The Italian immigrant population in Colombia, is mostly in cities such as Cartagena, Bogota and Medellin where the largest community lives.


In the 19th century, Germans arrived in Santander. Many German groups arrived in Colombia after World War I and more after World War II. Because of anti-immigration measures by the government, immigration ceased somewhat after 1939.


The Venezuelan population in Colombia is increasing, due to political instability and crime. Large populations of Venezuelans are found in Bogota, Cali, Medellin, Bucaramanga, and Cucuta.


Being the first country in the Americas to offer full rights to citizens of African descent, many Africans settled here during the late 19th and early 20th century.

Numbers of people by nationality in Colombia

See also

Colombian diaspora

Emigration from Colombia

External links










Further reading

Massey, Douglas S., Arango, Joaquin, Graeme, Hugo, Kouaouci, Ali, Pellegrino, Adela and Taylor, J. Edward (2005), Worlds in Motion: Understanding International Migration at the End of the Millennium, New York: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-928276-5.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Immigration to Colombia

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