Thursday, July 22, 2010
One Family´s Return Trip: El Dorado Airport
NO matter how many times I have flown into Bogotá, I always forget what a nightmare it is to get through immigration and customs. The night that we arrived 5 planes had arrived within 20 minutes and the line to go through immigration stretched the entire length of the corridor. So, I am going to give you the low down on making it through immigration as quickly as possible.
1. There are 4 lines. If you have children under 6, you can go through immigration quicker by going to the far left and walking past everyone until you get to the end of the shorter line. Here is a picture those are my boys walking past everyone. (There are bathrooms on the left near the front of the line, if you need them. I am happy to report that this time there were toilet seats and toilet paper.)
2. You will eventually make it to the front of the line. Make sure to have your passports ready. You will give them to the person at the booth marked DAS. Here is a tip based on our experience. There has been a lot of conversation about children that were adopted in Colombia entering Colombia on a foreign passport -- ie US passport. I can report that when presented with our son´s US passport -- which states he was born in Colombia--the DAS official asked for his Colombian passport -- so I am glad we brought it. He we are talking with the DAS official. I might add that you should not take pictures there as I learned upon taking this one. If you have an older US passport, they will direct you to wait in another line because their machines cannot read the old ones --learned this the hard way.
3. Proceed to get your suitcases. The signs may or may not be right. We arrived on Continental from Houston -- not American from Miami, but our cases were spinning here.
4. While one person gets the luggage, the other should take the passports to this booth that is in the same room as the luggage. Give your passports to the officer behind the window and you will not have to pay the exit tax when you leave the country. This only applies if you stay less than 60 days in Colombia.
5. Now you will go through customs -- DIAN. Here you present that paper you filled out on the plane. Then, they touch a button, if it is green, you can leave. If it is red, then you have to go through a more detailed inspection of what you are bringing into the country. In our case, we had to have our luggage x-rayed.
5. Then, you are free to leave. There are large crowds outside. If you want to take an authorized taxi, leave the airport to your right and look for the booth that says TAXIS AUTORIZADOS. There you will tell them where you are going and they will give you a paper that tells you the price. Then you get in line to take an authorized taxi. This should cost more than $8-10 US dollars.