Sunday, October 1, 2023

Congress processes passports and visas for relatives of members of Congress

In addition to cars, gas and tickets, a congressman’s privileges include managing passports and American visas for spouses and children.

A congressional office completes the return process, which involves long lines and appointments for citizens, in just a few days. Each chamber has its own protocol office, which liaises with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In addition to processing the official passports that lawmakers are required to travel as part of their work, Congress processed 48 ordinary visas and passports for children, husbands and wives, La Silla Vacía found after an examination of legislative documents.

In total, including official passports, the House Protocol Office helped manage at least 217 U.S. passports and visas for lawmakers and their families during the legislative session that ended June 20 last year.

Passport and gringo visa for families

For citizens without legislative privilege, the Chancellery makes it possible to make an appointment to issue a passport every day at 5 p.m. On a good day, the platform arranges the appointment for the next day and in less than a week you can pick up the Vinotinto notebook.

But at around 5:10 p.m., the page, which is part of the Comprehensive Citizen Procedures System (Sitac), the platform that connects consular services around the world with the National Register in Bogotá, goes live after more than 20 years, it is a system that is outdated.

The difficulty of scheduling a passport appointment has become a perfect ecosystem for the growth of a parallel market that operates through social media ads. For a sum between 50,000 and 150,000 pesos, the appointment handlers manage to arrange an appointment for the customer.

However, the situation is different for senators and representatives, for whom the Foreign Ministry processes the documents upon request via the Senate or Chamber Protocol Office.

The chamber’s management report for the last legislative period – specifically between July 20, 2022 and June 13 of this year – talks about “the processing and support from the beginning until delivery of the visa and passport documents”, i.e. a total of 217 documents . The Senate administrative report did not provide a breakdown of information on individual members of Congress, but a total of 126 passports were processed in the Upper House Protocol Office.

According to La Silla’s review of information in the report, 18 regular passports and 30 U.S. visas were processed in the House of Representatives for the lawmakers’ relatives.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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