SPRINGDALE -- The Colombian consulate in Houston will send a mobile office to The Jones Center in Springdale from April 14 through 16 to serve citizens of its country in this region, the consulate confirmed Tuesday.
"The consulate general in Houston is pleased to confirm the mobile consulate in Springdale," an email from the consulate said Tuesday. "This marks the very first mobile consulate in Arkansas, in which we know there is a significant number of Colombian nationals."
All procedures must be carried out by appointment, according to a statement from the consulate. Services offered will include issuing passports, citizenship cards, identity cards, consular cards, birth certificates, travel permits and authentication of copies of documents.
The consulate will set up an online link beginning March 29 to register for appointments, according to the announcement.
"We've been working on this for years," said Diana Gill of Rogers, one of the Arkansans from Colombia who sought such a consulate visit. She estimated efforts to attract such a visit took "almost a decade."
The Houston consulate is 522 miles by road from Fayetteville, maps show. The mobile consulate hasn't come closer to Northwest Arkansas than Norman, Okla., in the past, Gill said.
Maps show Norman is 228 miles by road from Fayetteville. The consulate's schedule of mobile unit visits for this year shows no other stops coming closer to Northwest Arkansas than Tulsa, Okla., on Aug. 26 and 27.
Colombians seeking political asylum and students attending the University of Arkansas contribute to a growing Colombian population in the region, Gill said. Jobs ranging from executive positions in multinational companies such as Walmart to work at poultry processing plants make the region attractive also, Gill said.
The Colombian community in Northwest Arkansas now amounts to at least several hundred, she estimated.
On the web
Colombian consulate in Houston:
Website page with the schedule for mobile consulate visits: