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There are several visa agencies and law firms in Medellín and other cities in Colombia that offer visa services, helping foreigners obtain Colombian visas. We provide a guide to using the services of a visa agency and helpful tips to complete the application correctly from beginning to end.

This is a comprehensive overview of the rates and information about the Colombian visas available for different stay durations. To ensure a smooth process, we recommend a select few agencies that have proven their reliability and efficiency in assisting with visa applications.

The Colombia Visa Process

Colombia offers many different types of visas, which enable you to stay in Colombia for a year or more. We previously provided a guide to Colombian visas.

Colombia previously had three types of visas: temporary (TP), resident (RE) and business visas. Most expats living in Colombia before the visa changes in late 2022 had TP or RE visas.

According to Resolución 5477 (Resolution 5477) that came to effect on October 20, 2022, Colombia officially changed its visa classifications and now has three types of visas:

Visitor (V)

Migrant (M)

Resident (R)

There are currently 25 different categories of visitor visas, in addition to 4 courtesy visitor visas such as the international agreement visa. Moreover, there are 14 different categories of migrant visas and finally 4 categories of resident visas.

Most popular Colombian visas, 1089 Medellin Guru readers
Most popular Colombian visas, 1089 Medellin Guru readers

Is a Lawyer Required for Visa Services in Colombia?

In Colombia, a lawyer is not really needed for most visa services. The application forms are relatively straightforward and the process and documents required are pretty well-defined.

Lawyers are typically only needed in more complex immigration cases in Colombia. And lawyers are not really needed for most visas that are relatively straightforward like student, retirement, marriage or resident visas.

So, several visa agencies in Colombia exist that specialize in providing visa services at lower costs than the law firms in Colombia.

Medellin Guru Visa Service

The visa agency we partnered with has helped 1.330 Medellin Guru reader

You can apply for a Colombian visa online. In addition, you can obtain Colombian visas at Colombian consulates around the world. In the U.S., Colombia has consulates located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, Newark, New York, San Francisco and Washington DC.

After receiving the online visa approval, if doing this in Colombia, you previously needed to travel to Bogotá to get the visa in your passport but this is no longer required to to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Night view of Bogotá / Image by Santiago Boada.
Night view of Bogotá / Image by Santiago Boada.

Visa Agencies and Law Firms Offering Visa Services in Colombia

You can find visa agencies in various cities in Colombia. For instance, there are numerous visa agencies in Medellín, but we recommend just two, both offering virtual processes and bilingual assistance.

expatgroup.co is a visa agency in Medellín with an office located in El Poblado. This visa agency’s goal is to provide a portfolio of services tailored to foreigners who want to settle, invest, work, study and/or do business in Colombia.

expatgroup.co Meeting room in Medellín
expatgroup.co Meeting room in Medellín

expatgroup.co’s visa services are competitively priced and their website provides more functionality than the other visa agencies. The functionality includes chat, Spanish and English language and the ability to get online quotes for visa services.

InterCol is a visa agency in Medellín with an office in El Poblado, Medellín, that is located near to the Unicentro mall.  Intercol started operations in 2000.

Andrea Aristizabal Cuellar - CEO of InterCol
Andrea Aristizabal Cuellar - CEO of InterCol

They are a friendly, responsible, and flexible team of experienced and trustworthy professionals who can offer the peace of mind needed for contracting management services and establishing businesses in Colombia.

What Visa Services are Offered?

Each of the visa agencies and law firms in Colombia generally offer similar Colombia visa packages that typically include:

In addition, visa agencies provide additional services including translations and helping to get documents notarized and apostilled.

What are the Capabilities of the Visa Agencies and Law Firms

Each of the visa agencies and law firms offering visa services in Medellín and Colombia have different capabilities for their websites and also their internal systems and communications abilities

The following table summarizes the capabilities of each of the visa agencies and law firms for their visa services. All the visa agencies and law firms have phone, email and WhatsApp communications. But the capabilities of websites and other communications capabilities vary.

Current Pricing for Visa Services in Colombia

There is a wide range of pricing for visa services by the visa agencies and law firms in Colombia. In general, the visa agencies have lower prices than the law firms as seen in the following figure based on our survey.

Visa service prices based on Medellin Guru survey
Visa service prices based on Medellin Guru survey

We surveyed visa service prices using quotes from agencies and law firms. And we found a wide range of prices for visa services from $220 to $2,000 USD. The methodology we used in our survey was to get quotes using a “secret shopper” method. So, they didn’t know it was Medellin Guru.

Note that some agencies and law firms charge a different price depending on the type of visa. In this case we used the lowest priced visa in our chart above. For example, Expatgroup.co, the visa agency we partnered with, charges:

To compare apples to apples we compared prices for the same type of visa services including an in-person meeting. We found the law firms have the highest prices for visa services with some law firms even charging $1,000 to $2,000 for visa services.

Other Colombia Visa Fees

It is also important to understand that the fee paid to visa agencies for visa services is not the total cost of a Colombian visa. There are also fees paid to the Colombian Minsterio de Relacions Exteriores for the government visa application and government study fees, translation fees, notary fees, apostille fees, document fees and delivery charges. Fees for a visa typically include:

Visa service fee which is the fee paid to a visa agency or law firm for visa services. This can range from about $220 to $2,000 depending on the company used.

The government study fee is paid as part of the original application and is usually $54 for most visas.

The government visa application fees vary depending on the type of visa. This is paid after your visa is approved.

Colombia now requires health insurance when applying for visas. You can get it here.

 

Translations are required for documentation needed for a visa that is in a language other than Spanish and you should uses a translator certified by the Colombian government.

Apostilles are used to validate documents from other countries to be used in Colombia.

Notary fees are required for most visa applications. And notarizations are certifications by an official notary that verifies the identity of a person signing a document.

Delivery services may be needed for your visa application to deliver documents needed for your visa application.

There is a charge of 267,000 pesos for a cédula de extranjería (Foreing ID) that is required after you receive your visa. We have a separate guide to obtaining a cedula.

Goverment Visa Fees and Agency Fees

Approximately visa fees for a Colombian Digital Nomad Visa

The actual costs of visa agency fees can vary depending on type of visa and the choosed agency.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Colombian Visa and Cedula?

The time required to receive a Colombian visa varies. The following are some approximate times for the different steps in the visa process when using a visa agency:

We have another article with the time processing for Colombian visas

Applying for a visa
Applying for a Colombia visa

How to Apply for a Colombian Visa

You can apply for a Colombian visa online. In addition, you can obtain Colombian visas at Colombian consulates around the world. In the U.S., Colombia has consulates located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, Newark, New York, San Francisco and Washington DC.

The Colombian visa process is fairly easy as it’s done online. You can apply for a Colombia visa online here. This application will require scans of all required documents in PDF files plus the photo in jpg format. In addition, a detailed guide for applying online is found here.

Visas in Colombia are issued by the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores. Since the coronavirus, all visas are issued electronically, so you do not have to travel to Bogota for the stamp.

I successfully obtained three Colombian visas that I applied for my own in the past that were good for a total of five years. But the biggest challenge with doing a Colombian visa yourself is not benefiting from the experiences of a visa agency, which has processed hundreds of visas and knows exactly what is needed for each type of visa.

Also another big benefit of using a visa agency is that they help you gather all the information and documents necessary for the visa application. The cost of the service includes immigration advice, visa application, visa registration, and application for a foreigner identification card.

So, for my latest visa received in 2018, a Colombia resident visa, I used a visa agency. And I found the experience painless and now highly recommend using a visa service over doing a Colombia visa application yourself. The bottom line is with a visa agency you are less likely to run into problems and you can avoid a trip to Bogotá.

Medellin Guru Visa Service

The visa agency we partnered with has helped 1.330 Medellin Guru reader

Health Insurance is Now Required for Colombian Visas

Colombia requires health insurance when applying for Colombian visas, all visitor visas are mandatory, and some migrant visas, such as retirement visa.

Many Medellin Guru readers have asked about health insurance needed for visas. And the insurance agent we partnered offers a relatively inexpensive travel insurance policy from ASSIST CARD and Continental Assist that meets the health insurance requirement for Colombian visas.

Medellin Guru Insurance Service

The insurance agency we partnered with has helped 1.330 Medellin Guru readers

Using a Visa Agency for a Colombian Visa

If you are in Colombia, you can use a visa agency to obtain a Colombia visa. A visa agency can handle the online application and ensure you have the required paperwork.

Medellin Guru has partnered with what we believe is the best visa agency in Medellín to offer Colombia visa services. Features of this service include:

  • Online chat – get visa questions answered fast.
  • Online quotes – get immediate visa quotes.
  • Office in El Poblado in Medellín.
  • Competitive price compared to other visa services.
medellin guru visa service

Successfully Aproved Visas

1
after launching our partnership with expatgroup.co

 

Through this service we have helped

1
Medellin Guru readers with their immigration processes

Digital Nomad

0

Retirement

0

Marriage

0

Beneficiary

0

Permanent Partner

0

Investment

0

Student

0

Business

0

Resident

0

Tourism

0

Rentist

0

Work

0
98
American Passports Renewed
66
Tourism Stamp Extension

We reviewed all the Colombia visa agency services in Medellín and found one agency that offers a more efficient visa service with more features and more comprehensive communications including online chat, WhatsApp, videocall, email and phone plus a low price and a convenient office in El Poblado.

Our visa partnership is an affiliate relationship (like the Amazon affiliate program). If you use our visa partner, Medellin Guru receives a small commission and you support the website. This is at no additional cost to you. The price remains the same, whether you use a button or affiliate link on this website or not.

Furthermore, the visa agency we partnered with offers visa services anywhere in Colombia. So, if you are located in another city in Colombia you can use this service.

New entrance to Migracion Colombia in Medellín, on Calle 19A

Getting a Colombian Cedula

After you have successfully received your Colombian Visa you have a maximum of 15 calendar days to register your visa with Migración Colombia to get a Cedula de Extranjeria (Colombian ID for foreigners). Or if you received your visa at a consulate, you will have 15 calendar days after you arrive in Colombia to register your visa.

Due to being photographed and fingerprinted this must be done in-person at a Migración Colombia office.

Especially relevant, it is very important to register your Colombian visa within the allotted time frame. If not, you will be liable for a big fine of up to seven times the minimum monthly salary in Colombia. The minimum salary in Colombia is $1,300,000 COP per month in 2024. So, the fine is up to 9,100,000 COP pesos in 2024.

To register your visa and apply for a cedula this must be done at one of the Migración Colombia offices. You can find Migración Colombia offices in major cities in Colombia.

  • Barranquilla – Carrera 42 # 54-77, Barrio El Recreo
  • Bogotá – Calle 100 #11B-27
  • Cali – Avenida 3 norte # 50N-20
  • Cartagena – Carrera 20 B # 29-18, Barrio pie de la Popa
  • Medellín – Calle 19 #80A-40, Barrio Belén (the entrance is on the other side of the building on Calle 19A)

A complete list of the Migración Colombia offices is found here. In addition, we have a guide to applying for a Cedula Extranjeria in Colombia.

Dual citizenship is possible
Dual citizenship is possible

Dual Citizenship

After having an R visa for five years (or after having for two years if married to a Colombian) you can apply to become a citizen of Colombia. And you won’t have to give up your existing citizenship. Colombia permits dual-citizenship, as does the U.S. and many other countries.

Latin American and Caribbean nationals are eligible to apply for citizenship in Colombia after shorter time frames of only one year as a resident or two years if from Spain.

Once you become a dual citizen with Colombian citizenship, you will no longer need to deal with visas anymore. Also, you will be able to travel to a few countries as a Colombian citizen without a visa such as Russia, which require a visa for U.S. citizens.

To become a citizen, Colombia requires a citizenship test, just like the U.S. does. You will be required to pass a test related to Colombian history, geography and the constitution. Also, a basic Spanish oral test is required. Those who have a bachelor’s degree from a Colombian university or are over 65 years old are exempt from these tests.

Medellin Guru Guides

Download Safety Guide for US Citizens in Colombia we have created with helpful information about Medellín and Colombia.

Medellin Guru's Comprehensive Visa and Passport Series

The Colombian visa changes that went into effect in October 2022 were significant. So, on the Medellin Guru site, we have a comprehensive series of visa articles that are kept up-to-date and should answer most visa questions. These articles include:

We have looked in detail at the nine most popular Colombian visas used by foreigners:

  1. Digital Nomad Visa
  2. Retirement visa
  3. Marriage visa
  4. Investment visa
  5. Business Visa
  6. Resident visa
  7. Work visa
  8. Student visa
  9. Visitor visa

Also, we have looked in detail at three additional Colombian visas, which are less popular for foreigners:

In addition, we have a guide to Colombia tourist visas and how to extend a tourist visa. Also, we have a guide to renewing U.S. passports in Colombia and a guide to obtaining a Colombian passport.

Furthermore, we provide information about travel insurance that meets the insurance requirement for Colombian visas. And we have a guide to how apply for a cedula extranjeria in Colombia and a guide to using notaries in Medellín and Colombia. Finally, Medellin Guru has partnered with a visa agency to offer Colombia visa services.

All of our Colombia visa articles are up to date (2023) and constantly receive updates in 2024.

Obtaining a Colombian Visa
Obtaining a Colombian Visa

The Bottom Line: Visa Agencies - Using the Services of a Visa Agency in Colombia

If you are in Colombia you can use a visa agency or law firm to obtain a Colombian visa. A visa agency or law firm can handle the online visa application. And the visa agency or law firm will courier your passport to Bogotá to get the visa in your passport.

There is a wide range of prices for visa services. And in some cases, it can be difficult to find out the prices for visa services from visa agencies or law firms unless you become a client. But in general visa agencies have lower fees for visa services than law firms based on our survey of pricing.

In addition, we highly recommend using a visa service over doing a Colombia visa application yourself. The bottom line is with a visa agency or law firm you are less likely to run into problems. We found that over half of visa applications in Colombia do not have sufficient documentation when originally submitted. So, the Foreign Ministry asks for additional documentation making the process take more time.

Using a visa agency will help ensure your visa application has all the required documents.

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