Once a foreigner receives a Migrant (M) or Resident (R) visa or a few types of Visitor (V) visa, some family members of this foreigner become eligible for a Colombia beneficiary visa.
The Colombia beneficiary visa is intended for foreigners who are economic dependents and family members of another foreigner who has a M or R visa or a few types of V visa.
Several questions have been received from readers of the Medellin Guru site about visas for relatives. So, we now cover the Colombia beneficiary visa.
As a general rule, members of the family of the main holder of a M, R or some V visas are eligible for a beneficiary visa include their spouse or permanent companion, their parents when economically dependent on them, their children under 25 years of age or older when they have a disability that prevents them from having economic independence.
For example, if a foreigner receives a Migrant investor visa, his spouse, children (under age 25) and economically dependent parents become eligible for a Colombia beneficiary visas.
All the M and R visas listed in this article about Colombia visas are eligible for being used to get beneficiary visas. Also, the Visitor (V) visas in the following four categories are eligible for beneficiary visas:
- Carry out newspaper coverage or remain temporarily as a foreign media correspondent.
- Provide temporary services to a natural or legal person in Colombia.
- Occupy a position in a Colombian office of a company with presence abroad, by virtue of intra-corporate personnel transfer.
- Come as a foreign government official or commercial representative of a foreign government, on a mission that does not imply accreditation before the Colombian government.
In addition, these Colombia beneficiary visas are relatively easy to get. But holders of a beneficiary visa are not permitted to work in Colombia.
Colombia changed its Colombian visa rules, which went into effect on December 15, 2017.
How to Apply for a Colombia Beneficiary Visa
You can apply for a Colombia beneficiary visa in-person in Bogotá. 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. Also, it’s done online. You can apply for a Colombia beneficiary 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.
Documents required for the beneficiary visa include:
- Photocopy of the first page of your valid passport where your personal data is displayed.
- Photocopy of the page of your passport with the last stamp of entry or departure of Colombia is located.
- If you’ve had a previous Colombian visa, a photocopy of this visa.
- Copy of the visa of the principal holder of which you wish to be a beneficiary.
- Authentic copy of the Act or Civil Registry certifying kinship, marital or family relationship with the main holder. If this is a foreign document it must be apostilled and include a Spanish language translation.
- Written communication signed by the principal via holder applying for the beneficiary visa and makes a declaration of dependence and economic responsibility for the expenses inherent to the trip and / or stay of the beneficiary in the national territory.
- Passport style face photo with a white background, sized at 3 cm width X 4 cm height, maximum size of 300 kb jpg file for online application.
After applying and after receiving the online visa approval, if doing this in Colombia, you need to travel to Bogotá to get the visa in your passport.
Visas in Colombia are issued at the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores office in Bogotá. This is located at Avenida 19 # 98-03, Torre 100 Building, 3rd Floor. It’s open from 7:30 am until noon.
I successfully obtained three different Colombian visas on my own good for a period of five years. Also, I found the process relatively straightforward without much documentation required. But to obtain a resident visa in 2018, I used the services of a visa agency. So, I didn’t have to travel to Bogotá.
Using a Visa Agency for a Colombia Beneficiary Visa
If you are in Colombia and not located in Bogotá and you don’t want to travel you can use a visa agency to obtain a Colombian beneficiary visa. A visa agency can handle the online application. And it will courier your passport to Bogotá to get the visa in your passport.
You can find visa agencies in several cities in Colombia. For example, there are at least five visa agencies in Medellín:
- Intercol Trámites Internacionales
- Visas y Trámites Internacionales
- Extranjería & Migración en Colombia
Also, some other cities in Colombia have visa agencies. For example, Visas Americanas has offices in Bogotá, Cali and Pereira. Furthermore, in Cali there is Cali Capital and in Bogotá there is Migracol.
Getting a Colombian Cedula
After you have successfully received your Colombia beneficiary 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 resident 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 828,116 pesos per month in 2019. So, the fine is up to 5,796,812 pesos in 2019.
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)
The Bottom Line: Obtaining a Colombia Beneficiary Visa
Colombia’s beneficiary visa is relatively easy to get with few documents needed. But the beneficiary visa requires a relative to obtain a Migrant (M) or Resident (R) visa or a few types of Visitor (V) visa first.
The visa costs in Colombia are lower than in many other countries in Latin America. Also, the Colombian visa process is streamlined with online applications and is relatively fast.
The Colombian visa changes that went into effect in mid-December 2017 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 visa articles include:
- How to Obtain a Colombian Visa with Up-to-Date Info
- How to Obtain a Colombia Retirement Visa
- How to Obtain a Colombia Marriage Visa
- How to Obtain a Colombia Student Visa
- How to Obtain a Colombia Work Visa
- How to Obtain a Colombia Investment Visa
- How to Obtain a Colombia Resident Visa
- How to Obtain a Colombia Beneficiary Visa for Relatives
- How to Apply for a Cedula Extranjeria in Colombia
- Tourist Visas and How to Extend a Tourist Visa in Medellín
Also, all of our Colombia visa articles were updated in early 2019 to ensure they are up-to-date. In addition, all visa articles on this website will be kept up-to-date as new details are disclosed.
Sign up for the Free Medellin Guru Newsletter – You can see all of the previous Medellin Guru weekly email newsletters and sign up here.
Editors note: updated on August 18, 2018 to add the Extranjería & Migración en Colombia visa agency located in Medellín.
Editors note: updated on January 2, 2019 with the new 2019 Colombia minimum wage information. Also, added the Expatgroup.co visa agency.
Editors note: updated on January 16, 2019 to add the Migracol visa agency in Bogotá.