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 our 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.
Coronavirus Visa Impacts
Has the visa process changed in Colombia due to coronavirus?
Yes, the Colombian visa process had changed due to coronavirus and the quarantine in Colombia. Migracion Colombia offices were closed for over five months.
However, Migracion Colombia offices reopened on September 21 with a resumption of services. So, it is now possible to obtain tourist visa extensions and cedulas for foreigners.
On September 21, 2020, Migración Colombia reopened it offices in Colombia and restarted operations for the following services:
- Issuance of the Alien Identification Card Cédula de Extranjería and its duplicate,
- Foreign Registration for both minors and adults,
- Certificates of Migratory Movements,
- Certificate of Migratory Movements and Nationality,
- Safe conduct (Salvoconductos) SC-1 and SC-2,
- Temporary Permits of Stay (PTP) for extensions of stay in the national territory and a category change,
- PEP-FF – this is for Venezuelan citizens.
According to ExpatGroup, the visa agency we partnered with, they were still submitting visa applications online without issues and have been receiving visa approvals for over five months during the coronavirus pandemic.
How to Apply for a Colombia Beneficiary Visa
You can apply for a Colombia beneficiary 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.
After receiving the online visa approval, if doing this in Colombia, you need to travel to Bogotá to get the visa in your passport. Or if at another country you can get the visa put in your passport at a Colombian consulate.
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 normally open from 7:30 am until noon but is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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 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 offer services to courier your passport to Bogotá to get the visa put in your passport. So, you can avoid a trip to Bogotá. The cost of a visa service including the service to courier your passport to Bogotá can even be cheaper than the cost of a trip to Bogtoá.
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.
Documents Required for the Colombia Beneficiary Visa
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 visa 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.
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 Colombia 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.
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.
- Courier your passport to Bogotá to get the visa in your passport.
- Office in El Poblado in Medellín.
- Competitive price compared to other visa services.
The Medellin Guru visa service partnership was launched in March 2019. And in the first 19 months, 264 visas were successfully received by clients.
Also, our visa service provided visa stamping service to 10 clients (getting the visa in a customer’s passport who applied for a visa himself) and renewed 28 American passports in Bogotá using our passport renewal service. So, in total we had 302 clients of the Medellin Guru visa service in the first 19 months.
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, Skype, 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.
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)
A complete list of the Migración Colombia offices is found here. In addition, we have an up-to-date guide to applying for a Cedula Extranjeria in Colombia. Starting on September 21, Migración Colombia offices have reopened in Colombia. So, it again possible to obtain a Cedula de Extranjeria.
Medellin Guru’s Comprehensive Visa and Passport Series
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 articles include:
- Colombia Visa Guide: Ultimate Guide How to Get a Colombian Visa
- How to Obtain a Colombian Visa with Up-to-Date Info – an overview of all the Colombian visas
- Coronavirus Impacts on Colombian Visas and Tourist Visas
- Visa Agencies: A Guide to Visa Agencies in Medellín and Colombia
- 7 Common Colombian Visa Mistakes: How to Avoid Them
We have looked in detail at the seven most popular Colombian visas used by foreigners:
Also, we have looked in detail at three additional Colombian visas, which are less popular for foreigners:
- Rentista visa (annuity visa) – for foreigners with a fixed income
- Beneficiary visa – for relatives of visa holders
- Expertise visa – for professionals
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 were updated in early 2019 to ensure they are up-to-date and were updated multiple times in 2020. In addition, all visa articles on this website will be kept up-to-date as new details are disclosed.
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.
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Editors note: updated on March 30, 2020 with Colombian visa process changes due to coronavirus and the quarantines in Colombia.
Editors note: updated on April 8, 2020 to add information that the nationwide quarantine in Colombia has been extended to April 26.
Editors note: updated on April 21, 2020 with information that the national quarantine in Colombia has been extended to May 11 and international flights banned until the end of May.
Editors note: updated on May 6, 2020 with information that the national quarantine in Colombia has been extended to May 25.
Editors note: updated on May 20, 2020 with information that the national quarantine in Colombia has been extended to May 31 and that international flights will be restricted until August 31.
Editors note: updated on June 10, 2020 with information that the national quarantine in Colombia has been extended to June 30 and updated information about the Medellin Guru visa service.
Editors note: updated on July 8, 2020 with information that the national quarantine in Colombia has been extended to August 1.
Editors note: updated on July 29, 2020 with information that the national quarantine in Colombia has been extended to September 1.
Editors note: updated on September 6, 2020 with current information regarding the coronavirus impact on the Colombia beneficiary visa process.
Editors note: updated on September 22, 2020 with information that Migracion offices in Colombia reopened on September 21.