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. Follow our guide to obtain a Colombia beneficiary visa, which is updated for 2023.
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, spouses and permanent companion children under 25 years of age or older, when they have a disability that prevents them from being economically independent, may apply for the beneficiary visa.
For example, if a foreigner receives a Migrant investor visa, his spouse, children (under age 25) become eligible for a Colombia beneficiary visa.
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 categories are eligible for beneficiary visas:
- Religious, to work in the exercise of a religious ministry, or to work as a missionary of a religious entity duly recognized by the Colombian State.
- Volunteer, To carry out volunteer work of a social or development cooperation nature. It may be granted to beneficiaries of its primary holder only when considered fully justified.
- Digital Nomad, for those working remotely from Colombia.
- Permanent Correspondent, To work in Colombia as a permanent press correspondent for a foreign media.
- Entrepreneurs FTA, To facilitate the mobility of entrepreneurs or business people in the application of commitments acquired by Colombia in the framework of Free Trade Agreements signed and in force with other States.
- Non-accredited officers, To serve as a commercial representative officer of a government of a foreign state or territory, or of a specialized government agency, on a mission that does not involve accreditation.
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 October 21, 2022.
New Visa Resolution Impacts
Has the visa process changed in Colombia due to the new Resolution 5477?
According to ExpatGroup, the visa agency we partnered with, tells us that with the new resolution, the government has introduced new application requirements, in addition to having eliminated some visas, such as the M student visa, and changed the category, for example, the R type visa for Colombian child, it is now M category.
The visa agency we partnered with has helped many foreigners obtain visas during the pandemic including retirement visas, marriage visas, student visas, investment visas and resident visas.
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.
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 student 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.
Documents Required for the Colombia Beneficiary Visa
Documents required for the beneficiary visa include:
- Photocopy of the first page of your passport with a minimum validity of six months 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 and cedula de extranjeria of the principal holder of which you wish to be a beneficiary.
- Authentic copy of the Act or Civil Registry certifying kinship or marital certificate 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 making 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 student visa. A visa agency can handle the online application.
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.
- Bilingual Team
- 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 47 months, 744 visas have been successfully received by clients including 10 beneficiary visas.
Also, our visa service renewed 112 American passports in Bogotá using our passport renewal service. In addition, 28 clients extended tourist visas using our tourist visa extension service.
So, in total we had 884 clients of the Medellin Guru visa service in 47 months.
In addition, many more visas are in process – short, medium or longer term, depending on client needs.
Use the Medellin Guru Visa Service
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.
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 Beneficiary 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 $1,160,000 COP per month in 2023. So, the fine is up to 8,120,000 COP pesos in 2023.
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.
Medellin Guru’s Comprehensive Visa and Passport Series
The Colombian visa changes that went into effect in mid-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:
- 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
- Popular Colombian Visas for Foreigners: Which Visa is the Most Popular?
- 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
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 were updated in 2022 to ensure they are up-to-date and are being updated again in 2023. In addition, all visa articles on this website will be kept up-to-date as new details are disclosed.
Use the Medellin Guru Insurance Service
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 first obtain a Migrant (M) or Resident (R) visa or a few types of Visitor (V) visa.
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 visa agency we partnered with has helped 644 Medellin Guru readers obtain visas including 5 beneficiary visas, over 600 other types of visas and U.S. passport renewals.
Use the Medellin Guru Visa Service
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 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 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.
Editors note: updated on February 14, 2022 with current 2022 information for the Colombia beneficiary visa and updated client information.
Editors note: updated on February 28, 2023 with updated information regarding new visa rules
I have a resident visa expiring in 2 years. Do you suggest applying for citizenship ot renewing the resident visa?
There are benefits to having citizenship. For example, once you become a dual citizen with Colombian citizenship, you will no longer need to deal with the hassle and cost with visas anymore. Also, you will be able to travel to some counties as a Colombian citizen without a visa such as Russia and Brazil, 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.
Thanks for this very helpful post about the beneficiary visa and I appreciate your visa series that is kept updated. Other blogs only have old visa posts from years ago that are completely worthless.
Yes this post is useful. And LOL at those clowns at the Medellin Living blog don’t update anything. Their student visa post is from 2010 and tourist visa post is from 2009. Everything on that site is so OLD and completely useless.
I have just learned that a beneficiary visa can affect future residency plans. For example, if someone is granted a beneficiary visa and in 2 years time they apply for a visa on their own, the 2 years spent as a beneficiary won’t be counted for a future residency visa application.
Yes, one downside of the beneficiary visa is that it doesn’t count towards a residency visa. But it’s a viable visa option for family members that don’t qualify for other visas.
Thanks Jeff, short and looks pretty straight forward.
Thanks this is very helpful. A friend asked me about visas for family yesterday so I passed it on to him.
Jeff, thanks for the information on waiving the written test for the over 65 “tercera edad” citizenship. I presently have the “M” migrant visa. To your knowledge, on this status, is there a limit on how many consecutive days can I remain outside of Colombia?
The limit with a M visa is 180 consecutive days outside of Colombia, similar to the old TP visas.
My husband and I would independently qualify for an M-11 visa. Would we save $282 by getting one of us a beneficiary visa? In other words, is the beneficiary visa free? Thanks!
Hi Liz, to my knowledge the beneficiary visa isn’t free. I didn’t see the cost online but will try to find out the cost and update the article.
I love medellinguru.com and have found it to be informative, fun to read and well researched. Keep up the great work!
I am retiring this month and will be drawing U.S. social security for the first time. I meet the the income
require ments for the Colombia retirement visa. If I choose to get this visa, how many days per calendar year am I required
to reside in Colombia.
Thanks in advance.
Hi Hank, thanks. With the retirement migrant visa you can leave Colombia up to 180 consecutive days without losing it. And no limit on how many trips you can make. There really isn’t a day requirement as to how many days in Colombia as long as your don’t leave for more than 180 consecutive days at a time.
Thanks very much !
If a couple applied for an migrant work visa and one was approved and the other denied for no reason, can the spouse with the approved visa apply or get a beneficiary visa for the other spouse
Yes, once one spouse has a visa the other spouse should be eligible for a beneficiary visa.
Hola – is the beneficiary visa holder still subject to the 180-day maximum outside the country? Or they are valid as long as the primary visa holder remains valid? Technically, they are not on their own but attached to the primary visa holder. (for example – their time not qualifying for anything else such as RE)
reason I ask is because due to school, my daughter can only come in the summer (annually)
I recommend asking a visa agency and there are several listed in the article.
I want to apply beneficiary visa for my parents. What is the fee for this type of visa?
Click on the blue “Use the Medellin Guru Visa Service” button in the article and on the right bottom side is a box where you can chat with the visa agency and ask questions.
I would like to know if I have the “M” can my sister be the beneficiary? She is 22.
As it says in the article, 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 are eligible for a beneficiary visa. Click in the blue “Use the Medellin Guru Visa Service” button in the article and you can ask the visa agency using the chat at the bottom right.
we have completed our 180 days in Bogota, wherein my husband got extension under temporary assignment for another 180 days, me and mu daughter stuck with tourist visa .. is there any possibility to avoid travel back alone to get another visa?
I recommend asking the visa agency we partnered with – click on https://visasincolombia.com/ and there is a chat at the bottom right.
Thanks so much for this post. I have an M visa and am getting a beneficiary visa for my husband. Does the beneficiary visa have any restrictions? For example, can one work, study, etc. with it?
It says in the article, “holders of a beneficiary visa are not permitted to work in Colombia.” But may be able to study – check with the visa agency we partnered with here – https://visasincolombia.com/. There is a chat at the bottom right of the page.
Hi Jeff, thanks for all the info. My husband, who is american and already living in Colombia (he has cedula de extranjeria) wants to bring his mom from the States as she is there living by herself and sick. She´s 81. Can he ask for her, sponsor her? Thanks for any info you can provide! Have a great night.
Everything I’ve read here and elsewhere still leaves me with a question about the beneficiary visa. In our situation, it’s clear that I would apply for M-11, and once granted my spouse can apply for the beneficiary visa. But, it’s not clear how her mother, who is an invalid, would apply for the same. Under my M-11 or … what?
See our article about the beneficiary visa that answers your question – https://medellinguru.com/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.
Had already read that article, but “their parents” is ambiguous, which is why I was asking for clarification. My spouse’s mother I would not consider “my” parent. So, thanks.
You can ask the visa agency we partnered with – click on this link – https://expatgroup.co/english/visasincolombia/ and there is a chat at the bottom right of the page.