After you have successfully received a Colombian visa, you have a maximum of 15 calendar days to register your visa with Migración Colombia and apply for a Cedula de Extranjeria (Colombian ID for foreigners). We provide a 2021 update on how to obtain a cedula.
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. The only exception to going in person for an application is if you are applying for a duplicate Cedula de Extranjeria due to your cedula being stolen or lost.
Especially relevant, it is very important to register your Colombian visa within the 15 calendar days allotted time frame. If not in time, you can be liable for a big fine of up to seven times the minimum monthly salary in Colombia.
The minimum salary in Colombia is 908,526 pesos per month in 2021. So, the fine is up to 6,359,682 pesos in 2021. But this fine did not apply during the quarantine.
In addition, only visas of greater than a three-month duration need to be registered with Migración Colombia. And only visas of greater than a three-month duration require applying for a cedula. Shorter duration visas don’t need to be registered and don’t require a Colombian ID.
Once you have a Colombian cedula it will make your life easier in Colombia. Most banks in Colombia require one to open an account. In addition, having one will make it easier to open accounts for Internet, TV and landline and cellular phone services.
Furthermore, you can travel domestically in Colombia with just your cedula and can leave your passport at home.
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.
Foreigners who require any of the Migracion services, must fill out a Unique Form of Procedures online and attach the documents and other requirements.
Foreigners who require to carry out a procedure or service of those reactivated MUST MAKE AN APPOINTMENT ONLINE through the Migracion website. People who do not have an appointment will not be served at Migracion offices. No walk-ins are permitted.
How to Apply for a Cedula Extranjeria
Applying for a Colombian Cedula Extranjeria is a relatively straightforward process as follows:
1. Get your blood test to determine your blood type.
If you are in Medellín or Bogotá you could go to one of the best hospitals in Colombia or one of the many clinics found in each city. When I went for a blood test, I went to Clínica las Américas in Belén, which is the third best hospital in Medellín. I used to live within walking distance to this hospital. And it only took about 15 minutes to get my blood test showing my blood type.
If you previously had a Colombian cedula there is no need for a blood test as they already have your blood type from your previous cedula.
Also, some expats report you now don’t need a blood test if you know your blood type. But be aware, you need to be sure about your blood type as if you are unconscious they use your blood type on your cedula for any medical care.
2. Fill out an online application.
Migración Colombia has an online application for a cedula that is available in English or Spanish. In the past Migración Colombia used paper applications that were available in their offices.
This online application asks some basic information including some personal information, emergency contact information and foreigner registration information as seen in the following three screen shots.
3. Schedule an appointment at one of the Migración Colombia offices.
Before going to Migración Colombia, you must make an appointment. And this can be done online here.
You can find Migración Colombia offices in the 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 by regions is found here.
4. Go to the Migración Colombia office on your scheduled date with the following required documents:
- Your original passport with your original visa.
- Photocopy of your blood test showing your blood type if this is your first cedula.
- Photocopy of the data page from your passport.
- Photocopy of your visa.
The cost of the Cedula Extranjeria is currently 203,000 pesos ($57 USD). Or for Ecuadorians the cost is only $5 USD. You can pay this fee at the Migración Colombia office with a credit or debit card.
After applying, you can check online here to see if it is ready to be picked up.
My First Three Cedula Application Experiences
I applied for my first three Colombian visas myself over the past several years. After receiving each visa, I also applied for a cedula. Each cedula will be valid for the same duration as your Colombian visa.
In addition, when you renew, the new cedula will have the same number as your previous one.
The first three times I applied for a visa, I traveled to Bogotá. And after I received the visa in my passport I walked to the Migración Colombia office in Bogotá to apply for my cedula.
The Migración Colombia office in Bogotá is conveniently located within walking distance office from the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores office where you get your visa.
In Bogotá, the cedula application for me only took about an hour each time in the morning at the Migración Colombia office. So, it is possible to receive your visa and apply for a cedula in the same morning in Bogotá if you don’t run into problems.
You can apply for a cedula in Bogotá and request that it be sent to the Migration Colombia office another city. Note that it requires a letter to request this and make sure to have an extra copy.
The first three times I applied for a cedula, I was told that it would be ready in three days in the Bogotá office or if sent to Medellín it would take 7-10 days.
However, my experience was that two of my four cedulas took longer than this:
- My first cedula arrived in Medellín about three weeks after I applied in Bogotá.
- My second one was ready in the Bogotá Migración office three days after I applied.
- My third one arrived in Medellín after more than a month. This delay was due to problems Migración Colombia was having with the vendor they had outsourced cedula production to.
- My fourth cedula arrived in about 10 days after I applied in Medellín.
In addition, one problem I have found out is the number of my Cedula Extranjeria is the same as the number of a Colombian citizen’s Cedula Ciudadania who lives in Bogotá. This caused me problems when trying to sign up for some store rewards programs in Colombia as their systems don’t support both types of cedulas with the same number.
When you see the your cedula is ready online you have to go to pick it up. And bring your passport with you, as they will want to see your passport.
My experience in 2018 Getting a New Cedula
After receiving my fourth Colombian visa recently, a Colombia resident visa, I needed to also go to get my fourth cedula. I used the a visa agency for my resident visa. And after I received the visa they filled out the online cedula application for me and provided me with the paperwork needed for a cedula:
- One page proof of applying for the cedula online with a confirmation number.
- Photocopy of the data page from my passport.
- Photocopy of my visa.
I went to the Migración office in Medellín on a Friday without an appointment. I arrived at about 8 am and was finished a little after 10 am. So, it took a little over 2 hours. I had to wait for over 1.5 hours before seeing a Migración officer. I then turned in the paperwork, answered a few questions, paid 190,000 pesos for the cedula with a debit card and they took my photo and fingerprints. Also, note the price increased to 196,000 pesos in February 2019.
I started checking online daily after five days to see if my cedula was ready to be picked up. And after eight business days (10 calendar days) my cedula was ready to be picked up. Overall this was a very painless process.
How to Obtain a Duplicate Cedula de Extranjeria
If you Cedula de Extranjeria is stolen or lost, Migracion Colombia has a streamlined process for obtaining a duplicate cedula.
To obtain a duplicate Cedula de Extranjeria, go to the Migracion page to request a duplicate cedula. This website page asks for your cedula number. And after entering your cedula number you validate your name and enter your email address and the city in Colombia where you want to pick the duplicate cedula.
This website then goes to a payment page where you can print out a receipt to pay 196,000 pesos at Banco Occidente. Or you can pay online from a Colombian bank account.
I had my cedula stolen during a robbery in Laureles in January 2020. When I used this duplicate cedula process to obtain a duplicate cedula, I paid the same day at Banco Occidente. And I received an email from Migracion saying that the duplicate cedula would be ready to pick up in about three business days. A week later, I checked online and the duplicate cedula was ready to be picked up in five business days.
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
- 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
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 2020 to ensure they are up-to-date and are being updated again in 2021. In addition, all visa articles on this website will be kept up-to-date as new details are disclosed.
Using a Visa Agency for Visas
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 26 months, 374 visas were successfully received by clients.
Also, our visa service renewed 49 American passports in Bogotá using our passport renewal service and provided visa stamping service to 10 clients (getting the visa in a customer’s passport who applied for a visa himself before the pandemic). In addition, 28 clients extended tourist visas using our tourist visa extension service.
So, in total we had 461 clients of the Medellin Guru visa service in the first 26 months.
In addition, many more visas are in process – short, medium or longer term, depending on client needs.
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.
The Bottom Line: Receiving a Cedula Extranjeria
After you receive a Colombian visa the process to receive a Cedula Extranjeria is relatively easy with few documents required.
Once you have a cedula your life will become easier in Colombia. You will be able to open bank accounts in Colombia; apply for Internet, TV and phone services; start to establish a credit record in Colombia plus you can travel in Colombia with just your cedula and leave your passport at home.
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Editors note: updated on December 31, 2017 with the new 2018 Colombia minimum wage information.
Editors note: updated on August 16, 2018 with current cost of a cedula.
Editors note: updated on September 26, 2018 with Jeff’s recent experience in obtaining a new cedula.
Editors note: updated on January 1, 2019 with the new 2019 Colombia minimum wage information.
Editors note: updated on March 2, 2019 with the current cost of a Cedula Extranjeria.
Editors note: updated on July 11, 2019 to add that only visas that are valid for more than three months need to be registered with Migración Colombia.
Editors note: updated on December 11, 2019 with new links to the Migracion website, as their website has changed.
Editors note: updated on January 27, 2020 with current 2020 information and added information about how to obtain a duplicate cedula if your cedula is stolen or lost.
Editors note: updated on March 30, 2020 with Colombian visa process changes due to coronavirus and the quarantines in Colombia.
Editors note: updated on September 19, 2020 with information that Migracion Colombia offices reopen on September 21 with services including obtaining cedulas.
Editors note: updated on January 26, 2021 with the current cost of the Cedula Extranjeria and updated other information so it is current.