We provide a comprehensive Colombia visa guide that shows how to get a Colombian visa with all the possible visa options and tips for getting a visa. This comprehensive Colombia visa guide is completely updated for 2023.
Colombia changed its visa rules in October 2022 and many posts found on the Internet still have old information about Colombian visas. So, on the Medellin Guru website we have an entire series of 20 articles about Colombia visas and passports that are being kept up-to-date and should answer most questions.
But even with our series of visa articles, we receive over 100 questions about Colombian visas monthly. As a result, we published this comprehensive Colombia visa guide with tips for getting a Colombian visa that should answer many visa questions.
Colombia Visa Guide: Colombian Visa Types
According to Resolucion 5477 (Resolution 5477), Colombia changed its visa rules. So, starting on October 21, 2022, Colombia officially changed its visa rules, now remember that in Colombia exists three categories:
- Visitor (V)
- Migrant (M)
- Resident (R)
There are currently 25 different types of visitor visas, in addition to 4 courtesy visitor visas such as the international agreement visa. Moreover, there are 14 different types of migrant visas and finally 4 types of resident visas.
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.
Colombia Visa Guide: Migrant (M) Visas
There are 14 different conditions (categories) of Colombian M visas:
- Be a permanent Colombian national’s spouse.
- For foreigners who have a common-law relationship with Colombian citizens.
- Be a Colombian national’s father or son by adoption.
- Be a Colombian national’s father or son by birth.
- Be a national of one of the States party to the “Agreement on Residence for nationals of Mercosur, Bolivia and Chile”.
- For nationals of any of the States party to the “Andean Migratory Statute”.
- Be recognized as a refugee in Colombia according to the current regulations.
- Have permanent employment in Colombia or long-term, by virtue of a labor relationship or contracting of services rendered with natural or legal person domiciled in Colombia.
- Have constituted or acquired participation in the capital stock in a commercial company valued at least 100 times the minimum monthly wage in Colombia.
- Have qualification or expertise to practice a profession independently. This is similar to the former TP-13 visa.
- Receive a pension for retirement or receive periodic income from a creditable legal source. A pension must be at least three times the minimum monthly wage in Colombia.
- For foreigners with a master’s degree, doctorate or postdoctoral training in basic or applied sciences, engineering, mathematics and related fields, whose profiles are in line with the priorities required by the country in its internationalization plans.
- Have registered foreign direct investment in Colombia for real estate valued at least 350 times the minimum monthly wage in Colombia.
- For foreigners who the Colombian State has granted stateless status.
More Details about Colombia M Visas
The biggest change for M visas compared to old TP visas is that many of the new M visas could be valid for up to three years. But a new change in Resolution 5477 is a requirement of Health Insurance for visas including the retirement visa that may limit the visa validity to one year.
Many Medellin Guru readers have asked about health insurance needed for visas. And the visa agency Medellin Guru partnered with has reviewed options and now offers a relatively inexpensive travel insurance policy that meets the health insurance requirement for Colombian visas.
Medellin Guru Insurance Service
Medellin Guru partnered with an insurance agent to offer Colombian insurance services to foreigners including health insurance, auto insurance, homeowners’ insurance, travel insurance and life insurance.
Migrant work visas can also be valid for a shorter duration than three years based on the length of employment contracts. Also, the business investment visa may be valid for a duration shorter than three years.
Some M visas will have an open work permit, which allows visa holders to carry out any lawful work activity in Colombia. So, if you have a marriage visa you can work in Colombia.
Also, the M work visa or practicing professional can work only for the position, entity or profession with which the visa was granted. And the M business investor visa can only work for the company in which the visa holder is a partner or shareholder.
Furthermore, if you leave Colombia for more than six consecutive months with a M visa, the visa expires and is no longer valid.
Colombia Visa Guide: Resident (R) Visas
The Colombia resident visa (R visa), which in Colombia is essentially the same as the previous RE (resident) visa. There are four categories of R visas according with the new Resolution 5477:
- Returning Colombian – In some cases, Colombians living in other countries were required to renounce their Colombian citizenship when becoming citizens of their adopted countries.
- Has held a M visa category continuously and uninterrupted for two, three, or five years, according to visa type. For example, if it is retirement, its needs five years, but if it is a marriage visa, only three.
- For Venezuelan citizens under the Temporary Protection Status for Venezuelan Migrants.
- For those foreigners who belong to the FARC-EP and who have completed the process of laying down their arms.
In addition, if you leave Colombia for more than two years with an R visa, the visa expires and is no longer valid.
Colombia Visa Guide: Visitor (V) Visas
The Colombian visitor visa (V visa) can be granted for 25 different activities as follows:
- Carry out direct transit in one of the airports of Colombia and destined to a third country.
- Visit Colombia for leisure, tourism or cultural interest purposes.
- Conduct business management, including: business negotiations, market studies, plans or procedures of direct investment and constitution of commercial society, negotiation, conclusion of contracts or commercial representation.
- Participate in an academic exchange program, advance training in art or trade, or undertake different studies such as Spanish classes or in a primary, secondary or undergraduate higher education program.
- Attend medical consultation, intervention or treatment.
- Carry out administrative and/or judicial proceedings before entities or authorities in Colombia.
- Enter and work in Colombian jurisdictional waters as a boat crew member or offshore platform.
- To carry out seasonal agricultural work under programs established by the government.
- Participate in an event as a lecturer, exhibitor, artist, athlete, jury, contestant or logistical staff.
- To work in a religious ministry or as a missionary of a spiritual entity duly recognized by the Colombian State.
- To enter and remain in the country as a volunteer or student in religious training or to conduct theological studies in an institute or church organization.
- Volunteer in development cooperation projects or in the promotion and protection of human rights.
- Perform audiovisual production or digital content.
- Working remotely for foreign companies from Colombia.
- Perform journalistic coverage or stay temporarily as a foreign media correspondent.
- To work in Colombia as a permanent press correspondent for a foreign media.
- To provide technical assistance to a legal entity in Colombia.
- Hold a position in a Colombian branch of a company with a presence abroad, by virtue of inter-corporate transfer of personnel.
- Coming as a foreign government official or foreign government trade representative, on a mission that does not imply accreditation to the Colombian government.
- Visit Colombia under holiday-work programs agreed by Colombia with other States through treaties in force.
- For internship activities in companies established in Colombia.
- To work temporarily in Colombia under a contract to render services, work, or labor.
- For productive, innovation or research activities oriented to the adoption or adaptation of technologies that complement or develop products, processes or services that contribute to strengthen the country’s competitiveness.
- For foreigners who receive a periodic and variable income from a creditable legal source.
- Cases and circumstances not provided for in Resolution 5477, on an exceptional basis and upon assessment by the Visa and Immigration Authority.
In addition, there are six additional categories of courtesy visas where a V visa may be issued. For example, one category of courtesy visa is for artistic, technical and foreign production personnel who enter Colombia for projects of production and filming of foreign cinematographic works.
A V visa may be valid for up to two years, considering the activity proposed by the foreigner.
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.
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.
Is a Lawyer Required for Visa Services in Colombia?
The simple answer is NO. 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 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.
We previously looked at visa agencies in Medellín and Colombia. You can find visa agencies in several cities in Colombia. For example, there are at least nine visa agencies in Medellín and at least four law firms offering visa services in Medellín.
What Visa Services are Offered?
Each of the visa agencies and law firms in Colombia generally offer similar Colombia visa packages that typically include:
- Virtual or in-person meeting with agency or law firm to discuss your visa application.
- Provide a list of documents required for your visa.
- Initial review of documents for your visa.
- Provide templates for some required documents.
- Review your visa application to ensure maximum probability of approval.
- Apply for your visa online.
- Visa registration and cedula application – assist with documents and schedule appointment with Migracion.
In addition, visa agencies provide additional services including translations and helping to get documents notarized and apostilled.
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 $160 to $2,000 depending on the company used.
- The government visa application fees vary depending on the type of visa. This is paid after your visa is approved.
- The government study fee is paid as part of the original application and is usually $54,92 for most visas.
- Translations are required for documentation needed for a visa that is in a language other than Spanish and you should use a translator certified by the Colombian government.
- 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.
- Apostilles are used to validate documents from other countries to be used in Colombia.
- Delivery services may be needed for your visa application to deliver documents needed for your visa application.
- There is a charge of 246,000 pesos for a cedula that is required after you receive your visa. We have a separate guide to obtaining a cedula.
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:
- Gather all the required documents including notarizations, apostilles and translations (if needed) – one day to four weeks.
- Submit the online visa application – most visa agencies do this within 24 hours after receiving all the required documents.
- Receive visa approval from the Colombian government – this can take one week, 30 days, or longer if an other documents are required.
- Register visa and apply for cedula – this should be done within 15 days.
- Receive cedula – this typically take 5 to 10 calendar days.
So, the total time to obtain a Colombian visa and cedula typically is from one to two months. But this can take longer, particularly for an expertise visa for professionals.
Colombia Visa Guide: Visa Tips
Here are several Colombian visa tips so you can avoid the common Colombian visa mistakes.
- Keep track of your time as a tourist. If you are in Colombia as a tourist you are limited to maximum of 180 days in a year as a tourist in Colombia.
- Register your Colombian visa and apply for a cedula within 15 calendar days. If you don’t register in time you are liable for a big fine.
- If you have a Colombian visa be careful that you don’t leave Colombia for too long. If you have a migrant visa (M visa) such as a retirement, work or marriage visa and are out of Colombia for a contiguous duration of more than six months without returning to Colombia, the visa expires and is no longer valid. And with a resident visa (R visa), if you are out of Colombia for a contiguous period of more than two years without returning to Colombia, the visa expires and is no longer valid.
- Use documents dated within three months for visa applications. Any document submitted with a Colombian visa application cannot be dated older than three months at the time of application.
- Get apostilles for documents from other countries. Any documents issued by a foreign country need an apostille to be used with a visa application in Colombia.
- Get official translations for documents not in Spanish. Documents submitted as part of a Colombian visa application that are not in Spanish need to be translated to Spanish for a Colombian visa application.
- Budget sufficient time to apply for and renew visas. Keep in mind that you need to apply for or renew a Colombian visa at least one or two months in advance. We recommend two months. And some types of visas like the expertise visa can take much more time.
- Don’t try to obtain a Colombian visa yourself in Colombia. While it is possible to apply yourself, if you use a visa agency you can have some peace of mind and benefit from the experience of an agency. The price for visa services can be as low as $232 USD. So, why do it yourself?
Using a Visa Agency to Obtain a Colombian Visa
It is possible to apply for a Colombian visa yourself online, 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 for my fourth Colombian visa I used a visa agency and found the process with a visa agency much easier than doing it myself.
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.
Several visa agencies I have talked indicated that some clients come to them after running into problems trying to apply for a Colombian visa themselves.
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.
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, 713 visas have been successfully received by clients:
So, in total we had 823 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.
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 Colombian Visa you normally 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.
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.
Due to being photographed and fingerprinted this must be done in-person at a Migración Colombia office.
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)
Be Careful of Out-of-Date Colombian Visa Articles on the Internet
Warning! There are many posts and articles in English found on the Internet with out-of-date information about Colombian visas.
Colombia completely changed its visa rules in October 2022 but there are still literally hundreds of posts and articles found on the Internet that still have old Colombian visa information.
Even some of the Colombian visa agencies have outdated information on their websites that cover the old TP visas. If a post or article talks about TP visas has completely out-of-date information.
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
- 9 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 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.
Medellin Guru Insurance Service
Medellin Guru partnered with an insurance agent to offer Colombian insurance services to foreigners including health insurance, auto insurance, homeowners’ insurance, travel insurance and life insurance.
The Bottom Line: The Ultimate Colombia Visa Guide – How to Get a Colombian Visa
Medellin Guru has received hundreds of visa questions over the past two years. So, we now have a comprehensive series of 20 up-to-date visa and passport articles including this Colombia visa guide that should answer most questions. Also, we partnered with a visa agency that can answer your visa questions.
The visa agency we partnered with has helped 823 Medellin Guru readers obtain Colombian visas, renew U.S. passports and obtain tourist visa extensions. Click on the blue button below and that will take you to a page of the visa agency where you can obtain a quote..
Colombia has many visa options for foreigners who wish to stay in Colombia for a longer period than the 180-day maximum per year as a tourist.
In addition, obtaining a Colombian visa is relatively easy with fewer documents required than many other countries. Also, the visa costs in Colombia are lower than in many other countries in Latin America. Furthermore, the Colombian visa process is streamlined with online applications and is relatively fast.
Medellin Guru Visa Service
The visa agency we partnered with has helped 800 Medellin Guru reader
Editors note: updated on June 30, 2023, with new images.