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.
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.
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.
Use the Medellin Guru Insurance Service
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.
Use the Expatgroup US Apostille Service
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.
Use the Medellin Guru Visa Service
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:
Also, our visa service renewed 67 American passports in Bogotá using our passport renewal service. In addition, 43 clients extended tourist visas using our tourist visa extension service.
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.
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 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)
A complete list of the Migración Colombia offices is found here. In addition, we have a guide to applying for a Cedula Extranjeria in Colombia.
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
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.
Use the Medellin Guru Insurance Service
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.
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..
Use the Medellin Guru Visa Service
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.
Editors note: updated on January 17, 2020 with current information and updated the income and investment requirements for visas in the flowchart in the article, which have changed in 2020 with a new minimum wage and the current exchange rate.
Editors note: updated on March 17, 2020 with impacts of coronavirus on the Colombian visa process and updated the flowchart in the article to use the current exchange rate.
Editors note: updated on March 19, 2020 to add that President Iván Duque, announced that starting on March 23 the arrival of international travelers to Colombia will be suspended for a period of 30 days – this includes all Colombians and foreign residents.
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 7, 2020 with income and investment requirements for visas in the flowchart in the article, which have changed due to the current exchange rate and updated other information in the article so it is current.
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 22, 2020 with information that Migracion offices in Colombia reopened on September 21.
Editors note: updated on October 7, 2020 with income and investment requirements for visas in the flowchart in the article, which have changed due to the current exchange rate and updated other information in the article so it is current.
Editors note: updated on November 11, 2020 with income and investment requirements for visas in the flowchart in the article, which have changed due to the current exchange rate and updated other information in the article so it is current.
Editors note: updated on January 3, 2021 with the updated income requirement for the Colombian visas based on the new minimum wage in 2021 in Colombia and the current exchange rate.
Editors note: updated on march 8, 2022 with current information regarding new visa rules.
Wow, thanks for the visa guide and I like the flowchart. I agree there are so many old Colombia visa posts on the Internet. Thanks for the hard work with all the up to date information about visas your site provides. Your site should be required reading for anyone considering moving to Colombia.
I wanted to share my experience. I had lived on tourist an student visa. I decided it was time to get a M visa as a pensioner. I had decided to use a service and get it in Bogata. However, on a trip to the US a guy on the plane told me to go to the consulate in Los Angeles (I was visiting LA). I dropped in to the consulate. There were about 3 people in the lobby. The staff was very accommodating. They said I didnt need anything translated or apostiled, that I just needed to upload something that showed I had income. I went home and uploaded the documents. I went back down and paid the study and visa fees (around $300) and handed them my passport. They told me it would take 3 days to get it back. As I was driving home, I got an email saying my visa was ready. I turned around and got my visa the same day. I was sooo easy.
Thanks, I added getting a visa at a consulate to the tips in the article. I have heard from other expats that some consulates don’t require things to be translated or apostilled.
The last time I was at Migracion Colombia on 19A in Medellin there was a line of people snaking out the door and down the sidewalk; could have been 70 people. I had the feeling that they were Venezuelans because of their general appearance and because they had a lot of kids with them. There was an anxious look on their faces except for the kids who didn’t have a clue anything was wrong. As long as they were with their parents they were completely content. Scenes like that make me think.
Great flowchart and new consolidated article Jeff! Have shared the link. Will make it easier for people to understand the many options. Just one correction needed – for Investment visa, the qualifying amounts should be from HIGH to Low. (As it is now, everyone with 25K+ will get pointed to only M6 when M10 or RE is available at higher amounts)
Thanks for the suggestion! Will change the flowchart so the investment starts from higher to lower.
Flowchart is changed. Thanks again for the suggestion.
Warning about Alan Gongora from the Langon Colombia law firm. Alan posts all the time on Medellin Facebook groups guaranteeing the lowest price for visa services but this is bait and switch. Langon’s low priced visa service costs $125 but does not include a face to face meeting and doesn’t include sending your passport to Bogota for the visa stamping in your passport. So they up sell to a higher priced visa service that costs $279 which is more than double the price to include a face to face meeting and sending your passport for visa stamping in Bogota.
This is bait and switch marketing and is very unethical to me. Better to use a visa agency that is really lower priced and doesn’t use bait and switch.
Hi Charlie, thanks for your comment. We included in the article above about Langon’s complex pricing for visa services with information that they don’t include visa stamping services (sending your passport to Bogotá for the visa) in their low priced visa service.
My wife is Colombian and I am interested in getting citizenship one day. We live in the states but my job is seasonal and would allow me to enter Colombia fairly often but probably not stay more than 180 days consecutively. Can I get and maintain a spousal visa if I enter the country every 6 months but actually reside in the states? Or do you have to physically be there a certain amount of time?
Thank you for any info!
With a spousal visa you can enter and leave Colombia as many times as you want. The only limit is that if you leave Colombia for more than six months consecutively without returning to Colombia your visa loses its validity like any other migrant visa. See our marriage visa article for more details – https://medellinguru.com/marriage-visa/
Can an american get refugee status and stay in colombia for 2 years. Due to protests and coronavirus etc not sure if i can use this situation to stay in colombia for 1-2 years 🙂 or a waste of time . Maybe ill just do the colombian education visa.. but have my eye on refugee status …. love colombia.
A couple of things I am not too clear about. I currently have a TP-10 visa and will have to renew this in a while to either an M-1 visa or, possibly, a Resident visa.
First question. When should I make the application for the new visa? Should I do it before the old one expires? If so, how far ahead?
Second question, which may be more difficult. I am currently non-resident for tax purposes as I spend more than 182 days in a rolling 365 day period in another country. Of course, I pay tax in Colombia on my Colombia assets and income (terrible 35% rate but better than paying on my worldwide assets). Anyway, my question is – if I apply for a Residents visa next time, does that make me legally fiscally resident in Colombia and hence liable for tax on my worldwide income? (There are benefits in going for the Residents visa rather than the M-1 – it lasts longer and more time is allowed out of the country consecutively.)
Yes, you should apply for the new visa before the old one expires. You should do this more than a month in advance, as it takes a while. You become a tax resident and liable for filing taxes only if you are more than 183 days in Colombia.
Hi Jeff, another Jeff here,
This is something for which I can find almost no specific information for. I am leaving my government job (USA) early to retire before I can receive a pension. I can file for one in about 4 years, or wait about 7 years for a better one. During this interim period, I will have ample savings and investments to use for living expenses, but none are a official pension as such. The funds would simply be withdrawn by me as I need them. This does not appear to count for anything, except perhaps getting taxed! This seems to be a glaring hole in the retirement Visa for Colombia, as this does not appear to qualify for anything. Everyone I ask says consult a Colombian lawyer for this, and also consult a Colombian lawyer to find out what my tax liability will be in Colombia. My thought is to rent a 30-day Air bnb in Medellin while I seek out a lawyer to get this information regarding what Visas I qualify for (if any), and what my taxes would be. Afterwards, if I get good news and can stay in Colombia, I would then try different cities for 30 days at a pop to see where I would settle down. I’m looking at Medellin, Manizales, and Armenia primarily. I’ve been to Cartegena, Medellin, and Armenia previously. Do you have any additional advise for me? Thank you very much. (FYI – I do speak fair Spanish, but I’m not yet conversationally fluent for complicated matters).
I recommend meeting with a visa agency NOT a law firm regarding visas – the law firms have higher prices for visa – see our guide to visa agencies and we partnered with a visa agency with low pricing – https://medellinguru.com/visa-agencies-colombia/.
Also, regarding taxes, a lawyer isn’t the right resource as they won’t be as experience with taxes as an accountant. You should talk to a Colombian Public Accountant and we recommend Paula Cruz – email: email@example.com, Skype: cliping21.
Love your website.
Youtuber “How to Expat” released a video a couple weeks ago about upcoming drastic changes to the Pensionado Visa for Colombia. Have you heard anything about upcoming changes that may take effect in the next year?
Be careful of “How to Expat”, they frequently post things that are inaccurate or are poorly researched IMHO. Also, How to Expat services are VERY high priced (gringo-priced), you can easily find cheaper.
Doubtful there will be any major changes. I talked to three different visa agencies last week and all said that they are not expecting any major changes. And I have a meeting with a major law firm early next week and will ask them as well.
In addition, if anything changes we will update our visa articles as soon as we can confirm changes. We work hard to keep all our visa articles up-to-date.
How to Expat is just a couple of kids that have only be in Colombia for a short while. Do not trust anything from them.
Also their SNEAK PEEK services are ridiculously overpriced and a rip off.
I hate gringos that take advantage of other gringos.
We need to spread the word about how overpriced How to Expat really is.
Most of what they include in their packages you can easily find for Free or Cheap.
Give me a break $580 for a sneak peek service with a grocery tour, el centro tour, transport tour and 6 hours tour of many neighborhoods all over the metro so you only spend maybe 20 minutes in each, park arvi tour and visa consultation. What a rip off.
Thanks for the updated visa guide and really like the flowchart that is very helpful.
Jeff, I know we talked before about why there isn’t a “How to Renew” – because its simply apply for new visa, specifying that you already have one.
However, I heard from an investor that when his application got denied (long story) but here are the two consequences: If you get denied, you must wait 6 months before applying again. SInce his current visa expires in 2 months, he also lost his “5 year clock” for permanent.
You might want to verify that rule with Expat.co and add this warning to all articles
Thanks for the heads up. Will verify this and try to add to visa articles next week.
Hi Jeff, if a person has a migrant visa that has not expired but they have been out of the country for 1 year, does resolution 1296 provide a loophole to re-enter Colombia on a humanitarian flight given that the timeframes for early termination of visa have been suspended? Do you think it’s a blanket suspension or only those who have been outside of Colombia for less than 6 months prior to the start of the health emergency?
I had a question may not be related to this topic but hopefully you can help.
If a baby born abroad Colombia and one of the parents is Colombian citizen is the baby eligible to Colombian citizenship?
I recommend asking the visa agency we partnered with – click on this link – https://expatgroup.co/english/visasincolombia/
There is a chat at the bottom right where you can ask the visa agency questions during business hours.
Hi Jeff. When I was young in the US I committed a drug felony, not violent, but nevertheless stupid. Now 40 years later I have been an upstanding citizen and am looking at Panama, Colombia, and Belize as possible place to retire. Do you think it would be a problem obtaining a visa as a pensioner, Social Security and investment income, to retire in Colombia?
No problem in Colombia. They don’t do a criminal background check in Colombia but they do in Panama.
Jeff, Is there a possibility that my USA Medicare membership will qualify me as eligible for the five year visa or will I be obliged to secure Colombian coverage? I am aware that Medicare will not cover me in Colombia so I want to self insure here in Medellin and fly to Miami for Medicare if anything really expensive comes up. I’m in a position to pay my own medical bills while in Colombia owing to the fact that the cost of medical attention is so much lower than it is back home.
Until the recent changes in Colombian rules regarding insurance coverage for this visa I was on track, after 5 years of continuous residence, to become what I think is called a “permanent” resident. I contacted the Expat Group agency asking if Colombia would accept my USA coverage but they were not able to answer that particular question. They responded in a timely way and recommended that I take out the government subsidized EPS insurance, but I have the feeling that since this is a new immigration rule that my question has not come up before.
I’m over the age limit for the private health insurers so EPS could well be my only option if Colombia won’t accept the fact that I’m already covered in the States. I’ve been told by locals that EPS coverage is not nearly as reliable or as convenient as a private specialist so I’d rather just pay out of pocket for a private doctor. If you should come across any information about this please do post it.
Medicare in the U.S. does not provide coverage in other countries. The Colombian visas now require health insurance coverage in Colombia.
Resolution 1585 of June 26 allows foreigners outside the country to resume visa applications (done online), with consulates subject to local sanitary measures. (really only need to mail money order if not have Colombian bank account, and to receive the sticker in passport)
I appreciate all the useful information in this article. I have a question pertaining to Visa’s overall. Is there any particular visa that is more beneficial than others? For example, is a marriage visa better than an investment visa, or are they equal? I am married to a Colombian national, and we reside in the US. We are discussing retirement options, and are looking at purchasing a future retirement property in Medellin Colombia, where her family lives. This is the basis for my question. Keep up the excellent work with this very informative site Jeff.
Great site. Thanks for all the hard work.
I was wondering if you had come across anyone who has been unable to complete the Solicitar Visa form because an error occurs and their attached photo disappears?
In my case the Cancilleria say that the website is working fine, but no matter what I do I get a big red error telling me to contact the site admin.
Hello, Do Social Security Benefit letters have to be notarized , apostile or both. Does the US embassy in Bogota offer these services.Thank you
No, you can get a benefits verification letter from the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá. See our article about the Colombia retirement visa with details – https://medellinguru.com/retirement-visa/
Hi Jeff, is there a policy that states what the minimum number of days is one must stay in Colombia in order for a residence to be eligible for renewal? I know a residence visa isn’t necessary for short stays but I’ve already paid an agency and want to get the visa asap before I have to leave for a year in March, so I’m already set when I return. Is there any minimum stay time required in order to keep the visa active?
If you leave Colombia for a period of more than two years consecutively with an R visa without returning to Colombia, the R visa expires and is no longer valid. See our guide to the resident visa – https://medellinguru.com/resident-visa/
Jeff or another: I am a Patron. I am trying to submit a question on the Patron section but it is unclear to me where to do so. My question is this: For a tourist entering Colombia on a 90 day tourist visa, is it still possible to extend online for another 90 days without leaving the country? In view of the Covid situation, is this still possible?
Yes, you can extend online a tourist visa online – see our popular guide – https://medellinguru.com/tourist-visa/
I have a M Vis which expires 1/31/22 when should I start the renewal process?
At least a month before it expires – see our article about how long visa processing time is taking – https://medellinguru.com/how-long-to-get-a-colombian-visa/