Colombian visa process changes – due to the coronavirus pandemic in Colombia and cancelled flights, Colombia made changes to its visa process for tourist visas and normal Colombian visas.
These Colombian visa process changes provide relief for tourists stranded in Colombia and also forgives penalties for being late for some Colombian visa activities.
We provide a guide to all the Colombia visa process changes due to the coronavirus crisis with a particular emphasis on:
- Tourists with a tourist visa/permit extension good for 180 days that are expired.
- Tourists with an expired tourist visa/permit good for 90 days needing a tourist visa/permit extension.
- Those who applied for a Colombian visa and were approved but were unable to register the visa or apply for a cedula due to the crisis.
- Those who want to apply for a Colombian visa or renew a visa.
- Those who are out of the country with a migrant (M) visa or resident (R) visa and exceed the time permitted outside the country but can’t return to Colombia due to the coronavirus pandemic and flights banned.
We have received over 250 questions from readers about Colombian visa process changes due to the coronavirus crisis. And this article provides answers to the most commonly asked questions.
EDITOR NOTE on September 21 – Migracion offices reopened on September 21 in Colombia. So, this article was updated. See our new article about Migracion offices reopening.
New Tourist Visa Extensions Were Temporarily Available in Colombia:
As of early April 2020, Migracion Colombia stopped issuing tourist visa/permit extensions, as their online system for applying to tourist visa extensions was taken offline and Migracion offices are still closed due to Colombia being under a health emergency due to the coronavirus until November 30.
When the national quarantine ended on September 1, some thought that Migracion offices would reopen but the offices are still closed. However, Migracion offices reopened on September 21 due to international flights resuming.
However, instead of a tourist visa extension, there are over 20 different types of Colombian visas and Colombia is still issuing visas even during the quarantine in Colombia. We have a comprehensive guide to Colombian visas.
Migracion Resolution No. 0918
Migracion in Colombia issued Resolución No. 0918 on March 19, 2020, which outlines changes to Colombia’s visa processes due to the impact of coronavirus and Colombia being under a nationwide quarantine until August 1.
The main feature of the resolution by Migracion in Colombia is as follows:
It is necessary to provisionally suspend the accounting of the time of said documents already issued, which will go until the term established by the National Government for the health emergency is complied with.
So, this means that starting on March 19 until some later date, accounting of time stops – essentially the clock stops on March 19 in some cases we cover below. Keep in mind this goes until a future date depending on what the government determines for the health emergency. Migracion offices did not open when the quarantine ended on September 1. The time is extended until September 21 when the clock restarted.
Tourists with a Tourist Visa Extension Good for 180 Days About to Expire
Under the new rules of Resolución No. 0918, the days between March 19, 2020 and other end date determined by the government will NOT count towards the number of days that you are allowed in Colombia under your current tourist visa/permit extension if you ALREADY have an extension for a total of 180 days.
The clock stopped on March 19 for those with a 180-day tourist extension. And we confirmed with Migracion that the clock restarts on September 21. However, Resolution 2223 is ambiguous about those with expired 180-day tourist visa extensions. It is possible you are limited to being in Colombia until the end of October.
The stoppage of time for the tourist visa extension also applies to anyone who requested a salvoconducto to stay in Colombia for 30 days under very limited circumstances (SC-2) such as for legal/administrative processes. Note this does not apply for anyone who requested a salvoconducto to apply for a visa prior to the current crisis.
Tourists with a 90-Day Tourist Visa Who Need a Tourist Visa Extension
For example, if you entered Colombia and they stamped a 90-day tourist permit on your passport, which expires on April 15, 2020, but you want to stay longer for 180 days due to difficulty in getting flights to leave or not wanting to leave.
In the past, Migracion Colombia rejected tourist visa extensions if more than about 10 days before your tourist visa expires. But Migracion Colombia became swamped with tourist visa extensions, before the quarantine and will likely be swamped when they reopen. So, we recommend submitting two weeks or more in advance.
Once you apply, wait for an email from Migracion and make sure to look in your Spam folder. One reader reported she applied on March 19 and it took until March 27 to receive approval.
In addition, a few readers are reporting receiving an email from Migracion when Migracion stopped issuing tourist visas that says:
El documento del trámite registrado en línea se encuentra listo para ser entregado. Por favor preséntese en el centro facilitador de la ciudad de MEDELLÍN, ubicado en la dirección , donde quedo registrada su solicitud.
Unidad Administrativa Especial Migración Colombia
Essentially this email is saying, the document is ready to be delivered but need to go to a Migracion office. If you received an email like this, you are in limbo and need to wait until Migracion offices reopen. Other readers reported problems with online payments for a tourist visa extension before the quarantine.
In early April 2020, the Migracion online system for applying for tourist visa extensions was taken offline. So, Colombia was no longer issuing tourist visa extensions due to the online system being offline and Migracion offices being closed. e
However Migracion offices reopened on September 21. So, it is possible again to extend a Colombia tourist visa. Follow our tourist visa extension guide to easily extend your tourist visa.
Due to problems encountered by many foreigners when applying for a tourist visa extension, the visa agency we partnered with now offers a tourist visa extension service. The benefits of using this service when tourist visa extensions resume include:
- You benefit from the experience of the visa agency. They have done many tourist visa extensions and know exactly is required.
- The visa agency applies for the tourist visa extension for you. And the agency knows the process and how to avoid problems.
- The visa agency will pay for you online. So, you don’t run into problems with online payment.
Use the Medellin Guru Tourist Visa Extension Service
Applied for a Colombian Visa and Received Electronic Approval
If you were approved for a normal Colombian visa such as a retirement visa or marriage visa and received electronic approval but could not get the visa stamped in your passport, register the visa or apply for a cedula due to the current coronavirus crisis, you basically can do this when things return to normal without paying a penalty.
Technically you are normally required to get the visa stamped in your passport within 15 days and register your visa and apply for a cedula within 15 days or you would be liable for a fine.
But the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores office in Bogotá has been closed and also Migracion offices have been closed in Colombia until September 21 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Under Resolución No. 0918, the Colombian government with forgive any penalties and fees they would normally assess due to the coronavirus crisis.
Foreigners with a Migrant (M) Visa or Resident Visa Who Can’t Return to Colombia
Resolución 1296 of April 21, 2020 addresses foreigners with migrant (M) or resident (R) visas who can’t return to Colombia within the time permitted for being outside of Colombia.
A migrant (M) visa normally loses its validity if you are outside of Colombia more than six months at a time. And a resident (R) visa normally loses its validity if you are outside of Colombia more than two years at a time.
Resolución 1296 suspends the terms of early termination of visas due to absence from Colombia. This resolution suspends provisionally and until the Sanitary Emergency declared by the Ministry of Health, the counting the time of absence from Colombia, as a cause of termination of a M or R visa.
Want to Apply for a Colombian Visa or Renew a Colombian Visa
Colombian consulates around the world have reportedly stopped issuing Colombian visas, as the arrival of all international travelers to Colombia is currently suspended due to the coronavirus crisis. So, if you are in another country you can’t currently apply for a Colombian visa.
But if you are in Colombia you can still apply for a Colombian visa. Also, according to the visa agency we partnered with, they are still approving Colombian visas during the Colombia quarantine.
The visa agency we partnered with has helped many foreigners obtain visas during the quarantine and coronavirus pandemic including work visas, retirement visas, marriage visas, student visas, investment visas, resident visas and expertise visas.
However, one thing has changed with Colombia visa application process due to coronavirus and the quarantine in Colombia. Some visas such as a marriage visa may require an interview. In the past, such interviews were conducted at the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores office in Bogotá.
But this office in Bogotá is now closed due to the quarantine. So, interviews for visas are now conducted remotely via Skype. If you need an interview for a Colombian visa during the coronavirus crisis, there is now no need to travel to Bogotá.
In addition, as we discussed in the previous section, once you get approval for a visa application or renewal, you need to get the visa stamped in your passport and register the visa and apply for a cedula. You can now register visas and obtain a cedula with Migracion offices reopening on September 21
Now that Migracion has re-opened you can take care of these things and the Colombian government with forgive any penalties and fees they would normally assess.
Using a Visa Agency to Apply for a Colombian Visa
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 plus I avoided a trip to Bogotá.
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 offer services to courier your passport to Bogotá to get the visa put in your passport. So, you can avoid a trip to Bogotá. The cost of a visa service including the service to courier your passport to Bogotá can be cheaper than the cost of a trip to Bogotá.
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.
- 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 32 months, 492 visas have been successfully received by clients:
Also, our visa service renewed 56 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 586 clients of the Medellin Guru visa service in 32 months.
In addition, many more visas are in process – short, medium or longer term, depending on client needs.
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
Also, 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 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.
The Bottom Line: Colombian Visa Process Changes – Due to Quarantine and Coronavirus
The coronavirus crisis and Colombia’s response including closing borders, banning international flights and a national Colombia quarantine have made things difficult for tourists visiting Colombia and for some foreigners wanting to obtain visas to stay longer.
Migracion in Colombia has recognized these difficulties and responded with reasonable Colombian visa process changes that include permitting tourists here in Colombia.
The bottom line is that normal visas are still be approved in Colombia. The visa agency we partnered with has helped many foreigners obtain visas during the coronavirus pandemic including retirement visas, marriage visas, student visas, work visas, investment visas, resident visas and expertise visas.
The Colombian visa process changes also recognize that if you obtain approval for a Colombian visa, you coudn’t register the visa and apply for a cedula in the required timeframe during this crisis. So, the Colombian government with forgive any penalties and fees they would normally assess.
In addition, if an interview is needed for your Colombian visa application, this interview is now done remotely via Skype. So, there is no need to travel to Bogotá, which was impossible during the Colombia quarantine .
Migracion offices have been closed for over five months but they reopend on September 21. So, if you are a tourist with an expired 90-day tourist visa. you can now obtain a tourist visa extension. But you must do this before the end of October.
Also, if you have a 180-day expired tourist visa extension, you should start looking to make plans to leave Colombia.
Furthermore, if you were unable to obtain a cedula during the coronavirus pandemic, you can now obtain a cedula.
We expect that Migracion offices will soon become busy. Migracion now requires appointments, so there won’t be waiting in lines at offices with walk-ins.
Sign up for the Free Medellin Guru Newsletter – You can see all of the previous Medellin Guru weekly email newsletters and sign up here.
Editors note: updated on April 4, 2020 with information that tourist visa/permit extensions are temporarily unavailable, as the online system for applying for tourist extensions is offline and Migracion offices are closed.
Editors note: updated on April 21, 2020 with information that the national quarantine in Colombia has been extended to May 11.
Editors note: updated on April 23, 2020 with information about Resolución 1296 of April 21 that suspends the terms of early termination of migrant (M) and resident (R) visas due to absence from Colombia.
Editors note: updated on May 6, 2020 with information that the national quarantine in Colombia has been extended to May 25.
Editors note: updated on May 20, 2020 with information that the national quarantine in Colombia has been extended to May 31 and that international flights will be restricted until August 31.
Editors note: updated on June 10, 2020 with information that the national quarantine in Colombia has been extended to June 30 and updated information about the Medellin Guru visa service.
Editors note: updated on June 24, 2020 with information that the national quarantine in Colombia has been extended to July 15.
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 4, 2020 with current information about the coronavirus impacts on the visa process.
Editors note: updated on September 21, 2020 with information that Migraction offices reopened in Colombia on September 21.
gracias Jeff for timely information
What about the 180-day out of country maximum for those who are UNABLE TO come back because Colombia borders closed as well as all flights cancelled? Havn’t been able to reach the attorney as they’re quarantined too.
Excellent question. I haven’t seen anything on this topic from Migracion. I will see what I can find out from our visa agency partner and their contacts.
I am in the same situation as GATO. Please let us know.
Many thanks!! :):)
I followed up with the visa agency we partnered with. The visa agency said the Colombian government has not yet said anything about this issue of a foreigner outside of Colombia with a M or R visa that can’t return within the time limit for their visa of being out of the county. But the visa agency believes the government will be flexible.
I hold a M (pension) visa. I may not be able to return to Colombia w/in the time limit and today filed a short petition in Spanish with the Cancilleria on their website requesting an extension of time limits. Other people who are similarly situated could do the same. At the bottom left of their home page is a link for suggestions, petitions, and requests. With what you have already learned Jeff, I do not anticipate any problem with visa cancellation in times of coronavirus. Btw, thanks Jeff for all your work over the years! It continues to be very helpful!
Yesterday I received an email with from the Cancilleria with attached .pdf of their April 21, 2020 Resolution 1296 which among other things suspends the accounting of the time limits of the validity of M and V visas for foreigners outside of Colombia for as long as the health order is in effect. Now we just need those airports to open!
George: I am having trouble finding a copy of that Resolution…and I am even looking for it in Spanish. Do you know where I can get a copy?
Here it is on the Cancilleria website but without the resolution number. https://www.cancilleria.gov.co/sites/default/files/FOTOS2020/por_la_cual_se_suspenden_algunos_terminos_en_los_tramites_de_visas_pasaportes_y_nacionalidad2.pdf
Gracias, George and Jeff!
Below is translation. It doesn’t exactly say when the clock stopped (as in previous resolution for Tourists), but sanitaria emergencia was declared March 6 and currently extended to May 30. so assume that timeframe is excluded.
Yes, I’m ready to go as soon as airports reopen. First flights will be humanitarian though, bring people home and tourists out. Copa (Panama) said yesterday planning that for May 23, and open June 1.
Article 4. Suspension of the terms of early termination of visas by
absence of national territory. Suspend provisionally and until
the Sanitary Emergency declared by the Ministry of Health, the
counting the time of absence from the national territory, as a cause of termination
advance of type M and R visas established in number 3 of article 66 of the
Resolution 6045 of 2017, for foreigners who are abroad and are
holders of such classes of visa in force at the time of issuance of this Resolution.
Thank you very much for the updates! I was wondering if since then more clarity is available around the “suspension” of the terms of early termination of M and R visas due to absence from Colombia? Does it mean that the time outside of Colombia during Sanitary Emergency doesn’t count towards the 6 month time limit of being outside Colombia? Would this then in theory mean that someone who left Colombia the day of the announcement of the Sanitary Emergency – could come back 6month post the Sanitary Emergency ending? Many thanks!
Yes, there is suspension until a date defined by the government. It could be earlier than the health emergency end in November possibly if they reopen the Migracion offices.
Do you know when the counting restarts for people on work visas who are currently outside Colombia, según Migracion Resolution No. 0918? I am assuming that with the extension of the health emergency to the end of November (Resolución 1462) then to counting starts dec 1. But now that international flights are resuming I am left a little confused. Is there any official word?
Thanks Jeff. Lots to digest. I am looking to obtain my Colombian citizenship this year. One passport, no more visas for me. I am tired of all this red tape. After 45 years of visas and stamps it is time for dual nationality. For those of us expats who hold permanent resident visas it is something well worth considering.
Is there any sign that the DIAN is going to adopt the same freeze arrangement? My concern remains that I may go over the 182 days and be deemed to be a tax resident of Colombia. As I am over 70, I am quarantined here until 31 May and there are no flights back to where I normally live.
Very good question Norman, I would like to know this too.
How much COP did you pay at the DIAN office at the airport last time when you left Colombia after 180 days? I can’t remember the amount.anymore, but it has always annoyed me that you can only pay there in cash, no cards accepted.
I’ve never done 180 days at a stretch. I’ve never been in Colombia more than 70 days in one go so I’ve never had to pay anything on departure. My worry is the cumulative maximum of 182 days in a 365 day period. Sorry I can’t help.
We are a five years permanent Resident Visa holders going on our third year, in which required us to visit Colombia at least once every 360 days. We are scheduled to arrive Medellin April 5, 2020 from US to meet the requirement. Due to border closer and airline blockage of international travel, hence we will violate the once every 360 days requirement. Could you tell us what we can do to remedy our situation and possible avoid disqualification for permanent resident application?
Thank you for any help and advise you can give.
Hi Kevin, several Medellin Guru readers have asked about this. I haven’t seen anything on this topic from Migracion. I will see what I can find out from our visa agency partner and their contacts.
Kevin, you mean “citizenship” application? 5 years on Permanent (RE), cannot be absent more than 1 year.
Otherwise RE allows no more than 2 years out of country.
I have Temporal visa, not only cannot be out more than 180 days, I am in 3rd year toward qualifying for the RE.
I hope we and others in such situations are not forced to start over on the 5 year clock!!!
I followed up with the visa agency we partnered with. The visa agency said the Colombian government has not yet said anything about this issue of a foreigner outside of Colombia with a M or R visa that can’t return within the time limit for their visa of being out of the county. But the visa agency believes the government will be flexible.
I have a working VISA that expires in mid-June. In this situation, would the time from March until May 30th be added onto my VISA as an extension?
Thanks for all of your insight, it’s very helpful!
No, the clock stopping (essentially an extension of time) is for tourists that already have a tourist visa/permit extension for a total of 180 days, since they can be trapped in Colombia with with no flight options to leave.
If you have Migrant visa like a work visa, you would have to renew it using the normal visa process. See our guide to the work visa – https://medellinguru.com/work-visa/
Hi Jeff, thanks very much for all your detailed research on this. One question if I may as I’m still not quite clear from your post: is the clock also stopped for those on 90 day tourist visas that have expired during the quarantine, or should we now apply for a 90 day extension?
I will also contact your recommended agency, thanks
Does anyone has info yet if the DIAN will follow the same policy as Migracion concerning their “freeze arrangement” ?
Any info much appreciated!
Hi Jeff, thanks for the info. I arrived in Colombia at the end of November 2019 and then left to Guatemala at the end of February 2020 – therefore i was in Colombia for approximately 60 days in 2020. I returned on the 10th March and received my 90 day stamp which will take me to the 10th June. Based on your post, from my understanding, I would not be covered by Resolución No. 0918 but I would still be able to apply for a visa extension of 30 days to the 10th July (taking me up to 180 days)?
If it reached this date and assuming there were still no flights. i expect the resolution would have already been extended and at this point I would then be covered for being in the country more than 180 days in the calendar year.
Have I understood that correctly? Cheers!
Hi Ed, yes, you will be able to get a tourist visa extension up to 180 days – see our popular guide to obtaining a tourist visa extension – https://medellinguru.com/tourist-visa/
We recommend doing this over 2 weeks before you current 90 day stamp expires.
If there still are no flights, Migracion will likely extend the resolution.
Hi Jeff, I just have a quick query regarding the 90 day tourist visa. I submitted all the documents for the 90 day extension on the 18th March. I never heard from them, so I contacted them towards the end of March and they told me I had to continue to wait. My 90 day tourist visa expired on 31st March, however, I thought I was covered by the resolution until 30th May, but having read your newsletter today, it would appear that I’m not. I’ve tried to view the status of my application online, but their server is down. I’ll try to contact migration in Santa Marta, but if you have any advice, that would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
You should contact Migracion. One reader took over a week and she contacted Migracion multiple times and finally received approval on Friday last week. Another reader applied in early March and didn’t receive approval for several weeks.
Thanks for the info and the write-up Jeff.
I’m wondering if in addition to the Migración Colombia offices being closed, they have now stopped working entirely?
I saw this release from them and it seems to suggest that they’ve frozen all visa processing for the time being: https://www.migracioncolombia.gov.co/noticias/260-marzo-2020/migracion-colombia-suspende-vigencia-de-sus-tramites-por-cuarentena
In this case, will those on the initial 90-day tourist entry stamps who are currently applying for online extensions (or at least those of us who managed to before their server collapsed/turned off) still be able to hold tight and wait for the processing so long as they have a case number, even if it means going over their expiry date?
No, Migracion is still working and approving tourist visa extensions. Several readers received tourist visa extensions last week during the quarantine. But some readers are reporting problems with the online system.
Hi Jeff, I arrived in Colombia in September 2019 and I applied for a 90 day extension in December 2019. I left Colombia in February 2020 and I went to Panama for one day. I returned to Colombia and I was given another 90 day tourist stamp visa which is due to run out at the end of May. This means it is not 180 days but about 173 days in 2020. Would I have to apply for visa extension for those 7 days and then after this would I be eligible for a further extension of the visa for the time between 19 March and 30th of May? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
My understanding is the extension of the visa for the time between 19 March and 30th only applies if you already have a tourist visa extension. To confirm with the visa agency we partnered with, you can click on a blue button in the article, that will bring up a page of the visa agency with a chat at the bottom right.
Great info. Thank you. Do you know if your readers who just got their 90-day tourist extension last week needed evidence of leaving the country? In the past it was required.
(I’m currently unable to access the system anyway…) Thanks!
Migracion was still approving tourist visa extensions during the first part of the quarantine.
But I talked with the visa agency we partnered with today and it appears that Migracion has gone dark with no official communications. And their online tourist visa extension system now appears to be offline with a “Service Unavailable” message – https://apps.migracioncolombia.gov.co/registro/public/formularioRegistro.jsf
As of early April 2020, apparently Migracion Colombia is no longer issuing tourist visa/permit extensions and their online applications system went offline. So, if you have a 90-day tourist visa you can no longer obtain a tourist visa extension.
What does this mean, if your 90-day tourist visa expires? Don’t worry, apparently time is provisionally suspended until May 30, 2020 or when international flights are enabled. But you will need to leave the country when international flights are available and you will no longer be able to obtain a tourist visa extension.
Jeff–I’m not seeing anything about the new visa process now requiring proof of hospital insurance equal to $100,000 in my own name (rather than through my spouse’s employment). Apparently they are concerned that someone will get COVID19, not have insurance, and drain the health system. I was rejected without it at the last minute because they didn’t like that I was listed as a “beneficiary”, even after submitting a letter from the insurance company (that I had to pay to have translated) that indicated that I had full hospitalization with no limits. To do this, I would have had to pay nearly a $1,000 annual insurance policy. They also asked for another photo even though my passport photo was brand new. I used Langdon as my attorney and they said they had never seen these types of issues before. Our current plan is to resubmit by again paying the $52 application fee and hope that we get a different response or at least have more time to respond. I was applying for a Residential Visa after having bought an apartment at the end of January. Have you heard of anyone else having had this experience?
See our article about the resident visa with the new health insurance requirement – https://medellinguru.com/resident-visa/.
The visa agency we partnered with has seen these types of things – https://medellinguru.com/medellin-guru-visa-services/
Hi there, thanks for your many helpful articles. I currently have 180 days, expiring in May, which means I have a lot more time now. It’s almost too good to be true, and I can’t seem to find the same information on the Migración website or anywhere else. Did you receive this info from your visa agency? 🙂
The information is from Migracion announced in Resolution No. 0918 on March 19, 2020, as it says in the article. If you have a tourist visa extension for 180 days, the days between March 19, 2020 and May 30, 2020 (or other end date determined by the government) will NOT count.
Jeff: Thanks but I didn’t see anywhere in the article about the new COVID19 process where a $100,000 health insurance requirement was added for a Resident Visa and further that it had to be done in my name. My US insurance through my spouse’s work, even after being translated into Spanish, indicating full unlimited hospital coverage, was not sufficient. My understanding is also that the insurance has to be for at least 1 year and that they generally won’t give visas for longer than the insurance, thus, for only one year. That was how they responded to my attorney and I was wondering if you are finding this true for all applications? My attorney is suggesting I simply reapply. Just wondering if I’m experiencing something unique.
We have the insurance requirement included in our article about the Colombia resident visa, see: https://medellinguru.com/resident-visa/
Insurance started being a requirement for visas before the quarantine so isn’t a process change due to the quarantine. We updated our articles about the different types of visas with this additional insurance requirement. And yes, the visa is granted for the length of the insurance coverage.
You don’t need a lawyer for visa services in Colombia. Visa agencies have more experience than law firms, as they do a higher volume of visa applications than law firms due to have a lower price – https://medellinguru.com/visa-agencies-colombia/.
Hi, I have a my 180 day visa extension approved until June 30, 2020. Am I reading it correctly from this article that given the circumstances I technically have an extra 28 days this year as March 19 to May 30th do not count? So my 180 days is extended until about July 28th? Thanks!
No, unless the end date determined by the government goes past June 30. The non-counting of time reportedly is if your 180-day extension expires during the period from March 19, 2020 and May 30, 2020 (or other end date determined by the government).
See our example – if expiring on April 15 and permits you to stay in Colombia for 180 days, no worries, you can stay longer than 180 days and past April 15.
In this example, what you do is calculate how many days you have from March 19 to April 15, which is 28 days (difference between March 19 and April 15 and including March 19). And when the clock starts again on May 30 (or other date determined by the government) you have 28 more days in Colombia.
What about if I’m on a 90-day tourist visa without an extension? I am an American citizen that left Colombia and returned right before the pandemic. My 90 won’t expire until the beginning of June. Will the days in quarantine still count against 180 for the year?
Does the visa extension pertain to student visa’s as well? For example if My student visa expires in June and we are still in Lockdown- can I overstay this visa?
Does not apply to visas if you are in Colombia. The visa process is still functioning and the visa agency we partnered with is still processing visas for clients.
Jeff, but it doesn’t make any sense though. If someone lives here with a student visa and it expires in May or June, what is he supposed to do? First of all, I cannot just leave the country after my student visa expires, because every other country also closes its borders.
And I cannot extend my visa here because all schools are closed (so, how on earth am I going to extend my student visa?)
Contact the visa agency we partnered with, maybe they can help you. Click on this link – https://expatgroup.co/english/visasincolombia/ and there is a chat at the bottom right.
My visa application was recently denied but I would like to know since I am now here technically as a tourist do I have to leave immediately after the quarantine ends? What is the grace period for after the quarantine ends or would it be possible to start immediately a 90 days to sort out my apartment situation, etc?
You did not specify what type of visa you ware denied for.
I recommend that it is best you ask the visa agency we partnered with, click on this link – https://expatgroup.co/english/visasincolombia/
This will bring you to a page of the visa agency where you can ask questions via a chat at the bottom right of the page during business hours.
I arrived in Colombia just before the quarantaine started with a tourist permit of 90 days. The permit will expire half of june. Because I was planning to visit my girlfriend in autumn again for 90 days I am worried about the 180 days limit in a year for tourists and of course for the 183 days limit for being a tax resident. My embassy, Dutch, says the time between march 19 and may 30 will not count for the 180 and the 183 rules. Besides that they say that I have 30 days after May 30 to extend my permit or to leave the country.
I am not sure that is right about the 183 days for being a tax resident. The advice I was given was that, although there has been some relaxation in the visa rules that have been described by Jeff, there has been no similar relaxation by the tax authorities of the rules relating to tax residency. This may be exacerbated by a comment made today I believe by President Duque that he does not see Eldorado Airport reopening in the foreseeable future.
I hope the advice I got is the wrong one and perhaps you can ask your Embassy if they have some Ley or other authority confirming the 183 days rule is also suspended.
Correction: I meant to say ‘immediate’ future, rather than ‘forseeable’ future.
I have read the resolution and although my Spanish is not very good I have my doubts too about the comments by the embassy. I will contact them next week and let you know what the say.
There was an article in the bogota post that they had answers from migracion about visa’s and corona and that the days until may 30 are not counted for a permido de ingreso. https://thebogotapost.com/visas-colombia-coronavirus/44294/
Interesting article. Unfortunately, it does not deal with tax residency. As the lockdown is already two months and counting, there must be quite a few people caught in the tax trap.
I have been in process of applying for my residency visa and the days I’ve been trapped were indeed counted towards the 183 days and thus, I have been classified as a resident (even though they weren’t counted toward being out of compliance with needing an extension on my 90 day visa. Thus, to get my visa, I have to prove that I have EPS, apparently a requirement of residents. Still no word though if anyone will give me EPS without a cedula but it has been quite the process! Clearly, it isn’t fair that these days are being counted for residency but it appears that they haven’t said anything to the contrary.
This is now showing on the Bogota Paper website.
Colombia’s borders will remain closed and both domestic and international flights will continue to be grounded until at least June 30. Intercity transport also continues to be prohibited.
So that makes a minimum of three and a half months that flights have been grounded. And still no dispensation to prevent probably hundreds of foreigners becoming liable to Colombian tax on their worldwide income and assets.
Not accurate for international flights, according to the Minister of Transport, international flights will be restricted until August 31 with an exception for humanitarian flights – see here in Spanish – https://www.eltiempo.com/economia/sectores/coronavirus-en-colombia-restriccion-a-vuelos-internacionales-ira-hasta-agosto-497502
I had a response from my embassy. Migracion had issued a second resolution about this matter and the embassy says, based on that resolution, that you get 30 days after the ending of the emergencia to extend your permiso or visa or leave the country. I have not read the resolution yet, need a translation first. The link is : https://www.migracioncolombia.gov.co/normativa/download/26-resoluciones-2020/110-resolucion-1006-de-2020\
They have contacted DIAN too but no clear answer. I don’t think they have thought about this already. They say that I must go through the legislation to determine if I will become a tax resident. But I don’t think anybody thought about a situation like this so I would be very surprised if there is answer in their decreto’s. The link they gave is: https://actualicese.com/decreto-2345-de-23-12-2019/
Decreto 2345 del 2019
The embassy also gave me a number to call DIAN, but my Spanish is not good enough to make a call. +57 1 355 6922
I have read resolution 1006 and the most important article, I think, is number 13:
Article 13. Extension of the validity of entry and stay permits, authorizations and certificates. When an entry and stay permit, authorization or certificate expires during the term of the Health Emergency declared by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and whose renewal process cannot be carried out on the occasion of measures taken to conjure it, the permission shall be automatically extended, authorization, certificate and license up to one month (1) plus counted from the overcoming of the Health Emergency declared by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection.
The emergency is extended to august 31 so you can leave Colombia without a problem until september 30th. I hope. But it means too that your permit can expire during the emergency and that can be only true if they still count the days. That is totally unfair. I am here now against my will in isolation and instead of being nice to me I get punished by the government. I am not allowed to enter Colombia as a tourist anymore this year to visit my girlfriend and the kids. I will ask my embassy if they can do anything about this.
My embassy has talked with the head of Migracion and they will not alter the decreto about the counting of the days while you are stuck in Colombia. You must do a request at Migracion after you are allowed to leave the country. They will consider every case individually.
Read that tax decreto too.
” ARTICLE 22.214.171.124.2.7. Taxpayers not obliged to file an income and complementary tax declaration. The following taxpayers are not required to file an income and supplemental income tax return for the 2019 tax year:
c) Foreign natural or legal persons. Foreign natural or legal persons, without residence or domicile in the country, when all of their income has been subject to withholding tax at the source referred to in articles 407 to 409 of the Tax Statute and said withholding tax at the source would have been practiced.
Articles 407-409 of the Estatuto Tributario are about taxes over dividends, work and capital gains.
If I understand it correctly then you don’t have to file for taxes for the tax year 2019 when you have paid already the tax at the source. Not a word about tax residency and 183 days stay in the country. But it is pretty useless to announce this at the end of the year and what about 2020?
I doubt anyone’s going to ask about it when you’re leaving.
That seems rather excessive, if true. So five and a half months of not being allowed to leave the country! I have put my name down for a humanitarian flight but have no idea if there are any. At least the British Embassy has been very good at getting involved in humanitarian flights to the UK but that’s not where I want to go.
Duque says june 30, https://www.minuto30.com/politica/hasta-el-30-de-junio-no-habra-vuelos-nacionales-e-internacionales-ivan-duque/1040641/ And the minister of transport august 31. On the site of the ministry of transport nothing. My ticket for july 4 is not cancelled yet, so there is hope. I do not want to go to Bogota in a car so I suppose humanitarian flights are out of the question too.
I have read some decreto’s the ministry of transport was referring to. I have some spare time, sigh. After the quarantine and travelling between cities is allowed domestic flights are allowed. International flights too. But during the emergency state it is not allowed to enter Colombia but to leave is ok. So if the airlines are willing to fly to Colombia with only freight it is possible to leave the country before august 30. I know that KLM is flying 2 times a week to Bogota the past weeks, so it should be possible.
The Dutch embassy has organized a flight from Bogota to Amsterdam on June 3. Europeans can contact their embassy if they want to go with this flight. I have contacted KLM and they have still scheduled normal passenger flights from Bogota to Amsterdam at 4 and 6 july. Yesterday I got my ticket.
That seems strange as last week the Colombia Minister of Transport said that the airport would remain closed for normal traffic until the end of August. At the moment, there are supposed to be only humanitarian flights. The June 3 flight must be a humanitarian one but there should be no scheduled flights until September.
The June 3 flight is indeed a humanitarian one. I think the spokesmen of the minister of transport has made a wrong conclusion of the decreto.The decreto says that during the ‘quarantine period’ the airports are closed for commercial passenger flights. After that and during the emergency state they are allowed but passengers from international flights are not allowed to disembark the plane. Leaving the country is not a problem. Maybe the spokesman concluded that in that case the airlines would not do any flights. KLM will fly to Bogota without passengers after June 30, only freight, but with passengers back to Amsterdam. Yesterday Duque said again that in June no flights are allowed. If it was true that it was not allowed until August 31 he would have said that in my opinion.
The webpage didn’t let me reply to Wim’s post about the embassy talking to Migracion. Has the embassy also tried to find out whether the DIAN will be issuing a waiver/extension to the number of days making someone a fiscal resident of Colombia? I have asked my embassy about it but not had a response yet.
Hello, does anyone know if the migracion office has reopened? I checked their website and it’s still offline…so I assume it’s still closed. Anyway, I’m in a situation where my 90 days has now expired and I assume I still need to do an extension somehow someway. Definitely would appreciate a quick update on this. Thanks!
Migraction offices are still closed.
They are at least closed until July 1. Until then the tourist permit is automatically extended until 30 days after the emergency state. See resolution 1006 issued by Migracion.
I just got my M visa renewed and have the electronic visa. I know the offices are all still closed. So the process is just wait until offices open again and then go to Bogota and Migracion, as I did before?
Yes, or you can use a visa service to get the stamp in your passport and avoid a trip to Bogotá – https://medellinguru.com/medellin-guru-visa-services/
Hello, I do have a question, it’s now possible to start an online visa application for the very first time? I would like to visit Colombia when the lockdown is over.
Thanks for your time
Does anybody know if staying longer than 180 days on a tourist visa this year due to the virus will affect when we can come back next year? As in will I be able to come back in January 2021 or will I have to wait longer before coming back?
Shouldn’t impact your ability to come back next year as a tourist, as long as you leave before the end of the year.
Just be aware that there could be an issue of the DIAN claiming you are a tax resident of Colombia if you reach 183 days in any consecutive 365 day period. I was told by a lawyer on June 5 – ‘A very short notice just came out from the tax authorities stating that there are no exceptions to fiscal residence rules. Therefore force majeure would not -in the eyes of the tax authorities- be a justified cause for not becoming a tax resident. I asking the director to reconsider.’
My embassy contacted Dian and they said that I should use decreto 2345 (https://actualicese.com/decreto-2345-de-23-12-2019/ , Art. 126.96.36.199.2.7) to determine if I will be a tax resident. But this is about 2019 and I could not find anything about the 183 days. But maybe there is a reference in it to another decrete or resolution. But they can change it always, so better safe than sorry. It is sad but I will not return for some time. Bad for me and bad for Colombia.
Hi, I have been in the process of reapplying for my type V visa the last few weeks. I haven’t heard back from them yet since the last round of documents was submitted. I’m hoping to get some kind of reply by tomorrow but my current visa ends Friday, the 24th. Do you know what kind of fines I’d be facing if I don’t catch a flight Friday? Would my current visa application still be valid? I’m trying to figure out what the wisest thing to do is. The process has definitely had more steps than usual. If you know what kind of fines or penalties there are for overstaying a visa, that would be helpful. Thanks!
Did you use a visa agency? Contact the visa agency we partnered with, as they are the best to answer your questions. Click here: https://expatgroup.co/english/visasincolombia/ and there is a chat at the bottom right during business hours.
I Have a Colombian Visa (it is valid from 22nd October 2019 to 31st August 2020)
However, the country is close and I can’t visit it again during this time. Colombia may re-open in September from what I am aware.
Is there any rule that allows me to visit Colombia in September or October 2020 without renewing my visa? The process is so complicated.
I currently live in Canada (Permanent resident)
Detailed rules for when international flights resume are not available yet. So, not sure when tourista will be permitted. When rules are available we will update our article about international flights resuming – https://medellinguru.com/international-flights/
I’m confused about the Temporary Visa for Spouse of Colombian National – it was mentioned that you have to submit in the application the Colombian Civil Registration of Marriage – my wife and I were not married in Colombia, but in Australia, and we have had this marriage certificate translated to Spanish and attested by the Embassy of Colombia in the country we live in – will it suffice for the application? Also, do you know if I can apply online for this visa at the moment?
I had a question I was hoping you could resolve, I’ve scanned through the comments and the article and couldn’t find a definitive answer on it.
I entered Colombia in late January on a 90 day visa free stamp and have been here since without extending or applying for any sort of visa as it’s my understanding everything is put on hold until the end of the health emergency in September. I understand that I will then have until September 31st to either leave the country, extend my stamp or obtain a visa.
I would like to extend my stamp to a 180 day stamp to stay until November before leaving the country. Is there anything that would stop me from being able to do so?
Looks like international airlines begin soon
Hi Jeff, What about M visa holders who were/are not out of the country? I’ve been living here in Sabaneta the whole time and was 7 months into my M visa when the quarantine began. Do all the days from 19 March also not count? Do they tack the uncounted day on at the end? Meaning if it’s 200 days not counted, my M visa and cedula are valid 200 days after the expiration of my current visa/cedula? And the uncounted days end on what date? November 30?
Ask the visa agency we partnered with, there is a chat at the bottom right on this page – https://expatgroup.co/english/visasincolombia/
I had a tourist visa that is already expired on March 31st, and I’m leaving on September 22, do I need to take any action before I leave the country? Or will I be delayed by the customs when I’m at the airport?
i am staying in Colombia with M visa with my family, My visa expired on 30th may 2020 and before that we applied for visa extension and we got notify on June 5th that my visa got rejected and as the international flights are not started am in the country, i have booked the flight to India for 2nd October but airlines company cancelled my bookings and i have to reschedule it to 25th October, my question is, do i need any letter of clearance from the migration office before my flight and is their any penalty which i do need to pay.
Thanks for the article.
I would love to know if anyone has managed to get a cedula yet. I’ve been using my old one which expired back in 2017. I received an electronic M visa in April but no passport stamp from Bogota so not sure if I will be able to get a cedula with only that. Any help would be much appreciated. All I’ve heard so far is that it is very difficult to get an appointment in the Migracion Colombia office in Cali. Tried to phone but didn’t get through.
Yes, you can obtain a cedula with an electronic visa.
Thanks for the quick reply Jeff!
i may have over looked the price of your services….its so much to take in ..one person cant leave…another cant return…if a person is traveling along with all that was said he Fear would pop up …its funny cause in the US people just be here living there best lifes….and i want the same for myself…all this stuff about being taxed…maybe i will keep looking…..can you also tell me if since you have traveled around if you service is offer in other countries?.. thank you