Colombia’s marriage visa is intended for foreigners with a Colombian spouse or permanent partner. The Colombia marriage visa is relatively easy to get with only a few documents required.
The Colombia marriage/permanent partnership visa is currently known as the TP-10 visa. This visa is typically valid for three years. And after three years you are eligible for a resident (R) visa. However, Colombia is in the process of changing its Colombian visa rules, which reportedly goes into effect on December 15, 2017
So, starting on December 15, 2017, a Colombia marriage visa will change and be known as a Migrant (M) visa of category 1 (an M-1 visa). The major change of the M-1 marriage visa compared to the TP-10 visa, is that with a M-1 visa you are eligible to apply for a resident visa after only two years.
Furthermore, if you have an existing TP-10 marriage visa, it doesn’t change to a M-1 marriage visa. So, if you have a TP-10 visa you will need to wait for three years before you are eligible for a resident visa.
In addition, with the new M-1 visa you are permitted to carry out any lawful work activity in Colombia. This is similar to the existing TP-10 visa.
The cost for the new M-1 marriage visa is $282 USD including the processing charge. This is somewhat higher than the previous TP-10 visa, which cost $263.
How to Apply for a Colombia Marriage Visa
You can apply for a Colombia marriage visa in-person in Bogotá. 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. Also, it’s done online. You can apply for a Colombia marriage 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.
Documents required for M-1 marriage visa are the same as the TP-10 marriage visa:
- Photocopy of the first page of your valid passport where your personal data is displayed.
- Photocopy of the page of your passport with the last stamp of entry or departure of Colombia is located.
- If you’ve had a previous Colombian visa, a photocopy of this visa.
- Letter from the Colombian spouse or permanent partner requesting the issuance of the visa.
- Genuine Colombian marriage certificate or a Notarized copy of marriage certificate or . Must be issued within three months prior to the visa application.
- Passport style face photo with a white background, sized at 3 cm width X 4 cm height, maximum size of 300 kb jpg file for online application.
Note that you may be required to go to Bogotá for an interview with your spouse or permanent partner. Reportedly up to one-third of TP-10 visas now require an interview. When I received my TP-10 visa over two years ago, my wife and I were interviewed in Bogotá.
After receiving the online visa approval, if doing this in Colombia, you need to travel to Bogotá to get the visa in your passport.
Visas in Colombia are issued at the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores office in Bogotá. This is located at Avenida 19 # 98-03, Torre 100 Building, 3rd Floor. It’s open from 7:30am until noon.
I successfully obtained a TP-10 marriage visa on my own over two years ago. And I found the process relatively straightforward without much documentation required.
Getting Married in Colombia
In Colombia, you can get married at a church or at a Colombia notary. Here I’ll discuss a civil marriage at one of the notaries in Medellín. Note that religious marriages must also be registered at a notary. A complete list of the notaria offices in Medellín is found here.
Your first step in a civil marriage at a notary in Colombia is to contact the one you use to discuss what documents are required and the procedure. Documents required can be different from notary to notary. And the documents depend on your situation.
For example, if you or your partner have kids it can be more complicated. And not all notaries are used to working with foreigners. So, it’s important to talk to a notary to find out the documents they require for your situation.
Over two years ago I was married at Notary 17 in El Poblado located at Calle 8 #42-15. This notary has much experience with foreigners and the process was straightforward in my experience. The documents required were:
- Photocopy of my wife’s cedula.
- Notarized copy of my wife’s birth certificate not older than 90 days – the long form folio version which showed her marital status. Note that Colombia has a national registry of births and marriages so a birth certificate in Colombia is a living document.
- My U.S. birth certificate with an apostille and Spanish language translation not older than 90 days.
- My U.S. divorce decree with an apostille and Spanish language translation not older than 90 days.
- Photocopy of my cedula (I had a previous visa so already had a local cedula ID). If I didn’t have this cedula, a photocopy of my passport would have been needed.
I translated my documents from the U.S. to Spanish using Intercol Trámites Internacionales, a visa agency in Medellín with official Colombian translators that can translate into Spanish.
When I brought all the documents to the notary they reviewed the documents and scheduled the civil wedding with the notary. Since I spoke sufficient Spanish a translator wasn’t needed. The current cost of a marriage at Notary 17 in El Poblado is 140,000 pesos.
Colombia also has the option for documenting a civil partnership, which can also be used for a “marriage” visa. A civil partnership is like a common-law marriage. Two consecutive years of cohabitation in Colombia essentially represents a legal and defacto marital union in Colombia.
Documenting this type of relationship requires a declaration in front of a notary. This is called a declaracion union marital de hecho and should be documented in a public escritura and this document can be used to get a visa.
Technically a couple should be living together under the same roof and the relationship is reportedly supposed to have been for two years. But I have met some expats that received this declaration with shorter relationships.
Other Considerations in Colombia Marriages and Civil Partnerships
Colombia permits same sex civil unions. So, partners in same sex relationships have the right to also get marriage visas in Colombia.
In addition, it’s important to understand that Colombia is essentially a community property country. So, Assets acquired post marital union are most commonly divided 50/50 in Colombia and this applies to both marriages and civil partnerships. Assets that you acquire before your marriage/union in Colombia are typically not up for debate when dissolving any martial union in Colombia.
But it’s possible to get prenuptial agreements in Colombia, which are known as “capitulaciones matrimoniales”. An experienced lawyer in Colombia can design a prenuptial agreement that includes asset dissolution agreements that can protect claims on future assets.
Using a Visa Agency for the Marriage Visa
If you are in Colombia and not located in Bogotá and you don’t want to travel you can use a visa agency to obtain a Colombian marriage visa. A visa agency can handle the online application. And it will courier your passport to Bogotá to get the visa in your passport. But you still may have to go to Bogotá with your spouse/partner for an interview.
You can find visa agencies in several cities in Colombia. For example, there are at least four visa agencies in Medellín:
- Intercol Trámites Internacionales
- Visas y Trámites Internacionales
- Extranjería & Migración en Colombia
Getting a Colombian Cedula
After you have successfully received your Colombia marriage visa, you have a maximum of 15 calendar days to register your visa with Migración Colombia to get a Cedula de Extranjeria (Colombian ID for foreigners). Or if you received your visa at a consulate, you will have 15 calendar days after you arrive in Colombia to register your visa.
Due to being photographed and fingerprinted this must be done in-person at a Migración Colombia office. Especially relevant, it is very important to register your Colombian 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 (up to 5,468,694 pesos in 2018).
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)
If you are married to a Colombian, after having one of the new R resident visas for two years you are eligible to become a citizen of Colombia. And you won’t have to give up your existing citizenship. Colombia permits dual-citizenship, as does the U.S. and many other countries.
Once you become a dual citizen with Colombian citizenship, you will no longer need to deal with visas anymore. Also, you will be able to travel to some counties as a Colombian citizen without a visa such as Russia and Brazil, which require a visa for U.S. citizens.
To become a citizen, Colombia requires a citizenship test, just like the U.S. does. You will be required to pass a test related to Colombian history, geography and the constitution. Also, a basic Spanish oral test is required. Those who have a bachelor’s degree from a Colombian university or are over 65 years old are exempt from these tests.
The Bottom Line: Obtaining a Colombia Marriage Visa
Colombia’s marriage visa is relatively easy to get with few documents required. But it’s only intended for people who have a Colombian spouse or Colombian permanent partner.
Furthermore, if you are planning to get a Colombia TP-10 marriage visa soon, it would be better to wait until December 15, when the new M-1 marriage visa is scheduled to available, as this new marriage visa will have a shorter time of two years until you are eligible for a resident (R) visa.
The Colombian visa changes that went into effect in mid-December 2017 were significant. We covered the 2017 visa updates for a total of seven visas that are popular with foreigners:
- Colombia retirement visa
- Colombia marriage visa
- Colombia student visa
- Colombia resident visa
- Colombia work visa
- Colombia investment visa
- Colombia beneficiary visa
In addition, all visa articles on this website will be kept up-to-date as new details are disclosed.
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Editors note: updated on December 16, 2017 with the cost of the new marriage visa.
Editors note: updated on August 18, 2018 to add the Extranjería & Migración en Colombia visa agency located in Medellín.