The Colombia resident visa is intended for foreigners who wish to live full-time in Colombia. We provide 2023 updates to the Colombia resident visa rules.
Colombia changed its Colombian visa rules in mid 2022, which went into effect on October 21, 2022.
The cost for the current R visa is $455,25 USD, which is higher than the previous RE visa, which was $435 USD. So, the current Colombia resident visa cost is somewhat higher than the previous.
The Resident (R) Colombian Visa
Resident visas have had several changes with the latest Resolution 5477 of 2022.
There are four categories for the Resident visa in Colombia:
1. Accumulated time, depending on the type of visa M may apply for residency, for example, if you have a retirement visa, you must accumulate 5 years, but if you have a marriage visa, only three years.
2. Special resident for peace, a foreigner who has belonged to the FARC-EP and has completed the process of laying down arms.
3. Citizenship renunciation for foreigners who, having been Colombian by birth or adoption, renounced their Colombian nationality.
4. Temporary protection status for Venezuelan migrants who have had a PPT, PEP, or both in force for five years (valid as of June 1st).
The previous RE visa rules according to Resolution 6045 in late 2017, required two years for holders of a M category 1 visa (marriage visa) before becoming eligible for a R visa, now, with the current Resolution 5477 it’s three years
Time in Colombia Required With a Resident Visa
Similar to the previous RE visa, 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a period of more than two years consecutively with an R visa without returning to Colombia, the R visa expires and is no longer valid.
In addition, you are permitted to work in Colombia with a Resident (R) visa, excluding pensioners.
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 larger investment is now M type category.
How to Apply for a Colombia Resident Visa
You can apply for a Colombia resident 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.
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 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.
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.
So, for my latest visa received in 2018, a Colombia resident visa, I used a visa agency. And I found the experience painless and now highly recommend using a visa service over doing a Colombia visa application yourself. The bottom line is with a visa agency you are less likely to run into problems, and you can avoid a trip to Bogotá.
Medellin Guru Visa Service
The visa agency we partnered with has helped 800 Medellin Guru reader
Documents Required for a Colombia Resident Visa
Documents required for R resident visa are as follows:
1. For Accumulated time:
2. Special Resident for Peace:
3. Citizen Renunciation:
4. Temporary protection for Venezuelan Migrants:
Medellin Guru Insurance Service
Medellin Guru partnered with an insurance agent to offer Colombian insurance services to foreigners including health insurance, auto insurance, homeowners’ insurance, travel insurance and life insurance.
How to Get the Migratory Movement Certificate (Certificado de Movimiento Migratorio)
You can get the Migratory Movement Certificate (Certificado de Movimiento Migratorio) at any Migración Colombia office. The cost currently for 2023 is $66,500 COP.
I submitted online and went to the Migración Colombia office in Medellín. I needed an enlarged copy of my cedula (both sides) and paid with a credit card. The processing time is three business days. I submitted and paid on a Thursday, and the Migratory Movement Certificate was ready on Tuesday.
Using a Visa Agency for a Colombia Retirement Visa
Whether you are in Colombia or abroad and want to save yourself the hassle of applying for a visa., you can use a visa agency to obtain a Colombia resident visa. A visa agency can handle the whole online application.
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, 644 visas were successfully received by clients, including 46 resident visas, including two in February 2023.
So, in total we had 740 clients of the Medellin Guru visa service in 47 months.
In addition, many more visas are in process – short, medium or longer term, depending on client needs.
We reviewed all the Colombia visa agency services in Medellín and found one agency that offers a more efficient visa service with more features and more comprehensive communications including online chat, WhatsApp, Skype, email and phone plus a low price and a convenient office in El Poblado.
Our visa partnership is an affiliate relationship (like the Amazon affiliate program). If you use our visa partner, Medellin Guru receives a small commission and you support the website. This is at no additional cost to you. The price remains the same, whether you use a button or affiliate link on this website or not.
Furthermore, the visa agency we partnered with offers visa services anywhere in Colombia. So, if you are located in another city in Colombia you can use this service.
My Experience Obtaining a Resident Visa
I previously had two Colombian student visas and a Colombian marriage visa. And I applied for all three visas myself and traveled to Bogotá to get the visas in my passport.
In early September 2018, I became eligible for a resident visa after having an old TP-10 marriage visa for three years. But instead of applying for my own resident visa, I decided to use a visa agency to avoid a trip to Bogotá.
I met with the visa agency and they provided a list of required documents. I gathered the documents including the Certificado de Movimiento Migratorio and provided the documents to the visa agency a week later.
After another week, the visa agency heard back from the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores. They wanted more documentation about my income. So, I provided additional documentation and my visa was approved three days later. So, I paid for the visa at a Servibanca ATM machine and received the electronic visa the same day.
The visa agency couriered by passport to Bogotá to get the visa physically in my passport. And a week later I had my passport in my hands with the visa. In addition, visa agency provided documents that I would need to apply for a new cedula. Note there is no longer a need to get the visa stamped in your passport, due to the pandemic, the electronic visa you receive works.
Overall this was a painless process and the visa agency was very professional. From the time I initially provided documents to the visa agency to getting my passport back with the resident visa was only 2.5 weeks.
Getting a Colombian Cedula
After you have successfully received your Colombia student 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 resident 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.
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)
Validity of the Colombian Resident Visa
According to Resolution 5477, the Resident visa is valid for five years, so holders of this visa must transfer their visa every five years in order to maintain their validity and legality in the country.
Requirements for visa transfer
- Comply with the general visa requirements
- Attach a copy of the visa Migratory Movements
- Copy of the foreigner’s identification card
- Documents proving that the conditions that granted the visa are maintained.
This visa transfer for a R visa can be done by a visa agency and the visa agency Medellin Guru partnered with offers this visa transfer service.
After having an R resident visa for five years (or three years if married to a Colombian – see our Marriage Visa article) you can apply 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.
And if you already have a R visa when you get married to a Colombian, you need to wait two years after being married to be eligible to apply to become a citizen of Colombia.
But if planning to become a citizen when you have the R visa and you are out of the country for more than a year then you reportedly aren’t eligible for citizenship.
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 a few countries as a Colombian citizen without a visa such as Russia, which require a visa for U.S. citizens.
Also, if you have Colombian citizenship, this benefits you with the Mercosur trade block. Nationals of Member States (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) and Associated States (Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru) do not need a passport or visa to travel around the region, with only a national identity card required.
In addition, the Mercosur Agreement grants the right to residence and work for citizens with no requirement other than nationality. Citizens of the Member States and Associated States that are part of the agreement enjoy a facilitated procedure for applying for a residence visa, as long as they have a valid passport, birth certificate and a negative certificate of criminal record.
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.
Furthermore, a complete list of the requirements for Colombian citizenship is found on the Cancillería website here.
Medellin Guru's Comprehensive Visa and Passport Series
The Colombian visa changes that went into effect in mid-October 2022 were significant. So, on the Medellin Guru site, we have a comprehensive series of visa articles that are kept up-to-date and should answer most visa questions. These articles include:
- Colombia Visa Guide: Ultimate Guide How to Get a Colombian Visa
- How to Obtain a Colombian Visa with Up-to-Date Info – an overview of all the Colombian visas
- Popular Colombian Visas for Foreigners: Which Visa is the Most Popular?
- Coronavirus Impacts on Colombian Visas and Tourist Visas
- Visa Agencies: A Guide to Visa Agencies in Medellín and Colombia
- 9 Common Colombian Visa Mistakes: How to Avoid Them
We have looked in detail at the seven most popular Colombian visas used by foreigners:
Also, we have looked in detail at three additional Colombian visas, which are less popular for foreigners:
- Rentista visa (annuity visa) – for foreigners with a fixed income
- Beneficiary visa – for relatives of visa holders
- Expertise visa – for professionals
Furthermore, we provide information about travel insurance that meets the insurance requirement for Colombian visas. And we have a guide to how apply for a cedula extranjeria in Colombia and a guide to using notaries in Medellín and Colombia. Finally, Medellin Guru has partnered with a visa agency to offer Colombia visa services.
All of our Colombia visa articles were updated in early 2022 to ensure they are up-to-date and are being updated gain in 2023. In addition, all visa articles on this website will be kept up-to-date as new details are disclosed.
The Bottom Line: Obtaining a Colombia Resident Visa
Colombia’s resident visa is relatively easy to get with few documents needed. But the resident visa requires several years with the Migrant (M) visa.
The visa agency we partnered with has helped 56 Medellin Guru readers obtain resident visas inlcuding one in February 2023 and another over 600 other visa client with other visas or passport renewals. Click on the blue button below and that will take you to a page of the visa agency where you can obtain a quote.
The visa costs in Colombia are lower than in many other countries in Latin America. Also, the Colombian visa process is streamlined with online applications and is relatively fast.
Medellin Guru Visa Service
The visa agency we partnered with has helped 800 Medellin Guru reader
Editors note: Updated on February 22, 2023 with updated information regarding new visa rules.
Editors note: updated on June 29, 2023, with new images.