Colombia offers instant tourist visas to citizens of many countries that are good for 90 days. These “tourist visas” are really just a stamp in your passport and aren’t really visas. And it is quite easy to extend a Colombian tourist visa to enable staying in Colombia a maximum of 180 days in a year.
There are over 90 countries, whose citizens can enter Colombia without a visa and receive a “tourist visa” stamp. The countries include Australia, Brazil, Canada (but Canadians must pay a reciprocity fee of 191,000 pesos – but exempt if older than 79 or younger than 14), Chile, Ecuador, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Peru, Russia, South Korea, United Kingdom, United States plus over 80 more countries.
When you enter Colombia as a tourist, an immigration official will stamp your passport and normally write that it is good for 90 days. But this is at the discretion of the official and occasionally may be shorter.
I have lived in Medellín for several years with visas. Before this time, I had tourist visa stamps and extended these several times. I talked to several expats that renewed their visa permits in the past month to see how the process has recently changed, to insure the information in this article is up-to-date.
Many websites incorrectly call this a “tourist visa” but it isn’t really a visa. It is a tourist permit that is just a stamp in your visa. It isn’t a visa and Colombia has many types of visas that require visa applications.
Note the above photo shows two 90-day Colombian tourist permit stamps in a passport.
This article has been updated with the new online process to renew a Colombia “tourist visa” stamp. There is no longer the need to go to a Migracion Colombia office to renew a “tourist visa” stamp.
How Long Can You Stay as a Tourist in Colombia?
The current rule is you can stay in Colombia as a tourist for a maximum of 180 days in a calendar year (January 1 to December 31). In addition, you can’t stay for more than 180 days consecutively, even if this is across two years.
For example, if you arrive on November 1, 2017 you will have to depart at the end of April 2018, even though you were in Colombia in 2018 for less than six months. But you could leave Colombia for 24 hours and come back with a “tourist visa” stamp for another two months in 2018.
If you overstay your tourist time limit, you will have to pay a fine before leaving the country. If you overstay, we recommend that you pay the fine at the Migracion office within a few days of your departure, so you aren’t delayed at the airport. Fines reportedly start at 380,000 pesos and go up, depending on how long you overstay.
How to Extend a “Tourist Visa” Online in Medellín
One way to extend your “tourist visa” stamp is to simply leave the country and return with a new tourist visa. Or you can extend a tourist permit while in Colombia.
In the past you needed to go to a Migracion Colombia office to renew a tourist permit if you are in Colombia. This is no longer the case. You can now renew a Colombia tourist permit online with no need to go to a Migracion Colombia office.
According to Migracion Colombia you should submit a tourist permit renewal application a minimum of five days before your tourist visa expires.
To renew a “tourist visa” stamp you can do this online here.
You will see the above form. Choose the “Permiso Temporal de Permanencia para Prorrogar Permanencia” option #3 and the location of the closest Migracion office. You will then see the following screen to fill out with personal data and an emergency contact.
At the bottom will be the following to upload your attachments in PDF format.
Migracion Colombia in Medellín told me that you only need to upload in PDF format the first two items below:
- Copy of the page of your current passport with your personal data/photo
- Copy of your current valid Colombia tourist visa stamp
- Proof of onward travel (some readers are reporting that they were also required to provide proof of onward travel and other readers successfully renewed without needing this).
File sizes are limited to 1MB.
After submitting the tourist permit renewal application you should get a response in 1-2 business days. If approved you will need to pay the 92,000 pesos fee or this is free if you are from a Schengen country in Europe. There will be instructions about how to pay in your approval email. You can pay online, at a Banco Occidente bank or at a Migracion Colombia office. Reportedly there may be some “web maintenance” issues if paying online with a credit card.
If there is a problem with your application you may be able to solve this via the phone at (Fijo) at 6-055454 or toll free to 01800 0510454. In addition, you can ask for someone speaking English.
After you are approved and have paid you will receive a PDF indicating that your tourist permit has been extended. You will need to print this and keep it with your passport. And no need to go to the Migracion Colombia office.
Making an Appointment with Migracion Colombia
If you have problems renewing a “tourist visa” stamp online and can’t resolve the problem on the phone, it require a trip to a Migracion Colombia office, which are located in every major city in Colombia.
Before going to Migracion Colombia, you should make an appointment. And this can be done online here. Note the English version of that website reportedly doesn’t work. So, use the Spanish language (español) version.
You fill out the above online form and then select the bottom button and a calendar will popup. If you see an error, use the arrows to change to the current month. The schedule will be restricted based on your visa expiration date, so you can’t choose a date too early.
You can also call 24 hours a day to schedule to a land line (Fijo) at 6-055454 or toll free to 01800 0510454 to schedule an appointment.
You should schedule the appointment a week before your tourist stamp expiration. And you won’t be permitted to schedule months or weeks in advance. Also keep in mind that Migracion Colombia is closed on national holidays and on weekends.
When you confirm your appointment make sure to write it down or take a photo of the confirmation page.
How to Apply for an Extension at Migracion Colombia
Before you arrive, make sure you have the four things needed to extend your “tourist visa”, which is actually just a tourist permit stamp:
- Your passport
- Copy of the page of your current passport with your personal data
- Copy of your current tourist permit stamp
- Your appointment confirmation number
If you don’t prepare copies beforehand, there is a small shop near the Migracion Colombia office in Medellín that can make copies for about 200 pesos each.
When you arrive at Migracion Colombia, present yourself at the counter where someone will verify you have the proper documentation to extend your tourist visa. And if so, give you an application form to fill out and a number for the queue.
The tourist visa extension application form requires some basic biographical information including your phone number and address; and name, address, and telephone number of a contact in Colombia.
A few expats in the past told me they also needed to show proof of onward travel. But nobody recently has said this. There is no need for a photo as they will take your photo with a digital camera.
You will need to pay for the tourist permit extension at Migracion Colombia with a credit or debit card. American Express and Diners Club are not accepted. Only Visa or MasterCard are accepted. The current cost for a tourist permit extension is currently 92,000 pesos or free if from a Schengen country in Europe.
Some expats I talked to extended their tourist permits without an appointment. But a manager at Migracion Colombia told me they much prefer appointments, and may not let you in without an appointment. So, we recommend making an appointment.
How to Get to Migracion Colombia in Medellín
Here is a list of the Migracion Colombia offices in the five largest cities in Colombia.
- Bogotá – Calle 100 # 11B-27
- Medellín – Calle 19 # 80A-40, Barrio Belén
- Cali – Avenida 3 norte # 50N-20
- Cartagena – Carrera 20 B # 29-18, Barrio pie de la Popa
- Barranquilla – Carrera 42 # 54-77, Barrio El Recreo
A complete list of Migracion Colombia can be found here. In Medellín, the Migracion Colombia office is located in Belén and is listed on the Migracion Colombia website with the address Calle 19 # 80A-40.
However, this address is the old entrance and the guard there will direct you to the other side of the building. The new entrance location is actually on Calle 19A and is shown in the photo above and with the red marker on the map below.
Migracion Colombia office location in Medellín
The Bottom Line: How to Extend a “Tourist Visa”
Colombia makes it relatively easy to stay in the country for up to 180 days each calendar year with just a “tourist visa” stamp, as “tourist visa” or tourist permit extensions are even easier to get now as they are done online.
Keep in mind a tourist stamp in your passport is not the same as a visa. If you want to stay longer, Colombia has over 20 types of visas. We have covered six of the most popular visas for expats on this website:
- Colombia retirement visa
- Colombia marriage visa
- Colombia student visa
- Colombia resident visa
- Colombia work visa
- Colombia investment visa
The visa processes change frequently in Colombia. If you experience something different than the Colombian tourist visa extension process outlined above, please let us know in the comments below. We intend to keep all of our visa articles up-to-date.
Editors note: updated on January 10, 2018 with the new method to apply online to renew a Colombia tourist permit.
Sign up for the Free Medellin Guru Newsletter – You can see all of the previous Medellin Guru weekly email newsletters and sign up here.