Colombia updated its visa rules in December 2017 and we provide up-to-date 2019 information on how to obtain a Colombia visitor Visa (Colombia V visa).
Colombia offers many different categories of visas, which enable you to stay in the country for a year or more. In addition, Colombia changed its visa rules in late 2017. Most noteworthy, the new visa rules went into effect on December 15, 2017.
One of the changes with the new Colombia visa rules was the addition of the Colombia visitor visa also known as the V visa. In addition, a visa to study Spanish (student visa) is now considered a visitor visa.
Citizens of several countries including the Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States do not need a visa to enter Colombia as a tourist for up to 90 days.
However, if you are a tourist from Canada, you used to have to pay an entry fee of 201,000 pesos. But this entry fee didn’t apply to Canadians over the age of 79 or younger than 14. Also, this entry fee for Canadians was eliminated on May 1, 2019.
A Colombian “tourist” visa isn’t a formal visa. It’s just a stamp in your passport. Furthermore, a “tourist” visa can be extended by 90 days at any Migración Colombia office in the country. We previously covered how to extend a tourist visa in Colombia.
Several Medellin Guru readers have asked questions about the Colombia visitor visa. So, we now have this article with more details about the visitor visa.
Colombia Visitor Visa (V Visa) – 16 Types
The new Colombia visitor visa (V visa) can be granted for 16 different activities as follows:
- Carry out direct transit in one of the airports of Colombia and destined to a third country. This is similar to one option of the previous TP-2 visa.
- Visit Colombia for leisure, tourism or cultural interest purposes. This is similar to the previous TP-11 visa.
- Conduct 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 in a primary, secondary or undergraduate higher education program. This activity includes taking Spanish classes and is one type of Colombia student visa.
- Attend medical consultation, intervention or treatment or accompany the person who attends consultation, intervention or medical treatment.
- Carry out administrative and/or judicial proceedings before entities or authorities in Colombia. This is similar to one option of the previous TP-8 visa.
- Enter and work in Colombian jurisdictional waters as a boat crew member or offshore platform. This is similar to one option of the previous TP-2 visa.
- Participate in an event as a lecturer, exhibitor, artist, athlete, jury, contestant or logistical staff.
- Perform an internship.
- Volunteer in development cooperation projects or in the promotion and protection of human rights.
- Perform audiovisual production or digital content.
- Perform journalistic coverage or stay temporarily as a foreign media correspondent.
- Provide temporary services to a natural or legal person 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.
In addition, there are seven additional categories of courtesy visas where a visitor 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 visitor visa may be valid for up to two years, taking into the consideration of the activity proposed by the foreigner.
How to Apply for a Colombia Visitor Visa
You can apply for a Colombia visitor 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 retirement 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.
After receiving the online visa approval, if doing this in Colombia, you need to travel to Bogotá to get the visa in your passport. Or if at another country you can get the visa put in your passport at a Colombian consulate.
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 7:30 am until noon.
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 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 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 even be cheaper than the cost of a trip to Bogtoá.
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.
Requirements for a Colombia Visitor Visa
Documents required for the Colombia visitor visa depend on the type of visitor visa. All visitor visas require:
- 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.
- 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.
For visitor visas that are personal or with the support of a natural person must include:
- Present written communication from the applicant and / or the natural person who supports the visa application that clearly contains the following content:
- Full identification of the applicant and the natural person who supports the request.
- Explanation of the relationship or link existing between the foreigner and the natural person supporting the request.
- Explanation of the activity that the foreigner intends to carry out in the national territory (details, participants, duration, chronogram, location).
- Declaration of economic responsibility for the expenses inherent to the displacement and stay of the foreigner in the national territory.
- Accredit liquidity of the applicant and / or of the natural person who supports the request through bank statements of the 6 months prior to the request.
For visitor visas requested with the support of one or more legal entities, the application must include the following requirements:
- Letter signed by the legal representative of the legal entity, which contains the following information:
- Full identification of the legal entity indicating the NIT in case of being incorporated in Colombia and contact information.
- Complete identification of the foreigner.
- Explanation of the activity that the foreigner intends to carry out in the national territory, indicating the program to be carried out, its duration and planned agenda.
- Explanation of the relationship or type of link with the foreigner for whom the visa is requested and of the special qualification or expertise, if any.
- Declaration of economic responsibility for the expenses inherent to the displacement and stay of the foreigner in Colombia.
- When the legal entity supporting the request is private and incorporated abroad, a certificate of existence, incorporation or constitution and legal representation or document must be provided.
- Accredit liquidity of the legal entity through bank statements corresponding to the 6 months prior to the request. In the case of a public entity, this is not needed.
Other documents required for a visitor visa vary depending on the activity and include:
To study or enroll in training as a student (#4 type of visitor visa and this is the type of visa to study Spanish):
- Certificate of admission or enrollment in an educational institution authorized in Colombia, to carry out studies of academic exchange, studies in art or crafts and / or postgraduate studies, where there is a minimum hourly intensity of (10) hours per week.
- Resolution of existence and legal representation of the institution where you are enrolled.
Note the Visitor (V) student visa for studying Spanish is now reportedly being granted for only for a maximum of six months according to visa agencies we have talked to with the possible exception of studying Spanish at Universidad EAFIT, which may still qualify for a year-visa.
Also, once you have a Visitor (V) visa you reportedly can no longer apply for another visa while in Colombia. To apply for another visa when you have a Visitor student visa you have to go to a foreign consulate in another country.
To attend medical consultation, intervention or treatment or accompany the person attending (#5 type of visitor visa), provide a certificate issued by the health care institution.
To carry out administrative and / or judicial proceedings before entities or authorities in Colombia (#6 type of visitor visa above), provide a certificate of the entity or authority before which the procedure will be carried out.
To enter and work in Colombian jurisdictional waters as a boat crew member or on an offshore platform (#7 type of visitor visa), provide a copy of the crew member’s notebook and the permits of the Colombian maritime, port and fishing authority, as applicable.
Using a Visa Agency for a Visitor 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 Colombia visitor visa. A visa agency can handle the online application. And it will courier your passport to Bogotá to get the visa in your passport.
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.
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.
Getting a Colombian Cedula
After you have successfully received your Colombian 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 828,116 pesos per month in 2019. So, the fine is up to 5,796,812 pesos in 2019.
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)
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
- Visa Agencies: A Guide to Visa Agencies in Medellín and Colombia
- 7 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 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 2019 to ensure they are up-to-date. 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 Visitor Visa (V Visa)
Colombia’s visitor visa is relatively easy to get and there are several types.
One of the most common visitor visas issued to foreigners is to study Spanish at a school such as Universidad EAFIT.
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Editors note: updated on February 25, 2019 with information that the Colombian entry fee charged to tourists from Canada will be eliminated on May 1, 2019.
Editors note: updated on August 8, 2019 with information that the Visitor student visa for studying Spanish in Colombia in most cases is only being granted for a maximum of six months.