Visas and Residency

Visas and Residency
Visas and Residency
User Rating: 4.1 (2 votes)

As with entry to any country, the immigration service has the final call as to who can and can not enter the country. For many years DAS was in charge of managing immigration in Colombia. Their forte was security and as a result perhaps they were a little forceful in the execution of their jobs. Recently DAS has been replaced by Migracion Colombia and although they have a friendlier face, they still must enforce the laws governing immigration, visas and residency.

The existing visa laws have changed as of July  2013 so it is advisable to check with the Ministry of Foreign Relations or the consulate or embassy of Colombia in your country of origin to confirm the details below.

There is no nationality that is restricted to travel to Colombia however a visa is required if you are not a citizen of the following countries Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas. Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Butan, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic , Denmark, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Germany, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Granada, Greece, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Monaco, New Zealand , Netherlands, Norway, , Palau, Panama, Papua Nueva Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Phillipines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Saint Kitts y Nevis, Samoa, San Marino, Santa Lucía, Saint Vincent and the Granadines, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Soloman Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Suriname, Trinidad y Tobago, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, United States, Vatican, Venezuela . Passport holders from Hong Kong are also exempt.

These conditions apply only if you are visiting for tourism and that you remain in the country for no more than 90 days. When you enter Colombia, the immigration officer will stamp your passport with the immigration seal. Check the details before you leave the immigration booth to make certain you have been granted sufficient time for your journey. You can apply for a 30 days extension at the office of Migracion Colombia, if you wish to extend to 120 days. The maximum time that you can remain in Colombia as a tourist is 6 months during one calendar year.

Don’t take this lightly as if you extend your trip, even one day over the time granted you will be subject to fines. This might causes you to lose your airline ticket, lose hotel reservations, etc. Before leaving on any trip you should ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months.

You can apply for a Colombian visa at a Colombian Consulate or Embassy closest to you. Allow yourself sufficient time, even up to two weeks for your paperwork to be processed.

If you plan to travel alone with children, that is if both parents are not traveling with a child, it is advisable to have legalized letters of consent in both the language of your country of residence and Spanish.

Working in Colombia requires a work visa. This allows you to work temporarily in the country. You will be required to meet the requirements set by the Colombian government plus provide the original contract of employment and letter of contract from the Colombian firm hiring you. Generally this visa is specifically for individuals with degrees in the field where they have been hired. As jobs are scarce for many Colombians this visa is strictly regulated. The majority of jobs, including teaching and photography are considered professional and thus not available without a contract.

Business Visa

The business visa is applicable for individuals working for foreign companies that have contracts with Colombian companies or at times for companies looking to expand into Colombia. You should note this visa does not allow you to live permanently in Colombia or be paid as it is not a work visa.

Special Temporary Visa

The special temporary visa is still available as of July 2013 for an investment of 100 times the minimum salary which currently stands at 589.500 COP. This is approximately $33,000 USD so as a rule of thumb $35,000 USD is a safe amount to invest. This visa is renewable up to 5 years, at which time you can apply for a Colombian passport. You can also obtain this same visa with an investment of 350 times the minimum salary in real estate.

Resident’s Visa

The indefinite resident visa is no longer available for investors who have registered a Direct Foreign Investment with the Bank of the Republic according to the exchange regulations at the time. Now for an investment of 650 times the minimum salary you can apply for a 5 year Resident Visa.

Pension Visa

The pension visa is granted to individuals who can prove a guaranteed income, government or annuity of 3 times the Colombian minimum wage. Rounding the numbers this comes very close to $1,000 USD per month.


If you do not qualify for a pension visa, but have a guaranteed provable income of 10 times the minimum wage or approximately $3,300 USD per month, you can apply for a rentista visa.

Student Visa

To obtain a student visa you must apply for the visa at the Colombian Embassy or a Consulate outside of Colombia. You will be required to provide proof of your studies and a financial statement or scholarship certification showing that you will be able to pay for your studies while in Colombia.

Other types of visas available are the marriage/spousal visa, parent of a Colombian national visa, religious visa, and volunteer’s visa.

A permanent resident visa may be applied for once you have stayed in Colombia for 3 to 5 years depending on the type of yisa you have had – work visa, special temporary visa, spousal visa. etc.

When traveling to Colombia make certain that you bring all important documentation that you might need if you plan to apply for a visa while not in your home country. Remember some visas can not be applied for in Colombia so you would have to make a trip to a neighbouring country to do so.

It is important to note no visa application is guaranteed, no matter what you may be told. Depending on the kind of visa, the applications are processed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bogota or at the consulates or embassies in every country. All decisions are at the discretion of the reviewing immigration officer and it is possible that they may ask for additional information or documentation.

The information provided is meant to be an overview of visas and residency in Colombia. It is best to consult an immigration specialist in these matters.

David is the Chief Editor and CEO for EscapeArtist Colombia.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>