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Frequently Asked Questions for Colombian Visa

What visa is the fastest for permanent residency?

Current pathways to permanent residency:

Retirement migrant visa (M-16): Requires demonstrating a minimum monthly income of 3 minimum wages (about $1,000) and holding the visa for five years before applying for permanent residency.

Real estate migrant visa (M-10): Requires investing at least 350 minimum wages (about $116,667) in Colombian real estate and holding the visa for five years before applying for permanent residency.

Other migrant visa categories: Several other types exist, like those for business owners, investors in new businesses, or spouses of Colombian citizens. Each has specific requirements and timelines leading to permanent residency after 2-5 years with a temporary visa.

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How much time does it take to prepare for a visa application?

The application time depends on several factors, including:

Visa type: Different visa types have different requirements and complexities. Tourist visas are straightforward, while work or study visas might involve additional documents and processes.

Individual circumstances: How organized you are, your access to required documents, and any special situations influencing your application can all impact preparation time.

Availability of documents: Collecting necessary documents like proof of income, travel plans, or academic transcripts can vary in difficulty depending on your circumstances.

Official processing times: After submitting your application, the Colombian consulate or embassy will need time to process it. These official processing times can vary depending on visa type, workload, and potential additional checks.

Here’s a rough breakdown of preparation time based on visa type:

Tourist visa: 1-2 weeks if you’re organized and have readily available documents.

Work/Study Visa: 2-4 weeks, possibly longer if required documents are complex or need translation.

Business Visa: 3-6 weeks, potentially longer, depending on the nature of your business and required documentation.

Related Topics of Interest for You: 

Popular Types of Colombian Visa
How to Renew a Business Visa
Colombian Labor Contracts

What visas have work privileges?

Popular options include:

Migrant Worker Visa (M-5): Secure a job offer and sponsor with a Colombian company to live and work.

Professional Worker (M-7): Work in your field of expertise with specific qualifications and experience.

Self-Employed (M-8): Establish your business and contribute to the Colombian economy.

Investor (M-9): Invest in a Colombian business and generate employment opportunities.

Can I apply for my visa in Colombia?

  • Yes, you can! Follow the guidelines in the answer above.

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A deeper dive into preparing some popular Colombian visas:

1) Tourist Visa (V-15):

Preparation Time: 1-2 weeks (for organized individuals with readily available documents)

Required Documents: Passport, photos, flight booking confirmation, proof of accommodation, proof of sufficient funds, and yellow fever vaccination certificate (if applicable).

Complexity: Relatively straightforward. Most documents are readily obtainable.

2) Work Visas:

Preparation Time: 2-4 weeks (potentially longer for complex documents or translation needs)

Required Documents: Employment contract, company financial statements, proof of professional qualifications, bank statements, health insurance, police clearance, etc.

Complexity: More complex due to additional documents and the potential need for the employer’s involvement. Translations may be required.

3) Study or Education Visa

Preparation Time: 2-4 weeks (possibly longer for academic transcripts or language certificates)

Required Documents: Letter of acceptance from Colombian university, academic transcripts, proof of financial support, language certificates (Spanish), health insurance, etc.

Complexity: Similar to a work visa, depending on the educational program and required documents. Translations may be required.

4) Business Visa

Preparation Time: 3-6 weeks (potentially longer for complex business documents or legal paperwork)

Required Documents: Business registration documents, financial statements, investment plans, partnership agreements (if applicable), letters of invitation from Colombian contacts, etc.

Complexity: Most complex due to diverse document requirements and potential legal aspects. Translations may be needed.

What visas require a criminal record?

Visas that typically require a criminal record:

Pension Visa

Visas that typically don’t require a criminal record:

Tourist visas (V-15)

Business Visas

Work visas

Study visas

Social/family reunification visas (V-7)

Volunteer visas (V-48)

What visa can I be here year-round?

Two main visa options let you stay in Colombia year-round:

Migrant Visa (M-type): This temporary visa, valid for up to 3 years and renewable, is your stepping stone to permanent residency. Popular categories include:

Retirement Visa (M-16): Enjoy Colombia’s laid-back lifestyle with a minimum monthly income of around $800.

Real Estate Visa (M-10): Invest in property worth at least $93,000 and soak up the sunshine.

Work Visa (M-5): Secure a job and contribute to the local economy.

Resident Visa (R-type): Once you’ve held a Migrant Visa for the required period (usually five years), you can apply for permanent residency. This grants you near-equal rights to Colombian citizens, including working and owning property.

    How do I get a Colombian ID card?

    Getting a Colombian ID card, known as a Cédula de Ciudadanía, depends on your status and citizenship:

    1. Colombian Citizens:

    If you’re 18 or older: Present yourself at a Registry Office (Registraduría) or Colombian consulate abroad with:

    Previous form of identification (birth certificate, letter of naturalization, adoption registration).

    Three 4x5cm color photos against a white background (may not be required in all offices).

    Proof of payment of the registration fee.

    2. Foreigners:

    For permanent residency: You’ll automatically receive your Cédula de Extranjería after obtaining your visa.

    For temporary residents (over 90 days or migrant/resident visa):

    Schedule an appointment online or visit a Migración Colombia office.

    Bring your original passport and visa, blood certificate, and copies of all documents.

    Pay the corresponding fees.

    Do I have to leave the country to renew my visa?

    Visas that may allow you to renew within Colombia:

    Migrant visas (M-type): Many categories, like retirement (M-16) and real estate (M-10) visas, typically allow renewal within Colombia through authorized immigration offices.

    Work visas (M-5): If your employer continues to sponsor your work, renewal can often be done within Colombia.

    Study visas (TP-7): Depending on the duration of your study program and visa validity, renewal might be possible within the country.

    What visas can convert to permanent residency?

    • Retirement migrant visa (M-16): Requires demonstrating a minimum monthly income of 3 minimum wages (about $800) and holding the visa for five years before applying for permanent residency.
    • Real estate migrant visa (M-10): Requires investing at least 350 minimum wages (about $93,000) in Colombian real estate and holding the visa for five years before applying for permanent residency.

    How do I get a Colombian Passport?

    If you’re in Colombia:

    1. Determine your type of passport: Ordinary (most common), Executive (faster processing), Emergency (immediate need), Border (border regions only), and Exempt (government officials).
    2. Visit an authorized entity: the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Bogotá or authorized Gobernaciones.
    3. Gather required documents: National ID card, proof of payment, application form with photo, and additional documents based on passport type (e.g., travel authorization for minors).
    4. Submit your application and pay fees.
    5. Schedule an appointment for fingerprinting and photo capture.
    6. Collect your passport upon notification.

    If you’re abroad:

    1. Visit the nearest Colombian consulate or embassy.
    2. Follow the same steps above, considering the specific documents required for your location.

    What visa allows me to get health insurance in Colombia?

    If you’re staying for less than 180 days:

    No specific visa is required: You can generally get private health insurance coverage from international insurers before entering Colombia. However, ensure it offers adequate coverage for potential medical needs during your stay.

    If you’re staying longer than 180 days:

    Mandatory health insurance: All foreigners holding residence visas like migrant (M-category) or resident (R-category) visas must enroll in Colombia’s national health system, the Sistema General de Seguridad Social en Salud (EPS).

    Exceptions to EPS enrollment:

    Retirement visa (M-16): You can opt out of EPS if you have private health insurance with coverage exceeding specific minimum requirements set by the Colombian government.

    Other visa situations:

    Work visas (M-5): Your employer might offer health insurance as part of your employment package. You may still need to enroll in EPS if the coverage still needs to meet government requirements.

    Other M-visas: Check the specific requirements of your visa category concerning health insurance.

    Applying for legalize documents for colombia

    Once you receive 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. Their office is located at Avenida 19 # 98-03, Torre 100 Building, 3rd Floor. It’s open from 7:30 am until noon.

    The major challenge with getting a Colombian visa yourself is dealing with a government bureaucracy, making a trip to Bogota and not understanding the laws properly if you are not fluent in Sanish. 

    This is where you can benefit from the services of an experienced visa agency such as Visas by James. A visa agency such ours is your best bet when it comes to obtaining visa for you. An experienced visa agency which has processed hundreds of visas and knows exactly what is needed for each type of visa is exactly what you need.

    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 Bogotá.

    About Visas By James

    Since 2005, our visa agency Visas by James has obtained hundreds of visas for foreigners who wish to study, work, invest, and live in Colombia. We are the oldest expat visa business in Colombia. We also have more attorneys in office than any other visa agency in Colombia. In addition to our visa services we offer a full range of legal and accounting services to our clients. By having a legal and accounting firm work on your application, we are able to handle any surprises or last minute requests by immigration officials.

    Visa by James Story:

    James Lindzey, the founder of Visas by James, has worked as a private investigator and paralegal in the United States from the 90s until he moved to Colombia in 2005. James arrived in Colombia in 2005 and started doing visas for expats in 2007.

    In addition to visa services, our agency offers our clients a full range of legal and accounting services. We can assist better in document collection services in the United States because of James’ legal experience in the United States.

    About Our Visa Services

    We can guie you through the most Complicated Immigration Situations. Our aim is to make life easier for expatriates in Colombia! 

    We organize your immigration profile so that your Colombian visa application is successful.
    We elaborate and structure all the necessary documents for your Colombian visa application.
    Presentation of a Colombian visa before the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or any Colombian consulate

    Registration and orientation when you are getting you Colombian ID (Cedula de extranjeria).

    We monitor your visa application process .

    Translation Legalization and apostille of the documents required for your visa application.
    Chat Over WhatsApp – get your visa questions answered fast.
    Online quotes – get immediate quotes for visa and other legal services
    Courier your passport to Bogotá to get the visa in your passport.

    Please let us know if you need more information, or we can set up a consultation in order to provided you personalized guide.

    Our main office is located in Medellin, Colombia near Parque Lleras in El Poblado. We have representation in Bogota, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale. Our main office address is  Cra 39#5A-95, Oficina 709, Edificio Avangarde. We accept walk in appointments but its always nice if you can let us know ahead of time so we can schedule a time. Areas codes in Colombia have changed. To reach our office please call (57) 604-444-6634.

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    Need a Visa? Over 1000

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