How to Get a Colombian Resident Visa
The Colombia Resident visa is intended for foreigners who want to live in Colombia on permanent basis. In other words, if you want to live in Colombia full time and make Colombia your permanent residence, then the Colombian Residency Visa is the best visa you can obtain.
Currently as of October 21, 2022 there are no instant permanent residency visas. All permanent residency visas can only be obtained by first having a Migrant visa from 2-5 years. Below on this page you can find more information on the 14 types of Migrant visas which qualify for converting to the Permanent Colombian Residency Visa.
The Colombia resident visa is a permanent visa but information has to be udpated every five years. You must prove that you have been in the country at least 1 day every two years. However, after you have this visa for 5 years you can apply for Colombian citizenship. Of course you should prove that your actually living in Colombia for the best chances at applying for Colombian citizenship.
The Colombia resident visa allows multiple re-entries into Colombia. Please note that even though Colombia retirement visa is valid for 5 years, it will lose its validity if you stay out of Colombia for more than two years consecutively. To keep this visa active you must enter the country 1 time every 2 years.
Major changes were made to the Colombian Residency Visa which went into effect October 21 2022. The new resolution 5477 pertaining to visa rules and applications is going to apply when applying for resident visa or any other type of visa. According to this new resolution, a resident visa is no longer granted if a foreigner makes a direct investment of 650 times the minimum salary in Colombia. All instant residency visas were discontinued with the resolution 5477!
Furthermore, parents are no longer allowed to apply for beneficiary resident visa. Finally, children of primary visa holders automatically lose their beneficiary visa once they turn 25.
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The Four Categories & 14 Migrant Visas which make up the Colombian Residency Visa
The Colombia resident visa is divided into a total of four categories. There are 14 Migrant Visas which allow accumulation of time to get a residency visa.
Four Qualifying Categories for the Colombian Residency Visa:
- Renunciation of nationality: A former Colombian citizen who was living in other countries where he or she was required to renounce their Colombian citizenship when becoming citizens of his or her newly adopted country.
- Temporary protection statue of Venezuelan migrants
- Peace process resident
- Accumulated time in Colombia with a migrant visa for the following migrant visa categories:
14 Migrant Visas which Make Up the Colombian Residency Visa
Nº 1 (Marriage):
Any foreigner who has held marriage visa of migrant (M) visa category for uninterrupted period of 3 years can apply for Colombia resident visa.
Nº 2 & Nº 3 (Parent):
A parent be it a father or a mother of a Colombian child by birth or by adoption can also apply for resident visa after having a migrant visa for 2 years.
Nº 4 & Nº 5 (Mercosur):
Any foreigner who has held migrant M visa for Mercosur and Andino regions for 2 years can apply for resident visa.
Nº 6 (Stateless Person):
Any foreigner who has held migrant (M) visa for a stateless person for an uninterrupted period of 3 years can apply for a resident visa.
Nº 7 (Domestic Partnership):
Any foreigner who has held domestic partnership or civil union migrant visa of type (M) category for a period of 5 years can apply for resident visa.
Nº 8 (Refugee):
Any foreigner who was granted a migrant visa of type (M) category even though he or she entered Colombia as a refugee and has held that visa for 5 years can apply for resident visa.
Nº 9 (Work):
A foreigner who has held migrant work visa for 5 years can apply for residency visa.
Nº 10 (Business):
Any foreigner who has held migrant business visa of category (M) for a period of 5 years can apply for residency visa.
Nº 11 (Freelancer):
Any foreigner who has hold migrant visa as a freelancer for a period of 5 years or more can apply for a resident visa.
Nº 12 (Retirement):
Any foreign individual who has held retirement visa of migrant (M) category for 5 years is eligible to apply for residency visa.
Nº 13 (Promotion of Internationalization):
Any foreigner who has held promotion of internationalization visa of migrant (M) category for a period of 5 years can apply for residency visa.
Nº 14 (Investment):
A foreigner who invested 350 times or more the minimum monthly wage in Colombia and has held investment visa of migrant (M) category for 5 years can apply for resident visa.
Specific Document Requirements for the Colombian Residency:
Here is a list of specific documents that you may need depending on the original reason your migrant visa was issued.
A photocopy of the first page of your valid passport showing your biographical data. The photocopy can be either in color or black and white.
For Proof of Legal Entry:
A photocopy of the page of your passport showing last stamp of entry or departure of Colombia.
Passport style face photo with a white background, digital photo, maximum size of 300 kb jpg file for online application.
Photocopy of Previously Issued Visa:
If you’ve had a previous Colombian visa such as a retirement visa, then a photocopy of this visa. Photocopies of previously issued TP or M visas are needed if you are applying on the basis of length of time holding of these visas.
Proof of Income:
You must provide a proof of your source of income.
Copy of Cedula:
If applying for R visa on the basis of marriage, then you must submit a copy of your Colombian spouse’s cedula
For Work / Occupational Visas - Accreditation of Occupation:
A document proving that your occupation is accredited.
For Investors - Proof of Investment from Federal Bank
If you are receiving the R visa due to investment, then you must provide a communication issued by the Department of International Exchange of the Bank of the Republic. This communication from the banks records the direct foreign investment made by you in your name with an amount greater than 350 times than minimum monthly wage in Colombia.
For Marriage or Civil Union - Notarized Letter by Spouse:
If you are applying for the R visa on the basis of marriage to a Colombian citizen after three years with a TP-10 visa or two years with the new M-1 visa, then you need a notarized letter signed by the spouse or permanent partner who is a Colombian national requesting the issuance of the R visa for his or her foreign spouse.
Migratory Movement Certificate:
This certificate is issued by Colombia Migration and is dated within three months of the visa application
For Parents - Copy of Child’s Birth Certificate:
If you are receiving the R visa due to being the parent of a Colombian child, either by birth or by adoption, then you must submit a copy of the child’s Colombian birth certificate. In addition, a letter must be provided signed by the other parent, stating that the foreigner visa applicant is in full compliance with corresponding food obligations. Or if the child is of legal age, then the letter should be from the child requesting the issuance of the visa along with a copy of the child’s national ID or cedula.
Colombian Consulates in The United States
Click the name of the Colombian consulate closest to you to get permission for the next flight. If you have problems communicating with the consulate and you would like help please let us know. We charge a small fee for assisting with documents and forms in Spanish.
Applying for Resident Visa from 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 Spanish.
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.
The Colombian visa application process is fairly easy as it can be completed entirely online. You can apply for a Colombia retirement visa online here. This application will require scanned copies of all required documents in Adobe PDF format along with your passport photo in JPEG format. In addition, a detailed guide for applying online can be found here.
If you are in another country outside of Colombia, then you have to go to nearby Colombian consulate in that country so that you can get the visa added to your passport at a Colombian consulate. Once your Colombian retirement visa has been approved and added to your passport, you are ready to travel to Colombia as a migrant and a retiree.
Websites of Interest Related to this Subject
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.
James Lindzey the owner 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 our visa services our agency offers a full range of legal and accounting services to our clients. We are able to assist better in document collection services in the United States because of James legal experience in the United States.
Many visas require obtaining complicated documents in the United States or Canada. Just another reason why you should choose our firm.
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.