How to Get Colombia Retirement Visa
The Colombia Retirement Visa or Pension Visa is intended for retired persons and Veterans Disability Pension Visa receiving retirement income from their home country. The retirement or pension visa has low income requirements but has become a bit harder since the visa rules changed in 2022. New requirements are criminal background check, along with a medical exam and health or travel insurance.
The Colombia retirement visa has been the most popular visa among expatriates looking to retire in Colombia. Previously, the Colombia retirement visa or “visa pensionado” was known as TP-7 visa.
By end of 2017, Colombian government changed the retirement visa. It is now known as the Migrant (M) visa of category 11 or M-11 visa for short. The Colombia retirement visa is now valid for up to three years, so if its your first year then you will probably get 1 year, then after you renew usually you will receive 3 years. Some people get very lucky and receive 3 years the first time.Furthermore, you can apply for Colombia resident visa after having the retirement visa for 5 years.
Under the new visa resolution 5477, all Migrant visas require you to be in Colombia 180 days or more to keep your visa. If you are out of Colombia more than 180 days your visa will no longer be valid, and Migracion Colombia officials may cancel your visa on entry.
If you are allowed entry in to Colombia with just a stamp then the official will most likely allow you to enter as a tourist after cancelling your visa.
New requirements for the Pension visa are a criminal record report, and insurance which covers repatriation.
Related Topics of Interest for You:
Why Retire in Colombia?
What Are Income Requirements For Colombia Retirement Visa?
The income requirement for the Colombia retirement visa (M-11) is 3 times minimum salary in Colombia. The minimum salary or “salario minimo” in Colombia is COP 1,300,000 pesos in 2024, which is roughly $1,000 dollars per month.
At the current exchange rate in 2024, your minimum monthly pension payment must be COP 3,900,000 pesos or more, which is about $1,000 USD, calculated from an exchange rate of 3,900. So, if you receive a monthly income of $1,000 USD or more, then you qualify for the retirement or pension visa. Your monthly pension payments must be certified, and legalized correctly to be accepted by the Colombian government. Federal pensions are much easier to certify than state pensions generally speaking. Please note that the ministry or consulates do not update the exchange rate that they use on a daily or weekly basis.
Under the new pension law which went into effect 15th of November 2017, private pensions will be accepted. The value of monthly pension payment is based in pesos and adjust for inflation every January 1st along with minimum wage.
The Colombia retirement visa allows multiple re-entries into Colombia. Please note that even though Colombia retirement visa is valid for 3 years, it will lose its validity if you stay out of Colombia for more than six months consecutively.
A new rule on visas was announced by Ministry of Foreign Relations Resolution 5477 of July 22, 2022.
This rule will apply changes in the category of various types of visas and will require adjustments in Colombian Visa Application System.
According to this resolution, the new visa rules will be applicable starting October 22, 2022.
The most popular visa, the retirement or pension visa has new set of rules which are the following:
- New rules will apply to certain applicants who may be eligible to apply for this retirement visa type will only be able to apply for a Visitors Rentista Visa.
- A mental and physical fitness certificate is required that will prove that applicants especially veterans are not suffering from mental, health issues such as PTSD.
- Criminal background certificate either from Colombia or country of prior residence is required.
- Requires a proof of health insurance.
Please note that pension letters such as social security letters don’t come from Embassy anymore. These letters are now accepted only if they are notarized and have an apostille.
What Documents Are Required for Colombia Retirement Visa?
The following documents are required for M-11 retirement visa
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.
Entry Or Departure Stamp
A photocopy of the page of your passport showing the most recent entry stamp if you are in Colombia or the most recent exit stamp if your are out of Colombia.
Photocopy of Previously Issued Visa
If you’ve had a previous Colombian visa such as a student visa, then a photocopy of this visa.
Proof Of Pension
A letter or certificate issued by government, publicly held or privately company (private pensions are more difficult to approve than public pensions), foreign entity or diplomatic or consular mission from the country that the foreign national receives a pension. This letter or certificate must show that the applicant receives a monthly income as pension of no less than three times the current legal minimum monthly salary.
Digital visa photo, white background,100 Kb max size, jpg file. No ear rings, no hats, no white shirts.
All foreigners applying for retirement or pension visa are required to have health insurance which covers them for all risks and repatriation of their body if they die. So many people with premium insurance in Colombia may find that the insurance covers everything except the repatriation of their body.
For that reason many people find that they just have to buy a traveler insurance policy which is similar to health insurance in many ways but also covers repatriation expenses.
A small rewrite of EPS section can still state now that EPS as of October 21, 2022 is not a requirement for visas but its still a cheap and great insurance to cover you in Colombia. The EPS payments are still 5% of your income by law. Pension visa holders are now exempt from this requirement as the new visa law prohibits them from obtaining this insurance.
Keep in mind that paying for medical services in Colombia WITHOUT INSURANCE is more economic than paying for medical services in the UNITED STATES with insurance!
Please beware that health certificate is required for pension visa holders, although pension holders are NOT ALLOWED to continue with EPS insurance past the issuance of the new visa. The visa officials will review the past EPS insurance payments until the date the new visa rules went into effect October 21, 2022.
Criminal Background Check
Criminal background certificate either from Colombia or country of prior residence is required. The criminal background check must from the country where you have lived for the last 3 years.
Related Articles of Interest: Colombia Visas
Do you have a Veterans Disability Pension?
For the Colombia Veterans Disability Pension Visa, the Ministry of foreign relations is now requiring the disability ratings letter for the visa. This document must be notarized and apostilled, then translated to Spanish. Certain persons will be required to show ongoing treatment for PTSD and other mental illnesses. It is possible that visa officials deny visas once they see ratings or diagnoses of mental illness. Visa denial could block other Colombia visa applications in the future. Please see other popular visa types below.
Our office can guide you through this process but these documents may require you to start in the United States in person.
If you feel that you may have a mental illness diagnosis that may effect your Colombia visa application we suggest applying for a student visa or marriage/civil union visa.
Popular Visa Alternatives to consider:
For more information on Colombia student visas click here
For more information on Colombia marriage or civil union visas click here
Top 5 most popular Colombian Visas click here
How to Get Proof of Pension for Colombia Retirement Visa?
A proof of pension is required when applying for Colombia retirement visa. You typically need to attach an apostille to your proof of pension. If you are a US citizen, then for federal pension purposes you would need proof of pension from the United States Social Security Administration (SSA). This proof of pension is SSA Benefit Verification letter. If you are a Canadian citizen, then you would a need a proof of pension from Canadian Pension Plan.
For US citizens, the easiest method to get Benefit Verification letter is via the Social Security web site. To get this SSA Benefit Verification letter on this site, you will need to create an account. Go to Social Security website found here. On the left side of the SSA’s main home page click SIGNIN/UP.
Then click on my Social Security. Create an account, log in and go to your Benefit & Payment Details link found on the top menu bar. Then, click on this, and the middle of the page you will see “Get a Benefit Verification Letter.” Click on this link and it will open your SSA Benefit Verification letter, which you can then print.
After you have your SSA Benefit Verification you need to APOSTILLE for it to be used in Colombia. In the past, one way to verify this document was to get an apostille for this letter to use it in Colombia. With legal messenger services, such as Visas by James consular messenger services, you may also get federal benefit letters certified at the American Embassy, as an alternative to the Federal apostille service.
Since the SSA Benefit Verification Letter is a federal document it can only get authenticated by the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C. Here are the requirements for authentication of a federally issued documents.
- Must be executed by U.S. federal agencies
- Must include a legible signature of the official’s name, printed name and title, and seal of the agency
- Must be on agency letterhead
If your Benefit Verification Letter does not have a signature, then the U.S. Department of State will not attach an apostille to this letter. You can get the letter signed by an SSA officer at a local SSA office and then get an apostille.
How to Apply for Colombia Retirement Visa?
There are two ways to apply for Colombian retirement visa.
Applying for retirement visa from abroad
A visa applicant who wishes to invest in Colombia can apply for a Colombia investment visa online. In addition, any Colombian visa can be obtained at any Colombian consulate around the world. In the U.S., Colombia has consulates located in the following cities and states:
The Colombian visa application process is fairly easy as it can be completed entirely online. You can apply for a Colombia investment visa online Tramites Visa . 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 investment visa has been approved and added to your passport, you are ready to travel to Colombia as a migrant and an investor.
Applying for Retirement 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 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.
Why Use Our Visa Agency For Getting Colombia Retirement Visa?
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.
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Testimonials from a current and former clients who got a Colombian visas successfully.
Worked with James and Cristina on buying first property in Colombia. They were very knowledgable in Colombia law and banking. Went the extra mile to guide us thru the process of transferring foreign funds, reviewing/advising purchase documents, and walking us thru the maze of legalities. Invaluable, and in dual languages! Thanks to them the process was completed in less than one month!
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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.