How to Get Colombia Retirement Visa in 2021
The Colombia Retirement Visa or Pension Visa is intended for retired persons receiving retirement income from their home country. The retirement or pension visa has low income requirements and is quite easy to obtain provided that you meet all the visa requirements.
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. This visa used to be valid for only one year and had to be renewed with original documents each year.
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 three years rather than one year, hence requiring fewer renewals. Furthermore, you can apply for Colombia resident visa after having the retirement visa for 5 years.
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.
Why Retire in Colombia?
What Are Income Requirements For Colombia Retirement Visa?
The income requirement for Colombia retirement visa (M-11) is 3 times minimum salary in Colombia. The minimum salary or “salario minimo” in Colombia is COP 908,526 pesos in 2021, which is roughly $262 dollars per month.
At the current exchange rate in 2021, your minimum monthly pension payment must be COP 2,725,578 pesos or more, which is about $796, calculated from an exchange rate of 3,598 (On 30th of December 2021 the exchange rate was 3,598 pesos per dollar). So, if you receive a monthly income of $796 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.
Recommended Reading: Living Trust & Testaments
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.
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 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 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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Our office ours are from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm Monday to Friday, and 9:00 am to 12:30 pm Saturday. 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.