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Top 10 Colombian Visas

After a very hard year for Colombian Expats, the dust is settling, and due to the new visa rules, we have seen a slight change in the top visas. The primary problem with the new rules are 1) longer processing times, and 2) the expiration dates placed on foreign documents. The visas with the longest processing times remain the pension, business visitors, nomad, and rentista visas due to the dependency on foreign documents. All foreign documents expire during the very slow review process once they pass 90 days. What makes the process worse is that each time an application passes 30 days they force you to pay another application and load everything up again, forcing you to wait usually at least 2 weeks to hear back from the visa office.

Moving up the charts is the business Free Trade Visitors Visa: I would like to draw attention to a new visa based on companies involved in free trade agreements with Colombia. If a company you work for or own is involved in importing or exporting services or products which are listed in a free trade agreement you can obtain a very nice TLC visa. ** To support these types of applications you need to search for the products or services to verify inclusion in free trade agreements.

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Here is our Top 10 List for Colombian Visas:



The student visa for Colombia is still maintaining a number 1 position due to the ease of preparing documents and therefore being the fastest process. It Is good for 1 year, but after this officials may issue more time if you can show good evidence education is progressing. While most choose to study Spanish, you may sign up for technical degrees or regular college classes as well.



The marriage visa for Colombia is maintaining the 3rd most popular Colombian visa for 2024. It is actually easier than it was in 2023, but we remind people that half of the application success is due to providing proof of relationship


Annuity / Rentista VISA

Always a very popular visa for persons who have their own small business in the States such as an LLC, S corp, or C corp. Landlords with property administrators may also qualify for this visa. With an exchange rate of 3,900 pesos to 1 dollar, you need approximately 3,333 USD to qualify. This visa was downgraded to a Visitor visa but maintains a high number of people opting for this visa. However, many are looking for a way to upgrade to the migrant visa category as this is needed for obtaining permanent residency. Some Rentista/Annuity holders are applying for permanent residency based on having 5 years under the previous law.



maintains 7th position for 2023 and is a popular option for business owners, or property investors who will not spend more than 6 months (180 days) a year in Colombia. This visa allows you to have a Colombian ID card, (cedula de extranjeria) which is useful for banking, signing contracts, obtaining internet, a driver’s license, and obtaining internet to mention a few things. For more info on the business visitors visa click here.

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Maintaining the Top 10, the Colombian beneficiary visa applies for many types of visas. The nomad, renta visa, and M visas qualify. Student Visas do not qualify for beneficiary Visas. The beneficiary visa is available to immediate family members of a principal visa holder. This means Spouses, Children up to 25, and parents who may be handicapped and dependent on the principal visa holder. Basic requirements are birth and/or marriage certificates with apostilles, less than 90 days old to qualify family members.



This visa became more difficult with the visa rules changing in 2022, but still remains our 2nd most popular visa in 2024. For persons who have been in Colombia 3 years or more this visa is not as bad as for other persons. If an applicant is here less than 3 years then you have to obtain your criminal history report from your home country. The United States embassy also STOPPED CERTIFYING SOCIAL SECURITY LETTERS. (check out our tips for filing visas in Colombia for 2023)

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This is a very popular visa and sometimes people opt out for the Rentista/Annuity visa as it has been around longer and may be easier to get approved depending on the person’s situation. The digital nomad only requires 3 minimum salaries but the company documentation including a labor contract can be difficult for some applicants. The documents needed are a bit more than what some expect to get approved.


Business Owner Visa

Is in 6th position for the 2024 popularity list. This is a migrant visa and is a really good option to accumulate years towards a residency visa. It is not an easy visa to maintain unless you are really going to operate a company in Colombia. A Colombia company is much harder than running an LLC in the USA. However, many choose this option over other migrant visas for personal reasons, for example, some persons prefer to administer a company than get married for example. Ideas for popular business by expats can be found here.



From a legal standpoint this visa is actually the best Migrant visa you can obtain. If you are married to a Colombian and you have a child, the parent visa gets you permanent residency In just 2 years. This visa is holding steady at number 8 this year. Parents with children born outside of Colombia may expect to provide more paperwork and have to register children’s names under Colombian standards which can cause quite a delay. More here in this link about the Colombian Parents Visa.



Holding steady at number 10, Important: All permanent visa holders who have not obtained a recent visa have until October 22, 2024 to transfer to a new residency visa under the most recent 2022 visa resolution. Previously The visa transfer was also used for those persons who obtain new passports and need to transfer visas to the new passport. Contact us for more information.

Time limits and expiring documents STILL REMAIN THE MAIN CONCERN for 2024 Applications. Remember each application has a 30-day expiration, and documents expire in 90 days. Pay attention to these rules to implement a successful visa application plan. The new visa rules have made applications more difficult due to delays and many new document requirements. REMEMBER ALL FOREIGN DOCUMENTS HAVE A MAXIMUM 90-DAY LIMIT. NEW APOSTILLES DO NOT HELP IF THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENT IT IS ATTACHED TO IS OLDER THAN 90 DAYS.

Before setting up a company in Colombia, it is essential to understand the different types of migrant visas available clearly. Colombia offers various visa categories designed to cater to different purposes and situations. The most relevant visa categories for foreign entrepreneurs include the following:


Migrant Business Visa:

This visa is designed for individuals who intend to establish a business or invest in Colombia. It allows entrepreneurs to engage in commercial activities, create employment opportunities, and contribute to the country’s economic growth.


Migrant Investment Visa:

Geared towards individuals who plan to make significant investments in Colombia, this visa category is suitable for entrepreneurs looking to invest in existing businesses, start new ventures, or participate in joint ventures with Colombian partners.


Migrant Independent Worker Visa:

This visa applies to individuals who will be self-employed or work as freelancers in Colombia. It caters to professionals such as consultants, artists, and writers, allowing them to carry out their independent work activities legally.

Foreign entrepreneurs must carefully assess their business objectives and activities in Colombia to determine the most suitable visa category. They need to consider factors such as the nature of their business, investment plans, and long-term goals. Consulting with an immigration lawyer or specialist can provide valuable guidance in selecting the appropriate visa category that aligns with your entrepreneurial aspirations.

Colombian Consulates in The United States

Click the name of the Colombian consulate closest to you if you happen to be in the United Statesto get permission for the next flight. If you have problems communicating with the consulate and you would like help please let us know. We assist people all over the world.  Most of our English speaking clients come from the United States and Canda as they are the closest English speaking clients. We charge a small fee for assisting with documents and forms in Spanish.

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.

Our Story


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.


Our Services

Many visas require obtaining complicated documents in the United States or Canada. Just another reason why you should choose our firm.

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 immigration 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.
Office in El Poblado in Medellin services.

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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