How can I stay longer in Colombia? This is a very frequent question from foreigners, who normally enter the country with a passport as tourists, obtaining a limited stay in terms of time (90 days) and activities to develop (only tourism). Now, how can they extend their stay?
If you are one of those foreigners who are asking this question, we want you to continue enjoying the opportunities, wonders, and experiences that Colombia has for you. Therefore, in this blog we explain the two options to extend your legal stay in Colombia: extend your tourist stamp or apply for a Colombian visa.
- Tourism Stamp
Visitors as tourists may stay in Colombia for up to 180 days between January 1 and December 31 of each year.
It should be clarified that most nationalities enjoy this benefit by entering the country with a passport and round-trip ticket; however, citizens of some countries need to previously apply for a visa through their nearest Colombian consulate.
See the complete list here.
Those who do not require a visa will receive an initial stamp valid for 90 days upon entering the country. However, 5 to 10 days before the expiration date, this stamp may be extended for an additional 90 days, for a total of 180 days of stay.
- Colombian Visa
If your intentions in Colombia go beyond tourism, the best thing you can do to stay longer in Colombia is to apply for a VISA.
In Colombia, there are three (3) visa categories with more than 30 subcategories related to specific activities or conditions.
Top five most requested Colombian Visas
Here are the five types of Colombian visas most requested by expats. This will give you an idea of how you can ensure a legal stay in the country.
- Visa M- Type Retirement
According to the Global Retirement Index 2022, Colombia is the sixth-best destination to retire, since it is highlighted that our country has: a good health system, low cost of living, diverse climate options, and favorable location, in addition to an enriching culture and an economy in constant development. For this reason, it is not strange that it is one of the most requested Colombian visas by foreigners.
What do I need to apply for the Visa M Type Retirement?
To increase the success of approval we recommend you follow the requirements proposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
-Document that accredits legal permanence in Colombia or in the territory of the consulate where the application is submitted.
-1 digital photo 3 x 4 cm white background without accessories.
-Pension certificate duly apostilled, consularized, legalized, and/or translated, as the case may be, evidencing a monthly income higher than three legal monthly minimum wages in force $3,000,000 / 785 USD, approximately.
-Bank statements of the last 6 months where the amount of pension received each month can be verified.
-Although it is not a mandatory requirement to start the visa process, it is advisable to have international medical insurance of at least 100,000 USD of coverage.
The pensioner visa process can take about one month from the time the documents are complete. The cost is USD 52 as an application fee, plus a fee of USD 230 for the approval and issuance of the visa.
It is important to note that the time for visa issuance is a decision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This time can normally be 1, 2, or up to 3 years.
- Visa M- Type Marriage
The Marriage Visa is the second of the favorite Colombian visas among
expats who have a Colombian partner. With this visa, foreigners can have from one to three years of legal stay in the country and the possibility of acquiring a permanent residence after the second year. On the other hand, they will also have the benefit of working or performing remunerated activities.
The basic requirements to acquire this type of visa are:
– Copy of the passport (valid) and the citizenship card of the Colombian partner.
– 1 digital photo 3×4 cm white background without accessories.
– Updated document that proves the relationship: Marriage Certificate or Domestic Partnership Union.
– Letter of request signed by the Colombian couple and power of attorney duly authenticated.
– Supporting documents that demonstrate the veracity and antiquity of the relationship.
– Certificate of migratory movements of the applicant and the couple.
The process of the spouse visa can take about one month from the moment the application is made. Like the pensioner visa, the cost is 52 USD as a study fee, plus a fee of 230 USD for the approval and issuance of the visa.
- Visa V- Type and M- Type Student Visa
Whether it is to stay longer in Colombia by studying Spanish, doing an exchange, or a postgraduate degree, Colombia is one of the favorite destinations for international students. For this reason, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has two types of visas: V- Visitor Student and M- Migrant Student for those interested in choosing Colombia as their educational destination.
First, it is important to differentiate that the student visa type M is for long-term studies, especially to develop an undergraduate degree in a Colombian university, while the visa type V is for those students interested in doing short courses, such as studying Spanish.
What do you need to start?
– Valid passport.
– Certificate of admission or enrollment in elementary school, high school, or higher studies at an authorized educational institution in Colombia (applies for visa type M).
– Certificate of admission or enrollment in an authorized educational institution in Colombia, for academic exchange studies, studies in arts or crafts, and/or postgraduate studies, with a minimum of ten (10) hours per week (applies for visa type V).
– Bank statements of the last six (6) months of the person who assumes the economic responsibility, to demonstrate solvency.
– Although it is not a mandatory requirement to start the visa process, it is advisable to have international medical insurance with a coverage of approximately 60,000 USD.
The student visa process can take about one month and the granting time is normally associated with the length of the academic period enrolled. The cost is 16 USD for the application, plus a 51 USD fee for the final visa issuance.
- Visa M Type Investment
This type of visa is designed for foreigners who wish to purchase real estate for an amount greater than 350 SMMLV / 90,000 USD approximately.
The Visa M- Type Investment is a great opportunity for those interested in investing in real estate. In fact, with the economic reactivation in Colombia and the projection of the dollar, foreign investment is on the rise, an example of this was the 4.8% growth of foreign capital for 2021.
To apply for this visa, in addition to the requirements common to all categories, we find the following:
– Certificate from the Bank of the Republic, showing the registration of the direct foreign investment for the purchase of the real estate in the foreigner’s name, for an amount greater than 350 SMMLV (90,000 USD approximately).
– Public deed of the property duly updated and issued by the notary’s office.
– Updated Certificate of Tradition of the property issued by the Public Registry Office of Public Instruments. This certificate must state that the property is already in the name of the foreigner applying for the visa.
The basic costs involved in this process are 52 USD for the application fee, and 230 USD for the approval and issuance of the visa.
It is important to note that the time for granting the visa is a decision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This time can normally be 1, 2, or even 3 years.
- Visa M- Type Work
The Colombian Visa M-TypeWork is usually mistaken for a freelancer or nomad visa; however, it should be clarified that this visa is a permit granted by the Colombian Government that enables the foreigner to work only with the company and the sponsor through which the visa has been approved.
With this in mind, what do you need to apply for your Colombian work visa? In addition to the basic documents, we recommend you validate the following list before starting the application:
– A copy of the prospective employment contract, stating the position, duties, salary, type of contract, and start date.
– A letter of motivation from your prospective employer specifying the reasons why you have been selected.
– Updated documentation of the company, such as the Certificate of Existence and Legal Representation and bank statements.
– Academic support and/or work experience associated with the position you are going to perform. These documents must be apostilled and translated into Spanish.
The cost of the process is 52 USD for the study plus 230 USD for the issuance of the visa. Remember that the time of granting may be associated with the duration of the contract, but ultimately it will always be the decision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
We are certain that you will want to stay longer in Colombia, so we hope this article has given you some insights. However, remember that these are not the only visas you can apply for, as many other types of visas could fit your needs.
If you still have doubts, we advise you to seek the advice of an expert. At expatgroup.co we have advised about 11,261 expats, processed 1762 Colombian visas, renewed 190 American passports, created 96 companies, managed 210 marital unions, and many more successful processes.