How to Get a Colombia Retirement Visa

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How to get a Colombia Retirement Visa

The Colombia Retirement Visa is intended for retired persons receiving retirement income and it is easy to get with few requirements. The visa also known as the Pension Visa (or TP-7 visa) is also relatively inexpensive – costing just $255 including the processing fee.

Medellín is gaining a reputation as a top foreign retirement location. Several publications including BusinessweekU.S. News and Huffington Post have called the city a great retirement location.

The city is attracting more retirees with its near perfect climate, a relatively low cost of living and good healthcare with five of Latin America’s 35 top-rated hospitals.

Colombia Retirement Visa Requirements

To qualify for the Colombia Retirement Visa you need to demonstrate income of at least three times the minimum monthly salary in Colombia, which is 616,000 pesos per month in 2014. This means you would need monthly income of 1,848,000 pesos ($964 – using 1,918 pesos to 1 USD exchange rate) per month to qualify for the visa.

The minimum monthly salary in Colombia increases each year; in 2014 it increased 4.5%. But the government also tends renew visas for people that qualified under lower amounts in previous years.

Note that the Colombia government is known to prefer official government pension certifications, such as from the United States Social Security Administration. It will be more difficult to get approved with private pension plans or savings accounts.

The Visa Process

The following documents how to get a Colombia Retirement Visa in-person in Bogotá. If you are in Medellín and don’t want to travel to Bogotá you can use a visa service. You can also get a visa at Colombian Consulates abroad.

The Colombia Retirement Visa is applied for in-person at the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores office located in Bogotá at Avenida 19 # 98-03, Torre 100 Building, 3rd Floor. The office is open from 7:30am until noon.

Documents required:

  • Copy of the first page of your current passport where your personal data is displayed.
  • Copy of the page of your passport where the last stamp of entry or departure of Colombia is located.
  • Proof of pension: certificate issued by government, public or private company, foreign entity or diplomatic or consular mission from the country that the foreign national receives the retirement funds, which shows that the applicant receives a monthly stipend of no less than three times the current legal minimum monthly salary.
  • Valid current passport with an expiration date of more than 180 days and two blank pages.
  • If you are applying for the visa in-person you will not need photographs, your photo will be taken on site.

The cost of the Colombia Retirement Visa is $50 for processing (study) in the visa office and $205 for the visa for a total of $255. This is paid in pesos in a small bank branch located in the visa office.

If you are applying for the TP-7 visa remotely using an agency in Medellín or another city you will need to add two photos and a notarized letter in Spanish authorizing the agency to act on your behalf.

You can apply for the visa online here, which will require you to have scans of all the required documents. But this is not needed if you apply for the visa in-person. If you apply in-person, the agent will ask you questions, fill out the online application for you, scan all your documents and return them to you as well as take your photo with a digital camera.

The TP-7 visa is good for a year and will need to be renewed each year. After five years of having a TP-7 visa this can be converted to a resident visa, which is good for five years.

The Proof of Pension

This should be an apostilled proof of pension letter. For the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) this is the SSA Benefit Verification letter. To get this letter the easiest method is via the SSA web site.

You will want to create an account, found on the left side of the SSA’s main home page: “my Social Security”. Create an account, log in and go to your Benefit & Payment Details link on the top menu bar, click to open this page, 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 can be printed.

Next step is to get an apostille for this letter. An “apostille” is a form of authentication attached to a document so it is certified for legal purposes for use in other countries. The SSA Benefit Verification Letter is a federal document so it must be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State.

There are several agencies that offer apostille services in Washington, D.C. including Washington DC Apostille and Apostille Courier Express but these are fairly expensive services that cost $189-195.

An apostille can be also be ordered directly from the U.S Department of State via mail or in-person using a DS-4914 form, which costs only $8, more information is available here. The average processing time for mail-in requests is approximately five to seven business days from the date of receipt. You will need to include a self-addressed prepaid envelope, which will be used to return your apostilled letter. Tracked mail delivery such as Fedex or UPS is also recommended.

Once you have the apostilled SSA Benefit Verification letter keep in mind it needs to be dated within 90 days for the visa application. The SSA Benefit Verification letter should also be translated into Spanish. Trámites Internacionales Inter-Col is one company in Medellín with official Colombian translators that can translate into Spanish at a cost of about $12 per page.

Getting a Colombian Cedula

Migracion ColombiaAfter you have successfully received your Colombia Retirement Visa you will have a maximum of 15 days to register your visa with Migración Colombia to get a Cedula de Extranjeria (Colombian ID for foreigners). This must be done in-person.

It is important to do this within the allotted time frame or you will be liable for a big fine of up to seven times the minimum monthly salary in Colombia (well over $2,000).

The following is information successfully used at the Migración Colombia office in Bogotá in July 2014.

Before going to Migración Colombia’s office, deposit 156,300 pesos at Banco Occidente. In Bogotá there is a Banco Occidente branch located at Calle 100 #9A-39, which is a few blocks from the Migración Colombia office.

At the bank they will have a sample deposit slip posted on the wall showing how to fill it out with:

  • Account name: Migración Colombia
  • Account number: 263-05464-5, codigo 101
  • Amount: 156,300 pesos

After making the deposit at Banco Occidente, it is a short walk to the Migración Colombia office in Bogotá, which is located at Calle 100 #11B-27.

Documents needed:

  • Original deposit slip from Banco Occidente
  • Original passport
  • Signed “Formato Único de Tramites” application form (form available in the office)
  • Photocopy of biographical page of passport
  • Photocopy of your TP-7 visa
  • Photocopy of blood test showing your blood type (or if you have a previous visa, photocopy of your cedula)
  • 1 photo (3×4 cm) – no photo needed if you have a previous visa

If you register your visa with Migración Colombia in Bogotá, the cedula should be ready for pickup in three business days at their office. You can check status on the Migración Colombia website, which has a list of cedulas ready for pickup.

You can also register the visa in Bogotá and have the cedula sent to the Medellín Migración Colombia office – this requires a letter to request this and make sure to have an extra copy.

If the visa is registered at the Migración Colombia office in Medellín (located at Calle 19 #80A-40) or another city the process takes longer, which is about 10 business days to receive the cedula.

A Time-Saving Tip

It is possible to get the visa and apply for the cedula in the same day in Bogotá. The visa office opens at 7:30am but I recommend going at 6:00am so you will be one of the first in line and make it out normally before 9:00am. This way you avoid sitting for much time in the visa office and provides plenty of time to register the visa with Migración Colombia, which closes at 4pm.

Also make sure to bring something to read and dress warmly as it can be cold in the morning in Bogotá.

Conclusion

The Colombia Retirement Visa is relatively easy to get but is strictly intended for people who are retired and drawing retirement income. The steps outlined above show how to get a Colombia Retirement Visa yourself based on the current procedure but you can also utilize visa services; if for example, you don’t want to travel to Bogotá to get the visa.

There are currently 17 different types of visas available to foreigners in Colombia however the procedures and requirements can change so it’s important to have professional help when looking to acquire a non-tourist visa. First American Realty, the largest foreign-owned real estate firm in Medellin, offers a wide range of client services including Visa Services.

40 thoughts on “How to Get a Colombia Retirement Visa

  1. Robert muir says:

    Would be great if you could do an article on the marriage visa,are you permitted to be allowed to stay out colombia for less than six months every year for the 3 year visa leading to per ament residency as I need to return to Scotland to work every year. For 6month period ,, could you advice me please thank you in advance

    • Laura Osorio says:

      Helo Robert. For the marriage visa, you can’t stay longer than 6 months outside of the country. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will take it as you no longer live in the country permanently and they will cancell your visa. With the temporary’s visas this the most common requirement. you can come and go out of the country the times you choose, but having in count that none of them exceeds the 6 months (180 days for beign exact) out of the country.

    • Jeff says:

      Hi Joy, as far as I know the amount doesn’t increase for the individuals in a couple. But from what I have been told is that if both are getting a retirement visa, each in the married couple would have to separately demonstrate income that is at least three times the minimum monthly salary in Colombia. The minimum salary for 2015 in Colombia is 644,350 pesos, which is higher than last year. But the exchange rate has improved so 3 times that is 1,933,050 pesos or $800.21 per month at the current exchange rate. So that is effectively ~$1,600 per month for a couple with ~$800 allocated to each.

    • Jeff says:

      If you are not retirement age with a retirement income, the retirement visa is not for you. You would need to look into other options like an investment visa or student visa. Look at the Client Services – Visa Services on this site and they can put you in touch with someone to review all your visa options.

  2. David says:

    Hi. . is there any age limits for apply for the retirement visa ? . . . . i have government pension and i am just 25yr old . . . . disability pension . . .

      • Jeff says:

        The retirement visa requires income of at least three times the minimum monthly salary in Colombia, which is 644,350 pesos per month in 2015. This means you would need monthly income of at least 1,933,050 pesos, so the correct amount is a pension of at least $763 per month using the current exchange rate of 2,533.63 pesos to 1 USD exchange rate to qualify for the visa. Make sure to look at the current exchange rate when applying for the visa to see what is required to qualify.

      • Jennifer says:

        Are you sure about that? I could have sworn it says under the TP7 Visa that there are NO restrictions on performing economic activities/working or studying.
        There might be repercussions if the government supplying the pension found out they were working though. Either way, thanks for this post, It’s like you read my mind, everything I wanted to know between the post and the comments. 🙂

        • Laura Osorio says:

          Hi Jennifer, Andrew is correct. If you have a Tp7 visa as retirement, you are not allowed to work/study in the country. You will be needing another type of visa if you have plans to study or work in Colombia.

  3. maren sutton says:

    One important missing. If you didn’t make an appointment on Migracion website, you must go online to make an appointment for the next day. They won’t process your documents if you just show up without an appointment. Otherwise very good article.

  4. George M says:

    My question is related to all this. My girlfriend and I are hoping to retire to Medellin. I have a “proof of pension” that exceeds the amount required for two people. I also have other financial assets. We would not need to work. My girlfriend has very little in her own name. Is there a way for us both to get retirement visas based on my income? If I put her name on a savings account that has a substantial balance, would that do the trick? I’m sure I can get a visa, but how can I make sure she can get a visa, given that we’re unmarried? Thanks.

    • Laura Osorio says:

      Hi George, I believe this is not possible if your girlfriend and you aren’t married or have any certificate that proves that she is your permanent partner. You both can apply separately for the retirement visa if you receive a pension higher than 3 minimun Colombian salary’s (COP$2.068.362). In dollars depends on the exchange rate of the day.

  5. US Apostille says:

    Absolutely cool idea, we just want to let anyone knows those who would needed any help with the Apostille services, we are here for you, In fact, we provide an Apostille processing guide to do it yourself in US, just visit our website and head to States page then chose your targeted state and read the full “do it your self” guide. best regards.

    • Dennis Hair says:

      Hi, My name is Dennis. I will start collecting SS next (2016) October 1st. I want to be prepared to move to Colombia around that time. I will apply about 3 months in advance for SS. Do I have to wait until I get my first check to get a statement and what exact form(s) do they want? Also do I need to get the translated document (from English to Spanish) notarized and have the Secretary of State (State of Michigan) Apostille certification? The translated copy of the Social Security document would have a State of Michigan notarization on it. Does the Federal government certify a document with a State of Michigan notarization? Is the original (Social Security document) the only document requiring a Federal Apostille certification? Thanks Dennis

      • US Apostille says:

        Social Security benefits letters is a federal document that need to get Apostille at the US State Department at Washington DC . Processing Time is 8 business days, Cost is $8.00 . Concerning the translated copy of your SS Letter, it does need notarization in your State, just provide the original and the notarized translated copy. The two documents will be considered as only one document. You may choose to use our expedited Apostille service if you are in a hurry, we will notarize the translated document from the MD Secretary of State.

      • DC Apostille says:

        Documents issued by the SS agency is considered a federal document and apostilled by the US Department of State in Washington DC. if you are going to translate the letter into Spanish, you will need to get the translated copy notarized in your State( or any other States ), and then also get it apostilled in the US department of State in Washington DC.

      • Laura Osorio says:

        Hello Dennis, Regarding your questions. 1) Do I have to wait until I get my first check to get a statement? R= YES. 2) what exact form(s) do they want? R= They require the document/comunication/certification from the goverment where figures that you are receiving the pension. 3) Do I need to get the translated document (from English to Spanish) notarized and have the Secretary of State (State of Michigan) Apostille certification? R=YES, we can help you anyway with this process. 4)The translated copy of the Social Security document would have a State of Michigan notarization on it. R= It does not matter, it needs to be “Apostille”. 5) Does the Federal government certify a document with a State of Michigan notarization? R= If I understood well this question, no. As I said before, the certificate needs to be “Apostille” in a US consulate or in US, 6) Is the original (Social Security document) the only document requiring a Federal Apostille certification? R=Yes.

    • Laura Osorio says:

      Hello RC. The TP-7 visa is not a residence visa. Is a temporary visa, that last depending on how you apply. This visa allows the owner’s family, (child – wife) to apply after is approved the principal to a beneficiary visa.

  6. geoffrey says:

    I am retired from the US and presently living in Mexico. I want to apply for retirement residency in Colombia. Will it be possible for me to obtain it without leaving Mexico?

    • Laura Osorio says:

      Hi Geoffrey, It is possible to get the retirement visa while you are in Mexico. However, the hardest part is that they require the “Apostille” of your pension document, so you only be needing an US consultate in Mexico to get this. Otherwise, we can also find other ways to help you get your visa.

  7. butch baxter says:

    if one gets a pensionado visa is there a required amount of “in country” time? for example, if one gets a pensionado visa and then for whatever reason only spends say 3 months in colombia during the “visa year”, does it then become a problem for acquiring a subsequent visa? can an american passport holder come and go to and from colombia at will with the pensionado visa?

    • Laura Osorio says:

      Hello Butch, the requirement with the temporary’s visas is that you cannot stay longer than 6 months outside of the country. You can come and go the times you want having the visa, as long as you don’t stay longer than 6 months. If you do, they will proceed to cancell your visa. Now, if this person is going to have a future problem acquiring another visa after the first one is cancelled, I can’t assure you this answer, it’s their discretion if they approve or denied a visa application, somethimes they can take it as a reason to rejected or not. But from a personal view, they will see it as “If you are applying for a visa in Colombia, is to stay in Colombia longer than 6 months, if not then you are a turist”

  8. Don Bulfin says:

    I’m planning on getting my TP-7 in May. I understand the pension letter and the apostille but do I get the letter and the apostille translated and do I have to get the spanish translation apostilled and in which order? Also do I need a criminal background check. Thanks .

    • Laura Osorio says:

      Regarding the TP7 visa, the “pension letter” is the certificate from the company/government you are receiving the pension. This document needs to be apostilled even if is downloaded online . Once you have this document ready and apostilled, we can then take care of the translation and legalization of the document.

      You do not need a criminal background check.

      • Kim Chambers says:

        Do I understand there is no criminal background check required for the pension visa and cedula? What about at the end of 5 years when you apply for permanent residency?

  9. ADRIAN MCCRAY says:

    I am retired and for the last two years I have been traveling between Colombia and Brazil with an occasional trip for a few weeks to my country, the United States. I am currently in Cali with my apostilled SSA documents. I have until June to present them in Bogota for retired visa. I will present them in May. My question – Will the minimum 6-months requirement to be in the country begin from the time I receive the retirement visa or will it include the two months that I have already been here?

    Secondly, is the renewal period based upon a calendar year (Jan-Dec 2016) or from the date of receipt of the retirement visa (estimated May 2016 – April 2017)?

    I am committed to be in Brazil for 4 months (2 months in two different periods). I am in no rush so, based upon the answer, I can apply for a retirement visa early in 2017 or I can apply next month.

    Thanks very much for your time. I’ve done a lot of research and you are the only one that I’ve found with concise information….no fog. 🙂

  10. ADRIAN MCCRAY says:

    One more question – when renewing a retirement visa – you state that “original documents” must be presented. Does that mean the original apostilled and translated documents…with the dates they were initially apostilled by the U.S. and translated in Colombia? Or….must I repeat the process of obtaining a new copy of the SSA letter and receive a new apostille, a new translation, which would generate a new 90-day period to renew the retirement visa.

    You answer also affects whether I’ll apply in the middle of this year or early next year since I have a trip scheduled to the U.S. Thank you again.

  11. Romaine says:

    Hello, when my visa service applied for my tp7 Rentista renewal study, the response was I needed to have interview in person in BOGOTA. 1. Should I be alarmed 2. Has his happen to someone you know 3. Does this cause a interruption in my goal for 5 years.

    Thank you for any assistance.

  12. Mark Johnson says:

    Will my pension cover my wife and myself? What pension amount? I’m aU.S citizen currently in Thailand. My wife is a Thai National.

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