Learn about updated visa requirements for visitors, residents, students, and more.
This was the bold promise made to potential visitors at the end of a series of advertisements from the Colombian tourism board in 2008: “the only risk is that you will want to stay”.
Turns out, their prediction was spot on. Since the commercials were produced less than 10 years ago, Colombia travel has blossomed by more than 250 percent. Heralded as the “Silicon Valley of South America”, the country draws innovators and explorers from around the world — many of whom decide to stay awhile.
To accommodate the influx of long and short-term visitors, digital nomads, retirees, and Venezuelan refugees, Colombia is simplifying the process of getting a visa. Starting on December 15, the country will roll out sweeping changes to streamline its current system. Here’s what you need to know:
Colombian Resolution 6045: An overview
Previously, foreigners had to navigate a somewhat daunting array of different visa types. But as of December 15, 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (otherwise known as the Cancilleria) is reducing the number of visa classes from 21 to three.
Resolution 6045, released on August 2, 2017, organizes visas into these three subcategories:
- Type V (Visitor): This category of visa is offered to foreigners visiting Colombia for reasons like tourism, business, training, direct investment plans, medical treatment, and short-term services.
- Type R (Resident): Virtually identical to the current RE visa, the new R visa is offered to eligible foreigners seeking to establish residency in Colombia. Examples of foreigners who may qualify for this type of visa include returning Colombians, parents of a Colombian national, and those who’ve held certain migrant visa types and lived in Colombia for a certain number of years.
- Type M (Migrant): This type of visa is offered to foreigners seeking to establish residence in Colombia, but who do not qualify to apply for a type R visa. Examples of foreigners who qualify for this type of visa include Colombian spouses or partners, adopted parents of a Colombian, or students engaged in a recognized academic program.
FAQs about the Resolution 6045
We’ve scoured the 21-page resolution to answer your questions about the new Colombian visa system. Here are some of the most common inquiries we’ve received:
Do I need a visa to enter Colombia under Resolution 6045?
As with the former system, you do not not need a visa to enter Colombia for 90 days if you are a citizen of certain countries, including Australia, Canada, EU Countries, the UK, the USA. Note that Canadians older than 15 and younger than 78 must pay a 160,000 COP (68 CAD) entree fee.
Once you enter Colombia, you may stay in Colombia without a visa for up to 90 days as a tourist, and extend your stay another 90 days at any Migracion office in Colombia.
For stays in Colombia exceeding 180 days, you will need to apply for a visa.
What are the requirements for the new V (visitor) visa?
Under Resolution 6045, you may qualify for a Colombian V visa if you are planning to make one or multiple short-term visits to the country. Here are some of the most common situations where you may apply for a V visa, as reviewed by Medellin Guru:
- You are visiting as a tourist.
- You are involved in an event as an artist, athlete, exhibitor, lecturer, jury, contestant, or organization staff member.
- You are seeking medical treatment in Colombia or escorting someone who is seeking medical treatment in Colombia.
- You are conducting business negotiations, market studies, or investment procedures.
- You’ve transferred to a Colombian sector of a company with locations abroad.
- You are enrolled in an academic exchange, training, or education program.
- You are completing an internship.
- You are involved in a travel-work program approved by the Colombian government.
- You are volunteering in development cooperation or human rights projects.
- You are a journalist or correspondent with a foreign media outlet.
- You are producing audiovisual or digital content.
- You are providing short-term services to someone who is legally residing in Colombia.
- You are executing administrative or judicial procedures in Colombia.
- You are a foreign government official or representative involved in a project not credited to the Colombian government.
- You are entering Colombia as a crew member of a fishing or dredging vessel.
Depending on the activity you are performing, your V visa may be valid for up to two years. However, with a V visa, you are limited to up to 180 days in Colombia per year. That means that if you are from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Mexico, the UK, the US, or another country that doesn’t need a visa to enter Colombia for 90 days with the option to extend another 90, it would likely be redundant for you to apply for a V visa.
What are the requirements for the new R (resident) visa?
Effectively, the R visa has nearly identical requirements as the current RE visa, note writers from Medellin Guru. If you are a foreigner who wants to establish residency in Colombia, you may apply for an R (resident) visa if you meet one of the following qualifications:
- You have had an M (migrant) visa, category 1 to 3, for at least two years.
- You’ve made an investment in Colombia of more than 650 times the Colombian minimum wage. Currently, the Colombian minimum wage is $737,717 COP per month. 650 x 737,717 COP = 479,516,050 COP ($159,839 USD)
- You are a returning Colombian who became a citizen of another country.
- You are the birth parent of a Colombian national.
Under an R visa, you are permitted to carry out lawful work without restriction. An R visa is valid for up to five years, after which it may be renewed. If you are not physically present in Colombia for more than two years, your R visa will become invalid.
What are the qualifications for the M (migrant) visa?
If you don’t qualify for a type R visa, you may be eligible for an M (migrant) visa if you are seeking to establish residency in Colombia. You may apply for the new M visa if you meet one of the following requirements.
- You are the spouse or partner of a Colombian national.
- You become a Colombian national’s adopted father or son.
- You are recognized as a refugee.
- You have permanent employment with an individual person or a legal entity domiciled in Colombia, or to artistic, sports, or cultural groups entering the country with the purpose of a public performance.
- You have made an investment in a property or business in Colombia that is more than 350 times the country’s current minimum monthly salary. 350 x 737,717 COP = 258,200,950 COP ($88,546 USD)
- You have made an investment in the capital stock of a commercial company Colombia that is more than 100 times the country’s current minimum monthly salary. 100 x 737,717 COP = 73,771,700 COP ($25,082 USD)
- You possess the qualification or skill to provide specialized assistance to public or private entities.
- You are part of a religious or missionary organization acknowledged by the Colombian government.
- You are participating in a primary, secondary, or higher education program at an undergraduate educational institution in Colombia.
- You receive a retirement pension at least three times the minimum monthly wage in Colombia, or income from a legal source that is at least 10 times the minimum monthly wage for a rentista visa, or the visa offered to foreigners who receive non-pension income from a business outside Colombia.
- You are a citizen of a country that is a member of the Acuerdo sobre Residencia para los Nacionales de los Estados Parte del Mercosur, Bolivia y Chile.
M visas effectively replace TP visas, the most common among expats. Like TP visas, M visas will become invalid if you leave Colombia for more than six months. One noteworthy difference is that many types of M visas will be valid for three years, while many current TP visas are valid for one year.
How do I get a student visa in Colombia?
Under the new regulations, the Colombian student visa (formerly TP-3 visa) will become type M (migrant), category 9 (M-9) visa. You can apply for a student visa if you are admitted or enrolled in a public or private primary, secondary, or higher educational institution recognized by the Colombian government. To qualify, you must attend a minimum of 10 hours per week. Your visa may be valid for the duration of time you attend the approved institution. Note that if you receive a TP-3 visa before December 15, conditions and validity will remain the same, and you won’t be able to apply for an M-9 visa until your current student visa expires.
How do I get a marriage visa in Colombia?
Once the new regulations go into effect on December 15, the Colombian marriage visa, currently the TP-10 visa, will change to a type M (migrant), category 1 (M-1) visas. This type of visa is available to civil partners (two consecutive years of cohabitation) and same-sex civil unions.
Under both the new and old versions of this visa, you are allowed to work in Colombia. Unlike the TP-10 visa, which allows you to apply for a resident visa after three years, the new M visa will permit you to apply for resident visa after two years. Note that if you receive a TP-10 visa before December 15, conditions and validity will remain the same, and you must wait three years before applying for a resident visa.
How to I get a retirement visa?
Previously, the retirement or pension visa in Colombia was the TP-7. Starting December 15, the Colombian retirement visa will change to a type M, category 11 (M-11) visa. Like the old retirement visa, the M-11 visa requires you to demonstrate proof of pension that is three times the minimum monthly salary in Colombia.
3 x 737,717 COP = 2,183,151 COP ($726 USD)
The M-11 retirement visa will be valid for three years. However, if you already have a TP-7 visa, you cannot apply for a new M-11 visa until your current visa expires.
When will the new visa regulations take effect?
New visa regulations are set to go into effect on December 15, 2017. Note that all visas issued before December 15 will remain valid for their original duration and conditions. If you have a visa issued before the new regulations go into effect, you must wait until your current visa expires before applying for a new one.
How do I apply for a visa?
The application process for applying for a Colombian visa remains largely the same under the new system. You can apply for all three categories of visa in-person at Colombian consulates around the globe, or online. When applying in person, you are advised to bring complete documentation and photocopies of paperwork required for your visa. If approved, you will have to travel to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores office in Bogota. The office is located at Avenida 19 # 98-03, Torre 100 Building on the third floor. Visa processing is done without an appointment on Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
What are the costs of the new visas?
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not yet revealed fees for the new visas. To give you an idea of what to expect, here are some examples of visa costs under the current system:
- RE (resident) visa: $435 USD
- TP-3 (student visa): $55 USD
- TP-10 (marriage visa): $263 USD
- TP-7 (retirement visa): $263 USD
Didn’t see an answer to your question? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re here to provide assistance navigating the upcoming Colombian visa changes and understand exactly how the new rules will affect you.
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