Colombia is truly a place worth visiting, especially if you are a lover of nature. This South American country is known for being the second most bio-diverse country in the world. The friendly people, beautiful architecture and culture, as well as the delicious food and sunny beaches, are also great reasons to pay a visit to Colombia.

If you want to visit Colombia, you may need to apply for a Colombia visa.

This article will detail the Colombia visa policy, including the requirements, who needs it, as well as the application process.

Who Needs a Visa for Colombia?

You need a Colombia visa unless you are from one of the countries listed on the table below. Nationals of these countries can enter and stay in Colombia without a visa for up to 90 days:

European Union citizens Albania Andorra
Antigua and Barbuda Argentina* Australia
Azerbaijan Bahamas Barbados
Belize Bhutan Bolivia*
Bosnia and Herzegovina Brazil* Brunei
Canada Chile* Costa Rica
Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador*
El Salvador Fiji Georgia
Grenada Guatemala Guyana
Honduras Hong Kong (up to 180 days) Iceland
Indonesia Israel Jamaica
Japan Kazakhstan Liechtenstein
Marshall Islands Mexico Moldova
Monaco Montenegro Micronesia
New Zealand North Macedonia Norway
Palau Panama Papua New Guinea
Paraguay* Peru* Philippines
Qatar Russia Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa
San Marino Serbia Singapore
Sovereign Military Order of Malta Solomon Islands South Korea
Suriname Switzerland Taiwan
Trinidad and Tobago Turkey United Arab Emirates
United Kingdom United States Uruguay*
Vatican City Venezuela*

*Can enter with only their ID card.

If you are from one of the countries listed above, you can request permission to stay in Colombia for an additional 90 days. This means you can stay for up to 180 days without a visa. You cannot ask for a second extension.

Entering Colombia With Another Type of Visa

If you are from one of the following countries, you can enter Colombia without a Colombian visa for up to 90 days, if you already have a short-stay visa or residence permit issued by a Schengen country or the USA:

  • Cambodia
  • China
  • India
  • Macau (up to 180 days)
  • Myanmar
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

The visa/residence permit must be valid for at least another 180 days from the date of arrival.

Do I Need a Visa to Transit Through a Colombian Airport?

If you will transit in a Colombian airport, you do not need an airport transit visa if:

  • Your connecting flight is in less than 24 hours.
  • You do not leave the international transit area of the airport.
  • You have all the required documents for your next destination.

Note: This exemption does not apply to Cuba nationals or passengers with the Palestinian “Authority” passport.

If your connecting flight is further than 24 hours away and/or you intend to leave the international area of the airport, you must apply for a Colombian short-stay visa (ie. Visitor Visa).

What Are the Requirements for a Colombia Visa?

When you apply for a Colombia visa, you must submit several documents, such as:

  • Your valid passport. You must make a copy of:
    • The main page of your passport (holding your biographical information).
    • Previous Colombian visas (if any)
    • The last stamp of entry or departure from Colombia (if any)
  • Passport size picture of yourself, with the following requirements:
    • Dimensions: 3 cm x 4 cm
    • No larger than 300 KB and in JPG format (for online application)
    • White background
    • Taken in the last three months
    • Entire face must be visible
  • Bank statements from the last six months (as proof of financial resources)
  • Travel itinerary and airplane ticket
  • Proof of accommodation/address in Colombia.
  • If you are visiting a family member/friend: Proof of family relationship or an explanation of your relationship.
  • If you will attend or take part in an event or activity: Details of the event/activity, the program and agenda, duration, etc.
  • If travelling for business: The letter of invitation from the company, details of what you will do there, and the company’s registration documents.
  • If you will be doing training or a course of study: The certificate of enrollment/acceptance.
  • Any other documents as requested by the Colombian Consulate or Immigration Authorities.

Note:

  • All documents have to be in Spanish. If they are not already, you must have them translated by a translator certified by the Colombian government.
  • You have to legalize your documents through an Apostille stamp before you submit them. If you are not from a country included in the Apostille Convention/Treaty, you have to notarize your documents before a public notary and then go to the Colombian Consulate to have them signed.

Colombia Visa Types

There are three main types of visas for Colombia:

  • Colombia Visitor Visa (V), also referred to as a Tourist Visa.
  • Colombia Migrant Visa (M)
  • Colombia Resident Visa (R)

These types of visas have their own sub-categories, depending on the purpose of travel.

Colombia Tourist Visa – Visitor (V) Visa

The Visitor (V) Visa for Colombia, also referred to as a Colombian Tourist Visa, is issued to foreigners who will stay in Colombia for a short period of time. It is issued for the following purposes:

  • Tourism and leisure activities
  • Airport transit
  • Business
  • Taking part in a short-term academic exchange program, training, or other educational courses such as an internship.
  • To seek medical treatment (or accompany someone who is undergoing medical treatment)
  • For work in a company as an inter-corporate transferee
  • To foreigners entering under the working holiday program
  • To volunteers in human rights projects or development cooperation projects
  • To foreign journalists

The Colombia Visitor Visa is usually issued for a maximum of 90 days, but can also be issued for up to two years in certain cases. The decision is up to the Consular or Immigration authorities handling your visa application.

Colombia Migrant (M) Visas

The Colombian Migrant Visa is issued to foreigners who intend to live in Colombia for a longer period of time or set up a temporary or permanent residence. The Migrant Colombia Visa can be issued for a maximum of three years and is renewable.

The categories of the Colombia Migrant Visa are:

  • Colombia Marriage Visa. Issued to the spouses or registered/long-term partners of Colombian residents or citizens.
  • Colombia Work Visa. Issued to foreigners who have found a job in Colombia.
  • Colombia Student Visa. Issued to foreigners who have been accepted into a Colombian educational institution or academic program.
  • Colombia Investment Visa. Issued to foreigners who invest a substantial sum in Colombia, which is equal to approximately 350 times the minimum wage in Colombia.
  • Colombia Retirement Visa. Issued to elderly foreigners who want to retire in Colombia and have the necessary financial means to cover for themselves.
  • Colombia Religious Visa. Issued to religious missionaries.
  • Colombia Refugee Visa. Issued to foreigners who are seeking refuge in Colombia.

Colombia Resident (R) Visas

The Resident Visa for Colombia is issued to foreign nationals who fulfil one of the following requirements:

  • You have had a Migrant Visa continuously for at least four years.
  • You have a Colombian child.
  • You are reclaiming your Colombian nationality. If you gave up your Colombian citizenship previously, you can apply for a Colombian Resident Visa if you wish to return.
  • You invest a substantial sum of money in Colombia.

The Colombia Resident Visa is issued for five years at a time and can be renewed.

How to Apply for a Colombia Visa?

You have to submit your application for the Colombia visa through the online application service available on the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (here). Enter your name, nationality and passport number to start the application process. Make sure you finish the application in 30 minutes or the session will expire. The steps are as follows:

  1. Complete the online Colombia visa application form. Answer the questions carefully and truthfully. Questions include your nationality, purpose of visit, address in your home country and the address where you will stay in Colombia, whether you have had any previous visas issued or rejected for Colombia, etc.
  2. Select the type of visa you are applying for.
  3. Attach an electronic copy of the visa photo.
  4. Attach PDF files of all the required documents.
  5. Select the Colombian Consulate where you want to submit your application.
    • Note: If you are applying from within Colombia, you have to select the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) office in Bogotá as the location for visa application.
  6. Select the method of payment for the Colombia visa fee. See the options of payment listed below under “Colombia Visa Fees”.
  7. You will be notified via email about the status of your visa application. If your application was approved:
  8. Go to the Colombian Consulate or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Bogotá to receive your visa.

Before you apply:

  • Find out which is the nearest Colombian Consulate nearest to where you live. This could be in your country or in a neighbouring country. See a list of Colombia Diplomatic Missions abroad.
  • Contact the Embassy/Consulate to learn about their specific requirements and the documents you must submit.
  • Make sure you make electronic copies of the required documents (the documents have to be in PDF format).
  • Make sure you have an electronic visa picture that is 3 cm x 4 cm and with a white background.

Please note:

Not all Colombian Consulates will offer an online application service. In some cases, you may have to submit the documents and application in person at the Colombian Consulate.

After You Arrive in Colombia

Once you receive your Colombian visa, you must visit the local immigration authorities (Migración Colombia) to register your stay. You must do so within 15 days of entering the country. If you are already in Colombia, register your stay within 15 days of receiving your visa.

If you are staying for longer than three months, you will get a Foreigners ID Card (Cedula de Extranjeria) after you register.

There are Immigration Offices in most major cities in Colombia.

How Long Does It Take to Process a Colombia Visa Application?

The Colombia visa application is processed in about 5 working days but can take as long as 30 days if there are any irregularities or missing documents. Make sure to apply sufficiently in advance of the time you intend to travel.

Colombia Visa Fees

When you apply for a Colombia visa, you have to pay two separate fees: the visa processing fee and then another fee if the visa application is successful.

  • The initial fee for Colombia visa: The cost changes depending on your country of residence:
    • If applying from Cuba or a European country: €40
    • If applying from within Colombia or from a non-European country: $52
  • Second Colombia visa fee (only if you receive the visa): Changes depending on your country of residence and the type of visa you are applying for.

The available methods of payment of the Colombia visa fee are:

  • Online, via the PSE Electronic Service Provider. You must enter your visa application reference number.
  • At the Colombian Consulate. Contact the relevant Consulate regarding their preferred means of payment.
  • Through a Servibanca ATM (only if you are in Colombia at the time of payment)
  • Banco GNB Sudameris in Bogotá (only if you are in Colombia at the time of payment)

Make sure to check the exact requirements at the website of the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for any changes regarding the visa fee payment (here).

What Is the Duration of a Colombia Visa?

The duration of a Colombia visa depends on the type of visa you have as well on the decision of the Consular or Immigration Authorities. As such:

  • Colombia Visitor Visas are issued for up to 90 days. In certain cases, they can be issued for longer than 90 days, but no more than two years.
  • Colombia Migrant Visas are issued for up to three years at a time and can be renewed.
  • Colombia Resident Visas are issued for five years at a time and can be renewed.

Can I Extend a Colombia Visa?

You can apply for an extension of your Colombian Visa at the Immigration Authorities (Migración Colombia) nearest to where you are staying in Colombia. There are Immigration centres in most major cities.

If you want to stay longer than your visa was issued for, make sure to seek an extension in advance to the expiry of the visa. If you apply afterwards, it will count as overstaying and you will have to pay a fine or be deported.

Can I Work With a Colombia Visa?

Unless you have permission to work, you are not allowed to engage in any paid activities with a Colombia Visa. The types of Colombian visas which allow the holder to work are the Work Visa, Marriage Visa, and Investment Visa. If you have a Student, Retirement, or Tourist/Visitor Visa, you are not allowed to work.

This only applies to those wishing to work for a company/employer based in Colombia. If you are a journalist or short-term transferee, and you receive your salary from abroad, you can carry out your activities.

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