Colombian Marriage Visa: Your Essential Guide to Application and Requirements

Want to get married in Colombia? Our blog covers everything you need about Colombian marriage visas, from eligibility requirements to the application itself.

Colombian Marriage Visa Guide
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Are you married to a Colombian national? You may be eligible for a Colombian Marriage Visa. Sometimes known as the "M-1 Visa," this visa allows individuals to remain in Colombia for 1-3 years at a time, work in Colombia, and even start a path toward dual citizenship. 

To obtain a Colombian marriage visa, it is first essential to understand the visa application process, eligibility criteria, and necessary documentation. While the marriage visa process is far from straightforward, this blog will help you gain a deep understanding of it so that you can live with your partner in Colombia. 

Key Takeaways

  • The M-1 visa permits foreign nationals married to Colombians to live, work, and study in Colombia.
  • The Migrant visa is typically granted for 1-3 years at a time.
  • Applicants must be legally married or in a civil union with their Colombian partner, which means the relationship needs to be certified at a notary if you were not married in Colombia.

Eligibility for Colombian Marriage Visa

Eligibility for the Colombian Marriage Visa hinges on a bona fide relationship with a Colombian national through marriage. The process requires demonstrating the relationship's legitimacy and adherence to specific legal procedures when registering the union in Colombia.

1. You are legally married to a Colombian National.

Individuals married to Colombian citizens are eligible for a Colombian Marriage Visa. The marriage must be legally recognized in Colombia, which means the marriage needs to be certified by a notary in Colombia, even if you were married outside of Colombia. 

2. You are in a Civil Union Partnership with a Colombian National

Foreigners in a civil union with a Colombian national can apply for a Colombian Permanent Partner visa 365 days after registering the civil union at the notary. While this is not a marriage visa, the visa types are similar. You can read more about the Permanent partner visa here. 

It is important to note that the visa application takes place after the relationship has been registered at the notary. Being engaged or having a wedding date does in itself does not qualify for the application. 

Required Documents For the Marriage Visa

Now that you understand the visa's eligibility requirements, we can break down exactly what type of documentation is required to apply for the marriage visa. The required documents are:

  • Valid Passport: Applicants must present a passport that has been valid for at least six months and has at least two blank pages. 
  • Photograph: A passport-style photograph is needed. Typically, these should be in color or on a white background.
  • Marriage Certificate: An official marriage certificate or proof of a civil union with a Colombian national is required. This marriage certificate must be from Colombia. 
  • Application Letter: A letter signed by the Colombian spouse in which they request the visa for the foreign spouse. This document must be signed by a notary. 
  • Migratory Movements: Certificate of migratory movements of the foreigner and their Colombian spouse. 

All official documents must be less than 90 days old at the time of application.

Potential Additional Requirements

The government entity can and typically asks for additional information, including a timeline of the relationship, photos of the couple, bank statements, and more, to verify the relationship further. 

Recently, we have seen the Cancillería ask for additional requirements while they gather their initial information and I encourage you to do the same. Preparing all of the documentation prior to submitting helps save you time and stress later on in the application process.

Daniela Cordoba

Lead Attorney, Colombian Visa Services

Proof of Relationship: Such corroborating evidence may include, but is not limited to

  • Documentation attesting to cohabitation.
  • A personal statement from the Colombian spouse confirming the relationship.

Financial Documentation: 

Applicants should be prepared to submit financial records, which may encompass:

  • Recent bank statements demonstrating economic solvency.
  • Proof of income or employment.


Please Note: The requirements for additional documentation can vary based on individual circumstances and the specific stipulations the Ministry of Foreign Affairs puts forth. Applicants are strongly advised to refer to the most up-to-date information from official sources, such as The Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or contact an immigration service like Colombian Visa Services. 


Applicants should also ensure that all documents are current and accurately reflect their personal and financial situation. Instances necessitating further inquiry, such as prior visa denials or discrepancies in application information, may lead to requests for additional documentation. 

Visa Costs and Fees

When applying for a Colombian Marriage Visa, applicants will encounter specific costs associated with the process. The primary fee is the visa application charge, which can vary slightly each year due to currency fluctuations and governmental adjustments. These costs are updated as of 2024. 

Current Visa Fees:

  • Application Fee: The government fee for the marriage visa totals approximately $325 USD, which includes the application submission cost.
  • Additional Charges: Processing charges are factored into the fee. Applicants should also anticipate potential costs for document preparation, notary services, and professional assistance if utilized.

Validity and Renewal:

When obtaining a Colombian Marriage Visa, it is essential to know the duration for which the visa is valid and the specific procedures for renewing it. 

  • Colombian Marriage Visas are typically granted for 1 to 3 years. At Colombian Visa services, we see that most first-time applicants are given one year and renewals are given 2-3 years.
  • Applicants should know that leaving Colombia for more than six consecutive months may invalidate the visa. 
  • The visa is renewable, and subsequent visa applications are typically similar to the initial one.
  • If your marriage ends, whether by death or divorce, your visa is also subject to cancellation. 

Initial Visa Validity Period

The Colombian Marriage Visa, also known as the marriage Visa, typically grants an initial validity period of one to three years. During this time, visa holders are allowed multiple entries into Colombia and may stay continuously until the visa expires. 

Renewal Process

Before the visa's initial validity period expires, visa holders must renew the visa. This involves submitting up-to-date documentation and information to prove that the marriage or civil union is still valid and ongoing. The documentation and application process are almost identical to the original application. 
We recommend renewing the visa 30-60 days prior to its expiration. While you can re-apply for a visa if it expires, your accumulated time towards a resident visa or dual citizenship resets if your visa expires. 

Migrant vs. Resident Visa

The Colombian marriage visa is considered a Migrant Visa. In order to obtain a resident visa through marriage, foreigners need to hold the marriage visa for three consecutive years before applying for a resident (R) visa. The resident visa is valid for five years and is necessary if you want dual citizenship.

The main difference between the migrant visa and the resident visa is the visa duration. The marriage visa (Migrant) is given for 1-3 years at a time, while the resident visa is provided for 5 years at a time. 

Rights and Limitations of the Marriage Visa

Holding a Colombian Marriage Visa grants foreigners the ability to reside in the country with certain privileges and imposes some boundaries to maintain the integrity of immigration laws.

Work Rights

A Colombian Marriage Visa typically enables the holder to work in Colombia legally. There is no need for a separate work permit, which simplifies the ability to be gainfully employed within the country. 

Travel Restrictions

While the marriage visa is less strict than other visa types, visa holders must be in Colombia for one day every 180 days to maintain their visa. After three years and applying for a resident visa, this timeline increases to one time every two years. Public Benefits AccessAccess to public benefits like healthcare for those on a Colombian Marriage Visa usually aligns with those available to Colombian citizens. However, eligibility for certain benefits may depend on the length of residence and whether the individual has contributed to relevant social security systems.

Public Benefits Access

Access to public benefits like healthcare for those on a Colombian Marriage Visa usually aligns with those available to Colombian citizens. However, eligibility for certain benefits may depend on the length of residence and whether the individual has contributed to relevant social security systems.

Dual Citizenship:

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Colombia. To apply for dual citizenship through the marriage of a Colombian citizen, the foreigner must first hold a resident visa. 

The path to dual citizenship through the marriage of a Colombian is as follows: 

  1. Hold a Migrant (M1) Marriage Visa for a minimum of 3 years continuously. 
  2. Hold an R-type resident visa for a minimum of two years.

In short, to apply for dual citizenship in Colombia through marriage, the individual needs to hold a visa for five years without interruption before the dual citizenship application. 

Requirements for Dual Citizenship Through Marriage Application:

  • A declaration of intent to retain original citizenship at a Colombian consulate.
  • Providing proof of identity and residence as needed.
  • Taking geographic and language tests. 

Those considering dual citizenship should also be aware of the bilateral agreements between Colombia and their home country, as rules regarding military service, taxation, and political participation could vary greatly. It is advisable to seek professional legal guidance during this process to navigate complexities and ensure compliance with all applicable laws.

How To Get Married in Colombia

Getting married in Colombia involves a series of legal steps. One must ensure all documentation is correctly completed and submitted. Here is a simplified guide:

Required Documents:

  • Valid passport
  • Birth certificate apostilled and officially translated.
  • Certificate of single status apostille and officially translated 
  • If you have been previously married, certification of divorce apostilled and officially translated may also be required. 

Procedure:

  1. Document Gathering: Couples should start by obtaining all necessary legal documents, which typically include passportsbirth certificates, and certificates of marital status (also known as a single status affidavit).
  2. Legalization and Translation: Any documents not in Spanish must be translated and legalized or apostilled, depending on the country of origin.
  3. Marriage Registration: Couples take the collected documents to a notary for registration.
  4. Civil Ceremony: Couples can arrange a civil ceremony at the notary office after the documents are registered. Dates must be booked in advance.

Couples must know that local notaries may have additional requirements or steps, so they should check with the specific notary office where they plan to marry. Couples should allow adequate time for gathering paperwork and completing processes.

How To Register a Marriage in Colombia if Married Abroad 

If you married a Colombian national abroad, the first step to the marriage visa process is to register your marriage in Colombia. To register your marriage in Colombia,  you will need to bring your marriage certificate, apostilled and officially translated, to a notary in Colombia. Of course, you the Colombian partner will need their Cedula and the US partner will need their passport as well for identification purposes.

Once the marriage has been registered in Colombia, you can use the Colombian marriage certificate for your marriage visa application. It is also important to note that any prenuptial agreements in the foreigner's home country must be updated to include any assets in Colombia and be resigned in Colombia. 

Frequently Asked Questions

This section addresses common queries regarding the Migrant Marriage Visa in Colombia, including requirements, the application process, duration of stay, and legal recognition of the marriage abroad.

What are the requirements for obtaining a Migrant Marriage Visa in Colombia?

To obtain a Migrant Marriage Visa in Colombia, the foreigner must be married to or in a de facto union with a Colombian national. They need to provide an authenticated copy of the marriage record, a letter from the Colombian spouse, contact details, and a copy of the Colombian spouse's ID.

What is the process for marrying a foreigner in Colombia?

Marrying a foreigner in Colombia requires a series of legal steps, including registering the marriage at a Colombian notary, providing valid identification documents, and ensuring the marriage complies with Colombian law.

How long does the Colombian Migrant Marriage Visa allow me to stay in the country?

The Colombian Migrant Marriage Visa typically allows the holder to remain in Colombia for up to three years, after which they may apply for a Resident visa.

What steps must be taken to bring my Colombian spouse to the United States?

To bring a Colombian spouse to the United States, one must apply for a U.S. spouse visa. This involves submitting the necessary documentation to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), including proof of marriage and the Colombian spouse's eligibility for emigration. If you’d like more information about this, we can help! 

Is a marriage conducted in Colombia recognized legally in the United States?

A marriage legally performed in Colombia is generally recognized in the United States, provided it is not for the sole purpose of immigration and all legal procedures have been followed.

Are there any residency requirements for foreigners wishing to apply for a Colombian Marriage Visa?

Foreigners applying for a Colombian Marriage Visa do not face any prior residency requirements. However, they must fulfill all documentation and legal stipulations to proceed with the visa application.

Daniela Cordoba
Founder and Lead Attorney

Daniela Cordoba is a lawyer specializing in immigration and commercial law. Daniela Cordoba has helped individuals and businesses live and operate in Colombia for over a decade. She also has training in compliance with the respective accreditations to serve as Compliance Officer.

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