How To Apply For a Colombian Visa: A Comprehensive Guide

This blog will tell you exactly how to navigate the Colombian Visa Process and how to avoid mistakes, written by a Colombian Immigration lawyer.

How to Apply For A Colombian Visa
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Colombia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. With its cheap cost of living, fantastic weather, and friendly population, travelers worldwide are flocking to Colombia. 

This blog will outline how to travel to Colombia, obtain a Colombian Visa, and the documentation you'll need. This blog will also explain new documentation requirements and how to obtain those documents. 

Who Doesn't Need A Visa To Enter Colombia? 

Technically, almost every country outside of South America needs a visa to enter Colombia. However, the countries below obtain this tourist permit as a typical passport stamp. 

Albanian United States of America Monaco
Germany Estonia Montenegro
Andorra Fiji Norway
Aantigua and Barbuda New Zealand
Argentina Finland Netherlands
Australia France Oman
Austria Georgia Palau
Azerbaijan Grenade Panama
Bahamas Greece Papua New Guinea
Barbados Guatemala Paraguayan
Belgium Guyana Peru
Belize Honduras Poland
Bolivia Hungary Portugal
Bosnia and Herzegovina Indonesia Qatar
Brazil Ireland United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Brunei Darussalam Iceland Dominican Republic
Bulgaria Marshall Islands Romania
Bhutan Solomon Islands Russia (Federation of)
Canada Israel Saint Kitts and Nevis
Czech (Republic) Italy samoa
ChileJamaicaSan Marino
CyprusJapanSt. Lucia
Korea (Republic of)KazakhstanVatican City
Costa RicaLatviaSt. Vincent and the Grenadines
EcuadorNorth MacedoniaSwiss
El SalvadorMaltaSurinam
United Arab EmiratesMoroccoTrinidad and Tobago

*South American Countries belonging to Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) and associated member countries (Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru), Can enter Colombia with only their ID card. 

The passport stamp issued upon arrival will grant the foreigner up to 90 days in Colombia with the option to renew for an additional 90 days (180 days per calendar year). This passport stamp is typically called a Visitors Visa by foriegners. 

Countries That Need A Visa:

Countries not on this list must apply for a Visitors Visa before arrival. We will go through the process for applying for a Visitors Visa later in this blog. 

Afghanistan India Philippines
Algeria Iran Qatar
Angola Iraq Rwanda
Antigua and Barbuda Jordan Sao Tome and Principe
Armenia Kenya Saudi Arabia
Bahrain Kiribati Senegal
Bangladesh Korea, North Seychelles
Benin Korea, South Sierra Leone
Botswana Kosovo Slovakia
Burkina Faso Kuwait Somalia
Burundi Kyrgyzstan South Africa
Cabo Verde Laos Sri Lanka
Cambodia Lebanon Sudan
Cameroon Lesotho Sudan, South
Central African Republic Liberia Syria
Chad Libya Taiwan
China Madagascar Tajikistan
Comoros Malawi Tanzania
Congo, Democratic Republic of the Malaysia Thailand
Congo, Republic of the Maldives The Bahamas
Côte d’Ivoire Mali The Gambia
East Timor (Timor-Leste)MozambiqueTunisia
EgyptMyanmar (Burma)Turkmenistan
Equatorial GuineaNamibiaTuvalu
GabonNigerVatican City
HaitiPapua New GuineaZimbabwe

Schengen Country Visa Requirements: 

Suppose you have a short-stay visa or a residence permit from a Schengen country or the USA and are a member of one of the following countries. In that case, you can enter Colombia without applying for a Colombian visa for up to 90 days under a Visitors Visa. 

  • Cambodia
  • China
  • India
  • Macau 
  • Myanmar
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

The Schengen Country or USA visa/residence permit must be valid for at least 180 days from the time you enter the country. 

Do You Need A Visa For Airport Transit? 

If you are not a member of one of the countries listed above, you must apply for a Type V - Airport Transit (Visitor) Visa. This Visa will grant you up to 24 hours in the country. However, you are not allowed to leave the airport. 

To obtain this visa, you'll need proof of onward travel. 

The benefit of this visa, apart from permission to travel through Colombia, is that the Type V - Airport Visa is good for up to 30 days. Therefore, if your return trip is through Colombia and is less than 30 days from your original departure, you won't need to apply for the visa again. 

What Are The Types of Colombian Visas? 

Colombia has three types of visas. The three types can be divided into visitor (V), migrant (M), and resident (R) visas. 

Visitor (V) Visas:

Visitor Visas are granted to travelers who wish to visit Colombia for less than 180 days. These Visas are typically granted for 90 days at a time. However, the Colombian Migratión Office may grant up to 180 days or less than 90 days at their discretion (typically depending on the purpose of your trip and return tickets).

Quick Facts: 

  • Typically allow you to stay in Colombia for up to 180 days 
  • Some Visitors Visas will allow you to get a Colombian Cedula Extranjera (though not all) 
  • Citizens of passport-exempt countries receive this visa as a passport stamp when entering the country. 
  • You cannot work for a Colombian company under a Visitor's Visa. 

Who is the Visitor Visa For? 

Examples of individuals who can obtain a visitor visa are: 

  • Tourism and leisure activities
  • Digital Nomads 
  • Airport transit
  • Business 
  • Participating in short-term academic exchange programs, training, or other educational courses like internships.
  • To seek medical treatment (or accompany someone who is undergoing medical treatment)
  • Working in a company as an inter-corporate transferee
  • Foreigners entering under the working holiday program
  • Volunteers in human rights projects or development cooperation projects
  • Journalists

Migrant (M) Visas:

 Migrant Visas are granted for 1-3 years and typically require you to give back to the Colombian economy in some way (Investment, Work, Marriage, etc.). 

Quick Facts: 

  • A visa is granted for 1-3 years. The time is decided by the Colombian government. 
  • Allows you to obtain a Colombian Cedula Extranjera
  • You can leave Colombia for up to 180 days without losing your visa status. 
  • Some Migrant Visas allow you to work in Colombia. 

The Categories of the Colombia Migrant Visa Are:

Colombia Marriage Visa or Long Term Partner Visa.

 Issued to the spouses or registered/long-term partners of Colombian citizens.

Colombia Work Visa:

 Issued to foreigners who have found a job in Colombia. 

Partner or Owner Visa (Investment Visa):

 Issued to foreigners who invest in an existing Colombian business or start their own, equal to approximately 100 times  Colombian minimum wages. Additionally, this visa is granted to those who invest 350 times the minimum wage in Colombian Real Estate. 

Colombia Retirement Visa:

 Issued to foreigners who want to retire in Colombia and have a pension that issues them more than 3x the minimum wage in Colombia, or roughly $740 USD. 

Colombia Refugee Visa:

Issued to foreigners who are seeking refuge in Colombia.

Andean Migrant:

For nationals of any of the States included in the "Andean Migration Statute" including Bolivia, Ecuador y Perú. 

Mother or Father of a Colombian National by Birth or Adoption:

Those who are the legal parent of a Colombian national. 

Mercosur Migrant:

Those who are nationals of countries belonging to the mercosur agreement, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) and associated member countries (Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru). 

Independent Professional:

For those who aspires to practice a regulated profession or, exceptionally, a non-regulated activity, provided that the activity interests the country. 

Promotion of Internationalization:

For foreigners with training at the master's, doctoral or post-doctoral level in basic or applied sciences, engineering, mathematics and the like, whose profiles meet the priorities required by the country in its public and private internationalization plans. 


To the foreigner who isn't a national of any country. 

Resident (R) Visa: 

Resident Visas grant you access to Colombia for five years at a time and will allow most foreigners to be eligible for Colombian Citizenship after spending a certain amount of time as a permanent resident of Colombia. 

Quick Facts: 

  • The visa is granted for five years. 
  • Most foreigners cannot obtain a Resident Visa without first having a Migrant Visa. 
  • Venezuelan Citizens can obtain a Resident Visa after five years of having a Permiso de Protección Temporal or Permiso Especial de Permanencia. 
  • Allows you to obtain a Colombian Cedula Extranjera
  • Allows you to work in Colombia. 

Who can receive a Colombian Resident Visa? 

A Foreigner Who Holds a Migrant Visa for an Extended Amount of Time: 

A foreigner who has been a holder of a temporary visa and who has lived in a national territory regularly for 2-5 years. The amount of time required is dependent on your situation.

Temporary Protection Statute for Venezuelan Migrants: 

This visa is specifically for Venezuelan Migrants protected under Protection Statute (ETPV). 

A Colombian Who Has Previously Renounced Their Citizenship:

For foreigners who, having been Colombian by birth or by adoption, renounced their Colombian nationality.

Special Resident Peace Visa

In compliance with Law 831 of May 18, 2017, to foreigners who are former members of the FARC-EP. Who signed the Final Agreement for the Termination of the Conflict and the Construction of a Stable and Lasting Peace and has transitioned to legality.

Applying For A Colombian Visa: 

You'll need to follow the following process to apply for a Colombian visa. While no two visa applications are the same, the following process is typical for most foreigners.  

1. Determine what visa you need.

You'll need to determine what visa you need depending on your goals in Colombia, length of stay, and your current situation. 

2. Gather Necessary Documentation 

Based on your visa and visa subtype, you'll need to gather the appropriate documentation for your visa application. Documentation varies by Visa. 

3. Apply Online 

After gathering your documentation, you can apply for your visa on the Ministry of Foreign affairs website, 

4. Respond to Any Additional Requirements.

Often, the Cancilleria will ask for additional documentation after reviewing your application. It is not uncommon for the Cancilleria to ask for additional documentation multiple times. It's important that you respond to any request for additional documentation as soon as possible as the application process can only take 30 days . 

5. Visa Decision

The Cancilleria will give you three different responses to your visa application. 

Approval: Your visa has been granted. 

Inadmissible: Your visa is denied, but you can re-apply immediately. 

Rejected: Your visa is denied, and you cannot re-apply for six months. 

The Cancilleria may or may not provide reasons for their decision. 

6. Re-apply 

If you receive an inadmissible decision from the Canilleria, they may provide reasoning. You can read their reasons and re-apply with new or updated information. 

If they don't explain their decision, you may need to refer back to the visa law to determine if you meet all the requirements before re-applying. 

7. Obtain your Electronic Visa 

After receiving approval from the Cancilleria, you'll receive an email with your electronic visa. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the Colombian government no longer provides a physical passport visa stamp. 

8. Obtain your Cedula Extranjera If Necessary 

If your Visa is for more than three months, you can apply for your Cedula Extranjera, which will act as your Colombian ID. This ID will allow you to open a bank account, start a business, and, more like, obtain a driver's license. This ID will expire when your Visa expires, so you'll need to renew it whenever you renew your visa. 

It's also important to apply for the Cedula within 15 days of Visa Approval, if you wait longer than 15 days, you may face a fine. However, the Cedula Extranjera is not required. 

To Obtain Your Cedula Extranjera: 

  1. Apply online at Migracion Colombia.  
  2. Pay online during your application or in person at the migration office.  
  3. Claim your cedula de extranjeria in person at the Migration office.

Common Mistakes While Applying For a Colombian Visa: 

Not being prepared for requests for follow-up documents 

No matter the visa type, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can ask for additional information when applying for a Colombian visa. Therefore, it's important to be prepared for additional requests for documentation. 

For example, for a marriage, this can include being asked to provide photo evidence, travel documentation, and a relationship timeline. 

For business or real estate investment visas, additional documentation about the finances, business, or property may be requested. 

Applying for the Incorrect Visa or Not following Proper Procedure 

At Colombian Visa Services, foreigners often contact us after applying for the wrong visas and are confused why they are being denied assistance. 

For example, if you previously were under a Migrant Visa and let that visa expire for any period, the Ministry of Foreigner affairs will not give you a resident visa. 

Additionally, you won't qualify for an investment visa if you made a foreign investment without legalizing that investment. 

Applying For A Visa Without Being on Good Terms With The Colombian government 

If you previously overstayed your visa in Colombia and have yet to pay your fine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will automatically refuse your visa. 

Additionally, if you do not properly pay your taxes in Colombia and try to renew your visa, your visa will automatically be denied. 

It's essential to remain in good standing with the Colombian government and pay all your debts before applying for a visa. 

Using Older Documents For the Application 

All documentation must be under three months old at the time of the application. 

Some foreigners will take their time applying for their visa, and some of their documents will be older than three months at the time of their application. Or their original application is inadmissible, and by the time they re-apply, their original documents are no longer valid. 

It's important to make sure that all documentation is less than three months old and that you apply as quickly as possible to ensure they stay active. 

Using Documents Without an Apostille or Translation 

Apart from being less than three months all, all official documents must be apostilled in their country of origin before being included in your visa application. 

Examples of documents that need to be translated are: 

  • Birth certificates 
  • Marriage certificates 
  • Divorce certificates
  • Adoption certificates
  • Death certificates
  • Educational diplomas and degrees
  • Transcripts and academic records
  • Power of attorney documents
  • Criminal background checks
  • Notarized documents

Additionally, documents will need to be officially translated into Spanish. Examples of documents that will need to be officially translated are: 

  • Educational diplomas and degrees
  • Transcripts and academic records
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Divorce certificates 
  • Adoption certificates
  • Death certificates
  • Power of attorney documents
  • Legal contracts
  • Immigration documents
  • Business and financial documents
  • Medical reports and records
  • Patent and trademark documents

Not Giving Yourself Sufficient Time Before An Application 

The Ministry of Foreign affairs has up to 30 days to give you a decision on your visa application. Additionally, requesting documentation, apostilles, and official translations can take time. 

We recommend starting your visa application process 2-3 months before you need the visa. 

Not Using An Immigration Attorney for Your Process 

One of the biggest mistakes foreigners make during their visa application process is not using a qualified attorney to assist them. Even if you are fluent in Spanish and have all your documents, the visa process can still be challenging. 

Additionally, we see a lot of foreigners attempt to do the visa process on their own to save money and spend more on re-application fees.  

Working with an immigration attorney allows you peace of mind throughout the visa process and saves you time and money. 

However, not all immigration lawyers and visa services agencies can be considered equal. You get what you pay for, and you'll want to work with a trusted attorney through your process.  


In conclusion, the Colombian Visa application process can be complicated and frustrating. However, giving yourself enough time, being throughout with your document process, and submitting an accurate application can make the process as smooth as possible. 

While not everyone needs a visitor's visa, you'll need to apply if you'd like to stay in Colombia for more than 180 days. 

If you'd like help with your application process or have any questions, Colombian Visa Services has helped over 1,000 foreigners obtain a Colombian Visa. 

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.

Over 1,000 Visas Accepted

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We work with you 1:1 to ensure you not only have the best chance of getting approval, but that you have every one of your questions answers.

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You don't have to worry about having to translate emails or communication, our team is fluent in English and can help you with whatever you need.

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