Everything You Need To Know Colombian Retirement Visa

Would you like to Retire in Colombia? This blog outlines everything you need about eligibility, document requirements, and the application process.

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Colombia is an excellent choice if you're considering retiring abroad due to its ideal weather, low cost of living, friendly locals, and wide range of activities. However, to retire in Colombia, you'll likely need a visa if you plan on spending more than 180 days per year in Colombia. 

Luckily, you'll qualify for a pension visa if you receive a pension of more than 3 times the minimum salary in Colombia (Around $800 USD as of 2023). This blog will outline everything you need to know. 

Understanding the Colombian Retirement Visa

If you receive a pension of over $1,000 USD, you can apply for a Colombian retirement visa, While there are numerous types of Colombian visas, This blog will focus on the pension visa as it is usually the easiest to obtain for retired people planning on living in Colombia.

Eligibility Criteria for a Colombian Retirement Visa

To apply for a retirement visa in Colombia, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must prove you have a monthly pension income of at least 3x the Colombian minimum wage or about $1,000 USD in 2024. 
  • You must have a valid passport. Your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond your application date. 
  • You must pass a criminal background check. 
  • You must have medical insurance in Colombia that covers you for your stay. Your health insurance plan may cover you internationally, or you may need to purchase a separate plan. 

Once you meet these requirements, you can apply for the Pension visa through your home country's Colombian embassy or consulate online or In-Country if you are in Colombia. The application process typically takes about four weeks, and you'll need to provide all the necessary documents and pay the application fee.

Gathering Necessary Documents

Applying for a Colombian retirement visa requires careful preparation as the Colombian government has the right to ask for additional documentation whenever they please. Before submitting your application, you must gather all the necessary documents to prove your eligibility. 

Proof of Retirement Income

One of the most critical requirements for a Colombian retirement visa is proof of a regular monthly income. This income can come from various sources, including a pension or social security. However, it's important to note that the proof of income must come from the government or a recognized bank. This ensures that your income is reliable and consistent. 

When gathering your proof of income, it's important to remember that the Colombian government has specific income requirements for retirement visa applicants. As of 2023, the minimum monthly income requirement is 3 times the Colombian minimum wage or approximately $800 USD monthly. However, the Colombian Pesos' value constantly changes against USD, so check the current exchange rate before submitting your application.

Valid Passport and Passport Photos

Another important requirement for a Colombian retirement visa is a valid passport with at least two blank pages. In addition, you'll need to provide a digital version of a passport-sized photo taken within the past six months. These photos must follow the official guidelines, including size requirements, background color, and other details. Be sure to carefully review the guidelines before taking your photos to ensure they meet all the requirements.

Health Insurance Coverage

Colombia requires all foreigners who stay any longer than 90 days to have private medical insurance while in the country, including applicants for retirement visas. 

This requirement is in place to ensure that all visitors to Colombia have access to quality medical care in case of illness or injury. When applying for a retirement visa, you must provide proof of private medical insurance covering any medical treatment in Colombia for at least one year.

Coverage should include emergency medical services, hospitalization, and other medical expenses. 

Background Check 

Individuals applying for a retirement visa must provide a criminal history report from their country of origin. This report must be issued no more than 90 days before the date of the Colombian visa application.

The most common type of background check used in the United States is an FBI background check which can be found here. 

Other Supporting Documents

In addition to the criminal history report, you may be required to submit additional documentation at the Cancilleria's discretion. These documents may include a rental or purchase contract for your accommodation in Colombia, proof of your relationship with a Colombian citizen or resident, or other relevant documents.

By carefully gathering all the necessary documents and ensuring that they meet the Colombian government's requirements, you can increase your chances of a successful retirement visa application. With the right preparation and attention to detail, you can start enjoying all Colombia offers as a retiree.

*It's important to note that a certified translator must notarize and translate all official documents into Spanish.

""The Cancilleria has been asking for additional documentation more and more in 2023, and I recommend all applicants to begin preparing additional documentation beyond the requirements before they apply. Preparing these documents ahead of time will take some of the stress of your application process away,"

Daniela Cordoba

Lead Attorney, Colombian Visa Services

The Application Process

Online Application

The first step in the Colombian retirement visa application process is to fill out an application online. This application will ask for personal information, such as your name, address, and contact information. Additionally, you must include all of the required supporting documents mentioned above, such as your passport and proof of income.

It's important to take your time when filling out the application and ensure that all the information you provide is accurate. Once you have completed the form and attached all the required documents, you must pay the application fee online. The total government fee for the Colombia retirement visa is around $326 USD as of 2023.

After you have submitted your application and paid the fee, you will need to wait for Colombia to approve your application or ask for additional documentation. In our experience, the entire process typically takes 2 to 3 weeks, but the Colombian Government has up to 30 days to respond. Once your application has a decision, you will receive an email. 

Required Fees and Payment Methods

The cost of the Colombia retirement visa is around $326 USD. In addition to this fee, you'll also need to pay extra fees for official translations and apostilles when necessary. 

Overall, the application process for the Colombia retirement visa can be straightforward as long as you provide all the necessary documents and information. Following the steps outlined above, you can increase your chances of a successful application and enjoy your retirement in Colombia.

After Submitting Your Application

Tracking Your Application Status

It's possible to track the status of your application on Cancilleria's website. You'll also receive updates via email on requests for additional documentation or a decision. 

Receiving Your Retirement Visa

If your Colombian retirement visa application is approved, you will receive your visa electronically. To be eligible for this visa, you must arrive in Colombia within six months of the visa being issued. 

Other Visa Options for Retirees in Colombia

A Rentista visa, though a Visitor Type V visa, is also a great option for those who wish to retire in Colombia. The Rentista visa is ideal for people who don't receive a pension but can prove they have a stable income from real estate or other sources of at least 11.6 million Colombian pesos (about $2,500 USD) per month. 

This visa is perfect for landlords or property owners who wish to retire in Colombia. You can read more about this visa here. 

Conclusion

Obtaining a retirement visa in Colombia requires many supporting documents to prove your eligibility. It's recommended to start this process with plenty of time so you wont be limited to the 180 days per year limit as a tourist. 

It's recommended you work with a Colombian immigration lawyer on your visa application process, as they are up to date with the latest process updates and procedures. At Colombian Visa Services, we have helped over 1,000 foreigners obtain Colombian Visas and are happy to answer any questions you have. 

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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