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Essential Guide On Colombian Visas For Expats

5 min read

Essential Guide On Colombian Visas For Expats

Colombia is where sun-soaked beaches meet lush rainforests, vibrant cities pulse with energy, and visitors seek adventure-filled lives. These days, it’s undoubtedly a major destination for expats from different backgrounds.

Often considered one of the most hospitable countries in the world, thanks to its welcoming, friendly people, Colombia’s allure is also reflected in its number of visa options. Whether you’re a digital nomad seeking a modern oasis or a retiree craving tranquillity, Colombia’s visa landscape caters to diverse aspirations. 

From the tourist visas to the resident visas, each category writes a unique chapter in your expat story.

In this article, you will find the best visas for your next stay in Colombia, allowing you to pick the one that best meets your interests. Let’s begin.


Chiva Bus in Colombia

Chiva Bus in Colombia


Colombia has many things to see and do that will liven up your expat life in this country.  Colombian visas are divided into three distinct categories – Visitor (V), Migrant (M) and Resident (R) – each with its array of subtypes waiting to be explored. Let’s break down these categories so that you find the one that suits you best.



If you’re looking to dip your toes into the colourful waters of Colombia, the Visitor Visas, or the “V” category, are your golden ticket. These visas are your passport to a short yet exciting exploration of this vibrant nation. Within this category, many subtypes await, tailored to your specific aspirations and intentions. 



If you’re eyeing the gorgeous Colombian beaches or the mystical Andean landscapes, this visa lets you enjoy this and much more for up to 180 days without strings attached. However, certain nationalities, including Americans, Canadians and EU citizens, can enter Colombia visa-free for no longer than 90 days. 



If your aspirations are as diverse as the country's, the Business visa is your key. With it, you can immerse yourself in Colombia's business pulse, forging connections that transcend borders. This permit enables you to conduct market research, establish commercial enterprises, represent a company, negotiate contracts, and celebrate business partnerships. The Business visa offers a validity period of up to 2 years, determined by the nature of the activities you plan to undertake, while your stay can extend up to a maximum of 180 consecutive days.



If you receive periodic and variable income from a legitimate source and wish to revel in the marvels of Colombia for up to 2 years, the rentista visa is tailor-made for you. Alongside other required documents, you'll need to declare the source of your income, provide evidence of good conduct as issued by the authorities of the country where you've resided during the past three years, demonstrate a passive income of at least ten times the current legal monthly minimum wage, and possess health insurance with nationwide coverage.



Sometimes, the allure of Colombia extends beyond leisure and business. The Medical Treatment visa welcomes those seeking healthcare under the South American sun. Many international visitors choose Colombia as a destination to undergo cost-effective medical procedures, both essential surgeries and cosmetic enhancements. That’s why it’s a major country for medical tourism. In certain instances, the nature of the treatment requires a stay of over six months to facilitate recovery and attend post-operative appointments, thus the need for this visa.



If you’re an enthusiast of culture, sports or scientific events, this visa allows you to be part of Colombia's dynamic events, enriching your experience with connections and knowledge. 



Beyond these defined categories, other lesser-known visas cater to various unique purposes such as religious services, academic exchange programs and many more. It's a space where you can fit your intentions that don't lead to permanent residency, allowing for versatility in your Colombian experience.


Related content: Best Cities In Colombia For Expats


Medellin Center Colombia Night

Medellin Center in Colombia at Night


Now, imagine that you prolong your stay beyond the surface, interweaving your life with Colombia’s vibrant threads. The Migrant Visas, or “M” category, are the gateway to a longer entanglement without fully embracing permanent residency. Within this realm, subtypes carve niches for various purposes and connections.       



As an expat worker, you can be part of Colombia’s job market. The Work visa places you within the workforce, bridging cultures while advancing your career. This authorization typically involves the Colombian employer taking responsibility for sponsoring the foreign worker. If the worker belongs to a MERCOSUR member state or associates, they might get special visa benefits. 



If you want to enter Colombia’s real estate market, this visa is the perfect icing on the cake. By building connections and investments brick by brick, you can tap into a whole new level of expat experience in this beautiful South American country. This option will require an investment of at least 350 times the monthly minimum wage. 



Love is the thread that weaves intricate patterns in your expat canvas. This visa subtype allows you to intertwine the stories of your Colombian partner and you, creating a mosaic of shared experiences and cultural fusion. This works for both heterosexual and same-sex couples and can have a duration between one and three years.



Family bonds, like brushstrokes, add depth and emotion to your canvas. This visa is designed for individuals from abroad who seek to become parents to a Colombian child, whether through birth or adoption. Its validity spans three years, and upon completing five years, those possessing this migrant visa variant can initiate the process of applying for a resident visa.



Other visa types accommodate various intentions that seek an extended stay, allowing you the freedom to add unique patterns to your evolving canvas. For example, pensioners, freelancers, and refugees can opt for this visa category.


Related content: Easiest Ways To Get Your Residency in Colombia


Crystal river, Colombia

Crystal River, Colombia


Finally, as the crescendo of your expat journey approaches, the Resident visas, or the “R” category, enter the stage. Here, your canvas trunks into a masterpiece of permanence, a longer-term stay that showcases a deeper connection to Colombia to the point that it becomes your home. 



If you receive a consistent monthly pension, either from a governmental entity or a private pension fund, you have the chance to seek a Retirement Visa in Colombia. This visa subtype allows you to immerse in the beauty of Colombia’s landscapes, creating a symphony of leisure and adventure. 



By undertaking substantial investments, you can attain the coveted position of a permanent resident. The required investment sum must be no less than 650 times the minimum salary, which equates to approximately COP 591 million ($ 144,567 USD). Stay out of the country for up to two years, as it would make you lose your permanent resident status. 



The "Long-term Stay" subtype bridges the journey between the migrant phase and the crescendo of residency. It’s an evolution, a note that leads you from extended stay to permanent residency, reflecting your dedication to Colombia's rhythm. You can also qualify, for example, if you are the parent of a Colombian citizen. This Resident visa encompasses biological, foster, and adoptive parents. 


Related content: The Advantages Of Living In Colombia As An Expat


Scenic View of Tayrona National Park

Scenic View of Tayrona National Park


In closing, Colombia's visa options offer many possibilities for expats seeking various experiences. From temporary to more lasting stays, these visa categories are pathways to different chapters of your Colombian journey. 

Understanding these visa types is essential whether you're exploring, working, or planning to make this country your home. This guide aims to provide clarity and insight, helping you make informed decisions as you embark on your Colombian adventure. Remember that each visa category has its requirements and benefits, so choose the one that aligns with your goals and aspirations for a fulfilling experience in Colombia.


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I help my clients to move offshore for freedom, privacy and autonomy by focusing on the immigration, legal, and tax issues that you will face when becoming an expat. If you would like to work one-on-one with me on getting out of your home country (or setting up a Plan-B location), then read this important letter and fill in an application form to become a Private Client. My fees are not cheap; however, I can assure you that when you work with a professional firm like ours, the results will be worth it.



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Mikkel Thorup

Written by Mikkel Thorup

Mikkel Thorup is the world’s most sought-after expat consultant. He focuses on helping high-net-worth private clients to legally mitigate tax liabilities, obtain a second residency and citizenship, and assemble a portfolio of foreign investments including international real estate, timber plantations, agricultural land and other hard-money tangible assets. Mikkel is the Founder and CEO at Expat Money®, a private consulting firm started in 2017. He hosts the popular weekly podcast, the Expat Money Show, and wrote the definitive #1-Best Selling book Expat Secrets - How To Pay Zero Taxes, Live Overseas And Make Giant Piles Of Money, and his second book: Expats Guide On Moving To Mexico.

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