As of December 15, 2017, new regulations regarding visas for foreigners began to be in force in Colombia, the above by virtue of Resolution 6045 of 2017 issued by the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This resolution introduced drastic changes since, for example, “Colombia went from having 21 types of visas to only three: Visitor, Migrant and Resident”, without prejudice to the type of visa for Special Peace Resident-Res.
According to the Resolution‘s explanatory memorandum, its main objective was to restructure the traditional visa system of the last twenty years because the previous system had so many typologies with their respective categories and subcategories that it was impossible to identify the migration profile of each foreigner.
Who needs a visa to enter Colombia?
Resolution 10535 of 2018 established in its Article 1° the list of 97 countries whose nationals do not require a visa to enter Colombia, for example: the United States, Venezuela, Germany, Italy, etc. Therefore, in principle, nationals of the countries that were excluded from the list would need to obtain a visa to enter Colombian territory. Some excluded countries are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Algeria, Cape Verde, Nepal, among others. However, in subsequent articles of the same Resolution, it was indicated that, although some countries are not on the list, their nationals do not require visas by virtue of agreements with other countries.
For example, Article 3 states that nationals of the People’s Republic of China do not need a visa to enter Colombia if a) They hold a residence permit in a member state of the European Economic Area, or b) They have a residence permit in a member state of the European Economic Area, or c) They have a residence permit in a member state of the European Economic Area. Schengen or in the United States, or b) If they are visa holders, or Schengen or a U.S. visa valid for at least 180 days at the time of entry into Colombian territory.
It should be noted that nationals of countries that do not require a visa may stay in Colombia for 90 days, which may be extended for a maximum of another 90 days. These persons only need to present their passport at immigration, which will be stamped as “tourist visa”.
What are the types of visas available in Colombia?
Pursuant to Article 7° of Resolution 6045 of 2017, Colombia established 3 types of visas:
- Type V Visa (Visitor)
- Type M Visa (Migrant)
- Type R Visa (Resident)
According to articles 8 and 9 of the same regulation, the three types of visas allow multiple entries, exits and transits. Likewise, “any visa valid for 180 days or more, allows its holder to carry out studies during the authorized period of validity or stay”.
What are the general visa requirements?
General visa requirements for the principal holder
Title III Chapter I of Resolution 6045 of 2017 establishes the general requirements for all visa applications, likewise, the following list of requirements can be found on the website of the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
- Have a valid passport or travel document, in good condition and with free space for visas.
- Fill out the electronic visa application form.
- All documents required, other than identity or travel documents, must have a date of issue no more than three months prior to the registration of the application.
- All documents coming from abroad must have an apostille or legalization and an official translation into Spanish when not in this language. The official translation must be legalized or apostilled as the case may be.
- If bank statements are required, they may be submitted without apostille or legalization and without translation into Spanish, if their content can be clearly established by the visa officer.
- In the case of requiring the presentation of a judicial record, when the application for this visa is presented before a Colombian consulate based in the foreigner’s country of origin, the certification of judicial or criminal record in accordance with the procedures established in that country will suffice. When the application is submitted to the Internal Visa and Immigration Working Group, the judicial or criminal record certified by the consulate of the country of origin accredited in Colombia or apostilled or legalized, as the case may be, may be submitted.
*If you apply for your visa in Colombia, you must prove that you are in a regular migratory situation and present the last entry stamp, exit stamp or safe-conduct, as the case may be.
*If you apply for your visa at a Colombian consulate abroad, you must present a copy of the document proving your regular stay in that country.
General visa requirements for Beneficiaries
The paragraph of article 26 of the above mentioned Resolution states that this type of visa is granted to “economic dependents who are part of the family of the principal visa holder as: spouse or permanent partner, parents and children under twenty-five (25) years of age or older children who have a disability that prevents them from having economic independence”.
The Colombian Foreign Ministry’s website states that beneficiary visa applications may be requested by the dependent of the principal holder of the following visas:
-Visa Type M
-Visa Type R
-Visa Type V with the following activities: a) Newspaper coverage or press correspondent; b) to provide temporary services to natural or juridical persons; c) Intra-corporate transfer; d) foreign government official or commercial representative of a foreign government.
In addition to the general requirements for all types of visas, the beneficiary must present:
- Copy of the visa of the principal holder of which you wish to be the beneficiary.
- Authentic copy of the Civil Registry or Certificate that proves the relationship, family or marital relationship with the main holder.
- Visa application letter for the beneficiary signed by the principal holder stating: dependence and financial responsibility for the beneficiary’s travel and living expenses in the national territory.
In case the visa application is filed for a minor, Article 37 of the aforementioned Resolution establishes the following requirements:
- Provide a document that accredits the name of the minor’s parents or the persons who hold parental authority or guardianship, such as the minor’s birth certificate, civil registry, judicial sentence that assigns parental authority or guardianship, act of family authority, among others.
- Provide a written request for a visa from one of the parents or persons having parental custody or guardianship of the minor, which also fully identifies who will be in charge of the personal care of the minor in the national territory.
- When the person who will be in charge of the personal care of the minor in the national territory is not the father or in any case does not have parental authority or guardianship, a written communication from this person accepting such responsibility must also be provided.
What are the specific requirements for each type of visa?
Visitor Visa or type V:
Article 10 of the aforementioned Resolution expressly states that this type of visa is granted to foreigners who wish to visit the national territory once or several times, or stay temporarily in it without settling down, in order to carry out some of the following activities:
Airport transit, tourism, business transactions, academic exchange and studies in arts or crafts and postgraduate studies, medical treatment, administrative and/or judicial procedures, vessel or coastal platform crew member, participation in events, internships or practices, volunteering, audiovisual and/or digital production, journalistic coverage, temporary service provider, intracorporate personnel transfer within the framework of international instruments in force, official or commercial representative of a foreign government, vacation-work program and courtesy.
As a general rule, according to article 12 of the Resolution, this visa is valid for two (2) years. However, depending on the purpose for which the visa is requested, the validity of the visa may vary according to the rules set forth in this article.
However, the specific requirements common to each category of visa V are regulated in articles 39° and 40° of the Resolution; the particular requirements according to the activity are set forth in article 41°.
Migrant visa or type M:
Article 16 of the aforementioned Resolution expressly states that this type of visa is granted to “foreigners who wish to enter and/or remain in the national territory with the intention of settling down, and do not meet the conditions to apply for an “R” type visa according to Article 21″.
The following persons may apply for this visa: “Spouse or permanent partner of a Colombian national; parent or child of a Colombian national by adoption; migrant under the Mercosur Agreement; refugee; work; businessman; independent profession or activity; religious; elementary, secondary, high school and undergraduate students; real estate investor; retiree or annuitant”.
In accordance with article 18 of the Resolution, the “M” type visa will be valid for three (3) years. However, when the duration of the contract or studies is less than three years in accordance with the conditions set forth in paragraphs 5 and 9 of the previous article, the “M” type visa may be valid for a shorter period of time.
The particular requirements for each category of migrant visa are set forth in articles 43° to 53° respectively in numerical order.
Migrant visa or type R:
According to Article 21 of the aforementioned Resolution, this visa is designated for those who aspire to settle or fix their permanent domicile in Colombia due to: having renounced Colombian nationality; being the father of a Colombian national by birth; accumulated time of permanence; direct foreign investment.
In accordance with Article 22°, the validity of the “R” type visa will be indefinite.
The particular requirements for each category of resident visa are set forth in articles 54° to 57° respectively in numerical order.
With respect to the validity of this visa, it should be specified that, in accordance with Article 27 of the aforementioned Resolution, its validity may in no case be longer than that of the visa granted to the principal holder of whom the beneficiary is a dependent. It should also be noted that the visa as a beneficiary does not allow work.
How is the visa application process carried out?
Visa applications may be made virtually or in person at one of the Colombian Consulates abroad or at the Bogotá office located at Avenida 19 # 98-03, Edificio Torre 100, Piso 3. However, even if the application is made in person, it is also required to have previously filled out the application form electronically.
The virtual procedure will be explained below:
According to Article 72° of Resolution 6045 of 2017, for any type of visa, the interested party must fill out an electronic application form. The required documents can be scanned in PDF, however, the visa authority may require the presentation of physical documents.
Subsequent to the online submission of the application, in accordance with Article 74°, the applicant must make a payment for the study fee within fifteen (15) calendar days following the registration of the application and completion of the electronic form, otherwise the application may be withdrawn. It is pertinent to clarify that this payment is non-refundable and does not obligate the granting of the visa.
Once the application and payment have been completed, Article 75° states that the visa authority will have a period of five (5) days to authorize the issuance of the visa, or to deny or reject the application.
“When it is necessary to request additional information from the applicant in order to adopt the decision, the term for adopting the decision may be extended for up to 30 calendar days from the date the application is filed.
Pursuant to Article 79°, no appeals may be lodged against the visa authority’s decisions on visa applications.
Once the visa has been authorized, Article 85° states that the holder will have up to thirty (30) calendar days to pay the visa issuance fee, under penalty of tacit withdrawal. Now, once the issuance fee has been paid, in accordance with Article 86°, the visa authority will proceed within the following three (3) days to issue and send the e-visa to the applicant’s e-mail account.
“The printing and stamping of the visa in the passport can be requested at the Colombian Consulate where the visa application was submitted or at the Office of the Internal Group of Visas and Immigration, located at Avenida 19 # 98-03, Torre 100 Building in the city of Bogota”. Click here.
How much does it cost to process visas?
The Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has on its website a cost calculator for both the study fee and the issuance fee according to the type of visa (V, M, R) and according to the category within each type of visa. Additionally, it clearly establishes all available means of payment to pay both fees.
However, it is pertinent to take into account the following information regarding the costs of the study and issuance fees, which can be found on the same web page of the Colombian Foreign Ministry:
- The visa issuance for Ecuadorian nationals will be free of charge; the fee for the study will be twenty-three (23) Euros if it is requested in European territory and Cuba, and thirty (30) United States Dollars if it is requested in the rest of the world.
- The fees for the issuance of Visitor visas authorized for boat crew members, as well as their study, will be exempted for those members of fishing vessels whose activity is developed in the areas surrounding San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina.
- Visa issuance for nationals of Japan and the Republic of Korea will be free of charge; the application fee will be that which corresponds to the Class and/or Type of visa requested.
- For nationals of the Republic of Peru who settle in the Amazon and Putumayo river basins, visas will be free of charge; the application fee will be that which corresponds to the Class and/or Type of visa requested.
- The issuance of Visitor or Migrant visas authorized exclusively for activities within the framework of an academic training program shall be free of charge for nationals of the Republic of Bolivia; the fee for the study application shall be twelve (12) Euros if it is requested in Euro territory and Cuba, and sixteen (16) United States Dollars if it is requested in the rest of the world.
- The application fee for a Visitor or Migrant visa requested exclusively to carry out activities within the framework of an academic training program will be twelve (12) Euros if requested in Euro territory and Cuba, and sixteen (16) United States Dollars if requested in the rest of the world. The visa issuance fee will be seventeen (17) Euros if requested in Euro territory and Cuba, and twenty-one (21) United States Dollars if requested in the rest of the world.
- The cost of the study and visa issuance stages for Spanish nationals will be free of charge.
What is the impact of Coronavirus on visa processing?
In accordance with the current contingency in which the country finds itself with respect to the Coronavirus, on March 15, 2020 Resolution 0408 was issued in which it was prescribed that until May 30, 2020 only Colombian nationals and foreigners with Migrant and Resident visas and their respective beneficiaries will be allowed to enter the country.
Likewise, the official web page of the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicated that no visa application submitted at the Consulates will be admitted; furthermore, no visa application from foreigners outside the national territory will be considered in Bogota.
Our lawyers are experts in the processing of Colombian visas for foreigners and will be able to provide you with the help and advice you require. If you wish to know more about our services, you can contact us through our website.