- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Colombia Guide (PDF)
Depending on their nationality and the purpose of their stay, expats may need to get a visa for Colombia, whether they wish to visit, work, study or in the country. Expats should ensure they know which type of visa is required. Colombia offers many different categories of visas.
Visas are classified under three broad umbrella categories: Visitor (V), Migrant (M) or Resident (R). There are more than 30 subcategories under each umbrella category. It’s essential for expats to understand the visa rules before applying for a Colombian visa.
Visitor visas for Colombia
Citizens from particular countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, France and South Africa, do not need a visa to enter Colombia as a tourist for up to 90 days. Expats should consult their local Colombian embassy to determine whether they need a visa.
There are visitor visas for foreigners who are going to Colombia for tourism purposes or to do business, participate in academic exchange and studies, do an internship or volunteer. The visa also applies to expats being transferred for work by an international company or those travelling for a working holiday. Other categories of visitor visa include those for medical treatment and digital nomads.
The digital nomad visa allows expats to work for a foreign company while living in Colombia. On this visa, which is valid for two years, expats can be in the country for up to six months a year.
The rentista visa (also known as an annuity visa) is for expats living on income from annuities, renting property, dividends or interest.
- See the list of nationalities that are exempt from short-stay visas on the Colombian Foreign Affairs website.
Migrant visas for Colombia
The migrant visa is intended for foreigners visiting Colombia for short trips or staying in the country temporarily. The visa is available to expats who want to live in Colombia and establish themselves but don’t meet the resident visa requirements.
Migrant visas include marriage, work, retirement and investment visas. Expats who are a spouse of a Colombian national, employed full time, a businessperson, investor, retiree or landlord could all be eligible for this visa.
The migrant visa is typically valid for three years. However, this depends on the purpose of the visit. The visa will expire if a visa holder leaves Colombia for more than six consecutive months.
Resident visas for Colombia
The resident visa is for expats who want to establish themselves permanently in Colombia. If a foreigner has held a migrant visa for longer than two or five years (depending on the visa category), they may become eligible to apply for a resident visa.
Resident visas are valid for up to five years and allow the visa holder to take up any employment in Colombia.
- Apply for a Colombia visa online through the government's portal.
*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice, and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
►For more on employment in Colombia, see Working in Colombia
"I actually more or less did the visa process myself at the job I got immediately after my volunteer year. It wasn’t too bad, but you do have to make sure you have all the documents in order. Fortunately, everywhere else I have worked have taken care of it for me. For places that hire foreigners, that should generally be the case."
Check out the rest of American expat Adam's interview with Expat Arrivals about life in Colombia here.
Are you an expat living in Colombia?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Colombia. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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