Its the new year, and many expats are returning from their holidays to Colombia. Many visitors are also returning after restarting the 180 day clock on visa free days per year. If you are arriving into Colombia at an air, land, or water border, you will be inspected by a Migración Colombia agent. After your admission to Colombia is approved, two things will happen:
1. The border inspector stamps your passport with an admission date, expiration date, and the class of admission (such as PT for tourist permit or Visa V-M-R for visa holders). If you enter with the new Biomig automatic system you won’t get an stamp, so you must be careful when inputing your information.
2. The border inspector enters your admission record into Migración Colombia’s database. Always check your passport to ensure you know when the period of admission ends (i.e., the expiration date of your status is 90 days or you were marked as visa holder) before leaving the port of entry. The best time to catch and fix a mistake is at that moment.
Expiration dates are different for different visas or entry permits categories, but there is one rule that governs all admissions: the government will never give you a period of admission beyond the expiration of your passport. If your passport will expire soon, make sure you pay attention to when your admission period expires, because it may be shorter than you expect.
How to Confirm the Date Your Status Expires
The duration of stay allowed in Colombia as a visitor with a tourist permit or tourist visa is indicated on the stamp provided by the immigration agent in your passport. With the recent implementation of the Biomig system, which generally doesn't involve stamping passports, the standard allowed time is 90
days. However, this period can be extended up to 180 days by submitting a request for an extension of stay before the first 90 days expire, at least 15 days. If entering as a visa holder, you are legally permitted to stay until the expiration date stated on your visa.
Changing or Extending Your Status in Colombia
Foreigners can extend their stay in Colombia or change the class of
admission. This is done by Migración Colombia. When they extends a stay or
changes a class of admission, Migración Colombia issues a new entry permit
that replaces the one issued at the point of entry. It is essential, therefore, that
you keep a copy of any approval notice. Immigration attorneys and government agencies will need this information to help you in case of a mistake.
What If There Is a Mistake in the Admission Record?
The sooner a mistake is found, the easier it is to fix. To fix a mistake, you must go to the right agency, prove why it was a mistake, and ask for the admission record to be corrected. This is not as clear-cut or as easy as it should be. If you have any fears or concerns about trying to correct a mistake, you should contact your immigration attorney. An immigration attorney can help fix a governmental mistake, especially if you are accumulating time towards permanent residence or planning dual citizenship. If the border inspector makes a mistake in your admission record, you will need to send a written petition to the immigration authority or visit a local site to have the admission corrected.
What to Do If the Mistake Is Discovered After the Admission Period Ends?
Fixing a mistake before the admission period ends is always best, but sometimes the expiration date has passed before the mistake is discovered. If you find that your permit has already expired, don’t panic. Your immigration attorney can help you create a plan to manage and resolve the problem. Sometimes, it is possible to fix a mistake in Colombia. Other times the only way to fix the problem is to leave the country. Be prepared to explain why the mistake was not discovered before the permit expired so the attorney can help you make the best plan for your situation.