COLOMBIAN IMMIGRATION OVERVIEW
Agencies Involved with the Immigration Process
Legal entry and stay into Colombia by foreign nationals is strictly controlled. The agencies involved in determining eligibility for entry are the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores), also known in Spanish as Cancillería (Chancellery), its Colombian Consulates located in foreign countries, and the Visa Internal Work Group Office in Bogotá as well as the Special Administrative Unit of Migración Colombia. The Ministry of Labor also plays a role in certain processes.
The Ministry of Foreign Relations and its officials controls the classification, study, and issuing of visas. The Special Administrative Unit of Migración Colombia controls entry into Colombia via issuance of entry permits, decides length of stay, approves stay extensions, and ensures visa and employee's work permit compliance.
Foreign nationals may not require a visa to enter Colombia temporarily. In such cases, an officer of Migración Colombia may issue a temporary entry permit. Entry permits come in multiple designations: PT (Tourism Permit), PID (Development Programs Permit), and POA (Other Activities Permit). Each can be extended upon request and compliance with necessary requirements.
The Ministry of Labor works to preserve Colombian jobs and wages by making prevailing wage determinations for V or M visa workers, and controlling the labor certification process.
Useful links :
Migración Colombia: https://www.migracioncolombia.gov.co/index.php
Ministry of Labor: https://www.mintrabajo.gov.co/web/guest/inicio
Guiding Principles of Immigration
Nonimmigrants and Immigrants / Expats
Colombian Immigration law divides all individuals seeking to enter Colombia into two categories:
Those intending to stay temporarily (e.g. visitors, tourists, interns, temporary workers, and some students), and generally without employment authorization. With few exceptions, all individuals admitted as nonimmigrants must indicate they have residence abroad that they have no intention of abandoning..
Those individuals who intend to remain permanently in the territory of Colombia and to abandon all foreign residence.
Basis for Immigration
Generally, individuals immigrate to Colombia on one of three bases: family, retirement, or employment. Further information on these bases is provided in the sections on types of visas.
Basic Terminology of Immigration
Is the authorization granted to a foreigner for the entry and development of activities in the national territory granted by the Ministry of Foreign Relations. It certifies that the visa holder meets the requirements for admission to the national territory for a specified period of stay and activity.
A label placed in a passport by a Consulate or the visa office in Colombia that allows the visa holder to travel to Colombia and request admission at a port of entry (e.g., airport, seaport, or border crossing).
Entry and Stay Permit (Permiso de Ingreso y Permanencia)
Tourist Permit (Permiso de Turismo)
Integration and Development Permit (Permiso de Integración y Desarrollo)
Other Activities Permit (Permiso para Otras Actividades)
Temporary Stay Permit (Permiso Temporal de Permanencia), this is the name of an extension of a PT, PID or POA
The immigration authority may issue the SC-2 Safe-conduct, to the foreigner who, being within the national territory, carries out procedures to obtain a visa.
Visitor Visa Waiver Program
Citizens of certain countries may enter Colombia without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program. This program is for stays of up to ninety (90) days, with the potential to extend one time for up ninety (90) more days.
If you are not sure if you need a visa a complete list can be found at:
Visitors who enter under a visa waiver can perform certain work-related services similar to a V visa holder and can, of course, engage in tourist activities.
General instructions for submitting a visa application:
Have a valid passport or travel document, in good condition, and with free space for visas.
Fill out the electronic visa application form.
All required documents, other than identity documents or travel documents, must have an issue date not later than three months from the date of application registration.
All documents from abroad must have apostille or legalization and official translation into Spanish when it is not in this language. The official translation must be legalized or apostilled according to the case.
In the event of requiring submittal of bank statements, these may be without apostille or legalization and without translation into Spanish, if the content can be clearly established by the visa officer.
If the filing of criminal records is required, when the application for this visa is submitted to a Colombian consulate based in the country of origin of the foreigner, the criminal background certification according to the established procedures in that country will be sufficient. When the application is submitted to the Internal Visa and Immigration Working Group, it can include the criminal records certified by the consulate of the country of origin accredited in Colombia or apostilled and legalized as the case may be.
Common Requirements for all visa applications:
Provide a copy of the main page (biographical information) of the passport or travel document.
If applying for your visa in Colombia, you must show that your immigration status is confirmed and show the last stamp of entry, exit or Salvoconducto (safe-conduct) as the case may be.
If you apply for your visa at a Colombian consulate abroad, you must submit a copy of the document proving your regular stay in that country.
It is the authorization granted to economic dependents who are part of the family of the main holder of a visa in the capacity of : spouse or permanent companion, parents and children under twenty-five (25) years old, or older children who have a disability that prevents them from fending for themselves.
In addition to the general requirements for all types of visas, the beneficiary must submit:
Copy of the visa of the main holder of which he/she wishes to be a beneficiary.
True copy of the Civil Registry document showing kinship, family, or marital bond with the main holder.
Visa application letter for the beneficiary, signed by the main holder stating dependence and economic responsibility for travel and accommodation expenses of the beneficiary in the national territory.
It is the printing of a new label with the same data of a granted and current visa, to be stamped in another passport.
The foreigner may apply for the transfer of the visa: for loss or passport renewal; when the e-visa has typing errors and the interested party has not requested the correction within 30 days after issuance; when the holder does not request the stamping of the visa label within a period of 60 days from e-visa issuance; when any update or clarification is required on the identity of the holder, change of name of the contracting entity; or application for permission to exercise another activity or occupation.
Passport or valid travel document, in good condition and with free space for visas.
Copy of the main page of the current passport with the holder’s personal data.
Copy of the page of the passport with the last stamp of entry or exit of Colombia, according to the case.
Copy of the visa you wish to transfer.
Copy of the immigration card, as the case may be.
Certificate of migratory movements issued by the Colombia Migration - Special Administrative Unit, with an issue date not exceeding three (3) months. This requirement will not be necessary if it is a Visitor Visa, when the Migrant Visa issue date is less than six (6) months or the Resident Visa issue date is less than two (2) years.
Certification or document that verifies the validity of the circumstances or conditions that gave rise to the granting of the visa.