Colombia, like other countries in the world, requires that you have a visa before you can go across its borders. Whatever your reason, be it leisure, business, or personal, getting a visa is mandatory if you’re thinking of visiting the place.
Colombian visas come in several types, depending on the applicant’s purpose of visit.
Tourist Visa – a type of visa that is issued to foreign nationals who want to go to Colombia for purposes of leisure or personal business that are non-remunerative or lucrative.
Business Visa – a type of visa given to foreign businessmen, company representatives, or industrial and service personnel who need to perform business in Colombia. The visa is also applicable to foreign nationals bearing a verifiable business or economic connection to a company in Colombia, foreign or local. The Business Visa is valid for three years maximum, and allows multiple entries. The maximum limit per entry is six months and it doesn’t allow the production of salaries, commissions or fees while in Colombia.
Temporary Student Visa – a visa that is given to foreign students who enter Colombia for the purpose of study in an educational institute or center for higher learning. Exchange students also need this kind of visa to enter Colombia. The visa is valid for a maximum of one year and it allows multiple entries.
Temporary Spouse Visa – a visa that is issued to foreigners who are married to a Colombian citizen. The visa is valid for two years and allows multiple entries. In cases where the foreigner decides to engage in any economic activity in Colombia, he or she must provide legal documents supporting that activity. The visa is valid for one year and it supports multiple entries.
Temporary Marriage Visa – a type of visa that, unlike the Temporary Spouse visa, is for foreigners who intend to marry a Colombian citizen currently living in Colombia. The visa is valid for one year, supporting multiple entries.
Temporary Medical Treatment Visa – a type of visa foreigners need when they seek any special medical treatment, surgery, or hospitalization in Colombia for a period of no more than six months. The validity for this visa is six months. For periods longer than six months, a special Medical Visa must be acquired.
Temporary Parter Visa – a visa that is issued to foreigners who want to establish business contacts, meetings, or training in Colombia. The visa is valid for six months.
Temporary Special Visa for Adoptive Parents – is a visa given to foreign nationals who intend to visit Colombia to adopt a Colombian-born child. The visa is valid for one year and allows multiple entries.
Temporary Working Visa – a visa that is issued to foreigners who are a) employed by a company in Colombia, b) hired to work in a private or public institution in Colombia, c) hired under an academic agreement between the two countries, d) technicians who must work in Colombia for more than 45 days, e) journalists who are in Colombia for news correspondence, f) part of a cultural or sports group hired to perform in Colombia, g) employed by a foreign company that needs to be relocated to its Colombian subsidiary, and h) volunteers of a missionary party or organization, but who is not a member of the said organization. The Temporary Working Visa is valid for two years and allows multiple entries. The exception is for the cultural or sports group, which only has a validity of six months.
Crew Member Visa – a visa that is given to foreigners who are crew members of ships or airlines that enter Colombian territory. The validity of the visa depends on the amount of time that the ship or plane is docked in Colombia, but it must not exceed one year.
Resident Investor Visa – a visa that is issued to foreigners who have invested in Colombia under their names, as established under the statutes of investment of international investments. The amount of investment must not be less than US$100,000 and it must also be registered in the Banc of the Republic.
Immigrant Visa – a type of visa issued to foreigners who have intentions to enter Colombian territory or are already in it. The applicant has to meet the requirements set by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The visa can also be assigned at the request of the International Migration Organization. The period of validity is three years, with multiple entries allowed.
Preferred Visa – a visa that is given to foreigners who are diplomats, or who represent a particular government or international organization for the purpose of carrying an assigned task. The Preferred Visa is expedited under the authorization of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Qualified Resident Visa – a visa that is given to foreigners who have a temporary visa for a successive period of five years. For foreigners who have a Temporary Spouse Visa or Temporary Visa for Parents of a Colombian citizen, the period can be for three years instead of five. The following visas, however, do not qualify a foreigner for a resident visa: preferred visas, business visas, crew member visas, temporary student visas, temporary visas for adoption, temporary visas for medical treatment, and tourist visas.
Colombian visas need the following general requirements:
You need a valid passport. The passport must have at least one blank page to affix the visa. For business visas, you need two blank pages.
Three passport-sized photos are also needed. The photos must be taken recently.
You need to fill out two visa application forms. The forms have to be appropriate to the type of visa you’re applying for. You can get the forms at any Colombian Embassy or Consulate.
You need documents proving that you have sufficient funds for your stay in Colombia. Bank statements are good examples.
You also need proof of the address where you will be staying, as well as information regarding it.
You must also provide a photocopy of the mentioned documents and requirements.
You need to pay the visa fees, payable by cash, money order, or check.
For some visitor-type visas, you also need additional specific documents and requirements.
For Business Visas:
- A notarized letter of introduction from the company explaining the kind of activity you will be doing while in Colombia. The company will assume all financial responsibilities while you are in Colombia.
- If you are self-employed, you will need a notarized letter introducing yourself and your activities in Colombia.
- A notarized letter from the inviting Colombian company stating that they are responsible for you during your stay in Colombia.
- A notarized Certificate of Incorporation issued within the last three months.
- A police report translated into Spanish.
For Student Visas:
- A notarized letter of acceptance from the college or institution or, in the case of an exchange program, a notarized copy of the agreement between both institutions.
- A notarized copy of the legal document accrediting the institution.
For Temporary Spouse Visas:
- An authenticated copy of the Colombian marriage certificate. The copy must not be issued later than 90 days prior.
- A notarized written application from the Colombian spouse for the visa.
- An authorized authenticated copy of the Colombian spouse’s valid ID.
For Temporary Marriage Visas:
- A letter from you stating the purpose of visit with information regarding the marriage and the future spouse.
- A letter from the Colombian citizen requesting the visa with basic information regarding them as well as their marriage. The letter must be notarized in Colombia.
- Police records, translated into Spanish.
For Temporary Medical Treatment Visas:
- A medical certificate from the doctor confirming that you need treatment and for how long. The letter must be approved by the medical institution and it must be notarized in Colombia.
- Police records, translated into Spanish.
For Temporary Parter Visas:
- A certificate of incorporation that is issued by the Cámara de Comercio.
- The company’s balance statement signed by a certified public accountant. A copy of the accountant’s license must also be provided.
- A copy of the company’s last Income Tax Return.
- Police records, translated into Spanish.
Citizens of some countries do not need a visa to travel to Colombia as a tourist, provided they only stay there for up to 90 days. Some additional documents might need to be translated to Spanish and authorized or legalized by the Embassy or Consulate. Some nationals will also be interviewed before they are issued a visa. It is recommended that you check with your local Colombian Embassy for any other document needed. If you enjoy reading this article, you’ll surely be interested in learning how to travel safely.