Travelling, doing business or living in Colombia? You will need the right Colombian visa. In this article, we are going to help you avoid the usual nightmare of visa applications by guiding you through the 3 main visa categories the new migratory regulation offers and we shall have a close look at their characteristics.
Who Does the Immigration Reform Affect?
Following our previous article regarding the immigration law reform in Chile, we have decided to have a close look at the upcoming immigration reform in Colombia. The reform was passed in August 2017 and is due to be enacted the second (2nd) of November 2017.
So whether you’re a tourist, businessman or a keen student, you may want to have a look at these few changes before you plan your trip. The aim of this reform is to make the whole migration process easier and quicker. All the following visas grant multiple entries in Colombia. It is important to note that if your visa was delivered before the enactment of this reform than it will maintain its previous conditions. As soon as it expires, you will be asked to apply for a new visa in line with the new regulation. Regardless of the category of visa you’re applying for, you will need a passport with at least 2 spare visa pages and a remaining validity of at least 180 days.
Up until today, there used to be the three following categories of visas: the TP (Temporal) visa, the NE (Negocios) visa, and finally the RE (Residente) visa. The immigration reform has changed these three categories, making it clearer and easier for you to apply.
3 Categories of Visas in Colombia:
I. El Visitante, or visa ‘V’
This is the most straightforward visa there is. Once again it grants you multiple entries. This is the visa you will need if you’re a tourist or you’re traveling for business purposes. If you’re a medical immigrant seeking for treatment in Colombia, you are doing voluntary work or you’re working for the press then you will also have to aim to apply for the ‘V’ visa. Regarding its validity, the type ‘V’ visa has a validity of 365 days/1 year. If you exceed this period, you will be fined as this visa is not renewable. If it had to be renewed, this would have to be authorised by the Advisory Commissions for the Determination of Refugee Status (Comisión Asesora para la Determinación de la Condición de Refugiado). Nevertheless, this remains very rare.
Working with a ‘V’ type visa:
You can be granted a work permit if you have ‘V’ type visa. This will enable you to receive a salary. This is the case if you’re a diplomat working in Colombia or if you’re an artist or cineast working towards a project.The work permit’s validity period depends on that of your visa, so it will have a maximum validity period of 1 year. In addition, If you have an internship in Colombia for less than a year, then you will be able to work with just a ‘V’ type visa. However, you won’t be allowed to be remunerated.
II. El Migrante, or visa ‘M’:
This visa concerns foreigners who want to go to Colombia with the intention to settle down there and live permanently and who do not have the requirements for an ‘R’ type visa (see below). You need to have at least one of the following characteristics to be eligible for the application.
- You’re the spouse or permanent partner of a Colombian national
- You’re the father or son of a Colombian national by adoption
- If you’re considered as a Refugee in Colombia
- If you’ve worked for a long time on a ‘V’ type visa
- If you’re a student following a course which lasts more than a year.
This visa is valid for a period of 3 years starting from the day it is released. The main change in this category is that businessmen are allowed to stay not 1 year as it used to be previously but 3 full years. This was decided in order to boost FDI and to welcome more foreign workers.
Working on an ‘M’ type visa
You have the right to receive a salary if you have an ‘M’ type visa unless you’re living in Colombia as a religious or missionary engaged in vocational training, or if you’re receiving a retirement pension and/or a periodic income from a credible legal source.
III. El Residente, or visa ‘R’:
This visa concerns foreigners who want to settle down permanently in Colombia to live and work. In order to apply for this visa, you will have had to live at least 2 continuous years on an ‘M’ type visa if your spouse or parents are Colombian or you’re you’re nationality is from a MERCOSUR country. You will need five years on the ‘M’ type visa if you’re a foreign worker, entrepreneur, religious, student, pensioner or property investor. This visa is valid for a period of 5 years and gives you the right to work and receive a salary.
Use a Trusted Lawyer for Your Immigration Needs in Colombia
Now that you know the three different categories of visas, you can go on and apply for the suitable one. If you’re applying for a visa for yourself or your family, always get the correct support of migration counsels. If you’re a company searching to settle in Colombia, you may need help from a Colombian company to help you go through the process of getting all the necessary visas for your employees. This is essential as it will take a lot of stress off your shoulders and will save you a lot of time. And by saving time, you will save money!
Here, in Bogotà, Biz Latin Hub offers both migration counsels and back-office services for foreign individuals, families and companies investing in Colombia. We can organize your visa applications as fast as possible, and open a corporate bank account if needed. These two essential services we offer are only a few of many, and our primordial mission is to help our clients to focus on the heart of their business in Colombia. That way they do not have to worry about all the administrative paperwork.
If you want to learn more about our visa services. check this video out to see how Biz Latin Hub can help you!