Colombia continues to grow as an attractive location to live and do business. Colombia is well renowned for its natural beauty and diversity, and this is indicative of the sharp rise in tourism to the country in the past 5 years – with this trend expected to rise. 

Tourism and travel aside, Colombia offers smart investors an attractive place to set up operations and/or conduct business. Obtaining a visa in Colombia gifts you with a variety of options – namely working for a Colombia company or starting your own business. Additionally, an investment in Colombia real-estate will make you eligible to apply for an investors visa. Based on the value of this investment, you will be able to undertake commercial activities.    

Keep reading and learn about (3) common visa options in Colombia. 

What Visa Options are Available in Colombia? 

Based on your requirements, business plans, capital, and contacts, there are three viable paths to obtain a visa in Colombia. These options are detailed below: 
  • Colombia Working Visa – through obtaining an employment contract with a local company. 
  • Colombia Property Owner/Investor Visa  – through investing in local real estate.
  • Colombian Business Owners Visa – through incorporating a local company, and investing in this company.

1) Colombia Working Visa 

A Colombian working visa is a viable option for individuals who have an employment offer by a local Colombia company and plan to work for this company during a set time period. This type of visa has the following requirements:
  • The individual must have a valid employment contract signed by the legal representative of a Colombian company.
  • The company hiring the foreign individual must be able to prove a minimum monthly bank balance of COP80,000,000 for the past (6) months.  
  • The company must be registered to be able to hire foreign employees; this process needs to be completed before the Sistema de Registro de Extranjeros en Colombia (SIRE)’. 

2) Colombian Property Owner/Investors Visa

colombia investor working business owner visa

In Colombia, foreigners are able to legally purchase local real estate.

In Colombia, foreigners are able to legally purchase local real estate. Then, by virtue of being the owner of Colombian property (noting you have ‘invested’ in Colombia), you will be eligible to apply for a property owners/investors visa. 

There are (2) types of investors visas you can obtain based on the value of your real estate investment: 

  • Migrant (M) property owner visa – requires an investment with a minimum value of 350 minimum Colombia salaries. This visa is valid for up to (3) years and does not allow you to work.
  • Residential (R) property owner visa – requires an investment with a minimum value of 650 minimum Colombian salaries. This visa is valid for up to (5) years and does allow you to work.

When making this property purchase, you will need to bring in the foreign capital and register it with the Central Bank of Colombia. Once this investment has been registered, you may commence your visa application. The immigration process created by the national migration authority can be slightly complex, and thus, it is worthwhile working with a local legal firm who have ample experience in the Colombian visa application processes. In fact, a good immigration lawyer can manage all of this on your behalf without the need for you to visit Colombia, with the final stage of the visa application requiring you to visit a Colombia immigration office. 

The general process to obtain your property owners/investors visa:
  • Conduct a property due diligence (optional).
  • Register the investment (property purchase) with the Central Bank of Colombia.
  • Begin the visa application process.

Before purchasing property in Colombia, it is worthwhile conducting a property due diligence; ensuring that you know exactly what you are getting yourself into. Some key aspects of a thorough property due diligence include the following; confirming property title, identification of outstanding liabilities, land survey, confirmation that property contract is valid etc. 

3) Colombian Business Owners Visa

In Colombia, 100% foreign business ownership is allowed, and a simplified share company (SAS), can be formed with only (1) shareholder, either a natural or legal person (a person or a corporation can own the company). A trusted local partner can form this company on your behalf without the need for you to physically visit Colombia – this is advantageous for people and companies looking to incorporate the company quickly and subsequently means you can apply for your business owners visa sooner.
Once your company has been incorporated and you have invested an amount equivalent to at least 100 minimum salaries (approx USD$25,000) in this company, you will be eligible to apply for your business owners visa. This visa will allow you to work and render services in Colombia for the company which you have invested in. 
Legal Note: Your investment in the company will have been registered with the Central Bank of Colombia.
The general process to obtain your business owners visa: 
  • Incorporate a local company. 
  • Register the investment (in this company) with the Central Bank of Colombia.
  • Begin the visa application process.
It is important to note that all companies in Colombia must meet some legal requirements:
  • Appoint a company legal representative – who must be Colombian national or foreigner with a valid Colombian visa.
  • Register a fiscal address – in Colombia.
  • File monthly and annual tax declarations – with the national tax authority, called ‘DIAN‘. 

Need Visa Support in Colombia? 

If you are interested in immigrating to Colombia, then it is essential to work with a local partner to mitigate all risk involved with the visa application process. Reach out to Oliver at [email protected] for personalized support.

Check out the short video and discover why Colombia should be your next investment destination.