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A New Life in Colombia: How Expats Can Successfully Apply for Migrant Visas

Colombia has emerged as a preferred destination for many expats due to its vibrant culture, affordable living, and beautiful landscapes. If you’re considering a move to Colombia, obtaining a Migrant Visa (Visa Tipo M) is one of the primary steps. Here’s a detailed guide to help you navigate the process.

Understanding the Types of Migrant Visas

In Colombia, Migrant Visas are tailored to accommodate various purposes of stay, encompassing work, study, retirement, or business investment, and are hence classified into diverse categories to suit individual needs.

M-5 Visas are primarily designed for working expats. If you’re planning to move to Colombia for employment, this visa is apt for you. It generally requires a valid job offer from a Colombian employer. Detailed requirements and application procedures for M-5 visas are available at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

M-9 Visas are catered to retirees or pensioners. Colombia is becoming a popular destination for retirees, thanks to its pleasant climate and affordable living costs. If you have a steady pension or retirement income, you can apply for an M-9 visa. You can find more specific information about the requirements and benefits of the M-9 visa here.

M-10 Visas are aimed at business owners or partners. If you’re considering investing in or starting a business in Colombia, the M-10 visa is tailored to support your entrepreneurial aspirations. This visa allows you the freedom to operate a business and engage in economic activities in the country. Detailed guidelines and information on applying for an M-10 visa can be found on the official webpage.

Each of these categories is designed to facilitate different needs and aspirations of expats moving to Colombia, and the government has set clear guidelines and procedures for each type. It’s crucial to understand which category fits your particular situation best, and to follow the specific requirements and procedures associated with it. By exploring the linked pages, you can find comprehensive details tailored to each visa type, ensuring a smooth application process.

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Eligibility Criteria

General Requirements for all Migrant Visa applicants in Colombia include having a valid passport with at least 6 months remaining before expiration, proof of financial support showing the capability to sustain oneself during the stay, and a detailed letter stating the purpose of the stay. These documents are essential regardless of the specific category of Migrant Visa you’re applying for.

Specific Requirements differ depending on the particular Migrant Visa category. For instance, for work visas like M-5, you must provide a valid employment contract with a Colombian company, whereas for retiree visas such as M-9, you would need proof of pension or other consistent income. Comprehensive details about the specific requirements for each visa type can be consulted at the Visa Regulations section of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

Application Process

The Online Application is typically the first step in applying for a Migrant Visa in Colombia. This process involves visiting the Online Visa Application Portal, filling in the required information meticulously, and uploading the necessary documents. There’s also an application fee that varies depending on the type of visa, which can be paid online through secure payment methods.

Physical Submission might be necessary in some cases. Depending on the visa type or specific consulate requirements, you may need to submit physical copies of your documents to the nearest Colombian consulate. It’s advisable to check the specific guidelines related to your visa category or contact the consulate directly to understand if this step is required.

Processing Time for Colombian Migrant Visas usually takes around 5 business days, although it may vary depending on the category, time of the year, or specific circumstances related to your application. It’s wise to apply well in advance of your intended travel date to allow for any unexpected delays. More information on processing times and tracking your application status can be found here.

Fees and Payments

The cost of a Migrant Visa in Colombia varies depending on the visa category and the applicant’s nationality. Payment can be made online during the application process using various secure payment methods, or it can be done at a designated bank branch within Colombia. It is essential to check the exact fee structure that applies to your specific case, as this can affect the total cost of the application. Updated fee information, including the different payment options and any associated processing fees, is available here on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

After Approval

Collecting the Visa: Once approved, the visa must be stamped in your passport. This can be done at any Colombian consulate abroad or at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Bogotá. The stamping process is an essential step, and without it, the visa is not considered valid for entry.

Registering with Migración Colombia: Within 15 days of your arrival in Colombia, you must register your visa with Migración Colombia. This registration is mandatory and failure to do so may result in fines or other legal consequences.

Cedula de Extranjería (Foreign ID Card): This ID card is essential for all long-term foreign residents in Colombia. You must apply for this card at Migración Colombia within 15 days of receiving the visa. It serves as your primary identification in the country, and its application and issuance guidelines can be found here.

Renewal and Extension

The Migrant Visa in Colombia generally has a validity period of up to 3 years. Depending on your circumstances, you might wish to renew or extend this visa. Renewal and extension processes can be initiated online at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. It’s recommended to start the renewal process well in advance of the visa’s expiration date to ensure continuity of your legal status in Colombia.

Assistance and Legal Support

Navigating immigration law and the visa application process in Colombia can be complex. Engaging a local immigration lawyer or visa service provider can ease the process significantly. Companies like Visa Colombia offer tailored assistance, providing guidance throughout the entire process, from selecting the right visa category to ensuring compliance with all legal requirements. This kind of professional support can be invaluable, especially for those unfamiliar with the Colombian legal system or the Spanish language. Whether it’s assistance with documentation, understanding fees, or legal representation, these professionals can provide essential support throughout your visa journey.


Obtaining a Migrant Visa in Colombia involves a well-defined process. From understanding the types of visas and eligibility criteria to successfully completing the application and settling in, thorough research, and careful preparation are essential.

The official websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Migración Colombia are indispensable resources, and professional assistance is available for those who seek it.