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Top 6 Visa Requirements for Colombia

Top 6 Visa Requirements for Colombia

Expat Consulting, Lifestyle, Manizales, Pereira Featured

If you have decided to retire abroad here are the most recent visa requirements for Colombia in 2023! Dare we also recommend an excellent visa service to help you get going on your dream expat lifestyle?

Especially if you are a retiree, professional or investor looking for a second home, permanent lifestyle or a new adventure – then this list is for you!

Top 6 Visa Requirements for Colombia

Pay close attention to the first two because they might require you to travel back to your home country in order to obtain the needed paperwork. Things have changed a lot with the visa requirements in Colombia and we don’t want you to miss out on the savings and benefits you will enjoy by living here.

  1. BACKGROUND CHECK: Bring an APOSTILLED copy of an official background check from your local police department. You MUST show the last 3 years of your judicial history in order to quality for a Colombian visa.
  2. BENEFIT LETTER: For a RETIREE or PENSION VISA you MUST have an APOSTILLED copy of your benefit letter from the Social Security Administration or the equivalent if you are coming from the US/Canada/UK/Australia.
  3. TIMELY APPLICATION SUBMISSION: Do not wait until the last minute to renew your visa if you are already in Colombia. If you leave and come in again on a tourist visa your status will be listed as IRREGULAR and you could be denied for your visa. Start your process at least 45 to 60 days BEFORE your current visa expires.
  4. HEALTH INSURANCE: You MUST have full coverage travel health insurance to be approved for any Colombian visa. In recent months (May 2023), they are asking for up to a YEAR of coverage especially for people who are senior citizens.
  5. PROOF OF FUNDS: For a retirement or pension visa you MUST be able to show 3 minimum wage salaries as your monthly income. One minimum wage is 1,160,000 Colombian pesos or approximately $250 USD (1 USD = ~4,000 cop).  If you are NOT retired but you earn a monthly wage from renting your house or some other economic movement, then you must show 10 minimum wage salaries entering your bank account every month. For an Investment Visa you must purchase or own a property that is worth 350 minimum wage salaries in order to quality for the M – migrant visa in this category.
  6. UNDERSTAND PRORROGA VS SALVOCONDUCTO: When we talk about visa processes these two words are thrown around but can be easily confused. A Prorroga is when you are waiting on a visa request and your time in country expires. You must go to Migracion Colombia up to a week or more BEFORE it expires (but not MORE than 10 to 15 days prior) to ask for a prorroga. A salvoconducto is when you have a gap. For example, you are receiving medical treatment, you plan to leave the country but your appointments will go past the end date of your visa. Keep in mind that you can apply for it online!

Why have the visa requirements for Colombia become so difficult?

There are may reasons for this – which are quite understandable. Recent scandals regarding foreigners who have ended up on the streets living homeless and addicted to drugs, the collapse of health insurance in Colombia and criminal activities by visitors are only a few of the reasons that the government has upped the ante.

In October 2022 visa processes were suspended for over a month while the Cancilleria (the government branch that approves visas) reviewed old processes and released their new ones. Since then getting a visa in Colombia has become a process guaranteed to increase the quality and value of the people who are coming here to live.

While this may seem like a giant headache – ultimately it will improve the quality of lifestyle and tourism for foreign residents in Colombia.

Of course we aren’t going to tackle a problem like this without providing a carefully vetted solution which we know our readers will appreciate! So let’s talk about the person who we felt is a great solution for visa requirements for Colombia…

Visa Services in Colombia

You aren’t alone in this, in fact, we strongly urge you to find a competent visa professional who will not only understand the new requirements, but who WON’T charge you an arm and a leg for the service!

Many horror stories have emerged about lawyers charging a mint then leaving their clients hanging. Even worse, when the going gets rough, they pull out and nothing gets done!

We decided to find a competent visa lawyer who has a proven track record handling complex situations where it felt like there was no light at the end of the tunnel. But don’t take our word for it, here’s what her clients are saying:

“I was irregular in Colombia for over a year. Maria negotiated with Migración on my behalf which prevented me from being deported. She helped me get back on track by getting my visa approved!” Adam S. age 32 Washington D.C., USA

“Maria Jose is young and hungry, but extremely professional. You can tell she loves her work. I had a fantastic experience working with her. She is on time and responsive.” Wes, age 32 Los Angeles, USA

“I was completely lost with my visa extension and at odds with the cancilleria (Colombian visa authority). In one day Maria was able to fix everything and help me get my life in Colombia back on track!” Josh age 53 Arizona, USA

Visa Requirements for ColombiaWho is Maria Jose Gonzales Giraldo?

Having graduated at the top of her class with honors in the Universidad Libre de Pereira, her career began in the “Camara de Representantes” similar to Congress in the US. She worked under the General Secretary Jorge Humberto Mantilla Serrano which gave her a unique perspective about how the country functions at the highest levels.

Maria Jose met her American husband by helping him fix a difficult visa situation first as his lawyer. Since then she has become known as a fixer for complex visa requirements for Colombia.

“I know how to fight for my clients and am willing to do so because the outcome can change my clients life.” – Maria Jose

As an immigration lawyer she specializes in visa situations and their issues. Being an English speaker she will be able to communicate directly and efficiently regarding visa requirements for Colombia.

Contact Maria Jose via WhatsApp at +57 305 305-4405 or via email

Follow her via Instagram @LawColombia and online at


Still not sure if Colombia is right for you? Click Here for our Lifestyle Experiences designed to give you an insiders peek and the latest information for living your dream life in Colombia!


About the author

Coffee Axis Adventures and Expat Lifestyles meet Wit and Wordpress! I have been writing my whole life in one form or another, and blogging since 2012. My career as a professional writer began in 2013 and this is what I have been doing ever since! My personal mission: Create love and appreciation for local brands, products and entrepreneurial projects of value and quality. Do my part to participate in and help create, a strong local economy that supports local people and their families!

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