Have A Resident Visa? You May Be Required To Update Your Visa Stamps This Year
By: Salome Isaza (COL).
Applying for a Colombian visa has changed significantly since a new law came into effect last year. One of the most important changes is also one of the least expected and understood. Bottom line, if you are a residency visa holder you may be required to apply for a “traspaso de visa” within 2 years of the law coming into effect.
We have prepared this informal Q&A in an effort to answer some of the most common questions you may have regarding this new visa obligation. As always, our team is available to answer any additional questions you may have. Just send us a message here.
Why Do I Need to Apply?
New visa rules (Resolution 5477 of 2022) that came into effect as of October 22, 2022 require residency visa holders to renew their visa stamp by no later than October 22, 2024.
What Do I Need to Apply?
- Valid Residency Visa: Maintain a valid copy of your residency visa (digital or stamped in your passport).
- Residency Visa Not Cancelled: Confirm that you did not leave Colombia for more than 2 consecutive years since your last residency visa was issued. If this is the case, your visa was cancelled by statute and you cannot apply. Note that this rule was suspended during the Covid lockdown so contact our team to confirm whether your residency visa remains valid.
- Valid Passport: Valid for at least 6 months with at least 2 blank pages. If you are cutting it close, we recommend that you renew your passport as soon as possible in advance of this new application.
- Basis For Residency Visa: Confirm if the basis for your current residency visa remains valid (you still own the property you purchased, remain married, continue to own local business, etc…)
- Medical Insurance: Confirm that you have qualifying health insurance that covers you during your stay in Colombia.
Additional Visa Considerations
- Physical Location During Application: You should be prepared to remain in the location where you initiated your visa application for at least 30 days or more. This includes remaining in Colombia or applying from your country of residence.
- Certificate of Migratory Movements: This is a document issued by the Colombian government that outlines all of your entries and exits in and out of the country. You may be required to sign a power of attorney in Colombia or at a foreign consulate in order for your local attorney to secure this document.
- Our Comprehensive Visa Brochure: You can review more information regarding the visa application process in our comprehensive visa brochure.
How Long Does Application Take?
Approximately 6 weeks. We normally estimate 2 weeks to prep the application and, in general, up to 4 weeks for the Colombian government to issue a final decision. Applications are a bit faster if you apply at a foreign consulate.
What Happens When I Apply?
It’s like having a whole new visa. Your visa #, date of issuance, expiration, visa stamp, etc… are all updated.
What Happens With My National ID Card (“Cédula”)?
You will be required to update your cédula so that both your visa and your cédula have the same expiration dates.
What if My Family Has Beneficiary Visas?
All beneficiaries are also required to submit separate applications. However, this can only happen once your main visa application has been approved.
Is This Process Necessary if I Want to Apply for Citizenship?
What Happens After I Complete This Process?
You will need to apply again before the expiration of your new visa which will be issued for 5 years. We recommend starting this process approximately 3 months prior to the expiration of your visa.
What Happens If I Don’t Apply?
Failure to renew your visa stamp will mean that your visa will automatically be cancelled. You will need to apply for a tourist permit or another visa if plan to remain in Colombia or subsequently enter Colombia. Anyone applying for citizenship may also be affected.
For More Information
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This post is being published for general informational purposes only and it is not intended to provide specific legal and/or tax advice. It should not be used as a substitute for competent legal/tax advice from a licensed attorney and/or accountant in your jurisdiction.