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Guide on how to apply for a Colombia Temporary Residence Permit

This guide is for you if you want to apply for a Colombia Temporary Residence Permit.

Colombia has changed so much from the days of notorious drug lords and hitmen. Now that the country has recovered from its violent past, it focuses on more beautiful things about Colombia. These include the beautiful scenery and affordable lifestyle. Many people are looking for a guide on how to apply for a Colombia Temporary Residence Permit because they have discovered the hidden treasures of Colombia.

If you plan to be a temporary resident in this great country, be assured that your safety is of maximum priority to the Colombian government. This is why a heavy police presence exists, especially where foreign nationals converge. So, not only can you go to Colombia, you can live in Colombia.

Here’s what to do to apply for a Colombia Temporary Residence Permit. First, find out if you are qualified to apply for one. Next, find the documents you must submit during your application process. Furthermore, check how long your temporary residence permit can serve you in Colombia. But, first, let’s find out what a temporary residence permit for Colombia is.

What is a Temporary Residence Permit for Colombia?

Columbia’s Temporary Residence Permit is an official document that allows a foreign national to live in Columbia for a specific period. In Colombia, people can qualify for a residence permit by holding a temporary visa. Another way to get a temporary residence permit for Colombia is to get a Migrant Visa or to invest in Colombia.

#1 Residency by Qualification

You may qualify for a Colombia Residence Permit if you fall into any of the following categories:

1a. If you have a temporary visa and have consecutively lived in the country for a minimum of five years. In this case, you must apply for a temporary residence permit at least 30 days before your visa expires.

1b. If you are a parent of a Colombian national.

1c. If you are being sponsored by a resident visa holder and have been in the country for a minimum of five uninterrupted years.

1d. If you have a temporary visa and area spouse or permanent partner of a Colombian, and you have been together for three years.

#2 Colombia Temporary Residence Permit for holders of Migrant (M type) Visas

There are four categories of Migrant Visa holders:

2a. Pensionado – those who receive monthly social security benefits of at least $717.

2b. Rentista – people who are not yet old enough to receive social security benefits but receive a monthly private pension of at least $2,390.

2c. The Business Owner – owners or equal partners of a Colombian company with an investment of at least $25,000.

2d. The Real Estate Owner – people who buy properties in their name for at least $83,000.

For your migrant visa to be valid, you must not be outside Colombia for more than six months consecutively. 

#3 Colombia Temporary Residence Permit for Resident (R type) Visa

If you decide from the start that you want to reside in Colombia, it’s best to go for a resident visa. All you need for this visa is to make a capital investment by buying a property or owning a Colombian company with at least $155,400. Although the resident visa does not expire, you must go to Colombian Immigration every five years to obtain a new residence permit known as a cédula.

To maintain your residence visa, visit Colombia at least once every two years. 

Requirements for Colombia Residency by Qualification

If you qualify for a Colombia residence permit for reasons of category one above, you must fulfill and submit the following requirements:

  • Pay $50 for a study visa
  • Submit a valid passport or travel document with a minimum of two blank pages
  • Submit two recent 3×3 photos of you in color and with a white background
  • Submit a Certificate of Migration from the Department of Administrative Security at least three months before your application.
  • Submit a Certificate of Judicial or Police History from the last country you resided in. It must be no older than six months from the time of application.
  • Fill out and submit a ‘Commitment to Report to the Department of Administrative Security (DAS)’ form.
  • If the applicant is practicing a profession that requires certification or license, he must have a license to practice in another country. Such a profession can be a therapist, chiropractor, psychologist, social worker, or radiographer.

Additional documents if you are a parent of a Colombian national

  • A certified copy of the civil registration of the birth of the Colombian child
  • A notarized letter signed by the Colombian parent requesting that the foreign national, who is the other parent, should be issued the residence permit.
  • A certified photocopy of the citizenship card of the Colombian parent.
  • If the Colombian parent dies, the foreign national who is the other parent must present the death certificate, which must be notarized in Colombia and indicate that the foreign national has custody of the Colombian child, who is a minor.
  • If both parents are foreign nationals, either who holds a resident visa and an identification card must sign a notarized letter requesting that the other parent be issued a residence permit. This letter must indicate who is financially responsible for the child. You must also present a certificate of nationality issued by the National Civil Status Registry Office.

If you hold a temporary visa and are married to or are a permanent partner of a Colombian

  • Evidence of civil Colombian marriage registration or proof of a permanent relationship. You must have these documents at least three months before the application.
  • Letter certified by a Colombian notary and addressed to the office responsible for approving the foreign spouse or partner’s application.
  • A certified photocopy of the Colombian citizenship card of the other partner.
  • Photocopy of the previous Colombian visas held by the other partner.

How to apply for a Colombia Temporary Residence Permit

Once you enter Colombia, you must register with the Foreign Registry of Migración Colombia and apply for a residence permit or a cédula. You must do this within 15 days of your arrival, or you will be made to pay a fine if you fail to do so.

Step #1. Determine your blood type – go for a test.

You only need to do this once, the first time you apply for a residence permit. Afterward, step into any clinic or laboratory and ask for your blood type to be tested. You will have to pay a sum of about 15,000 pesos ($5). Your result will be ready the same day. You must confirm your blood type because this detail will be on your residence card and if you need a medical treatment that requires a blood transfusion, all they have to do is use the blood type on your residence card.

Step #2. Fill out an online application

The online application is available both in English and Spanish. You will have to answer basic information, including your details, emergency contact details, and other registration information.

Step #3. Schedule an appointment at the Colombian Immigration Office.

There are about 27 of them in the country, and anyone would be sufficient. You can schedule an appointment by calling their 24-hour toll-free line if you are in Columbia.

Step #4. Attend the appointment with your original documents. 

The documents for holders of Migrant or Resident Visas are:

  • Your original passport and original visa attached
  • A photocopy of your passport information page
  • A photocopy of the last entry stamp made in your passport

You must pay a fee of COP 190,000 ($63) for the residence permit. You will have the option of paying at the office with a debit or credit card.

Also, when you submit your documents, you will submit your biometrics. This will be added to the other documents for processing. It is possible to receive your residence permit the same day but if you do not, you can check online for the status of your application by visiting the immigration website to see if it is ready.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with my Colombia Temporary Residence Permit?

With your Colombia Temporary Residence Permit, you can work for a company in Colombia. Also, you can have other civic rights that citizens of the country have, except that you will not be able to vote in presidential elections.

Is the Colombia Temporary Residence Permit renewable?

Yes, the temporary residence permit is renewable every five years. But this does not mean that you must live in Colombia for five consecutive years. In fact, all you need to do to maintain your residence permit is visit the country at least once every two years.

What is the processing period for a Columbia Temporary Residence Permit?

In most cases, you can receive your temporary permit the same day as the interview. But sometimes, it may take up to a week or two. This would depend mainly on the city or town in Columbia that you are applying from.

Where can I apply for a Colombia Temporary Residence Permit?

You can visit any of the 27 regional immigration offices in Columbia for this purpose. They are located in Leticia, Bogotá, Ibagué, Tunja, Neiva, Medellín, Quibdó, Cartagena, Barranquilla, Montería, Santa Marta, Sincelejo, Pereira, Manizales, Armenia, Riohacha, Valledupar, Maicao, Pasto, Cali, Popayán, Cúcuta, Bucaramanga, Villavicencio, Arauca, Yopal, and San Andrés.

What is Colombia known for?

Colombia is known for many good things. For example, Colombia is a big exporter of bananas and many other exotic fruits you may never find growing elsewhere. Secondly, Colombia is the highest producer of the best emeralds in the world, about 60%. Thirdly, Colombia is the birth country of famous people like Shakira and Sofia Vergara. That Colombian women are pretty beautiful. Fourthly, Colombia houses most of Bogota’s most prominent multi-national headquarters, making it a viable country for business. The international airport in Bogota has the most significant air traffic in South America!


Colombia is a country of contrasts where you will find warm and friendly people who like to mind their business, but if they invite you to their homes for a meal, you become family. Unfortunately, however, they can be hostile and violent too. This is probably an aftermath of their ugly history. But this does not detract from the advantages of securing a Colombia Temporary Residence Visa.

For Further Reading: Guide on how to apply for a Colombia Permanent Residency Permit.