Colombia’s Top Residency Options
We are always proud to welcome our overseas clients and friends to our beautiful home, Colombia. At Gutiérrez Group we strive to make your visit as effortless and seamless as possible with the many services we offer.
We have found that many people who travel here fall in love with the Colombian way of life and want to spend more time in our amazing country. They simply don’t want to leave, and we don’t blame them.
As a result, we are often asked if it is difficult to obtain a Colombian Visa. This month Juan Darío Gutiérrez, our Chief Legal Officer explains the many ways you might qualify for a visa which will allow you to stay with us as long as you want.
Colombia’s Top Residency Options
It’s been a few years now since Colombia exploded onto the international scene and major publications started to pay attention to the good things happening here. Yet our country continues to be off the radar for the overwhelming majority of people who are looking for a place to invest or relocate.
I must say, this relative anonymity is not necessarily a negative thing. Being one of the world’s best kept secrets means we have many undeniable advantages. Since our Family Office helps people diversify and establish themselves abroad, we regularly receive inquiries about how our country ranks in terms of ease of doing business and immigration.
To continue spreading the word about our beautiful country, and hopefully resolve any doubts that you may have regarding how to get settled in Colombia, I am going to cover one of our favorite topics.
Since we began providing our visa service, we have the immense satisfaction of obtaining visas for well over 600 of our clients and friends. So let’s dive into Colombia’s top residency options.
How Visas Are Classified
You may be surprised to learn that Colombia has one of the simplest and most efficient residency processes in the world. As you’ll discover below, thresholds are low, requirements are simple, minimum stays are literally as low as they get, and the approval process is record breaking.
As in most countries, Colombia features two types of visas:
Migrant Visas (also called a temporary visa), and
Resident Visas (also known as a permanent visa).
Migrant visas have a 3 year term and grant unlimited movements in and out of the country. Colombia offers multiple categories which may allow you to qualify for this type of visa. Here are the most popular types of Migrant Visa:
– Pension: you can apply for this type of visa if you receive a pension from Social Security, a private company, or a public company. To qualify, your monthly pension must be at least 3 Colombian minimum monthly salaries. The minimum wage changes every year, but as of today, the minimum pension requirement is just US$800 per month.
– Rentista: if you receive non-pension income from a foreign public or private source, you may qualify for this type of visa. You must have an investment that yields a minimum of 10 Colombian minimum monthly salaries on a monthly basis. At today’s rates, you must show a minimum of US$2,500 monthly.
– Spouse: if you are married or currently in a permanent companionship with a Colombian individual, you qualify for this visa. An important and progressive fact about our country, and what we stand for, is that same sex couples are treated exactly the same, with the same rights, as heterosexual couples.
– Investment: you become eligible for this visa when you have one of the two following investments:
A capital investment in a Colombian company, which can be your individually owned company, with at least 100 Colombian minimum monthly wages. At today’s requirements you need to invest US$25,000.
A real estate investment, provided that the price of the property is at least 350 Colombian minimum monthly wages. This converts to approximately US$85,000.
These visas have minimum stay requirements, but they are very reasonable and easy to meet. Once you obtain a migrant visa, you are requested to visit the country at least once every 180 days. This means you cannot spend more than 180 consecutive days outside the country.
If you plan to live in Colombia, this requirement is not a problem. Also, since the weather here is always perfect, you will certainly want to visit at least every six months if you don’t reside here.
Resident visas grant a longer 5 year term, but they require a greater commitment to Colombia. Here I will only focus on the most popular options:
– Family: this visa is appropriate for those who are in the unique situation of being parents of a Colombian national.
– Investment: if you are looking to invest and have a larger budget, you can apply for a permanent visa if your investment consists of either a capital investment in a company, or in a real estate investment, valued at 650 Colombian minimum monthly wages or more. As of today this investment starts at US$160,000.
– Accumulated time: if you obtained a Migrant Visa, you are eligible to upgrade it to a Resident Visa without needing to invest further or comply with additional requirements other than accumulating 5 consecutive years of holding your Migrant Visa.
The minimum stay requirement for a Permanent Visa is even more generous. This type of visa doesn’t expire unless you fail to visit the country once every 2 years. In other words, you can’t spend more than 2 consecutive years outside of Colombia to maintain your Resident Visa.
Another critical aspect of residency in Colombia deals with dependents. Our country offers the exact same type of visa to the following family members of the person who obtains residency:
– A spouse or permanent partner;
– Parents, provided that they economically depend on the primary visa holder; and
– Children, provided that they are under 25 years old.
I hope this brief explanation clarifies any questions you have about the various visa options available in Colombia, and also whets your appetite to learn more. As the Chief Legal Officer of Gutiérrez Group, I’m always here to answer your questions.