Foreign nationals wishing to spend time in Colombia are advised (and in most cases, required) to apply for a Visa from the Colombian government. Currently there are nineteen different types of Visas, although these nine Visas make up the vast majority of them:
– Business Visa (foreigners who wish to carry out business in Colombia)
– Employee Visa (local and foreign firms hiring foreign staff)
– Student Visa (university interchanges, Spanish programs, etc.)
– Investor Visa (with and without property investments)
– Retiree/Pensioner’s Visa (foreigners spending 6-12 months/year in Colombia)
– Religious Mission Visa (“major” religions recognized by the Colombian state)
– Rentista Visa (those with certain types of regular monthly incomes over $4000 USD/month)
– Marriage Visa (foreign spouse or permanent companion of a Colombian national)
– Resident Visa (foreigner seeking permanent residence in Colombia)
Detailed Visa information is posted, in English, through the Colombian government’s Cancillería. Most local law firms will provide even more extensive descriptions of each and every Visa, but that information only makes things more confusing. It will not answer most people’s main question, which is, “Which Visa is right for me?”
Without a plan, you’re very likely to choose the wrong Visa, and/or make a minor error in your application – each of which could have cataclysmic effects on your intended purpose.
There are three simple reasons that demonstrate the benefits of hiring an experienced immigration lawyer here in Colombia for your Visa needs, and they are:
1) Helping decide the most efficient and effective Visa strategy – tailored specifically for you,
2) Insuring that all documentation is in order, filled out correctly, and in a format preferred by the visa authorities, and
3) To inform you about “what you don’t know…you don’t know,” such as:
- While a number of the business visas are for three years, you are still limited to 180 days per year, and the Visa does not extend to your family.
- Certain temporary visas which do allow you consecutive stays of three or four years can still be revoked if you are outside of Colombia for a specific number of days.
- Improperly registering the money you transfer to Colombia, for an investment or for the purchase of a property, can jeopardize the very Investor Visa for which you are making that transaction.
- The Visa rules change regularly, and dated advice from someone not consistently tracking these regulations could jeopardize your Visa eligibility.
- Colombian immigration officials have a substantial amount of discretion, and can make the Visa process infinitely more difficult than necessary, without an experienced lawyer to prepare you for the process.
- You may be eligible for two types of Visas, but one will usually require significantly more documentation, professional certifications, and flights in for personal interviews, than will the other. That particular Visa may also be far more difficult to renew when the time approaches.
At Colombia Legal Partners, our guiding principal is ensuring that your self-interest dictates our actions. That means finding you your best Visa option, not the most expensive one.
In addition, there is no law firm that is the master of every discipline, and any firm that claims to be, is acting neither ethically, nor in their clients’ best interests. There are some complex areas of law where our clients may need the expertise of a specialist. We have relationships with numerous specialists in these areas – attorneys whom we trust implicitly. Should such a scenario arise, we will either partner with, or refer you to, the right specialty lawyer for you.
At CLP, that’s the only way we know how to do business.
Please contact us using the form below to see how we can help you.
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