Applying For A Colombia Marriage Visa: Steps, Costs, Requirements [2022]

09/11/2022

young couple married in Colombia dancing in front of a river

Overview: Colombian Marriage Visa

QUICK SUMMARY-Colombian Spouse Visas

  • The Colombia marriage visa is valid for up to three years
  • Foreigners holding a marriage visa can become permanent residents of Colombia after two years.
  • A marriage visa allows you to legally work or study in Colombia.
  • The cost of a marriage visa in Colombia is $282 USD.
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will take 5 to 10 business days to study and approve a marriage visa application. 

The Colombian marriage visa is formally referred to as a Migrant (M) visa or M-1 visa. While commonly used by expats with a Colombian spouse in a traditional male-female marriage, a Colombia marriage visa can apply to any legally recognized Colombian partner through marriage, civil union, or common-law permanent partner, regardless of gender . 

The Colombian marriage visa is a multiple-entry temporary visa that allows you to live in Colombia for up to 3-years. However, traveling outside the country for more than six consecutive months will terminate visa validity. 

Foreigners with valid marriage visas in Colombia can legally work or study in-country. Additionally, a foreign spouse can qualify for a permanent resident visa after two years with the M-1.

The marriage visa process is relatively straightforward, but some Colombian marriage laws differ widely from laws in the US or Europe. This article helps detail the steps to apply for a Colombian marriage visa and a few things you must know before getting married in Colombia.

This post may contain affiliate links. I may get a commission if you purchase something using my link. Please note, there is NO ADDITIONAL COST to you. For more information, please see my disclosure.

5 Quick Tips To Prepare For A Move To Colombia

TIP 1. Understand Colombia's visa policy- A decade of experience living abroad taught me that a country's resident visa and permit situation can make or break a plan to move overseas. 

TIP 2. Learn about Colombia's health care system- You can relax knowing that the country has one of the Top Healthcare Programs in the world. Expats moving to Colombia long-term should purchasInternational health insurance to access the best hospitals and care.

TIP 3. Save on Moving CostsInternational moves can get expensive. Save hundreds of dollars by getting accredited moving companies to compete for your business. Fill out a quick form, sit back and let our moving partners get you five free quotes from trusted and reliable international moving companies. Save time and money.

TIP 4. Set up a Traveling Mailbox- Change all your critical mailing addresses to a traveling mailbox. Don't lose an important tax return, bank statement, credit card, or government document in the mail. Sign up for a virtual mailbox, and you can keep a permanent US mailing address and check your mail via your phone or PC.

TIP 5. Pick up some Spanish Skills- The most common difficulty experienced by expats in Colombia is English being less common than expected. Only 4% of the country speaks English. You can get a free 7-day Spanish language crash course to make your move to Colombia easier.

How To Find The Cheapest Flights To Colombia

 INSIDER TIP : Colombian Spousal Visa-  You may read about or hear references referring to a Colombian spouse visa or partnership visa. These are the same as the M-1 visa. However, do not get the terminology confused with the K-1 Fiance Visa or K-3 Spousal visa. US citizens use the K-1 fiance visa and the K-3 spouse visa to bring their Colombian partners TO the United States.

What Are The Steps To Get Married In Colombia?

Getting married in Colombia requires registration at a notary. A notary must register your marriage even if you decide on a full-blown Latin-style catholic church ceremony. The steps to getting married in Colombia are straightforward, but you still need to gather, translate, notarize, and apostille several legal documents.

The documentation can be confusing, so we're here to help! Download and follow this document checklist and infographic detailing the proper steps to follow and lists the documentation you need to get married in Colombia.

an infographic showing step by step instructions on how to get married in Colombia

How-To Get Married In Colombia

Notary Selection

You'll need to contact the notary you want to use for your civil marriage. It's also essential to find a Colombian notary with experience with foreigners. This experience is critical to handling all of the paperwork and translations properly. Here is a list of Colombian notaries in Medellin and another list of notaries for Bogota

Gather required documentation

The visa requirements may differ from notary to notary. Keep in mind that document requirements vary depending on your citizenship and previous marital status.

The documents required will likely include:

  • Colombian passport and Colombian Cedula ID card
  • Notarized copy of Colombian spouse's birth records (long form folio birth certificate) with a valid note for marriage status (estado civil) issued no later than 90-days prior.
  • Apostilled foreign spouse's birth certificate not older than 90 days. Translated into Spanish by a certified Colombian translator.
  • Certificate stating the foreign spouse is unmarried or single in their home country
  • Foreign spouse's passport with valid visa or non-expired tourist stamp

 INSIDER TIP : Verification of Eligibility to Marry- All foreigners must provide documented and notarized proof they have never married or are widowed or divorced.

US citizens getting married in Colombia can contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Colombia for an “affidavit of status” to show they are legally eligible for marriage. 

If applicable, these additional documents may be required:

  • If the foreign national doesn't speak Spanish, an official translator will be required for the wedding ceremony.
  • A court inventory of assets is required if one of the spouses has minor children
  • A civil registry is required if the couple has children together.
  • If one of the parties has previously been married, a copy of the divorce records or proof of death of the previous spouse is required

Additional required documents for a Colombian church wedding or religious ceremony:

  • A baptism certificate processed no later than three months from wedding date
  • A confirmation certificate processed no later than three months from wedding date
  • An official church single status certificate signed by a priest, with two close relatives of the wedding party attesting the couple has never been married by the Church.
  • Annulment or other marriage invalidity documents are required if either of the couple was previously wed,  invalidity document.

Submit the required documents to get married in Colombia

Be sure to photocopy everything before handing everything over to the notary--you never know when something might get lost or damaged in transit.

Remember, all documents must be 

  • No more than 90 days old
  • Notarized, Apostilled, or otherwise legally authenticated
  • Translated into Spanish by a certified Colombian translator 

Notary review of documents

The notary must review your documents to ensure all the paperwork is complete and authenticated.

Schedule the civil wedding

Notaries charge roughly 200,000 COP or $45 USD for your common law marriage

Enjoy life with your new Colombian spouse

Congratulations on taking this big step!

What are the latest updates to the Colombian marriage visa [2022]?

The Colombia marriage visa was previously called the TP-10 visa. However, Migración Colombia made significant changes to its Colombian marriage visa policy after December 15, 2017.

The Colombian government now classifies a marriage visa in Colombia as a Migrant visa or M-1 visa. Aside from the name, the most impactful change from the older TP-10 marriage visa was allowing foreigners to apply for a permanent resident visa after only two years.

The current M-1 visa has a 3-year visa validity. The previous TP-10 visa had the same 3-year duration, but foreigners could not apply for a permanent residency until they completed the full three-year term.

 INSIDER TIP : Converting Old TP-10 Marriage Visa to New M-1 Migrant Visa- Existing TP-10 marriage visa holders do not receive automatic upgrades to an M-1 marriage visa. Foreigners with TP-10 visas must still complete the original 3-year visa term before applying for a permanent resident visa.

Changes To Colombian Marriage Visa

Old Visa

Current Visa [2022]

Visa Name 

TP-10

 M-1

Visa Duration

3 Years

3 Years

Permanent Residency Eligibility  

After 3 years

After 2 years

Allowed To Work In Colombia 

yes 

yes

Allowed to Study in Colombia

yes 

yes

Visa cost

$263

$282

 INSIDER TIP : Leaving Colombia With On An M-1 Visa- Even though an M-1 visa allows multiple entries into Colombia, you cannot stay out of Colombia with an M-1 visa for more than six months consecutively. Like all Colombia migrant visas, if you reside outside of Colombia for more than six months, your marriage visa is forfeit and considered expired.

RELATED POSTs ON Colombian Visas

Page [tcb_pagination_current_page] of [tcb_pagination_total_pages]

Page [tcb_pagination_current_page] of [tcb_pagination_total_pages]

Page [tcb_pagination_current_page] of [tcb_pagination_total_pages]

Page [tcb_pagination_current_page] of [tcb_pagination_total_pages]

Page [tcb_pagination_current_page] of [tcb_pagination_total_pages]

Page [tcb_pagination_current_page] of [tcb_pagination_total_pages]

Other Names For Colombia's Migrant Visa by Marriage

Since 2017, the visa for foreign spouses of Colombian citizens changed from being called the TP-10 visa to the Migrant-1 visa. In addition to Migrant 1, you may also here reference M-1 marriage visa, foreign spousal visa, or Colombian spouse visa.

Colombian Marriage Visa - Procedure and Process

The first step to obtaining the M-1 visa is filing your online visa application form at the Migracion Colombia website. You will need electronic scanned copies of the required documentation listed in the section below.

If approved, you will receive a digital copy of your visa in your email. This electronic visa is not a valid visa. This e-visa is what you will need to show at the immigration office or consular service to get the actual visa printed on a blank passport page. 

The remaining steps to complete the process differ depending on if you file your marriage visa application in Colombia or outside the country.

Completing The M-1 Migrant Visa Application Process In Colombia

After receiving online approval of your visa, you will need to have the visa attached to your passport. If you have already moved to Colombia, you must complete the visa application process in Bogotá. No immigration offices in any regional cities can complete your visa application. 

All Colombian visas are issued at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores in Spanish) Bogota 3rd floor office on Avenida 19 # 98-03, Torre 100 Building. 

Save Time and Money and Skip The Visa Trip To Bogota

Want to avoid making a trip to Bogota?

Don't Want To Deal With Painful Government Bureaucracy and Paperwork?

Aren't Confident Your Spanish Skills Are Up For Dealing With Government Officials? 

Nomadic FIRE has a legal team of Visa and Immigration Attorneys ready to help. 

If traveling to Bogota and waiting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office does not sound like the ideal way to spend your day, Nomadic FIRE has a visa assistance program to help. My experienced visa agency partners help cut through the government red tape, simplify your immigration process, and make obtaining your visa easier.

We even have a passport delivery service so you can avoid making the trip to Bogota. Depending on your immigration situation and visa needs, our service can save you money vs. taking a trip to Bogota.

How To Apply For A Marriage Visa From The United States Or Another Country Outside Of Colombia

After submitting your foreign documents for review and completing the marriage visa application online, you just need to wait. Once your receive the visa approval notice, make an appointment at the nearest Colombian Embassy or Consulate to get the visa added to your passport.

Ensure you have a blank visa page and at least 6-months of validity before your passport expires. Once you have the marriage visa attached to your passport, you are ready to immigrate to Colombia.

What identification documents do I need for a Colombian marriage visa?

When applying for the M-1 marriage visa for Colombia, you must submit supporting documents with your online visa application. This required documents list can vary depending on your relationship status and the type of visa but generally includes the following:

  • Marriage License- An apostilled and translated official copy of a foreign Certificate of Marriage or an updated copy of the Colombian Marriage Certificate issued no more than 90 days before the visa application.
  • Foreign Passport- Valid passport with at least two blank pages. Photocopy of the original passport data page
  • Proof of Legal Entry- Photocopy of your latest entry stamps into Colombia or, if you are applying at a Colombian consulate abroad, proof of legal entry into your current country of residence
  • Previously Issued Visas- Copies of previously held Colombian visas (Rentista, Work, Student, Tourist Visa, etc.)
  • Passport photo- With a white background 3x4 cm
  • Colombian Cedula- Notarized copy of your Colombian spouse or permanent partner's National Identity Card (cédula de ciudadanía)
  • Colombian Spousal Letter- Notarized letter from your Colombian permanent partner or spouse granting you permission and legal authority to apply for the marriage visa
  • Medical Insurance Policy- International health insurance policy certificate showing you have an international health insurance policy that covers you
    Get a FREE INSURANCE QUOTE here.

To reduce visa processing time, before submitting your application, ensure required foreign documents are:

  1. Translated into Spanish by a certified Colombian translator
  2. Apostilled, notarized, and legalized by issuing foreign country
  3. Are no older than 90-days from submission date. 

 INSIDER TIP : Church Documents-  Even if you are married at a church, you must still get a Colombian notary to register your union in a public escrutira after the religious ceremony. A church certificate is not a legal document for a valid visa in Colombia.

Additional Required Documents For A Colombian Spouse or Partnership Visa

Government officials have the final say on approving your marriage visa in Colombia. If officials doubt your relationship's authenticity, they may request additional documentation before approving your visa application.

Additional proof requested can include: 

  • Colombian Migration's Certificate of Migratory Movements for you and your Colombian partner- this document tracks when you entered and departed Colombia. This certificate verifies when you met, how long you have been together, and if you travel with your partner.  
  • Pictures of you and your spouse together with dates to support the Certificate of Migratory Movements
  • Screenshots of conversations on SMS, Whatsapp, or social media with dates 

 INSIDER TIP : Inventory of Assets of Colombian Parent- If your Colombian spouse or permanent partner has any minor children, you will need a judge to formally review your assets before the start of the relationship. 
Each partner must use an attorney to declare all their starting assets in a formal declaration. The judge will review the legal ownership of assets to protect the minor child's financial rights and future well-being.
This legal review can take up to a month if any requirements are skipped, or the asset list is inaccurate. Our Colombian legal team can assist in ensuring this process is done the first time correctly.

Colombian Marriage Visa In-Person Interview

If Immigration authorities doubt the authenticity of your relationship, they hold the right to request an in-person interview of either the Colombian national or their foreign partner or both. 

While there are no specific criteria, the following red flags may trigger an interview request:

  • You only met your partner recently (less than 2 years)
  • If the age gap between you and your partner is greater than 5-years
  • When your Certificate of Migratory Movements or other documents don't show you have traveled together or spent much time together 

 INSIDER TIP : Domestic Partnerships vs. Legal Marriage-  Our Colombian legal team's experience finds roughly one-third of Colombia's marriage visas will require an interview. 

Additionally, while legally identical, recent domestic partnerships get more scrutiny than married couples.

Immigration officials may interview your partner separately to compare your answers to basic questions.

Typical Colombian Spouse or Partnership Visa interview questions include:

  • What is your spouse or partner's middle name?
  • When and where was your partner born?
  • How did you meet?
  • Where was your first date?
  • Tell us about your most recent vacation together
  • Describe your living conditions and arrangement

 These are not meant to be trick questions. Immigration authorities simply want assurances of a real relationship. 

How long does it take to get a marriage visa for Colombia?

You can receive your Colombian marriage visa within 14 business days. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs typically takes one week to review your visa application and another week to process, add the visa to your passport, and submit your Foreign ID Card application or "Cédula de Extranjería."

Visa processing time can take up to 30 days if your visa application has any irregularities, is missing documents, requires an interview, or needs additional proof of relationship. Reduce your potential for missing documents by downloading our checklist.

How Long Can I Stay In Colombia on a marriage visa?

Colombia Marriage Visas are valid for between 1-3 years. You can renew the M-1 visa without leaving the country, but you must repeat the application process. You can reuse all the documents submitted in your original submission, except you will need an updated marriage certificate.

Regardless, if you have already lived in Colombia for two years under an M-1 marriage visa, you are eligible to apply for a permanent resident visa. A resident visa does not require an updated marriage certificate.

You can apply for a Colombia marriage visa at the embassy or consulate of your home country

Colombian marriage visa applications can also be filed at the Colombian Embassy or Consulate of your home country. Photo Credit

How much does a Colombia marriage visa cost?

The cost of a marriage visa in Colombia is $282 USD. This visa fee includes the study fee of $52 USD paid when you submit your application and a separate $230 USD visa issuance fee that is due if the visa is approved. The processing fee includes a $45 USD stamp tax.

The US dollar rate is for visa applications submitted in Colombia, the United States, or the rest of the world outside the European Union or Cuba. A marriage visa application submitted at a Colombia consulate in the EU or Cuba costs 40 EURO (study fee) and 177 EUR (processing fee and stamp tax) for a total of 217 EUR.

 INSIDER TIP : Currency Conversion-   While the visa fee amounts above are in USD or EUR, visa applicants pay all fees in Colombian pesos (COP) at the average exchange rate fixed every four (4) months by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Options for paying a Colombian marriage visa fee online

  1. Local bank transfer using Pagos Seguros en Línea (PSE)
  2. Online payment using a Mastercard or Visa credit card

If you don't want to pay for your visa online, you can pay in person after receiving the email confirmation with your application number

  1. At a Colombian Embassy or Consulate-General
  2. Using your bank account details (cuentas ahorros o corriente) at a Banco GNB Sudameris Colombian bank
  3. In cash using a Servibanca ATM in Colombia

Learn To Speak To Your Colombian Spouse In Spanish for FREE

What are the benefits of a Colombian spouse visa?

There are many benefits to obtaining a marriage visa in Colombia. Perhaps the most obvious benefit is that it allows the holder to legally reside in Colombia for up to three years. Also, M-1 visa holders can apply for a permanent visa after 2-years.

Additionally, foreign spouses get full work privileges, and as the M-1 is a migrant visa, foreign nationals get access to the Colombian healthcare system.

Can I extend my Colombia marriage visa?

No. The M-1 Marriage Visa for Colombia cannot be renewed or extended. You can re-apply for a new M-1 visa, but this requires repeating the entire application process all over again. I suggest starting your new M-1 application within 30-days of your current visa's expiration date.

However, if you have had your M-1 visa for TWO years (or THREE years if you still have the older TP-10 marriage visa), you are eligible to apply for a Resident Visa (R).

Key Takeaway: Colombian Spousal Visa

With gorgeous landscapes, vibrant cities, and beautiful people, it's hard to choose the best place to stay in Colombia. It's easy to see why expats fall in love with the country want to stay long-term. While the Colombian visa policy allows citizens of 107 countries, including the US, UK, and Canada, to live in the country for 180 days a year, many expats are looking for permanent visa options to stay longer.

For expats who don't qualify for a Colombian retirement visa or meet the financial requirements for an investor visa, foreigners with Colombian partners can look to Colombian marriage visas as another long-term visa option.

NEXT STEPS

If you liked this story on Colombia marriage visas, you will enjoy these other posts on living in Colombia

The Expat Guide To Living In Colombia [2022]- Costs, Visas, Safety
Colombia Visa Requirements: How to Apply, Costs, Policy, Visa Types [2022]
10 Best Places To Live In Colombia: Top Cities For Expats, Retirees, Families

Page [tcb_pagination_current_page] of [tcb_pagination_total_pages]

FAQs: Getting Married In Colombia

Can I apply for a Colombian marriage visa In my home country?

You can apply for a Colombian marriage visa at any Colombian consulate around the world or a Migración Colombia office in Bogota, Colombia. In either case, you must first submit your application through the online application service available on the Migración Colombia website.

If applying outside of Colombia, check with the embassy or consulate where you plan to apply. Consulates may have specific requirements that differ from the general guidelines of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Does Colombia register same-sex marriages and civil unions?

Yes, Colombia recognizes same-sex marriages and civil partnerships. Colombia is one of the most progressive countries in South America regarding LGBT rights. If one partner is a Colombian citizen, same-sex couples can apply for a marriage visa under the same laws as opposite-sex couples.

Colombia has been at the forefront of advancing LGBT rights in Latin America. On April 28, 2016, it became one of the first countries in the region to legalize same-sex marriage when the Constitutional Court ruled that banning homosexual marriage was unconstitutional. Since then, Colombia has continued to break new ground by recognizing civil unions between same-sex couples.

Even better, a Colombian civil union has more simple requirements than traditional marriage. While a Colombian notary must still document a civil union in a formal public escritura declaration, using an attorney to process the civil partnership is faster, cheaper, and requires fewer documents (such as a birth certificate or proof of single status) than a Colombian marriage.

How can I get dual Colombia citizenship by marriage?

If you are legally married, in a same-sex civil partnership, or a common-law marriage to a Colombian national, you are eligible for Colombian citizenship by marriage after roughly 4 years: 2 years with a Colombian spouse visa (M) plus 2 years living in Colombian with a permanent resident visa (R).

If you already have an R visa and then get married, then you need to wait two years from the date of the marriage.

As of 2022, 62 countries globally accept dual citizenship. If you are a citizen of one of these countries (hint the USA, Canada, and the United Kingdom are on the list), then you don't need to renounce your current citizenship to become a Colombian citizen by marriage.

Is Colombia a Community Property Country?

Colombia is considered a community property country. When it comes to civil unions, common-law partners, and legal marriage, the law equally divides any assets acquired after a legal union. All assets, including real estate, cars, bank accounts, and anything else of value, are split 50/50.

However, community property does not apply to assets obtained before marriage. Any property or items a spouse owned before the civil wedding or legal union are not subject to division during a divorce or if the civil union dissolves.

Can I protect assets with a prenuptial agreement in Colombia?

Yes, Colombia allows prenuptial agreements. As Colombia is a community property country, capitulaciones matrimoniales, marital capitulations, or prenups are essential for anyone who want to protect their assets against any potential future claims.

Couples must include an asset dissolution clause in any prenuptial agreements in Colombia. Asset dissolution clauses are required to protect against claims on future assets. If you're considering getting married in Colombia, speak with an attorney beforehand to discuss your options and safeguard your future rights xxx.

Does Colombia enforce Common Law Marriage Rights?

Yes, Colombia does recognize common-law unions. If you and your Colombian partner have lived together for two consecutive years, that is a union martial de hecho or de facto marriage in Colombia with the same legal rights as a union libre or civil partnership in Colombia.

It is essential to consider that after living with your partner for two years, they have essentially the same rights as a spouse, including a 50/50 split of the communal assets as part of Colombia's community property laws.

Civil Unions Outside of Colombia- Keep in mind that not all countries have the same recognition for civil unions and partnerships as Colombia. Your partnership might have full rights in Colombia but may not receive similar privileges and visa status if you move to a different country.


About the author

Hi, That's me. I'm Marco Sison. I am a survivor of the corporate rat race. I started Nomad FIRE to show you an alternative to the stress and grind of 70-hour weeks to pay off a mortgage, student loans, and countless bills. After getting laid off in 2015, I said screw it all and retired early at 41 years old. I have traveled the last five years to over 40 countries to show you the best ways to save, invest, and live in amazing countries for 70% less cost than the US. I have been featured in: US News & World Reports, Huffington Post, MSN Money, USA Today, ABC Network, Yahoo Finance, Best Life, CW Network, Dr. Wealth, and others. [view press...]

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
>