How To Apply For A Colombia Tourist Visa [2023]

Discover essential tips and guidance for obtaining a Colombian tourist visa hassle-free. Our comprehensive article provides step-by-step instructions, requirements, and expert advice to streamline your visa application process. Also covers visa-on-arrival and visa-free tourists. minutes

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Published On: June 6, 2023

Latest Update: April 12, 2024

About the author

Hi, I'm Marco Sison. I worked in finance for Fortune 50 companies before retiring early at 41 years old. I have been an expat for over 10 years, living in over 50 countries to show you the best ways to save, invest, and live in amazing countries outside the USA. I am a trusted resource on personal finance and overseas retirement for US News & World Reports, HuffPost, MSN Money, USA Today, ABC Network, Yahoo Finance, Association of MBAs, the iTunes documentary Seeking FIRE, and the Amazon Best-Seller- Abroad: Expats That Thrive.

QUICK SUMMARY-  Colombia Tourist Visa and Visa-Exempt On Arrival

  • Citizens of 102 countries (including Americans) can enter Colombia visa-exempt for 90 days
  • A 90 day extension is available allowing foreigners to stay in Colombia for 180 days
  • The 180 day limit resets every calendar year
  • Visa exempt entry into Colombia is free and a 90-day extension is $28 
  • Foreigners not on the visa-free list must apply for a Tourist Visa in advance and cost ~$137

Colombian tourist visas, man, they're like golden tickets to a land of adventure and salsa. It is like winning the golden ticket to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. Except instead of Oompa Loompas, you're surrounded by the country's mesmerizing beauty, the tantalizing aroma of Colombian coffee, and the joyful rhythms of salsa.

But before you can immerse yourself in all the sweets Colombia has to offer, you need to take care of your tourist visa. Don't worry - it's not as complicated as it sounds. In fact, many visitors can enter Colombia without a visa and enjoy up to 90 days in this beautiful country.

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.

6 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. Chat with a Colombian visa attorney.

TIP 2. Know your health insurance requirements- Starting July 2022, the government requires all expats living in Colombia to purchase specific medical coverage that includes accidents, illness, hospitalization, disability, repatriation, maternity, and death. 

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 moving quotes from trusted and reliable international moving companies.

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. Prove your onward ticket- If you only have a tourist visa Colombia requires a mandatory departure ticket. You need a onward travel with a date leaving the country before your visa expires. Save money by using  an onward plane ticket for just $16

TIP 6. 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.

There are certain conditions to be aware of - like having enough time left on your passport and showing proof of an onward plane ticket. Easy peasy!

But even if you're not from a country that qualifies for a visa exemption, don't worry. You'll just need to apply for a proper Tourist Visa at the Colombian Consulate General or Embassy in your home country. It's a bit more work, but still totally doable. So let's dive into everything you need to know about getting a tourist visa for Colombia and ensure your journey here is smooth sailing from start to finish.

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Colombian Tourist Visa Overview

A Colombia tourist visa allows foreign nationals to enter the country for sightseeing, entertainment, and leisure. A tourist visa allows foreigners to live in Colombia and explore the country's attractions for up to 90 days and may be extended an additional 90 days for a total of 180 days.

Colombia has 3 categories of visas, including 15 different types of visitor visas. The tourist visa is a short-term (V) type of visitor visa. Other categories of visas are (M) Migrant and (R) Resident long-term visas.

Colombia has a very accessible visa policy. Depending on your citizenship, You may not need a visa application form to enter Colombia. However, there is some confusing terminology that foreigners use interchangeably that make things confusing. 

Visa Exemption or Visa Free Entry Into Colombia

Citizens from the US, UK, and countries in the European Union are exempt from needing a formal tourist visa to enter Colombia. Instead, foreign citizens from 107 countries can arrive in Colombia visa-free for up to 90 days. The duration of the visa exemption varies on your country of origin.

The link above lists all the countries that can currently enter Colombia visa-free. However, I still recommend checking the official Colombian Immigration website to verify if your country is eligible for visa exemption.

Colombia Visa on Arrival or Visa Stamp

A Colombia passport stamp that acts as a tourist permit for expats who arrive in Colombia visa free

The passport stamp acts as a "tourist visa" for foreigners who don't require a visa to enter Colombia

Upon arrival in Colombia, travelers with a visa exemption will receive a stamp on their passport indicating the authorized duration of their stay. Keep track of your dates to avoid any overstay issues and fine.

 INSIDER TIP : Tourist Permit- Most expats and foreigners mistakenly use the term tourist visa to mean the initial visa-exempt entry stamp that most foreign visitors with strong passports, like the US, UK, EU, and Canada, get stamped on their passports when they arrive in Colombia visa-free.

However, this is not a formal Colombian visa. This visa stamp acts as more of a "tourist permit" or temporary visitor authorization, not one of Colombia's legal visas: (V) Visitor Visa, (M) Migrant Visa, or (R) Resident Visa.

Colombian Tourist Visa

While the term tourist visa is frequently used to mean the passport stamp citizens of the US, UK, EU, and other strong passports get when they arrive in Colombia visa-free, they are technically very different.

While a visa-exempt stamp requires showing up with the correct passport, a tourist visa requires an application process and costs money.

For citizens from 89 countries (primarily in Africa and the Middle East) requiring a proper Colombian visa, a tourist visa application must be completed online or through Colombian Embassies or foreign consulates abroad. This type of visa application process involves submitting the necessary documents and paying the required fees in advance.

 INSIDER TIP : Working On A Tourist Visa- A Tourist Visa doesn't allow you to work, run a business, or move to Colombia permanently. It's strictly for the purposes of tourism. Check out the Colombia digital nomad, investment, or retirement visa for other types of visas with better benefits and more flexibility.

How long can I stay in Colombia on a tourist visa?

Per Colombia's Resolution 1128 of 2019, Americans and citizens of 102 other countries can stay visa-free for 90 days in Colombia. After 90 days, a Colombian tourist visa can be extended online for 180 days in a CALANDER YEAR. Note the bold letters around a calendar year, as this visa policy differs from many countries that use 360 days as the duration.

Did You Know Most Expats In Colombia Need 3 Types of Health Insurance?

Starting in July 2022, the government passed a law requiring specific medical coverage for foreigners staying in Colombia. Click the button below to ensure you are legally staying in Colombia.

How does a Colombia Tourist Visa expiration date work?

Transit days count towards your visa duration. So if you were trying to calculate when your 90 days is up, count 89 days after your arrival in the country as your visa expiration date. You must leave the country or extend your visa before 23:59 or 11:59 PM on your visa expiration day.

Pay attention to the date you arrive. It is not uncommon for the date on the passport stamp to be wrong.

Understanding Colombia's 180 Day Rules

Colombia has two rules guiding how long you can stay in the country as a tourist:

1) You are only allowed to stay 180 days in a calendar year

2) You are never allowed to stay more than 180 consecutive days without leaving the country  

Let's look at these tourist visa rules in practice:

180 days in a calendar year rule- If you arrive in Colombia on January 1, you will have a 90-day visa and can apply for one extension for another 90 days while in Colombia. No visa run is required. Additionally, you can come and go from the country as often as you please, but as long as you stay within 180 days for the entire calendar year.

On January 1 of the following year, you can live in Colombia for another 180 days.

However, Colombian visa policy also limits foreign nationals for 180 consecutive days in the country without a permanent or residence visa. A new calendar year does not reset the 180-consecutive day limit. You must leave Colombia for a visa run for at least 24 hours. 

Where things get confusing is when your stay crosses calendar years. 

For example, if you arrive on August 1, you must leave the country on or before 180 days from August 1, which is January 28 the following year. Since it is a new calendar year, your 180 days gets reset. 

However, since Colombia also has a 180 consecutive-day rule, you must leave the country for 24 hours and re-enter Colombia on January 30 to get another 90-day passport stamp or tourist visa. 

When determining how long you can stay after January 30, you must heed the 180 days in a calendar year rule again. For the new year, you can only stay for 180 days MINUS the time you were already in Colombia for January. In this case, the maximum time you could spend in Colombia is until June 29, 152 days from when you entered the country on January 30.

Colombia's Visa-Exempt Tourist Policy

Tired of endless hours spent researching complicated visa requirements?

Knowing how frustrating it is to navigate a foreign country's immigration process, I started a new visa service to make life easier for expats who want to live and retire abroad,

I pre-screened and carefully selected Colombian lawyers with decades of expertise helping expats like you cut through the government red tape, clarify the visa options, and ease your worries about moving to a new country.

Visa-Free Countries

You're in luck if you hold a passport from one of the 102 countries and territories allowing you to enter Colombia without a visa. However, entry requirements still apply.

  1. You must have a valid passport at least six months before it expires.
  2. Show proof of an onward airline ticket for travel out of Colombia.
  3. Great news, no mandatory vaccines, COVID or otherwise, are currently required to enter the country! However, some of Colombia's must-see sites, like the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park, Tayrona National Park, or any of the Amazon reserves, still require you to show proof of yellow fever vaccination administered at least 10 days before arrival to the site. Colombia has excellent healthcare, but it's always better to be safe than sorry. Ensure you take care of your health and don't forget your international insurance coverage before arriving in Colombia.

 INSIDER TIP : Alternative Visas To Enter Colombia-US Green Card or Schengen area visa Holders from the countries below can enter Colombia without a visa for up to 90 days (unless otherwise noted)

  • Cambodia
  • China
  • India
  • Macau (180 days)
  • Myanmar
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Do I need a visa to go to Colombia or can I get a visa on arrival?

Most likely a visa on arrival. Citizens of 102 countries can visit Colombia for up to 180 days as visa-free tourists with just a passport stamp.

Only citizens of the 89 visa-required countries (primarily from Africa and the Middle East) must apply for a type (V) Visitor visa before arriving in Colombia.

Do Americans need a visa to enter Colombia?

Citizens from the United States are one of the lucky countries allowed to enter and temporarily stay in Colombia visa-free for up to 90 days. Additionally, they can apply for a 90-day extension once in the country, allowing Americans to live in Colombia for up to 180 days in a calendar year.

Extending Your Stay In Colombia

After the initial 90-day tourist visa, foreigners from a visa-exempt country with a visa on arrival or "tourist visa" stamp can extend for an additional 90 days for a maximum stay of 180 days within a calendar year. Before 2023, applying for a visa extension meant spending the day waiting in line at a Colombia Immigration (Migracion Colombia) office. However, post-pandemic, Migracion now allows tourist visa extensions on the Migracion Colombia website, and processed in 3-5 business days. Yay, progress! 

Immigration no longer requires you to extend your visa in person. The only exceptions are if the Migracion Colombia website is inaccessible or if there are issues with paying for the visa extension online. Immigration offices are in most major cities Colombia cities.

Extending your visa online is relatively straightforward--the website comes in both English and Spanish, though there have been complaints about the English language version, not loading.

A 90-day extension costs less than ~$28 USD / 120,000 COP.

Submit the required documents using the online form.

  1. PDF Copy of your passport information page
  2. PDF Copy of a valid/non-expired passport stamp that you received entering Colombia
  3. Proof of onward travel with departure date before your visa extension expiration date
Colombian tourist visa document requirements from immigration authorities in Spanish.

Colombian Tourist Visa Document Requirements

Spanish to English Translation Of The Image: Carefully review the requirements for your visa application and attach each document in the online form individually and in the established box. Their documents must be in PDF format, in black and white, legible, and with a combined maximum size of 5MB.

 INSIDER TIP : Visa Application File Size- All your documents must be submitted in black and white PDF format. The Migracion Colombia website also has a 5 MB total file size limit. You must compress the PDFs above to keep them under 5 MB in total. Here is a PDF tool that can covert and reduce the file size of your documents to meet the Colombian visa requirements.

The Migracion Colombia system only allows online tourist visa extensions for foreigners who entered Colombia visa-exempt. Extending or renewing other types of Colombia visas (Retirement, Investment, Student, etc.) have different requirements.

 INSIDER TIP : Online Colombia Visa Extension IssuesThe new Migración Colombia system experiences occasional technical issues and causing substantial processing delays. I recommend starting your tourist visa extensions at least two weeks before the existing entry stamp expires, as extension applications must be submitted before your 90 days are up.

If you submit after the 90-day expiration date, you are considered to overstay your visa and will likely need to pay an overstay fine. However, if you submit before the visa expiration date, Migicaion Colombia will not penalize you.

Colombia Tourist Visa Policy For Visa-Required Countries

What to learn the best and cheapest way to legally stay in Colombia? Tired of conflicting information and endless researching on the visa requirements?

Colombia offers more than 30 different types of visas available, each with a different purpose, duration, and eligibility. Don't navigate the complexities alone- My Colombian legal partners have decades of experience helping expats

 

Click now to access expert support and quick answers to your visa questions. Save time, avoid complications, and take the hassle out of moving to Colombia.

Which countries need a visa for Colombia?

Citizens of most African, SE Asian, and Middle Eastern nations are not eligible for visa-free access. Countries that must apply in advance for a visitor visa to enter Colombia include China, India, Vietnam, and Thailand. You can find the complete list of visa-required countries here.

Citizens from these visa-restricted countries must apply for a Colombian visitor visa using the Evisa system (SITAC Sistema Integral de Trámites al Ciudadano) or at the Colombian Embassy or Consulate in your country of residence.

How To Apply For a Tourist Visa Online Using The Colombia eVisa System

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To apply for this visa, you must follow these 8 steps:

  1. Block off at least 30 minutes to complete the Evisa application
  2. Gather the visa application support and travel documents listed below
  3. Complete the online application form, including the passport details and personal information
  4. Pay the Visa Study Fee upfront
  5. Wait for the Cancilleria to review your application. Application approval normally takes 3-5 business days.
  6. Receive a confirmation email approving or denying your visa or requesting additional documents
  7. Pay your Visa Application fee within 30 days if approved
  8. Receive your approved electronic tourist visa in PDF format via email.
approval letter sent to applicants submitting visas from abroad

Look for a similar visa acceptance letter in your inbox 

 INSIDER TIP : Colombia eVisa Process- If you are outside the country, you can enter Colombia by showing a printed copy of the eVisa PDF, then getting your official actual visa and passport stamp from the Bogota Visa office. It's also important to note that the website and all the emails you receive will be in Spanish, so you may need to fire up Google translate, or you can get an early start on your FREE Spanish language classes.

PDF Requirements For Colombia Visa Application

When submitting your documents for the Colombian visa application, they must be legible and in black and white PDF format. The Migracion Colombia website also has a 5 MB total file size limit. Therefore, it is necessary to compress the PDFs to keep them under 5 MB total.


Here is an affordable PDF tool that can convert and reduce the document file size to meet Colombian visa requirements.

What documents are required for a tourist visa application for Colombia?

Gather the following documents and prepare using the instructions below to apply for a formal Colombian tourist (V) temporary visitor's visa:

1) Passport data page- A valid passport with an expiration date at least six months from your intended departure date from Colombia

2) Proof of Onward TravelAirplane ticket proving your departure date from Colombia 

3) Proof of Legal Entry- Passport stamp showing your last date of arrival and departure from Colombia. You may also get a request for any previously held visas for Colombia

4) Recent color passport photo- size 3x4cm, with plain white background, head-on, no glasses or hats in JPG format with a maximum weight of 300 KB

5) Proof of sufficient funds- 6 months of your most recent bank statements

6) Letter of purpose- describing what you plan to do in Colombia

7) Health insurance certificate- proving your chosen health insurance policy has medical coverage that includes Colombia. The policy duration must be dated for as long as your visa duration. Coverage amounts vary between $60,000 to $70,000, depending on the type of visa.

Recommended Health Insurance Options That Meet Colombian Visa Requirements 

Cigna Global

FINANCIAL RATING:

A

CUSTOMER ReVIEWS

Cigna is one of the best expat medical insurance companies in the world
  • Most popular expat medical insurance company
  • Customizable plans allowing you to pay for only the coverage you need, while offering flexible monthly rates 
  • Extensive global medical network of over 1.65 million hospitals and healthcare professionals in over 200 countries

Average Cost 

$$

Maximum Limits

$1,000,000 - Unlimited

Travel or International Medical

International Only

Ideal For- Older expats with health concerns or chronic conditions

Safety Wing

FINANCIAL RATING:

A++

CUSTOMER ReVIEWS

  • Travel medical and trip insurance that you can purchase without long-term commitments or annual contracts.
  • You can sign up and start your coverage abroad, even after leaving your home country.
  • Very restrictive limitations and exclusions for pre-existing conditions and chronic illness.

Average Cost 

$

Maximum Limits

$250,000

Travel or International Medical

TRAVEL ONLY

Ideal For- Younger digital nomads with no pre-existing conditions needing travel health insurance.

IMG Global Medical Plan

Rated A
  • Excellent for expats looking for an affordable global plan with the flexibility
  • Your choice of plan options, geographic area, and deductibles
  • Enjoy preventative care with no waiting period on wellness benefits

Additional Documents Required by Colombian Authorities or Consular Services

 Any documents certifying your intended purpose and activity, such as

  • Proof of Relationship- Visiting family or friends
  • Letter of Economic Responsibility - A commitment letter pledging financial support of the visa applicant
  • Proof of accommodation in Colombia
  • Invitation Letter from a Colombian national or resident
  • Your complete travel itinerary in Colombia

What Does a Colombian Tourist Visa Cost?

The Study fee is non-refundable, but the Visa Issuance fee is only required if the Cancilleria approves your visa application. 

All fees can be paid at a Colombian Embassy or Consulate or online via credit or debit card or bank transfer.

Colombia Tourist Visa Fees

Rest Of  The World

(USD)

EU and Cuba

 (EUR)

Study/Application Fee

$55

Є42

Visa Issuance Fee

$82

Є40

Є40

Total Visa Cost

$137

Є82

Visa costs are accurate from this article's publish date. Latest visa prices can be found on the Cancilleria website.

How do I pay for my Colombian tourist visa application fees?

Using your visa application reference number, you have 5 payment methods for your visa fees:

  1. Local bank transfer using Pagos Seguros en Línea (PSE)
  2. Online using a Mastercard or Visa credit card
  3. In-person at a Colombian Embassy or Consulate-General
  4. In cash at Banco GNB Sudameris
  5. Using a Servibanca ATM if you are in Colombia at the time of payment.

Key Takeaway- Tourist Visa For Colombia

Colombia's tourist visa policy has become much more visitor-friendly in recent years. With the option of a visa on arrival or visa-free entry for many nationalities (including Americans), plus straightforward online visa extensions, it's easier than ever to visit this beautiful country for up to 180 days.

NEXT STEPS

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How To Rent Apartments In Medellin Without Getting Scammed

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FAQs: Colombia Visa-Exempt Tourist and Tourist Visas 

What is the Cancilleria-Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores?

The Cancilleria, also known as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Colombia, is responsible for approving visa applications and issuing visas to foreigners who wish to enter the country for tourism purposes.

It is important to note that dealing with the government bureaucracy and understanding the laws can be challenging if you are not fluent in Spanish. You can use the services of an experienced visa agency and immigration law firm that can advise you on applying for a visa yourself or provide a concierge service that handles the entire application process for you. 

Is health insurance required for a Colombia tourist visa?

For a formal (V) Tourist Visa application, you must show proof of international health insurance that covers visitors in Colombia for all medical issues, including death and repatriation of remains. Insurance must be valid for the entire stay in Colombia.

Foreigners who arrive in Colombia visa-exempt (includes Americans, British, EU nationals, Canadian citizens, and citizens of 102 countries) are encouraged but not required to have travel medical insurance to enter Colombia.

Do I need to apply for my Colombia Tourist Visa in person?

First, you may not need a tourist visa to enter Colombia. Americans and citizens of 102 counties can enter Colombia for up to 90 days visa-free. If you are from a country that requires a tourist visa to enter, you can complete the tourist visa application online at the Migracion Colombia eVisa website. 

What if you overstay your Colombian Tourist Permit?

If you overstay your tourist permit in Colombia, you will face a fine ranging from 400,000 COP to 4,000,000 COP or less than $100 USD to $1,000 USD under current exchange rates. The exact amount of overstay fines depends on the specific Immigration Official you are dealing with.

Additionally, depending on the severity and frequency of your overstay and the mood of your Immigration agent, overstaying your Colombian tourist visa may result in deportation or negatively impact future visa requests.

How to get a visa on arrival in Colombia?

If you are eligible for a tourist visa on arrival in Colombia, you must be a citizen of one of the 102 countries on the Colombia visa-free list. To begin, complete the Check-Mig immigration form on the Migración Colombia website between 72 hours and one hour before departure for Colombia.

  • Arrival in Colombia: Upon arrival at the Colombian port of entry, such as an international airport, proceed to the immigration area.
  • Immigration process: Present your passport, downloaded PDF of your Check-Mig form, and any supporting travel documents requested by immigration authorities, such as proof of onward travel xxx. They will process your visa on arrival and may ask you questions about your purpose of visit, intended duration of stay, and accommodation details.
  • Visa stamp: If approved, the immigration officer will stamp your passport with the visa on arrival. Check the stamp for accuracy and ensure you have been granted the appropriate duration of stay.