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Live, leave or return? The dilemma of foreign citizens visiting Colombia

For all of us who have the pleasure of having been born in this piece of land called Colombia, and who therefore are proud to call ourselves Colombians.

We value and know the wonders and benefits of being a citizen of this country. Although in the midst of obvious needs, serious social problems and other issues of the country, we continue to enjoy life, with an indelible smile on our faces, which is carried in this country that is the protagonist of magical realism, exemplified to perfection in the works of Gabriel García Márquez.

Foreigners in Colombia

We, Colombians, who hold Colombian nationality, have free entry, transit and freedom of exercise, within the borders of the territory. But those foreign citizens in Colombia who visit us do not have such powers, so when they arrive in the national territory, they must go through a legalization process, so that from the moment they enter the country, their stay is legal:
Conditional and
Determined to specific periods of time.

Is Colombia a country with open doors for foreign citizens?

It could be said that Colombia is a country with open doors, at least that is how we boast, proclaiming it in migratory speeches and in the media abroad, but this is not entirely true, at least not for everyone, and in terms of “open” there are many clarifications to be made regarding the meaning and scope of the word. It is better to have immigration lawyers explain it to you. Almost all migrants who decide to arrive in Colombian territory must suffer the same dilemmas, with the exception of a few specific nationalities whose entries are extremely easy and welcome. Some of these nationalities may be American or South Korean, countries with which we have cultivated strong ties of international trust due to historical or economic relations, while some of the nations with complicated or restricted incomes are our Venezuelan brothers, Chinese citizens or citizens of African nations, among some other West Asian countries.

The dilemma for foreign citizens in Colombia is when they arrive in the country, generally predisposed by the multiple opinions about our present and past plunged in violence, is usually, once inside, to decide whether to stay in the territory, leave when they fulfill their duties or, as they say in television programs and government advertisements, that they fall in love with Colombia and decide to stay permanently in the country. For all these options, Migración Colombia has a solution.

How to enter Colombia?

These solutions are the Colombian visas that are granted to foreign citizens in Colombia to fulfill their purposes in the adventure of traveling to this country. For each of the intentions with which our foreign visitors arrive, there is a specific visa proposal to be processed and by means of which they are invested with the necessary faculties to comply with such intentions. By way of explanation of the regulatory content of Migración Colombia, some of the main options available to foreign visitors will be presented:

What are the types of visas in Colombia?

Type V Visa – Visitor

To visit the national territory for leisure, tourism or cultural interest. These visas are intended for foreigners who wish to visit Colombia once or several times or stay temporarily in the country without settling permanently. This visa allows the holder to perform, among other activities: airport transit, tourism, business transactions, academic exchange and studies in arts or trades and postgraduate studies, medical treatment, administrative and/or judicial procedures, vessel or coastal platform crew member, participation in events, internships or practices, volunteering, audiovisual and/or digital production, journalistic coverage, temporary service provider, transfer of intracorporate personnel within the framework of international instruments in force, official or commercial representative of a foreign government, vacation-work program and courtesy. Some of these visas may be granted for up to 2 years, taking into account the foreigner’s proposed activity in Colombia. The following are distinguished from this type:

Type M Visas – Migrant

 For foreigners who wish to enter or remain in the national territory with the intention of settling down, and do not meet the conditions to apply for an “R” type visa. The following persons may apply for this visa: Spouse or permanent partner of a Colombian national; parent or child of a Colombian national by adoption; migrant under the Mercosur Agreement; refugee; work; businessman; independent profession or activity; religious; primary, secondary, high school and undergraduate students; real estate investor; retiree or annuitant; and the most complex of all this type of visas, that of shareholder partner of a Colombian company.

All M – Migrant visas cover beneficiaries of the holder’s primary family nucleus, meaning their wives or partners in a proven marital union, parents and children, although it is worth mentioning that the only one that does not enjoy this benefit is the student visa.

Type R Visas – Resident 

These are the ideal visas for those who aspire to establish themselves or fix their permanent domicile in Colombia. The ways to obtain them are: by having renounced Colombian nationality; being a parent of a Colombian national by birth; accumulated time of permanence; foreign direct investment.

These are the visa options that the Colombian state offers to those people who wish, or must, face the dilemma of being a foreign citizen in Colombia, which is: to aspire to live in Colombia, to enter the national territory or to return from wherever they come from. Some are relatively simple to obtain, but those that grant the most powers or benefits tend to be rather more complicated.

Always remember that for your visa or permit procedures we have the best immigration lawyers in Colombia. Do not hesitate to contact us.

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