Colombia Retirement Visa M-11

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Colombian Retirement Visa Snapshot

  • 1. You can apply for the retirement visa at any age, as long as you have a pension (private or public) amount of $3,900,000COP monthly.
  • 2. You will be required to get a criminal background check from your home country.
  • 3. You will be required to get certain documents apostilled and legalised before making the application.
  • 4. You are able to apply for the retirement visa either while in Colombia on a tourist visa, or from outside of Colombia in your home or other country.

An introduction the retirement visa in Colombia

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on applying for a retirement visa in Colombia. This guide is your first step toward a hassle-free transition into retirement in Colombia. The Colombian retirement visa is tailored for those looking to enjoy their retirement years abroad, offering a straightforward application process and clear requirements. Our detailed guide will walk you through every aspect of the application, from understanding the eligibility criteria to navigating the required documentation and the application procedure. With our expert insights and tips, we aim to simplify the complexities of the visa process, enabling you to look forward to your retirement in Colombia with confidence and ease. Let's get started on this exciting new chapter of your life.


Who is the retirement visa for?

The Colombian retirement visa, also known as the pensionado visa, is mainly designed for foreign nationals who have reached retirement age (although there is not official age requirement), and are seeking to spend their retirement years in Colombia. The typical applicants for this visa include:

  • Retired Individuals or Couples: People who have ended their professional careers and are looking to enjoy their retirement in a new setting. This includes individuals or couples seeking a change of scenery, a new cultural experience, or a country with a lower cost of living.
  • Expatriates Seeking a Slower Pace of Life: Those who have lived and worked abroad in various countries and are now looking for a place to settle down that offers a relaxed lifestyle and a warm climate.
  • Financially Stable Retirees: Applicants must prove they have a steady pension or retirement income, sufficient to sustain their living expenses in Colombia. This group often includes former government or corporate employees who receive regular pension payments.
  • Health-Conscious Retirees: Individuals who prefer living in a country with a favorable climate and access to good healthcare services, which Colombia is known for.
  • Adventure-Seeking Retirees: Those who are interested in exploring new cultures, learning a new language, and experiencing different lifestyles. Colombia, with its diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage, attracts retirees who are still active and eager for new experiences.
  • Long-Term Travelers and Expats: Some applicants might be long-term travelers or expats who have fallen in love with Colombia during their travels and decide to make it their home during their retirement years.

These individuals are typically drawn to Colombia for its cultural richness, affordable cost of living, welcoming communities, and the relatively simple process of obtaining a retirement visa. It's an attractive option for retirees from around the world seeking a comfortable, adventurous, and cost-effective retirement.


How long does the retirement (or pensionado) visa last?

The visa is for 3 years, however the vast majority of first time applicants will receive 1 year, which they can easily renew after that period.


What are the eligibility requirements for the retirement visa?

To be eligible for the retirement visa, you must fulfill several specific requirements:

  • Proof of Pension Income: Applicants must demonstrate that they receive a regular pension or retirement income from a government or private pension fund, social security, or a recognized retirement account. The income must be stable and ongoing.
  • Minimum Income Threshold: The pension income must be at least three times the minimum monthly legal salary in Colombia. As at 2024, the minimum monthly salary in Colombia (or salario minimo) is 1,300,000COP. So, you need to have an income of 3,900,000COP monthly. This threshold is set to ensure that the applicant can support themselves financially while living in Colombia. The exact amount may vary in the future as the requirements or minimum salary amount in Colombia may change.
  • Valid Passport: A current passport with validity extending beyond the duration of the intended stay in Colombia.
  • Application Form and Fee: Completion of the necessary visa application form and payment of the applicable visa fee. These fees include a $55.00 dollar visa study fee, a $50.00 fee if your identification is from outside of Colombia, and approximately $271.00 for the actual retirement fee when you are approved. This is true as at 2024, so its possible these amount can vary in the future.
  • Clean Criminal Record: A clean criminal background, often verified through a criminal record check from the applicant's home country or any country where they have lived in recent years.
  • Health Insurance: Proof of health insurance coverage that is valid in Colombia. Some applicants may need to purchase Colombian health insurance or show that their existing health insurance is valid in Colombia.
  • Visa Application Interview: Depending on the consulate or embassy, a visa interview may be required as part of the application process.
  • Additional Documentation: Some additional documents, such as passport photos, may be required. Specific requirements can vary by consulate.

It's crucial for applicants to ensure that all documents, especially those from abroad, are properly legalized and translated into Spanish if they are not already in this language. Also, immigration policies can change, so it's always advisable to consult the latest information from the Colombian consulate or our visa team at Colombia Law Connection.


Is there an age requirement for the retirement visa?

There is no specific age requirement for the retirement (pensionado) visa in Colombia. The primary criterion is not the age of the applicant, but rather their ability to prove a regular income from a pension or retirement benefit. This means that if an individual, regardless of their age, is receiving a pension or regular retirement income that meets the minimum financial requirements set by the Colombian government, they can apply for the retirement visa.


How long does it take to apply for and obtain the retirement visa?

At Colombia Law Connection, our time frames have been between 20 and 40 days from start to finish. However the processing time for a retirement visa in Colombia can vary depending on the factors mentioned below:

  • Completeness and Accuracy of Application: If your application and all supporting documents are correctly filled out and submitted, this can speed up the process. Incomplete or incorrect applications can lead to delays.
  • Method of Application: Applying online through Colombia's electronic visa system (known as "SITAC") is generally faster. Applications made at consulates or embassies abroad might take longer due to varying processing times at different locations.
  • Time of Year: Application processing times can be longer during peak periods, such as holiday seasons or when there are changes in immigration policies.
  • Response Times for Additional Requests: If the Colombian visa authorities request additional information or documents, the speed of your response can also impact the overall processing time.

As a rule of thumb, it's advisable to apply well in advance of your planned relocation date to account for any unforeseen delays. It's also beneficial to regularly check the status of your application and stay in contact with the visa office or consulate where you applied.


What is the step by step process for applying for the Colombian retirement visa?

Applying for a retirement visa in Colombia, known as the "pensionado" visa, involves a detailed process. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you understand what's involved:

Gather Required Documents:

  • Proof of Pension: Obtain an official document from the government or private company providing your pension. This document must prove that you receive a regular pension income at least three times the minimum wage in Colombia.
  • Valid Passport: Ensure your passport is valid for the duration of your intended stay.
  • Passport-Size Photographs: Usually, you'll need a couple of passport-sized photographs.
  • Health Insurance: Acquire health insurance that is valid in Colombia. You might need to purchase Colombian health insurance or provide proof that your existing plan covers you there.
  • Criminal Record Check: Provide a document certifying you do not have a criminal record. This typically comes from the police or a relevant government authority in your home country or any country where you've lived in recent years.

Translate and Legalize Documents:

  • If your documents are not in Spanish, get them professionally translated.
  • Depending on your country, you may need to get these documents apostilled or legalized by the Colombian consulate.

Complete the Online Application:

  • Go to the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website and fill out the electronic visa application form (known as "SITAC").
  • Upload the required documents digitally in the format specified.

Pay the Visa Application Fee:

After completing the online form, you'll need to pay the visa application fee. This can usually be done online through the application portal.

Attend a Visa Interview (if required):

Some applicants might be required to attend an interview at the nearest Colombian consulate. This is not always mandatory and depends on individual circumstances.

Wait for Application Processing:

The processing time can vary, but generally, it takes a few days to a couple of weeks.

Visa Approval and Issuance:

Once your visa is approved, you will either receive a digital visa via email or be required to have a visa sticker placed in your passport, depending on your application method.

Arrival in Colombia:

Upon arrival in Colombia, you may need to register with Migración Colombia and apply for a foreigner ID card (known as a "cedula de extranjeria") if you plan to stay longer than 180 days.

Maintaining Visa Status:

Remember to adhere to the terms of your visa, including the requirement to prove pension income periodically.


If you wish to stay longer, start the renewal process a few months before your visa expires. The renewal process typically involves proving continued pension income and maintaining a clean legal record.

Since requirements and processes can change, it's always wise to consult the Colombian consulate or an immigration lawyer for the most current information and personalized advice.


How much does Colombia Law Connection charge to do the retirement visa application on my behalf?

Our fee for reviewing the documentation, ensuring everything is correct, submitting the application and taking care of all communication with the Cancilleria is $1,150.00 dollars. This also includes the initial visa review and application fee.

Once you are approved, you will still be required to pay the actual visa fee of approximately $271.00.