Type M (Migrant) Visa

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What is the Type M (Migrant) visa?

The Type M (Migrant) visa in Colombia is designated for foreigners who plan to reside in the country for extended periods without seeking permanent residency. This visa encompasses various purposes, allowing individuals to engage in several activities.

Duration: The Migrant visa can be granted for durations up to 3 years. The exact length may vary based on the specific purpose or category of the visa.

Categories: The M visa is divided into multiple categories, including:

  • Work: This is for individuals who have secured job offers in Colombia.
  • Business Ownership: Intended for individuals who have established or intend to establish a business in Colombia.
  • Real Estate: This category is for those who have made significant investments in Colombian real estate.
  • Student: Designed for individuals who are enrolled in formal educational programs in Colombia.

Absence from Colombia: While the M visa offers flexibility in terms of travel, it's worth noting that if a visa holder exits Colombia for a duration exceeding 6 consecutive months, the visa might be subject to cancellation.

Path to Residency: M visa holders can transition to a more permanent Resident (Type R) visa after having the M visa for a stipulated period, usually around five years. The R visa is a step towards achieving permanent residency status in Colombia.

Beneficiary Provisions: Holders of the M visa can also secure beneficiary visas for their spouses, permanent partners, and dependent children under the age of 25.

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Who are the type of people who apply for the Type M (Migrant) visa?

The Type M (Migrant) visa in Colombia is designed for various categories of individuals who wish to stay in the country for extended periods, but not necessarily as permanent residents. Here are the types of people who might apply for the Type M visa:

  • Employees: Individuals who have secured a job offer from a Colombian employer might apply for this visa in the work category. This can include professionals in various fields, technical experts, or managerial staff.
  • Business Owners: Entrepreneurs or investors who have established a business in Colombia, or plan to do so, might opt for the business ownership category of the M visa.
  • Real Estate Investors: Individuals who make significant investments in Colombian real estate, whether for personal use, rental income, or development, might apply for the M visa in the real estate category.
  • Students: Those planning to enroll in long-term educational programs, whether undergraduate, graduate, or other formal courses in Colombian institutions, might apply for the M visa under the student category.
  • Spouses and Partners: Individuals who are married to or in a permanent partnership with a Colombian citizen or a foreigner with a valid Colombian visa might apply for the M visa to join their spouse or partner in Colombia.
  • Artists and Cultural Agents: Some artists, performers, or cultural representatives might be eligible for the M visa if they intend to work on projects or performances in Colombia for extended periods.
  • Medical Patients: People seeking long-term medical treatment in Colombia might be eligible under specific conditions.
  • Religious Workers: Members of religious organizations who are in Colombia for missionary or other religious work might be eligible for the M visa.

Each of these categories comes with its specific requirements, and the visa application would be assessed based on the individual's compliance with those requirements.

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What are the documentation requirements for the Type M (Migrant) visa?

The documentation requirements for the Type M (Migrant) visa in Colombia differ based on the specific category under which the applicant is seeking the visa. Here's a breakdown of the primary documentation requirements for each category as of 2023:

Work:

  • A job contract with a company registered in Colombia.
  • Certificate from the employer demonstrating its legal existence and financial solvency.
  • A statement specifying the activities the foreigner will carry out, the contract duration, and salary.

Business Ownership:

  • Proof of business ownership or a share in a Colombian company.
  • A certificate from the Chamber of Commerce showing the existence and representation of the company.
  • Financial statements or proof of investment in the company.

Real Estate Investment:

  • Proof of property purchase in Colombia.
  • A certificate from the corresponding Office of Instrument Registration showing that the real estate value meets the required minimum amount set by the Colombian government.

Student:

  • Admission or registration certificate from a recognized Colombian educational institution.
  • Study plan or curriculum for the academic program.

Spouses and Permanent Partners:

  • A civil marriage certificate or proof of a permanent partnership, validated by Colombian authorities if done abroad.
  • Proof of the Colombian partner's citizenship or the visa status of the foreign partner residing in Colombia.

Artists and Cultural Agents:

  • Proof of representation or invitation from a Colombian entity related to the cultural or artistic project.
  • A detailed description of the cultural or artistic activities to be carried out in Colombia.

Medical Patients:

  • Medical certificate or documentation detailing the treatment plan from a health institution registered in Colombia.
  • Proof of financial means to cover the treatment and stay in Colombia.

Religious Workers:

  • Certification from the religious entity in Colombia supporting the applicant's religious mission or activity.
  • Details of the religious or missionary activities to be carried out.
  • It's worth noting that, in addition to the category-specific documents, all applicants generally need to provide:
  • A valid passport with at least two blank pages.
  • Passport-sized photos as per the specifications.
  • Proof of visa application fee payment.

Please note that visa requirements can change over time. If someone is considering applying for an M visa, it's advisable to refer to the latest guidelines from the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or consult an immigration expert in Colombia such as Colombia Law Connection.

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Frequently asked questions about the Type M visa we receive on a regular basis

What's the difference between the Type M visa and the Type R (Resident) visa?

The Type M visa is for temporary longer stays up to 3 years in various categories, while the Type R visa is for those seeking permanent residency, often after holding an M visa for a specific duration.

How long can I stay in Colombia with an M visa? Is it possible to renew it?

The M visa can be valid for up to 3 years, depending on the category. Yes, it's possible to renew it, but renewal requirements vary based on the visa category.

Can I change the category of my M visa (e.g., from student to work) without leaving Colombia?

Generally, to change the category, one would need to apply afresh with all the required documents for the new category. It might not be necessary to leave the country, but it's advised to consult with immigration officials.

What happens if I stay out of Colombia for more than six consecutive months while holding an M visa?

If an M visa holder stays outside Colombia for more than six consecutive months, the visa may be subject to cancellation.

Are there any minimum financial requirements or investment amounts for specific categories, like business ownership or real estate?

Yes, specific categories like business ownership and real estate investment have minimum financial or investment requirements. The exact amounts can change and should be checked with the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Can my family join me in Colombia if I hold an M visa? How do I apply for dependent visas for them?

Yes, dependents such as spouses, permanent partners, and children under 25 can apply for beneficiary visas. The application typically requires proof of the relationship and the primary visa holder's valid visa.

Is it mandatory to have health insurance while on an M visa in Colombia?

Yes, foreigners on an M visa are generally required to have valid health insurance covering their stay in Colombia.

Can I apply for Colombian citizenship while on an M visa?

Holding an M visa can contribute to the time requirements for applying for citizenship, but you'd generally need to transition to a Resident (R) visa first before becoming eligible for citizenship.

If my application for an M visa is denied, can I appeal the decision or reapply?

If denied, you can generally appeal the decision or reapply, but you should follow the guidance provided in the denial notice and might benefit from consulting with an immigration attorney.

Are there any restrictions on the activities I can engage in while on an M visa, such as starting a new business or changing jobs?

The activities are based on the visa category. For example, if you're on a work category M visa, you're expected to work in the job specified in your application. Starting a new business or changing jobs would typically require a new visa application or modification.

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How long does it take to apply for the Migrant (Type M) Visa?

The processing time for a Type M visa in Colombia can vary depending on several factors such as the specific category of the visa, the completeness and accuracy of the application, the workload of the Colombian consulate or embassy processing the application, and the applicant's nationality.

Typically, the processing time for a Type M visa can range from a few weeks to a couple of months. However, it's always advisable for applicants to check the most current processing times either through the official website of the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or by contacting the nearest Colombian consulate or embassy directly.

Applicants should also factor in additional time for gathering and preparing all necessary documentation before submitting the application, as this can significantly impact the overall timeline. It's recommended to start the application process well in advance of the intended travel date to account for any potential delays.

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What is the step by step process for applying for the Migrant Visa?

Applying for the Type M visa in Colombia involves a series of steps. Here's a general guide to the process:

1. Determine Eligibility

  • Identify Visa Category: First, determine which category of the Type M visa you are applying for (e.g., marriage, retirement, work, etc.).
  • Understand Requirements: Review the specific requirements for your visa category on the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website or consult with a legal expert specializing in Colombian immigration law.

2. Gather Required Documents

  • Personal Documents: Prepare personal documents such as passport, birth certificate, and marriage certificate (if applicable).
  • Supporting Documents: Depending on your visa category, gather financial statements, employment contracts, pension statements, or proof of property ownership in Colombia.
  • Health Insurance: Obtain a valid health insurance policy that covers your stay in Colombia.
  • Additional Documents: Some categories may require additional documents such as letters of invitation, business plans, or proof of enrollment in educational institutions.

3. Online Application

  • Online Form: Complete the visa application form online through the Colombian visa application portal (Cancillería website).
  • Upload Documents: Upload scanned copies of all the required documents.

4. Pay Visa Fees

  • Payment: Pay the visa application fee, which can vary depending on the visa type and applicant's nationality. This fee is typically paid online during the application process.

5. Visa Application Review

  • Processing: After submitting the application and fee, the Colombian consulate or embassy will review your application. This process can take several weeks.

6. Attend an Interview (If Required)

  • Interview Appointment: Some applicants may be required to attend an interview at the nearest Colombian consulate or embassy.
  • Interview Preparation: Be prepared to discuss your application, intent for staying in Colombia, and to provide any additional information requested.

7. Visa Approval and Issuance

  • Notification: You will be notified about the decision on your visa application. If approved, the visa will be stamped on your passport or issued electronically.
  • Visa Collection: Depending on the consulate's policy, you may need to collect the visa in person or it may be sent to you.

8. Arrival in Colombia

  • Register with Migración Colombia: Within 15 days of arriving in Colombia, register with Migración Colombia and apply for a Colombian ID (Cédula de Extranjería).

9. Stay Informed

  • Validity and Renewals: Be aware of the validity period of your visa and the conditions for renewal or extension, if applicable.

10. Comply with Legal Obligations

  • Legal Compliance: Adhere to all Colombian laws and regulations during your stay, and maintain valid health insurance.

Important Notes:

  • Accuracy of Information: Ensure all information provided in the application is accurate and truthful.
  • Document Translations: Non-Spanish documents may need to be translated and apostilled or legalized.
  • Consult Professionals: It's advisable to consult with a legal expert in Colombian immigration law for guidance and to stay updated on any changes in visa policies.

Remember, this is a general guide, and specific requirements and procedures can vary. Always check the latest information from the official Colombian government sources or seek professional advice for your individual circumstances.

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