Colombia Resident Visa, All You Need To Know

Get In Touch

Let us help you get started with your new life in Colombia.

Colombia offers a Resident Visa to foreigners who seek to establish themselves permanently in the country. This visa is an ideal option for individuals who have already spent a considerable amount of time in Colombia, typically on a temporary or migrant visa, and are looking to make the country their long-term home. The Resident Visa provides several benefits, including the ability to live and work in Colombia indefinitely, and access to the country's healthcare and education systems. Applicants must meet specific requirements, such as proof of financial stability or family connections in Colombia, and the process involves submitting various documents and undergoing background checks. Once obtained, the visa opens up a pathway to Colombian citizenship, making it a significant step for those committed to embracing life in Colombia.

The following is a guide on the different types of Resident Visas available, however if you have further questions about your specific requirements, don't hesitate to contact our team at any time.


What is the Resident Visa

The Resident visa in Colombia is intended for foreigners who wish to reside permanently in Colombia. It's one step beyond the Migrant (Type M) visa in terms of the commitment to stay in the country. Here are some key details about the Type R visa:

Purpose: It's designed for those seeking permanent residency in Colombia. While it doesn't grant citizenship, it allows the holder to reside indefinitely in the country.

Duration: The Type R visa is valid for five years. After this period, the visa can be renewed. Importantly, after holding the Resident visa for some time (as of my last update in 2021, it was five years), one can apply for Colombian citizenship.

Path to Eligibility: There are several ways to become eligible for a Type R visa, including:

  • Holding a Type M visa for a specific number of years (typically five years).
  • Being a parent or child of a Colombian citizen.
  • Making a significant investment in property or a business in Colombia, subject to a minimum amount set by the government.

Benefits: With a Type R visa, the holder can:

  • Work and engage in any legal activity in Colombia.
  • Leave and re-enter Colombia without jeopardizing the visa, although long absences may affect the path to citizenship.
  • Bring dependents, such as a spouse or children, to live in Colombia.

Continuous Stay: One notable difference between the Type M and Type R visas is the requirement for continuous stay. With the Type R visa, if a visa holder stays outside of Colombia for a period exceeding two continuous years, the visa can be cancelled.

If considering the Type R visa or any transition in visa status, it's always beneficial to consult with immigration experts in Colombia such as Colombia Law Connection, or refer to the latest guidelines from the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the most up-to-date information and specific requirements.


Who would apply for the Resident visa?

The Resident visa in Colombia is designed for individuals aiming for permanent residency in the country. Given its intent, here are the typical types of people who might apply for the Type R visa:

Long-term Residents: Individuals who have lived in Colombia on a Type M (Migrant) visa and wish to settle in the country more permanently might apply for the Type R visa after fulfilling the required duration on the M visa.

Family Connections: Those with close familial ties, such as being a spouse, parent, or child of a Colombian citizen, might apply for the Type R visa to establish permanent residency.

Investors: Individuals who have made significant investments in Colombia (in businesses, real estate, etc.) that meet the government's stipulated thresholds might opt for the Type R visa.

Retirees: Some foreigners choose to retire in Colombia due to the country's appeal, including its climate, culture, and cost of living. They might apply for the Type R visa to spend their retirement without recurrent visa renewals.

Entrepreneurs: Those who have started businesses in Colombia and wish to continue living there indefinitely to manage their enterprise might apply for the Type R visa.

Former Colombian Citizens: Individuals who once held Colombian citizenship but gave it up (e.g., due to naturalization in another country) might apply for the Type R visa if they wish to return and live in Colombia permanently.

Professionals with Stable Employment: People who have secured stable, long-term jobs in Colombia and see their future in the country might opt for the Type R visa to cement their long-term residency.

Individuals on a Path to Citizenship: Those aiming to eventually acquire Colombian citizenship might seek the Type R visa, as holding it for a specified duration can be a prerequisite for the citizenship application process.


What are the different requirements for the Resident visa by category?

The Resident visa in Colombia offers multiple categories for potential applicants, each with its own set of documentation requirements. Here's a general breakdown of the requirements for the primary categories, but please note that the exact requirements can vary over time, so it's always a good idea to refer to the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or consult with an immigration expert:

Long-term Residents (Transitioning from Type M visa):

  • Proof of uninterrupted stay in Colombia with a Type M visa for the stipulated period, usually around five years.
  • Passport with a minimum validity of 18 months.
  • Passport-sized photographs.
  • Criminal background check, if required.

Family Connections (Marriage, Permanent Partnership, Parent or Child of a Colombian):

  • Proof of the relationship: For marriage, a marriage certificate; for partnerships, evidence of the partnership; and for parents/children, birth certificates.
  • Passport with a minimum validity of 18 months.
  • Passport-sized photographs.
  • If required, a criminal background check from the country of residence.


  • Documentation proving the investment, such as property deeds, business registration, and related financial records.
  • Proof that the investment meets the minimum threshold set by the government.
  • Passport with a minimum validity of 18 months.
  • Passport-sized photographs.
  • If required, a criminal background check.


  • Proof of retirement, such as a pension statement or related official documentation.
  • Documentation showing the pension or retirement income meets the minimum threshold set by the government.
  • Passport with a minimum validity of 18 months.
  • Passport-sized photographs.
  • If required, a criminal background check.


  • Business registration and related financial records proving the establishment and operation of a business in Colombia.
  • Passport with a minimum validity of 18 months.
  • Passport-sized photographs.
  • If required, a criminal background check.

Former Colombian Citizens:

  • Proof of former Colombian citizenship, such as an old Colombian passport or other official documentation.
  • Passport with a minimum validity of 18 months.
  • Passport-sized photographs.

Professionals with Stable Employment:

  • Employment contract or related documentation proving stable, long-term employment in Colombia.
  • Passport with a minimum validity of 18 months.
  • Passport-sized photographs.
  • If required, a criminal background check.

H2 Some frequently asked questions from our clients about the R Type visa

What is the primary purpose of the Type R visa?

The Type R visa is designed for foreigners who intend to reside permanently in Colombia. It's a step towards long-term commitment and potential citizenship in the country.

How long is the Type R visa valid for?

The Type R visa is valid for five years. After this duration, it can be renewed.

Can I work or start a business in Colombia with an R visa?

Yes, with a Type R visa, you can work, engage in professional activities, and start or run a business in Colombia.

What happens if I stay outside of Colombia for an extended period while holding an R visa?

If a Type R visa holder remains outside of Colombia for two consecutive years, the visa may be subject to cancellation.

Do I need to previously hold a Type M visa to apply for the R visa?

Not necessarily. While one pathway to the R visa is holding a Type M visa for a specified period, there are other categories, such as significant investment or familial ties to Colombians, that can qualify you directly for the R visa.

Can my family join me if I hold a Type R visa?

Yes, with a Type R visa, you can apply for beneficiary visas for your dependents, which includes spouses, permanent partners, and children.

How does the R visa relate to Colombian citizenship?

Holding a Type R visa for a specific duration (typically five years) can make you eligible to apply for Colombian citizenship, provided other conditions are met.

Is health insurance mandatory while on an R visa?

Yes, it's generally required for foreigners with a Type R visa to have valid health insurance coverage for their stay in Colombia.

If I have significant investments in Colombia, can I directly apply for the R visa?

Yes, if your investments meet the Colombian government's minimum threshold requirements, you can apply for the R visa based on the investment category.

Can I study in Colombia with an R visa?

Yes, the Type R visa allows you to engage in studies in Colombia, whether it be language courses, professional courses, or higher education.


How long does it take to apply for the Resident Visa?

The processing time for a Resident visa in Colombia can vary depending on several factors, including the specific circumstances of the applicant, the completeness and accuracy of the application, and the current workload of the Colombian consulate or embassy handling the application.

Generally, the processing time for a Type R visa can range from a few weeks to several months. It's important for applicants to:

  • Check Current Processing Times: Consult the official website of the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs or contact the nearest Colombian consulate or embassy for the most up-to-date information on processing times.
  • Prepare Documentation Thoroughly: Ensure that all required documentation is complete and accurate to avoid delays.
  • Consider External Factors: Processing times can be affected by public holidays, both in the applicant's country and in Colombia, as well as by any global events that impact international operations.

Applicants should plan accordingly and apply well in advance of when they intend to relocate to Colombia, considering these potential timeframes and the possibility of delays. It's also advisable to keep monitoring the status of the application and stay in touch with the consulate or embassy for any updates.


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

Applying for a Resident visa in Colombia involves a series of steps. This visa is typically for those who have held a temporary visa for a certain period, have Colombian family members, or meet other specific criteria set by the Colombian government. Here's a general guide to the application process:

1. Determine Eligibility

  • Criteria: Confirm that you meet the eligibility criteria for the Resident visa. This often includes having held a temporary (Type M or TP) visa for a continuous period (usually 2-5 years), being a parent to a Colombian national, or making a significant investment in Colombia.
  • Updated Requirements: Check the latest requirements 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 a valid passport, birth certificate, and any other identification documents.
  • Proof of Eligibility: Collect documents that prove your eligibility, like previous Colombian visa copies, marriage or birth certificates for family ties, or investment documents.
  • Financial Documents: You may need to provide financial statements or proof of economic solvency.
  • Health Insurance: Obtain valid health insurance coverage for your stay in Colombia.

3. Complete the Online Application

  • Visa Application Form: Fill out the visa application form on the Colombian visa application portal (Cancillería website).
  • Document Upload: Upload scanned copies of all required documents.

4. Pay Visa Fees

  • Application Fee: Pay the applicable visa application fee, which varies depending on the visa type and applicant's nationality. This is usually done online during the application process.

5. Visa Application Review

  • Processing Time: The processing time can vary, so be prepared to wait several weeks for a decision on your application.

6. Attend an Interview (If Necessary)

  • Interview: Some applicants may need to attend an interview at a Colombian consulate or embassy.

7. Visa Approval and Collection

  • Notification: You'll be notified about the decision on your application.
  • Visa Issuance: If approved, the visa will be stamped in your passport or sent to you electronically.

8. Arrival in Colombia (if applying from abroad)

  • Migración Colombia Registration: Register with Migración Colombia upon arrival and apply for a Colombian ID card (Cédula de Extranjería).

9. Stay Updated

  • Visa Validity: Be aware of the validity and conditions of your resident visa.
  • Legal Compliance: Ensure adherence to Colombian laws and maintain your health insurance.

10. Renewal or Changes

  • Stay Informed: Keep informed about any changes in Colombian immigration laws that might affect your visa status.

Important Notes

  • Document Translation: Non-Spanish documents should be translated and apostilled or legalized, as required.
  • Professional Advice: Consider consulting with an immigration lawyer for personalized guidance.
  • Keep Records: Maintain copies of all documents and correspondence related to your application.

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


Having your required documentation legalized outside of Colombia

If you are outside of Colombia while making an application, you may be required to have documents apostilled or legalised. For assistance with having documents legalised in your country for use in Colombia, visit one of the Colombian embassies below to find consulates in your area. If your country is not listed below, visit to see if there are options available in your country.

United States - Embassy in Washington, D.C.


Phone: +1 202 387 8338

China - Embassy in Beijing


Phone: +86 10 6532 3377

Russia - Embassy in Moscow


Phone: +7 495 797 8519

Canada - Embassy in Ottawa


Phone: +1 613 230 3760

Brazil - Embassy in Brasília


Phone: +55 61 3214 8900

Australia - Embassy in Canberra


Phone: +61 2 6273 2090

India - Embassy in New Delhi


Phone: +91 11 4320 2100

Germany - Embassy in Berlin


Phone: +49 30 2639630

France - Embassy in Paris


Phone: +33 1 42 65 46 08

United Kingdom - Embassy in London


Phone: +44 20 7589 9177


Our Other Services