So you’ve arrived to Colombia on a tourist visa, but are still in love with the country and don’t want to leave? We’ve got you covered. This article will contain information about how to extend your stay in Colombia beyond the initial 90 days you were offered.
Already extended your tourist visa and are looking for viable options to stay year-round? Check out this article with information about getting a student visa in Colombia.
The first thing readers should take note of is that Colombia completely overhauled its visa system in 2017. Resolution 6045, passed by the Government in August and then implemented beginning in December 2017, greatly simplifies the visa process and the categories. But if you are reading advice about visas in Colombia dated prior to 2017, you are reading obsolete information. Cuidado.
The citizens of countries that have a visa exemption agreement with Colombia do not require a formal visa to enter the country. There are around 90 countries on this list, including Australia, Brazil, Canada Chile, Ecuador, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Peru, Russia, South Korea, United Kingdom, United States, all European Schengen Countries and more.
The tourist visa isn’t really a formal type of visa; it’s more like an entry stamp. It’s good for 90 days and the process is quite simple to extend it for a bonus 90 days. Colombia makes it pretty easy to be here for half the year. In fact, I haven’t met anyone yet who had any problems with the first 180 days of their Colombia stay. Although the process can be fairly quick, it’ll get complicated in a hurry if you don’t know what you’re doing. We’ll walk you through the steps to extend your tourist visa.
Tourist Visa Extension
When I extended my tourist visa in 2016, it was obligatory to go to the Migracion Colombia office in Belen, and the process took nearly an entire day. It is is nice to see that the Colombian Government has now automated this process. Who says they aren’t making progress? To initiate the process, go to this website:
I recommend that you start this process at least a week before your first visa expires, just in case it is delayed for any reason. After clicking continue, choose “permiso temporal de permanencia para prorrogar permanencia”, which is the third option. Fill out the form carefully, and, given that its in Spanish (many users have complained the English form doesn’t work as well), this will be a great opportunity for a little Spanish practice. You should know what apellido means by now, right?
At the bottom of the page, there will be an area to upload documents. There is a file size limit, and every time I’ve used the Migracion Colombia website, my files have been too big and I have had to use a PDF Compressor to make them smaller. PDF Compressors are free and available with a simple google search, so it’s a fairly easy work around. The documents you need to upload are:
1) PDF Copy of the information page of your passport
2) PDF Copy of your Colombia tourist entry stamp (The “Visa” that you got upon arrival)
NOTE: Some readers have mentioned that onward travel confirmation was necessary, while others said they did not ask for this. If it’s easy to provide, you might as well provide it just in case. But many people have said it is not necessary.
Once your application is approved (should only take a day or two), you must pay the fee for the extension, which is COP 96,000. This fee is waived for citizens of the Schengen Zone. For those outside the zone, there will be instructions for how to pay in the approval e-mail. You can pay online (I recommended getting set up with the online payments account PSE, as it is widely used here), or visit a Banco Occidente bank, or at the Migración Colombia website.
Voilá! You’ve got an extra 90 days in Colombia. If you’re like me, however, even six months annually in this lovely country won’t be enough, and you’ll need to start plotting how to obtain a more formal visa to keep you here year-round. Although I am now here on a work visa, my second visa was the student visa, and it was fairly simple to get as well. I talk about my experiences in the following article:
Also, now that you’ve figured out how to extend your tourist visa and are going to stay a bit longer, you should make sure to try some common local food, and learn some slang words that the locals use.
Was the tourist visa extension process as easy as this article makes it seem? Is there anything else readers should know? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.