Let’s talk visas. After 90 glorious days in Colombia I thought why not 90 more? Here, 180 calendar days a year is what someone is allowed without obtaining a work visa or well, getting married, which I don’t think is going to happen in the next few months.
There’s a lot of great blogs online about the process which I combed and combed over as I prepared/super dreaded my trip into the main office in the capital city of Bogotá. However, in the end it was reeeeally easy and a little bit different than what I read so I thought I would make a little update.
To review, one can get (up to) a 90 day tourist visa when they enter Colombia and then can either leave and enter the country for another or go into an Immigration Affairs office in most bigger cities and renew it there for, wait for it, another 90 day tourist visa. If you’re looking for an excuse to leave the country then go for it son, my friend Eli found a ida y vuelta (roundtrip) ticket from Bogotá to Quito for less than $50. Re-stamped no problem. I have heard of some kind of minimum stay outside for renewal, maybe 48 hours, but that’s something you should look into on your own for real details if it concerns you.
But I wanna renew in-town…
Ok! And you can.
In most major hubs of Colombia exists an IA office, Immigration Affairs. I read these used to be called DAS offices, which many people may still know them as, or Migracion Colombia came up online. In Bogotá the IA office is located up on Calle 100 11B-27 and I’m sure a quick internet search can tell you A) if one exists in your city and B) where it is. This is the site for Migración Colombia, but no promises the site will deliver anything useful.
This is what you need:
- An extra passport-style photo. 3X4. Different sites insist on backgrounds of blue, or white or whatever. I had white and no one said anything. Though, I think any light, non-distracting color would do. Businesses all over Bogotá have signs that say Foto Pasaporte, so finding one shouldn’t be an issue if you don’t already have one. Also, duh, it needs to be in color.
- Your original passport. They’re going to want to see your original stamp and of course you want your passport re-stamped. Don’t forget this.
- Copies of your passport info page and the original stamp. Some other posts insisted on separate pages and color for these, which, may be important but seems like a silly reason to have to leave the office and come back, so I just did it anyway… This means a copy of your passport page with your picture and the page with your initial stamp.
- 80,000 COP for the renewal. This is the big nice change since the older blog posts, and which hopefully isn’t only for Bogotá. This amount is a hair over $30US, which isn’t much people. One used to have to make a deposit to a bank before going into the office to a specific bank account# and bring the slip into the IA office as proof they did so. Now, thank God, the tellers have great little credit card machines right at their desks and take 7 whole seconds to swipe your card. My teller did indicate if I wanted to pay cash I would need to go down to the bank, but that seemed easy as well. My point is, in Bogotá at least, one can easily pay by card right there at the desk.
This is all I needed! But one important point:
Proof of onward travel. Lots of blogs posts (that again, were written 1-3 yrs ago) talk about proof of onward travel being a required step. I didn’t have this, I didn’t want to buy one, I didn’t even know if I was going to get 60 days or 30 or 90 for my renewal. When I went, I was asked if I had proof, I politely said no, and they had me write on the back of my application my name, that I was going to stay for 90 days more then leave, sign and date and that was the last it came up. I wish I could tell you if that’s the new policy, if I got lucky or that type of thing only happens in Bogotá.
What I can tell you is this. It looks easy to forge something online and bring it in. I don’t really like that though it does seem a little foolproof. There’s also sites that let you cancel a flight within 24 hours. My advice if you have nothing and don’t want to buy something, just go in not on the last day of your visa. The worst they will say is you need one and to come back with it. Then, you can take advantage of a situation a listed above. I got through and they didn’t care, maybe you can too. Just go try.
And that was it!
I meant to get up super early as I was dreading this, but didn’t (in a shocking turn of events) and arrived around 10:30am. There were a lot of people waiting outside (inward groan) but I went right up to the guard, told him what I needed and was let right in. I think people were there getting work visas renewed, which are more complicated? I was small fish it seemed, and no problems were presented.
I want to end stressing once more this is what only happen to me in Bogotá. Being the capital, I have an inkling the most modern changes happen here first so those of you in Cali things might be different.
If you take one thing away from this, just don’t wait until the last day. That way you can just come back if there are problems. Overstaying your visa doesn’t sound like a great idea but that’s another post.
Also, if your Spanish is super low, the line to get wheels moving is: Disculpe, me gustaria extender mí pasaporte por favor.
So, pictures are actually 3x4cm or you can just request them as Colombian passport pictures (fotos para pasaporte).
Also, there is a form to fill. Bring a pen with you.
thanks for the correction Mariano…extendiste su visa de Colombia recientemente? o de donde es? y gracias por leer amigo…
I have a question. My fiancé lives in Colombia, I have a remote job so I travel a lot to Colombia to be with him. I never knew of the 180 rule.
I usually visit and stay for 2 weeks and then leave.
I was in Colombia January 1 2015-January 14: 14 days.
March 13-April 6: 26 days
April 16-April 20: 4 days
May 8-May 26: 19 days
So already in 2015 I have been in Colombia for 63 days total during this year. Does that mean that I have 117 days left in 2015 that I can be in Colombia? I am so confused by this and it scares me a little bit. We are in the process of a marriage visa for the USA because he is moving here and we are getting married, but we still have 4 months of waiting for our interview. And the only way for us to be together is me traveling there.
hello! it sounds like that’s how long you have left…117 days more.
however, if you are really worried about it, have your husband call the immigration office, spell out exactly what you have done and see what they say. visa stuff can unfortunately be inconsistent, so it would be best to hear it from the horse’s mouth.
i bet he can find a phone# to call on this site: http://www.migracioncolombia.gov.co/
thanks for reading, good luck with the interview :v
Thanks for the info. I renewed mine today. Arrived about 1pm Friday, there were a lot of people and it took about three hours for the whole process. I was told the best time to go is the morning (for less people). The best day to go is Tuesday. That’s what the lady that served me said anyhow (she said Monday was really busy… Address is Calle 100 No. 11B-27 (as opposed to 11).
thanks for the correction nick! we you also worried it was going to be a pretty painful experience? sounds like you got more or less in and out. bien viaje!
Hi, Hunter, thanks for the informative post. Freaking out a little because I had planned on applying for one of the other types of visas so I could get a cédula de extranjería, but have to go home to L.A. in two weeks. No biggie, I’ll just extend my tourist visa, right? except I just realized, my passport has less than 6 months on it now… Hunter & Nick, did they check how much time you had left on your passport? My problem is, if yes, 2 weeks isn’t long enough to get it renewed at the Embassy w/o outrageous fees, and I wasn’t planning on staying in L.A. 4-6 weeks, either…
i don’t quuuuite follow the exact question. your passport has less than six months on it? that means you can come back in for whatever time is subtracted from that. you prob knew that though. is there just two weeks left in the two tourist visas you have been using…? i mean they obviously looked at my passport when i was leaving, but if they did the math who knows. i wasn’t overstaying anything there wasn’t a concern on either side.
ask your question again, if not answered. i wanna help 😛
Great post. Just extended my visa in Bogota at the calle 100 location, and there’s a few things to add:
1) The downstairs agent made me buy an exit ticket, then print a copy of the flight confirmation. Like the original author said, this is a crapshoot, sometimes it happens, sometimes not. My advice: if you’re comfortable, don’t bring a ticket, but be prepared to buy a refundable ticket that day. This means having data available on your phone, credit card, required passwords, and being ready to print the document. Be prepared! (There’s an office place to print anything a block east of this office, next to a gas station.)
2) You CANNOT extend your visa unless you’re within 30 days of it expiring. I went slightly over a month out to extend mine – ” too early, come back in a week or two.”
3) They didn’t want my photos, and had an office set up to take their own, along with fingerprints of all ten fingers. For the Bogota office in the future I doubt you’ll need photos, and there’s photo places nearby, anyway.
4.) A Tuesday morning was indeed a decent time. After arriving at 8:15, buying an airline ticket, printing it, returning at 8:45 or so, and waiting both downstairs and upstairs, I left the office at 10:30. Not bad, just plan ahead. I could probably have been in an out in an hour if I’d had a proof of onward travel already printed. Do note that I had the form filled out and ready, which will add 5-10 minutes.
john, thanks for the update. dang with that ticket! as you read, my lady seemed to not care less i didn’t have a ticket. it’s a huge drag and sorry you got stuck on the other side of that. good luck in bogotá and let me know if you’re looking for a room to rent long-ish term, got tons of friends looking.
hey guys ! great post, until i hit the last comment made by John were he says that i need to wait for my last 30 days ! i’ve been here for a month now, and was planning on renewing next week ! seems like i gotta wait ! will keep you posted in a month, and by the way Hunter, any rooms in taganga area ? i’d like to take a diving course with poseidon, wish would be around 4 to 6 weeks…..but they don’t offer internships, so i have to find my own place ! or maybe you know some local websites advertisement for this ! Thanks !
hey dude, sorry for the late response. as far as finding a place, i’ve never even heard of taganga area, but if you go chill at gringo tuesdays at la villa (it’s tuesday night, duh) you can meet so many people. everyone there is so psyched for your native english abilities, they will all want to be your friend. just drop the area you want to live in and maybe someone will know someone. almost everyone i met in bogotá grew up there, and thus has a huge network. suerte!
Can anyone help me……. I entered the country as a tourist and then i got myself a job therefor a working visa for 12 months but they are going to revoke my visa in 2 weeks or less because they ended the contract, i dont want to leave i want to find another job here but mean while i will soon be illegal do you know if i can get a tourist visa extension for 90 days or what do you recommend.
yeah just read above, this whole post is about renewing your visa. just go to the office and pay the money.
Thanks for posting. I just realized I messed up with my departure date and will hit 91 days the day I leave. Better to pay the extension fee than roll the dice on the fine.
yeah it is better to just pay. it’s like $30 and what a hassle if someone gave you shit at the airport or border on the way out. the penalty fee could be less than it is to renew, but i would def renew if i were in your shoes, who needs the potential headache?
Great stuff, Hunter. Thank you for posting. I have a different question. I need to stay as long as possible, hopefully a year or more. Marriage is actually possible, and I understand other visas exist. Understand means sounds good, but I sure do not know…. Ideas?
hey dude, thanks for reading. when i was there, i did hear certain comments that with the right amount of money (and prob not a lot, if yur from the states/europe, cause the currency is so strong) anything can be done, including staying. i wish i had more info than that, but several people brought it up when i was thinking of staying for a while last year.
i recommended this to someone somewhere in these comments, but i made all my friends and contacts at gringo tuesdays at la villa, which is in the caracas/85th st area. it’s a language exchange, and you will so popular because of your native english skills (which, you may not have, just assuming based on your text). just show up there and start asking people what they think you should do. that’s what i would do. also, girls are just begging you to take their number there. i’m also assuming your a gringo, which may be off too.
that’s what i would do, and it’s a great place to practice spanish too. best of luck.