Colombian Tourist Permit Extension
How long can you stay in Colombia?
The rule for most tourists on an PIP-5 Entry Permit stamp, is that you can only stay:
- 180 days in a calendar year (January 1st to December 31st in any given year) or
- 180 days consecutively
Let’s explain with some examples:
Example 1 – You arrive in Colombia on January 1st and stay 90 days. About 5 days before this first 90 days expires, you can extend another 90 days for a second time, from April to June, for a total of 180 days. Since you’ve stayed 180 days in the calendar year your only option now is to leave the country and wait for the following 1st January to be allowed to enter as a tourist again.
Example 2 – You arrive in Colombia on 1st December and use your first 90 days allowance. You then extend another 90 days taking you up to May at which point you’ve used up your 180 consecutive days allowance, meaning you must leave the country. However remember you are allowed 180 days per year and you’ve only stayed 150 days in that year. In order to take advantage of that additional 30 days, all you need to do is take a quick “vacation” to Panama, Miami, Ecuador (or wherever) and return. When you re-enter the country will be entitled to the remaining allowance.
Example 3 – This is an example of how to stay in Colombia for a consecutive year with only tourist permits. All you need to do is arrive early July, use your first 90 days allowance and then extend until December. At this point, you’ve broken the 180 days in a calendar year rule so you need to leave the country. After a quick “Christmas vacation” out of the country when you return it’s a new calendar year. This means that you receive a fresh PIP-5 Entry Permit for 90 days which can be extend another 90 days. To summarize you stay 180 days, leave and came back in a new year, then have 180 more days.
What if you overstay your Tourist Permit?
When your 180 days are up, you have to leave Colombia or face a fine. The fine is calculated arbitrarily and could range from one half to 7x the minimum monthly salary of the average Colombian. In other words between about 350,000 COP and 4.5 million COP. If you’re late by only a few days, the fine is still 350,000 COP. Because of this, some choose to stay a little bit longer before they go into Migracion because they would have paid the same fine anyway.
Whilst overstaying your visa was always considered no big deal in the past, recent examples would seem to indicate that Migracion Colombia are taking a harder stance on this issue. Overstaying your tourist permit may result in deportation, affect your ability to return to Colombia or negatively impact your request for a more formal visa (eg permanent residency) in the future. A per all things the situation can and will change frequently, always double check everything with Migracion Colombia.