Colombian Tourist Visa
The good news is that most people DO NOT need a "TOURIST VISA" to enter Colombia.
If you’re from the USA, Canada, Europe, or Australia etc., you will receive a PIP-5 Entry Permit stamp in your passport when you pass through immigration. This "Entry Permit" stamp is your permission to stay in Colombia for 90 days. At the end of this period, you can extend the entry permit for another 90 days for a total of 180 days (see the extension process in the next section Colombian Tourist Permit Extension).
So who does need a Tourist Visa?
If you are from one of the countries listed below you MUST apply for a Visa prior to arriving in Colombia.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Central African Republic
Democratic Republic of Congo
Korea Republic Dem.
Laos Democratic Republic
People's Republic of China
Sao Tome and Principe
Trinidad and Tobago
United Arab Emirates
Since the law changes frequently and we are not experts we recommend you consult your closest Colombian Embassy or Consulate or a local immigration lawyer for advice.
How long can you stay in Colombia?
With a PIP-5 Entry Permit you can stay in Colombia a maximum of 180 days in a calendar year.
You are given 90 days stamped in your passport when you enter the country. When those 90 days are due to expire you can extend another 90 days.
Note: Once you have extended a tourist permit once, you cannot extend a second time.
Confused as to how it works? The following examples should give some clarity.
If you arrive in Colombia on January 1st and stay for 90 days, you can extend your stay for an additional 90 days, from April to June, for a total of 180 days. Once you've reached 180 days in the calendar year, you'll need to leave the country and wait until the following January to be allowed to enter on another tourist permit.
If you arrive in Colombia on December 1st and use your first 90 days allowance, you can then extend your stay for an additional 90 days, taking you up to the end of May. Since you cannot extend a tourist permit a second time, you'll need to leave the country at this point. However, since you've only stayed 150 days in the current calendar year, you're entitled to another 30 days. You can take a quick "vacation" to another country, such as Panama or Ecuador, and upon your return to Colombia, you'll be given the remainder of your allowance.
If you want to stay in Colombia for the maximum amount of time possible, you can do so by carefully planning your trip. For example, you can arrive in July, use your first 90 days allowance, and then extend your stay until December. At this point, you'll have reached 180 days, so you'll need to leave the country. After a quick "Christmas vacation," you can return to Colombia in a new calendar year, which means a fresh stamp and another 180 days. This allows you to stay in Colombia for a total of 360 continuous days, with a mini break in the middle.
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 580,000 COP and 8.1 million COP.
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. As per all things the situation can, and will change, frequently, always double check with Migracion Colombia.
When your 90 day Tourist Entry Permit (PIP-5) expires, you'll need to renew your entry permit with Migracion Colombia (the renewal is called PTP-5 Permiso de Ingreso y Permanencia).
Extending a Tourist Permit should technically be a painless process since you can now extend your tourist permit online.
If you have problems completing the extension online here are the steps to do it manually.
- Make an appointment online. Some people have reported that the English version doesn't work so if that's the case don't give up, just switch the language.
- Go to Migración Colombia, in Belen.
- If you didn't get to complete the online form fill out the form that Migration Colombia give you and wait for your name to be called
- After they have checked your form cross the road to the visa agency located in front of Migracion Colombia and take two copies of the completed form and two copies of both your passport details page and entry visa page.
- Return to Migracion Colombia.
- You can pay the extension fee by credit card. If you don’t have access to a card, you can also deposit money into their bank account (which is not walkable from Migracion Colombia), they will give you the necessary details to pay.
We recommend you dress nicely, smile, and don’t lose your patience. Remember, they have your extension fate in their hands and visa issues are always up to the discretion of the officer working. If you don’t speak Spanish, there is generally someone in the office who speaks English who can help you - it’s best to at least make some effort though.
Migracion Colombia: Address: Calle 19 # 80A-40 Barrio Belén La Nubia Telephone: (+574) 345-5500. Hours: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm (The office slows down during lunch hours although there will always be at least one officer working).