Marriage Visa: How to Get a TP-10 Visa in Colombia

U.S. passports (photo:

The following is a guest post by Lisa Maria Gyldenlund Mikkelsen.

Applying and obtaining a marriage visa in Colombia is a document-intensive process that requires careful planning.

In this blog post, I’ll walk you through the steps that I took on my way to being the happy owner of a TP-10 visa valid for three years, hoping that the process will be much less complicated for you, than it was for me.

I met my Colombian husband (it still feels weird to say), Luis, two years ago in Australia and came with him to Medellín in the Summer 2014.

I was on a tourist visa and quickly realized that three or six months was not going to be enough in this beautiful place and even less so, if you have a relationship to nurse.

The TP-10 visa application process – at least the one I went through – consists of two steps:

1) Marriage

2) Visa application process.

If you are already married to a Colombian and have a marriage certificate from another country, obviously you can go ahead and skip the first step.

However, to apply for the TP-10 visa, you need to legalize/authenticate (with apostille) both your marriage certificate as well as a certified Spanish translation of this.

Step 1: Getting Married in Colombia

Not being a Catholic like my boyfriend, it was not an option for me to get the full-package white wedding in a beautiful iglesia.

Fortunately, getting married in a small, informal ceremony with my boyfriend’s family present, and my family on Skype suited us more than well.

So, we opted for the civil marriage at one of the many notarías in Medellín.

Besides performing civil weddings, the notarías deal with authentication, keep public papers like birth and marriage certificates and so on. You will find the notaría’s office in most of the barrios of Medellín.

I’d just like to add a quick word on religious weddings in Colombia: they are handled by individual religious officials and involve similar documentary rules, along with religious requirements.

After a religious wedding, the marriage must be registered at a notariá’s office. For further details about religious weddings in Colombia, you should contact the religious organization that you would like to do the ceremony.

Documentation for civil wedding

Your first step should be to contact your notary of choice to discuss required documents and other procedures.

Because Colombian marriage laws leave room for interpretation, marriage requirements sometimes vary from notary to notary.

Once you select a notary, it is important to find out what he or she will ask. You can use any notary, so if yours makes unrealistic demands, you may want to contact another one.

Many notaries have websites with helpful information. Alternatively, you can call or visit one in person. We never managed to get through by phone to ours, so we ended up spending around seven visits there altogether.

The requirements to apply for a civil marriage ceremony:

  • Your civil registration papers indicating marital status, not older than 90 days*
  • Spanish translation of civil registration papers**
  • Your birth certificate*, not older than 90 days
  • Spanish translation of birth certificate**
  • Copy of your passport, which needs to be valid for at least another six months
  • Copy of your Colombian partner’s cedula/citizen card
  • Birth certificate of your Colombian partner

* You need to legalize/authenticate with apostille the documents issued in your home country, which is your birth certificate and civil status/civil registration papers showing that you are eligible to marry.

** Your birth certificate and civil status papers have to be translated into Spanish by a certified translator, and the translations have to be authenticated as well.

More about the apostille/legalization process on the Cancilleria’s / the Ministry of Foreign Relations’ website here.

The copy of your passport will be legalized at the notary’s office. Always bring your passport as documentation, when you visit the notary.

Your partner’s documents will also be authenticated, and everything is collected in a file.

Regarding translation of documents issued in your home country

Being a Danish citizen, I had to pick up my birth certificate at one of the offices of the Danish Church and my civil status paper at one of the Government’s Public Service offices.

In Denmark we can get our documents issued in Danish and English, so I still had to find a certified translator authorized by the State of Denmark to translate my papers to Spanish.

Only documents translated by an approved translator can be authenticated at the Foreign Ministry’s legalization office, which is the entity that deals with authentication in Denmark.

All this had to be done in Denmark, so if you are already in Colombia, check what your options are with your consulate or the Cancillería.

I suspect that the process of obtaining your documents varies from country to country, so check with your authorities.

Ultimately, you need to be able to show authenticated birth certificate and civil status documents in Spanish at the notary’s office. And remember that the originals must be no older than 90 days on the day you hand them into the notary.

Cost for documents

The costs (in USD) of obtaining the documents in Denmark (these will probably also vary depending on country) were:

  • $25 for the civil status paper
  • $0 for birth certificate
  • $110 for translations of two documents
  • $83 for authentication of all originals and translations
Notaría 13 in Laureles

Notaría 13 in Laureles

Marriage application process and ceremony

We took all our paperwork to Notaría 13 in Laureles a few days before Christmas, and they told us that we probably would get a response in a week.

Two weeks later, we still hadn’t heard from them, so we went back only to find out that they had not been able to read my marital status out of the papers I gave them, and they had somehow lost the phone number we provided. Oh well.

At the beginning of February, the papers were finally approved and we were ready to set a date, but for us to do that, we needed a certified translator present, as my Spanish was not good enough for them to allow me to sign any papers or get married without one.

Even though we had been at the office five times by then, this was the first time they informed us about this requirement. I guess they had assumed I was fluent in Spanish.

The notary’s office recommended us a translator, whom we called and set up an appointment to meet at the notary to book the wedding date. Fortunately, our translator was very flexible with her time and turned out to be an extremely pleasant person, who I was glad to have whispering in my ear during the ceremony.

We got married on a Saturday and we could pick up the marriage certificate the following Tuesday. Once you have this, you can start your application for the TP-10 visa.

There is no legal requirement that you tell your Embassy of your marriage, or that you otherwise register the marriage with your government, except in the course of requesting a foreign spouse’s immigrant visa.

Cost of wedding

  • 15,200 pesos ($6) for extra copies and authentication of Luis’ cedula and birth certificate and copies of my passport. Paid when applying.
  • 120,000 pesos ($47) for the wedding. Paid when setting the date for the ceremony.
  • 200,000 pesos ($78) for translator to be present when booking date and at the ceremony.
  • 12,100 pesos ($5) for two copies of the marriage certificate with authentication.

Step 2: Obtaining the TP-10 Visa

You can apply in several ways:

  1. Online
  2. At the office in Bogotá.
  3. Through an agent.
  4. At the consulate in your home country.

I applied online, however I had to follow-up with a visit the Bogotá office within 15 days from the date that the visa had been electronically approved to get my visa stamped in my passport.

There are no offices where you can apply in regional cities (i.e. Medellín). If you apply through an agent with the power of attorney, I’ve heard that you can save yourself the trip to Bogotá.

I must admit, I was not completely confident about applying online and I was a bit anxious about making everything in time. On the Cancillería website, you can call for personal help 24/7 via Skype, and I had a lot of questions about the application procedure.

As it turned out, the service staff are very helpful. Also, as a standard, it only takes them four days to approve online applications. This meant, that we were just able to make it before my tourist visa would expire.

Documentation

When filling out the TP10-application form online, you need to upload the following documentation

  • 3×4 cm photo (visa photo on white background)
  • Passport main page
  • Passport page with latest entry stamp to Colombia.
  • Certificed copy of your marriage certificate from notariá (no older than 3 months).
  • Your wife’s or husband’s cédula (front and back).
  • A letter from your wife or husband stating that you are married and she/he supports your visa application. We added a digital signature to this document.

Luis’ and I had all the paperwork ready except the photo, which we had taken at Foto Japón for 15,000 pesos ($6) for eight photos, however you may also do the photo yourself.

If you do the application at the Bogotá office, you need to bring the same documents, but they will take the photo for you.

Online application process

For the application, you need to fill out an online form. This is very easy to do and the form exists in both English and Spanish versions. You can find the form here.

Basically, you give personal data, information about your marital situation and answer a handful of yes-and-no questions about previous visa applications and your health. The information you need to give is not extensive and is easily done in 20 minutes.

Again, the Cancilleria’s website is very helpful and provides you with a step-by-step “idiots” guide how to fill out the form. If this does not answer your questions, you can call them at any time.

Once you complete the form, you save it, so you can make corrections or additions later, if you need to.

Shortly after, you’ll receive an email confirming that they have received your application and an application number to use, if you choose to pay for the application in the bank.

We paid the 106,200 COP ($41) straight away online using Luis’ Colombian debit card. In this case, you automatically get directed to your web bank. Take a screen shot of the payment, as you do not receive an email confirmation that the payment has been received. The approval procedure does not begin until the Cancillería has received the payment.

We only had to wait the weekend out for the approval. We paid for the application Friday morning and by Monday afternoon, I received an “approved” email from the Cancilleria, telling me to pay the remaining of the payment of 435,420 pesos ($170) within 15 days. If you do not pay within this deadline, you will have to start over.

Do not wait the 15 days out to pay your visa, unless you do so at the Cancellaria’s office in Bogotá with time afterwards to go to Migración Colombia to register your visa, which also has to be done within 15 days from the day your visa was approved.

This can only be done with the visa stamped in your passport. If you do not make the deadline, you will have to pay a fee.

I paid the remaining amount through the website on a Wednesday and by Friday I received an electronic version of my visa. This electronic visa is only good for taking with you to Bogotá to get it printed in your passport.

You cannot register your electronic visa at Migración Colombia nor use it to apply for cédula. The only thing you can do with it, actually, is to bring it to Bogotá, when you need to have it stamped/printed in your passport.

Visa & Immigration Office

Visa & Immigration Office

Finalizing the visa process in Bogotá

Barely making the deadline, I went to Bogotá 14 days after the issue date of my visa to have it printed in my passport Visa & Immigración Office and to register it afterwards at Migración Colombia.

The two institutions are located only six blocks from each other, so I recommend that you make a day of it and start early.

Step 1: Getting the visa stamped at Visa & Immigration Office

The office is located at Cra 19 # 98-03 Torre 10, which is a 20-30 minutes ride in taxi from the airport depending on traffic.

Documentation

  • Passport (your passport must have a least 180 days and a minimum of two blank pages for the visa stamp).
  • Copy of electronic visa.

The office opening hours are 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. You cannot make an appointment; you just have to show up. By 7:15 a.m., when I arrived, there was already a long line of people waiting outside. (I had a laugh discovering that this line can also be seen on Google Maps street view!)

At the security point, you show your passport and state your business, and you are guided to the right floor, where you receive a number at the front desk.

I had done some research on the procedure and expected at few hours of waiting but was called in almost immediately to the back office, where an official briefly reviewed my application.

I was then asked to wait in the waiting room again, while she printed the visa in my passport. This took only a few minutes.

As I had paid online, no more fees were asked.  I left the building again by 8 a.m. with an official visa valid for three years.

While I was there, I noticed that people who were doing their full application on site had to go through interviews with the officers, whereas I did not have to speak more than a few words. Also, they were not allowed to bring their Colombian spouse for the interview.

From my research I know that it will take a few hours to process the paperwork, should you opt for the on site application process. Everyone, however, will have his or her visa granted the same day (if approved).

Step 2: Register visa at Migracion Colombia and apply for Cédula de Extranjero

The Migración Colombia offices, where you register your visa and apply for cédula, are located throughout Colombia in the bigger cities.

The Bogotá office is located at Cll 100 # 11B-27, only a few blocks from the Visa & Immigration Office.

Since I was in Bogotá anyway I had decided also to prepare the documents for applying for a cédula, and it was easily done in the same procedure.

To register your visa you need:

  • Passport with printed visa

To apply for cédula you need:

  • 3×4 cm photo (visa photo on white background)
  • Copy of passport main page
  • Copy of the page where your visa is printed (there are several photo copy services around the Migración Colombia office).
  • Copy of blood type card (can be done in a clinic e.g. Calle 48 #40-41 office 104, Medellín).
  • A form filled out with basic personal information plus two Colombian contacts. You receive one at the office or you can prepare one beforehand: Download the form “formato único de trámites” from the documents menu.

I arrived at the office 8:15 a.m. and went into line to get my documents checked and collected.

Then I was directed upstairs, where I waited for an official to call my name. I handed him my papers and told him that I was there both to register my visa and to apply for cédula.

A simple interview took place as the official filled in details on his computer for my application.

Having double-checked the information (and the official’s spelling of my tricky Danish name), I paid 162,000 pesos ($64) with my credit card right there and then.

I was told that if I should want to pay in cash I would have to leave the building and pay in a bank, so I recommend bringing your debit or credit card.

As they do not mail the cédula to your address, and not wanting to go back to Bogotá, I arranged that my cédula be sent to the Medellín office, located Cll 19 #80A-40. You simply add this to the application.

Another official then took over to take my fingerprints, signature and picture (had I only known, I would have at least done my hair) for the cédula and all was done by 9 a.m.

Two weeks after my trip to Bogotá, I went online to check the status of my cédula.

It was ready to be claimed, so I called the local office in Medellín, where I’d asked them to send my cédula, to ask, if they had received it yet. They had, so I made a short visit and am now the happy owner of a TP-10 visa and a cédula.

Read more about cédula here.

Costs of obtaining the TP-10 visa were:

  • 15,000 pesos ($6) for photos
  • 106,200 pesos ($42) for online application review
  • 435,420 pesos ($171) for the visa
  • 360,000 pesos ($141) for flight tickets
  • 40,000 pesos ($16) for taxi rides from and to the airport
  • 162,000 pesos ($64) for cédula application

Final notes

The marriage procedure was by far the most stressful for me, as time dragged out by mis-communication and lack of information, all the while we had the tourist-visa-expiry-date-clock ticking.

Once the ceremony was performed, the rest of the visa paperwork was done within very short time.

However, during the process, I found that the information provided online actually varied in the English or Spanish versions, and trying to find the answers online only ended up confusing me so much that I barely made the 15-day deadline to register my visa.

Part of the reason for the confusion was because there exists a different deadline for printing your visa, if you apply from your home country. Also, I was not aware that I could not register my electronic visa. These misinformation combined almost had me pay very unwanted fees.

Yes, you CAN register your visa in Medellín, BUT the visa has to be printed in the passport first, and this is exclusively done in Bogotá.

So, instead of consulting websites for answers to your crucial questions, I would go for the information given via free phone calls or Skype calls.

The answers here were consistent and clear throughout the process. Again, the Cancilleria staff are available 24/7 on chat or Skype call directly from the website, and they are exceptionally helpful and patient!

Ultimately, of course, it was all worth the while, and my new visa status and my cédula bring along so many benefits.

For one, I can apply to be covered by my husband’s insurance, I can also apply for permanent residency after three years uninterrupted stay for this visa.

However, I am allowed to temporarily leave the country for up to three months. I look so much forward to what (married) life here in Colombia has to bring!

_______

Passport photo by Beatrice Murch.

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About Lisa Maria

Lisa Maria Gyldenlund Mikkelsen moved from Denmark to Barro Blanco, Santa Elena, to get married and explore the mountain lifestyle at a small farm, while working part-time as a project coordinator on a Danish-Colombian social innovation project. Also blogs about life in and around Santa Elena and Medellín to encourage Danes (and Scandinavians) to travel to Colombia.

Comments

  1. Once the three years is up, any idea where to start as far as converting to residency?

    • The requirements/process for the Resident Visa (RE visa) are listed on the Cancilleria website at: http://www.cancilleria.gov.co/en/procedures_services/visas/types.

      But instead of the RE visa, after two years of residence for a person married to a Colombian citizen you can apply for naturalization and have dual citizenship. Then you will no longer need to incur the expenses of continuing to renew a Colombia visa every few years.

      • i am married to a Colombian Citizen and I have 2 years of residence. However, I was told that I have to apply for a different Visa for 2 years – the Residency Visa – and in that time apply for Colombian citizenship. SInce the Ministry changed I am getting conflicting information all over the place. I do not understand the Spanish on the site. Does anyone know anything, or has anyone done this? Can anyone help? Thanks

        • Sorry to post again. I looked at the link that Jeff provided. (The site must have been under construction when I last looked as it was not in English) and it does not mention marriage to a Colombian Citizen. Also, from my experience the site is often inaccurate. Ceratinly wlll appreciate help. thanks

        • when i registered my TP10 in barranquilla, was told after 3 years apply in Bogota for the RE visa, and then after, nothing else is needed unless you want to take the test for naturalization. But the RE visa is basically your permanent residence visa.

          • An RE visa must be renewed every 5 years – so it’s not technically permanent. So best to become a naturalized citizen in Colombia after having an RE visa long enough to avoid the continuing expenses of renewing visas.

            After 3 years with a TP-10 visa you can apply for an RE visa. And if you are married to a Colombian after 2 years with an RE visa you can apply to become a naturalized citizen.

          • jeff; the RE visa is renewed thats correct. meant to say that the RE Visa is all you really need to live as a perment resident in Colombia if you dont want to study, or be lazy like myself, but to simply renew when the time comes.

    • Hi there,

      Anyone wishing to get a Residency Visa must complete THREE years on the Spousal or TEMPORAL Visa . . . HOWEVER . . . did you check your Issuance & Expirations DATES?

      It most likely was NOT issued for the FULL THREE YEARS.

      I read this in other Blogs & checked MY Temporal Visa & sure enough it IS, TWO DAYS shy of the 3 years. Now, I have to RENEW this Visa in order to get my darn THREE years.

      I’m personally having difficulty in finding any information on RENEWING this Temporal Visa.

      • Yes this has been happening recently. My TP-10 visa is also shy of three years by three days. I have met two other expats with the same, also short by two or three days. I suspect this may be a strategy to get more revenue from visas as we’ll have to renew the TP-10 visa before getting a resident (RE) visa. But you could first get the renewal TP-10 visa and a few days later get the RE visa.

        I expect the renewal of a TP-10 will likely have the same paperwork requirements as the original but I suspect no interview requirement. You can contact the Cancillería to ask about this. They have an online chat found on their website – http://www.cancilleria.gov.co/en/procedures_services/visas.

      • Is there a regional office nearby? same place you registered your Visa

        • We DID go to a local office, but not only were we informed that we had to go TO Bogota . . . But we’ve also seen in other blogs, that Bogota is the only place to go.

          However, when we first got THIS visa, the agent said that we did not have to come back to Bogota, that he had all of the information and I could handle anything from there on locally.

          But we are NOT finding this to be the case.

          Also we cannot seem to find any information on renewing this visa . All of the information that we see talks about initially getting it . But what do you do when you have to renew it? Because this one did not issue for three years I am today short.

          • not sure about renewing a visa, but im guessing after you intial visa that Bogota is the best option, or Colombian consulate in the U.S or somewhere. but you cant go wrong in Bogota.

  2. This list of requirements for a civil marriage has some inaccuracies based on recent information I received from Notary 17 in El Poblado:

    1. If you are divorced, for a divorce in another country you need an official copy of your divorce degree that has an apostille (copy not older than 90 days) and if the decree is not in Spanish it needs to be translated by an official translator.

    2. For a divorce in Colombia, you will need an official copy of the divorce sentence (copy not older than 90 days).

    3. If you already have a cedula extranjeria, you don’t need your passport and the Notary will make an official copy of the cedula.

    4. For translations, you can use an official translator in Colombia so you don’t need to incur the expensive to authenticate the translation.

    For foreigners in Medellín, I highly recommend using Notary 17 (Calle 8 #42-15) in El Poblado near Parque Lleras as they probably have more experience with foreigners than any other Notary in the city.

    In my experience they will review documents while you are there and if accurate you can schedule a date for the marriage the same day. No need to wait like in the Notary in Laureles as the author of this post needed to do.

    • I’m pretty sure it varies somewhat from notary to notary. I remember going to 4 or 5 before finding one in centro that accepted our paperwork.

    • In Notaria 17 (Calle 8 #42-15) in El Poblado near Parque Lleras the cost of a civil marriage is less than the cost at the Notaría 13 in Laureles per this post. In my experience the cost of a civil matrimonio in Notaria 17 is a bit cheaper at 100,000 pesos ($36.29), which is paid the date of the marriage, with no need for a translator if you speak sufficient Spanish.

      Also no need to spend time for them to review your documents at Notaria 17, they will review while you wait and then you can schedule a date for the marriage.

  3. Julie Watts says:

    If I apply for the visa from my home country, how soon do I have to leave for Colombia? Meaning, if I get approved in February, am I able to go to Colombia in July and still meet the deadlines?

  4. Julie,

    Seems to me that 90 days is the constaint on time frame. Validity of civil registration documents and their translation is 90 days. For an unmarried US citizen, a “Certification of no imediment” could be required from each state of residence. I expect that this is at the discretion of your notary. I assume this is easier and less expensive to acquire while in the US.

    I’m in the same boat..tarrgeting a move date of 1 August and trying to calculate the actual week of the ceremony for family and friends. Stressful but happy!

  5. After you apply for RE Visa in Bogota, i was told thats all you need. Optional for citizenship . Why take some test when the Residemt Visa is all you need. Received my TP10 visa at the Consulate in San Francisco, CA Took all of 2 weeks. And we took our California marriage certif so the office could convert into a Colombian Liscense. Kinda kewl, we basically had a marriage in the Consulate office since its considered Colombian soil, and you byass all those timely procdures if getting married in Colombia. Also received my temporary cedulla in 5 days after you regiser your TP10 visa. My wife was like, wtf how did you get a cedulla in 5 days when mine took months. Said relax, mine is temp card which actually holds little value. Trying to even open bank account was a nigjtmare. Buying my house was even bigger nightmare since i was paying cash. Why do have so much money, where did it come from, where do you work, show me your taxes. Omg….sorry off topic, the TP10 is a breeze to get.

  6. cancilleria.colombia is the skype contact, took some digging to find.

  7. I’m scheduled to get married later this week at a notaría in Popayán. I thought I’d share my experience since the requirements for foreigners to marry in Colombia seem so variable (yet strict). Also citizens of the USA may have difficulty proving they are eligible to marry. Luckily my fiancé is a Colombian lawyer, otherwise we might have had a much harder time.

    Like the article above, we provided the same documents but we had to handle our translations differently. Apostilles in the U.S. are issued by the state government or federal agency that issued the document. The states or North Carolina and Florida *will not* give an apostille to a document in any language other than English. So we had to have our documents translated by a certified translator in Colombia. Our notaría had no problems with this and it saved us having to get the translation authenticated. Plus it was a lot cheaper in Colombia than the USA. So if you’re in this boat you might want to determine if your notaría requires the translation before the apostille.

    If your passport isn’t in Spanish, you will likely need to have it translated by a certified translator. Our notaría asked for the certified translation of my passport, which caused us confusion since US passports are in English, French and Spanish! Apparently she was temporarily confused and saw my name and place of birth and thought, “English.”

    The article above also didn’t mention the edicto. An edicto is a public announcement of your intention to marry allowing the general public with knowledge of a legal reason you shouldn’t marry an opportunity to contact the notaría. Once all the papers are submitted to the notaría we both had to go in person to sign a request for an edicto. (My Spanish is poor and my fiancé translated it for me and our notaría did not require a certified translator. Thank goodness since the nearest translator is in Cali!) This step can be done by one party if they have a power of attorney, processed by a Colombian Embassy or consulate in the foreigners country. I’ve heard conflicting accounts of edictos. Ours was a sheet of paper posted in the notaría window for five business days. It listed our full names, dates of birth, places of birth, ID/passport number, addresses, and parents names (including my mother’s maiden name). This had me very worried since in the USA many of these items of information are kept private and used, almost as passwords, to prove your identity for financial transactions or medical records. Finally, the notaría initially said we would have to publish an edicto through the Colombian consulate covering my place of residence (Hawaii). The Colombian consulate in Los Angeles has no idea how to do this and we were really worried about it. But in the end the notaría said she didn’t need it after all. Anyway – be sure to allow time for the posting of the edicto.

    Also a few deadlines – the signing of the paperwork leading to the edicto had to be done within 90 days of the issuance of the documents and the date to marry must be within two months of the final day of the edicto.

    And finally, if your Colombian future spouse has children from a previous relationship, a separate and expensive and lengthy process of declaring assets to protect the children interests may be required. Even though my fiancé is a lawyer, we had to hire an independent lawyer, assigned by the notaría, to execute this process. We were told it could take two months to process but thankfully it was faster.

    In hindsight, it might have been easier to deal with the notoriously slow USA INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) for a fiancé visa to get married in the USA. Two Colombian friends eloped to New York City last month. I filled out their marriage license application for them online in 15 minutes. (Though they could have easily done it themselves since it is available in 18 languages, including Spanish.) Since neither had ever been married previously, all the needed was that online application, $35 (USD), their passports, and a 24 hour waiting period between picking up their marriage license at city hall and getting married the next day. I found that ironic – four months into my “document-rich” Colombian marriage experience. Don’t get me wrong – I’m so happy to be marrying a Colombian but the process is long and confusing.

    • wow,,,,such a pain. Thats why my now colombian wife and new step kids just did the u.s visa (fianace) Getting the visa is more pricey, and IMO you have more benefits in tbe end, ie, SSN, tax breaks etc. It took all of 2 months for my wife and her kids to get approval for their visa interview in Bogota. From start to finish it was only 6 months, and they were living in California. Then for my TP10, is was 10 days when i received my colombian visa, and we also received our legal colombian marriage liscense from the cololmbian cunsulate in San Francisco. They simple took our certified CA marriage lisc and then printed the colombia marriage lisc for us for 8 dollars.

    • Note that different notaries in Colombia have different requirements. Popayán is a very small city in Colombia so likely doesn’t have much experience with expats. When we got married in Medellín we used Notary 17 in El Poblado that has lots of experience with expats. There was no need for an edict and no need for my passport (just my cedula) and the process was painless. And yes it is cheaper and easier to get any translations needed done in Colombia.

      • Absolutely Jeff. I think larger cities are better equipped to handle expats. But for us that would have meant at least four trips to Cali.

    • UPDATE: Even though we *explicitly* asked the notaría two separate times if I needed a certified translator and were told no – they eventually required a translator. It was a huge hassle. They knew my level of Spanish – I had a tense-less conversation about translating my passport with the same woman. My husband has translated for me on at least four separate visits – with the same woman. Even on the day of, we went through three lines – verifying IDs, my husband signing a blank form (?!?), and payment of fees – and each time the same woman followed us around, husband translating. Then when we get to the back room where the woman started to read aloud the two and a half page document in this strong Pastuso accent and she looks shocked that I didn’t understand her??? Everything stopped. Law books came out. A directory of certified translators was consulted – none working in Popayán. We were refunded our money and told to come back with a translator.

      The next day we called the translator who had translated my documents. He wanted 800.000 COP to travel to Popayán and translate for me. Yikes! I suggested we just go get married in Cali but after all this time my documents are more than 90 days old so we would have to start all over. Plus The notaría here says there is some rule that you need to marry in your city of residence that my husband confirmed in the law books. (Take that with a grain of salt, it might not be enforced everywhere.) So my husband went the next day to reschedule with the translator too and they said ALL our paperwork was canceled. They stamped a “canceled” stamp on our receipt for payment of fees. And someone took that as reason to throw out our file. They recovered our file five (very stressful) days later. During that time my husband found a translator in Cali willing to come to Popayán for travel costs and 200.000 COP.

      Last Friday we finally married. It was odd. The notaría asked me if I believed in God and then gave a long lecture about how this is not only a contract under government but a promise under God and that God’s view of marriage trumps the government. All this was delivered in an office setting underneath a crucifix. I was a bit shocked. In the end the notary basically read our names, birthdates, residence, place of birth, parents names, a list of the documents we provided and references to a couple laws, asked us if we were there of our own free will and asked us to say “I do.” Literally were both answered in English. Then we signed the papers and left, thinking we were finally married.

      But then an employee came running down the street after us. They forgot to take my fingerprint next to my signature and on the photocopy of my passport. So we went back and did that. And now we are finally married. Though I’m not sure I will fully believe it until we get a copy of the marriage certificate next week. Incidentally we have to go to a different notaría where my husband’s birth record was recorded to pick up the marriage certificate. Who knows what we would do if we weren’t living in his hometown?

      Sorry for the long message. Hopefully no one else has quite this much trouble. My latest advice – go to a big city that is used to expats and actually has a translator in town.

      On the bright side I’m 99% sure I’m married!!!

  8. Hi my name is johny from Palestinian territories – Bethlehem city. My wife has a colombian passport from her father but she never entered colombia, and her father has had his passport from my wife’s grandpa… and he went to colombia for one time before. Now i am living with my wife in Bethlehem -Palestine, and we are planning to move to colombia and i want to apply to get passport… what are the possibilities ?? Shall we do civil wedding in addition to our church wedding? Shall i apply for TP10 visa? Does they consider my wife a colombian with her passport that she took from her father? Need details how i can get it .. thanks

    • Johny, is your wife a colombian citizen with cedula? does she have dual citizenship or something? maybe provide some additional info, somewhat confusing to me, but maybe someone else on the board understands your situation better. but there are some good people here with valuable information.

      • Hi.. no she is not a colombian citizen… as she has bever entered colombia.. but as i said she was born in Palestine Bethlehem and her father as well.. but her grandfather was a citizen of colombia and when he came to Palestine he applied for comlombian passports for his sons and now my wife has one. She has one citizenship now which Palestinian.. but the colombian passport is given to her through her father.. but i dont know what is intended to happen if i apply for myself a passport through my wife now and what they consider her.

        • Thats interesting. I’m going to say that both of you need to take a trip to the Bogot office for sure. neither speak spanish? I thought one of the spouses always needed to be a colombian national to obtain a TP10 visa, or enter as a student or apply for a work visa. most of us here either have a husband or wife thats a colombian national, and which it sounds like neither you or your wife are. I received my visa at the consulate office in California, but many here on the board have married in Colombia and know the basic requirements which could very from state to stste in Colombia. If you want more info on the docuements needed, and the Bogota office location, search on the board, or send another message and i can look it up for you

  9. johny….When applying for my TP10 online they wanted to cross reference her passport with her cedula (I.D) in which i submitted both Docs in my case along with a letter stating why we are moving to Colombia, and when and where we were married.

  10. I am also looking at becoming a naturalized citizen in Colombia. I am going to be living in Jardin. I have a Colombian girlfriend of two years that lives in Colombia and has her own business in Jardin. I also own land in Jardin and will be starting construction of my house very soon, but I will not be spending enough for a investment visa. I take it my best option is to first get married to her, then apply for the TP10 and then after 2 years apply to become a naturalized citizen in Colombia? Anyone actually go thru this entire process with success and is now a dual citizen of you native country and Colombia?

    • Hi Mark,

      You can’t become a naturalized citizen in Colombia after having a TP-10 visa for only 2 years. First you must have a TP-10 visa for 3 years, which makes you eligible for a Colombian resident (RE) visa. After having a RE visa for 2 years if married to a Colombian you can apply to become a Colombian citizen. So the total is 5 years – 3 years with a TP-10 visa first and then 2 years of an RE visa before you are eligible to become a Colombian citizen.

      But if you have been living with your Colombian girlfriend for 2 years you could already get a TP-10 visa as a permanent companion of a Colombian (compañero(a) permanente de nacional colombiano). Two years in Colombia is the trigger for a defacto marital union in Colombia (2 years of cohabitation).

      I wrote about the RE visa on this site and included information about becoming a naturalized citizen, see: http://medellinliving.com/resident-visa/.

  11. Hi everyone. I got my TP-10 visa last week and I thought I’d let you all know of a few changes/differences from the original article.

    As of 15 August, everyone needs to use the online application. There is a sign at the Visa & Immigration Office but I didn’t see any notice of this on the website.

    I had applied online anyway, and I did not get a simple approval but instructions to appear, with my spouse, at the office in Bogota. We weren’t planning on both going, so this changed our costs and schedule.

    Once there the process was largely as described in the article above except my husband and I were interviewed together. The interview was very short and simple, entirely in Spanish, just asking about my profession, education, and the timeline of our relationship.

    Also the price for the visa increased and is now ~600.000 COP but I think it is tied to the dollar so changes with the exchange rate. You cannot pay with a card but there is a cash machine outside the building and a bank right in the waiting area that will accept your payment. (I got a good laugh at the “no electronics” sign, enforced, because of the bank right next to a “free wifi” sign.)

    Hope this helps others. Thanks Lisa Marie for the original article. It was very helpful.

  12. Mark A Knight says:

    I have a certification of birth from Pennsylvania but it was issues in 2002…. do I really have to get a new one issues to get a TP-10 visa?

  13. Hi, does anybody know of a good notario in cali for the marriage process? I live in fl and my fiancé in cali.

  14. my wife and I just went through this process and we created a free service to help couples like us do the same! Check out our website! hassle-free-colombianweddings.squarespace.com

  15. Shanarra Urena says:

    So is it possible to do the residency process within 90 days or should I begin the process while still here in the States? The reason that I ask is because if translated documents are only valid for 90 days then I don’t want to waste any time. Also, does anyone know where I can find information on obtaining residency in Colombia for a minor who is also from the United States?

  16. I have received my certificate of “union libre” from the notaria in Cali and was in the process of applying for the TP-10 visa online but I am a little confused about the process. I understand that I need to upload copies of my passport information, the letter from my spouse requesting that I be allowed the visa, the photo, the certificate of marriage etc… but do these all need to be translated and notarized before being uploaded? In other words, do i have to make copies of all of that information, get it translated and notarized, then copy it again into a PDF so that i can upload it??
    I apologize if this sounds a little confusing – but I’m confused too. I was hoping I could simply scan the info and upload it but I did read on the website the following:

    “All The Necessary documents for the Granting of any of the visas, in Colombia or abroad, must be legalized or must have an apostille, as the Case May Be, and translated by an official translator into Spanish, if written in a different language.”

    Thanks for any information you can provide…

    • Documents from Colombia in Spanish don’t need any translation. The letter from your spouse should be in Spanish and it needs to be notarized. All documents should be dated within 90 days of the visa application.

      • Thought you were married in Colombia? Arent docs already in spanish? Maybe you just need notary stamp or something.

        • Yes I was married in Colombia. Documents in Colombia are in Spanish. For my TP10 visa I needed:

          – Copy of the first page of your current passport where my personal data is displayed.
          – Copy of the page of my passport where the last stamp of entry or departure of Colombia is located.
          – Colombian marriage certificate from the Colombian notary. This document must have been issued within 90 days of the visa application.
          – Notarized copy of the Colombian ID (cedula) of my Colombian spouse
          – Notarized letter (in Spanish) from my Colombian spouse requesting the issuance of the visa. This should include some brief details of the relationship and that you intend to live together in Colombia.

          Plus we had to have interviews in Bogotá.

          • Sounds all correct…i received my visa at the consulate in san francisco, no interview thank gawd. Paid 250 usd and thats it. Took all of 10 days to receive, but get ur visa verified at the local immagracion office, get remember the name of office. Then apply for your temporal i.d. got that in 2 weeks. My wife was shocked how easy it was for me cedulla. Its temporal, but is usefull

      • Upload your foto, spouses i.d, your passport, and personal letter…very easy process…maybe spouses passport, dont remember

  17. lupe galvan says:

    thank you for all the good information, it helped me very much, but I do have a question, which is better to get a T-7 or a T-10. I lived here in Florida married to a Columbian going to retire in 9 months, and I plan to move to Columbia, I cant decided what vista I should get.. please help confuse…

    • Hi Lupe,

      With a TP-7 visa you will have to renew it every year so you will have the hassle and expense of a new visa and new cedula every year. A TP-10 visa is normally good for 3 years. Also you can get a resident visa (RE visa) that is good for five years after 3 years with a TP-10 visa, while it takes 5 years to get a RE visa with a TP-7 visa. So you will have fewer visas and lower expenses with the TP-10 visa.

      The bottom line is the TP-10 visa is the better visa. See this for more information: http://medellinliving.com/resident-visa/

  18. Thank you Clay
    For the fast reply and good information . I will go for the TP 10.
    Thanks again

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