The Colombia retirement visa has a low-income requirement. It is intended for those with a retirement or pension income and is relatively easy to get. The visa is known as the pensionado (pension) visa (TP-7). The TP-7 visa is also used for other popular visas including rentista visas (a non-pension income from outside Colombia) and investment visas (invests in property or a business in Colombia).
The Colombia retirement visa is also fairly inexpensive to get with a current cost of only $263.
Several readers of Medellín Living asked for us to cover the Colombia retirement visa, as this type of visa hasn’t been covered yet on this site.
A popular location in Colombia for expat retirees is Medellín. Medellín is becoming popular for retirees due to its climate, low cost of living, good public transportation with its metro, and good healthcare with eight of the top 44 hospitals in Latin America.
A number of publications have called Medellín one of the top foreign retirement locations, including Businessweek, Huffington Post, International Living, Live & Invest Overseas and U.S. News.
In our Medellín Living reader survey in December last year, 19.4 percent of over 200 expats surveyed living in Medellín have a retirement visa, which was the second most popular visa for expats living in the city.
Colombia Retirement Visa Requirements
To qualify for a Colombia retirement visa, you must show that you have income of at least three times the minimum monthly salary in Colombia. In 2017, the minimum monthly salary in Colombia is 737,717 pesos. So three times that is 2,213,151 pesos or only $753 at an exchange rate of 2,941 pesos to the USD.
The minimum monthly salary in Colombia increases each year. In 2017, it increased 7 percent. The government reportedly renews some visas for people that qualified under lower amounts in previous years.
- Valid current passport with an expiration date of more than 180 days and at least two blank pages.
- Copy of the data page of your current passport where your personal data is displayed.
- Copy of the page of your passport where the last stamp of entry to or departure from Colombia is located.
- Proof of pension: certificate issued by government, public or private company, foreign entity or diplomatic or consular mission from the country that the foreign national receives retirement funds with a monthly income of no less than three times the current legal minimum monthly salary.
Passport style face photo with a white background, sized at 3cm width X 4cm height, max size of 300kb jpg file for online application.
The current cost of a Colombia TP-7 retirement visa is $52 for processing and $211 for the visa for a total of $263.
The Proof of Pension
The Colombian government reportedly prefers official government pension certifications for its retirement visa, such as from the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). It is reportedly more difficult to get approved with private pension plans
The proof of pension for the SSA is a SSA Benefit Verification letter. The easiest method to get a SSA Benefit Verification letter is via the SSA web site.
Next step is to get an apostille for this Benefit Verification letter. An “apostille” is an authentication attached to a document so it is certified for legal purposes for use in another country like Colombia.
The SSA Benefit Verification letter is a federal document. So the U.S. Department of State must be authenticate it. You can order an apostille directly from the U.S Department of State via mail or in-person using a DS-4914 form, which costs only $8. Agencies also offer apostille services in Washington, D.C. but these can cost upwards of $200.
Once you apostille the SSA Benefit Verification letter you need to get it translated into Spanish. This is the final step. Furthermore, keep in mind a Benefit Verification letter should be dated within 90 days of the visa application.
If you are getting your retirement visa in Colombia you can also reportedly get a letter in Spanish from the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá that certifies your Social Security income and is accepted as proof of pension for visas.
You email the embassy a letter of request, PDF copies of your SSA Benefit Verification letter, a signed release of information form and copy of your passport. They will send back a letter that is accepted by Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores sent via a certified courier to your home.
Applying for a Retirement Visa in Colombia
The visa process in Colombia is fairly easy and it’s done online. You can apply for a retirement visa online here. This application will require scans of all the above required documents in PDF files plus the photo in jpg format. A detailed guide for applying online is found here.
After the visa approval you need to travel to Bogotá to get the visa in your passport. Visas are issued at the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores office in Bogotá. This is located at Avenida 19 # 98-03, Torre 100 Building, 3rd Floor. It’s open from 7:30am until noon.
If you don’t want to travel you can use a visa agency. A visa agency can handle the online application. And it will courier your passport to Bogotá to get the visa in your passport. There are several visa agencies in Medellín. We plan to cover these agencies in a future article. If you use a visa agency, you will need to add a notarized letter in Spanish authorizing the agency to work on your behalf.
You can also get visas at Colombian consulates around the world. In the U.S., Colombia has consulates located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, Newark, New York, San Francisco and Washington DC.
Once you have a Colombia Retirement visa, don’t forget to apply for a Cedula Extranjeria (foreigner ID) within 15 days at Migracion Colombia. If you don’t do this you will be liable for a big fine. The fine is up to seven times the monthly minimum salary in Colombia (over $1,700).
A TP-7 Retirement Visa is good for a year and will need to be renewed each year. After five years of having a TP-7 visa you are eligible for a resident visa, which is good for five years.
The Bottom Line
Colombia’s retirement visa has a lower income requirement than retirement visas found in many other countries. For example, the income requirement for a retirement visa is $1,000 per month in Costa Rica, Panama and Peru. The Colombia retirement visa is also relatively easy to get. But it also is intended only for people who are retired and drawing retirement income.
The cost of living is also relatively low in Medellín and several other cities in Colombia compared to the costs found in North America and Europe. So Colombia is expected to remain a popular foreign retirement location.