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How to get a Colombian partner visa

*Updated July 2016* – Please read the comments in the comments section below, as readers have been giving helpful advice on how the partner visa application process is constantly changing!

*Update January 2017* – I applied for a new partner visa recently, and it is all done online now. Visit this government website to find out more about the different visas and requirements (if it’s not in English, you can select English from the drop-down menu at the top of the page), and it will tell you to click through to this page to complete your online visa application.

We only encountered a couple of small problems. 1) You do need to have the letter from your Colombian partner stamped at a notary (it costs about $5,000 pesos (USD$2) depending on the notary). 2) When you have completed the online application form, it asks you to upload all of the required documents (and also an ebola declaration form). It doesn’t tell you this before, but the maximum upload limit is 3MB, which meant that we had scanned all the pages of all the documents, only to find that these came to more than 3MB, and then had to scan them all again at a lower resolution! So be aware of that!  Regarding the photo, I just took this using my phone, against a white wall as the background, edited it on the computer and uploaded that. 

The following post was written shortly after I got my first partner visa, and before everything moved online. The part about the civil partner certificate / unión marital de hecho should still be relevant though. 

In October 2013, I moved to Colombia to live with my Colombian boyfriend. I came here as a tourist, with the intention of applying for a partner visa as soon as possible. Thankfully, I now have the visa, but getting it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Here is an account of the process I had to go through in order to get a partner visa. This was correct at the time of writing (Jan 2014), but please bear in mind that immigration rules and procedures change regularly!

TP-10 – Spouse/Permanent partner visa requirements

Firstly, I will list all of the documents which you will be required to present to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores when you apply for the TP-10 visa for spouses or permanent partners of Colombian nationals (granted for 3 years):

  • Your passport
  • A copy of your passport photo page
  • A copy of the passport page which shows your last entry stamp into Colombia
  • A copy of your last Colombian visa (if applicable)
  • A photocopy of your partner’s cédula (identity card)
  • A letter from your partner requesting that you be granted the partner visa, with some brief details of the relationship (when and where you met, how long you’ve been living together (this must be at least 2 years!) and that you intend to live together in Colombia). This must be stamped by a notary.
  • Your Colombian marriage certificate, or a foreign marriage certificate translated by an official translator with an apostille stamp. Alternatively, if you are not married, you must present an escritura pública given to you by a Colombian notary to legalise your unión marital de hecho (civil union/de facto marriage). This document must have been issued within three months of the visa application. If you got the document more than three months ago, you will need to go back to the notary and ask for a new copy.
  • *Updated 2017* – Double-check the requirements here as these do change regularly, scan all of the above documents and then complete the online application form.

Before talking about the visa application process itself, I will talk about how to get the escritura pública of the unión marital de hecho, mentioned above.

Getting the escritura pública – unión marital de hecho (legal civil partnership document)

To get this document, you must go to a Colombian notary with your partner and ask for an “escritura pública para una unión marital de hecho”. This is a legal document stating that you are living together as if you were married partners. It’s effectively a legal civil union, and in Colombia it gives you the same legal rights as a married couple. I found getting this document to be the most frustrating part of the process, because there are so many notaries, and every notary in Colombia seems to have a different interpretation of the law.

Firstly, I will just give a few anecdotes from our experience. The first notary we went to told us that we couldn’t be granted an unión marital de hecho at all, because “the law states that both partners have to have been living together in Colombia for at least 2 years”. This is not true, and I think that we were told this simply because the legal assistants at the notary didn’t know what the law stated about a Colombian and a foreigner wanting this union, and didn’t want to admit it.

The next five or six notaries we went to said that we could apply for the unión marital de hecho if I could provide an updated copy of my registro civil issued within the last three months. In Colombia, the registro civil document contains details of your birth, parents names, nationality and marital status, among other things, and is updated every time one of these details changes (eg. if you change your name, get married/divorced etc). For the purposes of getting married in Colombia, and, increasingly, to get a civil partnership document, you have to produce an equivalent document to show that you are free to marry/enter into a civil partnership. In my case, I was lucky; I found Notaría 41 in Bogotá (located on the corner of Carrera 15 and Calle 75), and at that time, they agreed to draw up the escritura pública, requiring only my passport and my partner’s cédula (identity card) – no proof of marital status. However, since I first wrote this post, one of my readers has said in the comments section that Notary 41 now requires a registro civil or equivalent document which states that you are free to marry/enter into a civil partnership, such as a ‘Certificate of No Impediment’.

Therefore, you either need to apply for a Certificate of No Impediment (either in your home country or via your country’s embassy in Colombia) and get an apostille stamp and get it translated into Spanish if necessary). You can then present this at a notary to get your legal document for your partner visa. Alternatively, as someone suggested in the comments section below, you can try providing a translated, notarised or certified copy (also with an apostille stamp) of your birth certificate and see if that works. A comment at the bottom of a post on how to get married in Colombia suggests it’s easier to order a new copy of your birth certificate via your government’s website – just make sure that it comes certified – and getting someone to post this to Colombia. You can then get it translated relatively cheaply over here. Google ‘order copy of birth certificate [+ your country]’.

It may seem pointless to provide a birth certificate, seeing as it usually won’t contain information about your marital status. However, in Colombia, the registro civil is basically a birth certificate with extra information, including marital status, which is why the notaries ask for it when you want to get married. It seems that even though many countries’ birth certificates don’t indicate marital status (such as in the UK), many notaries in Colombia will still accept a translated, certified copy and treat this as if it were the same as their registro civil, and give you the legal partnership document you need in order to apply for the TP-10 partner visa.

If you are in Medellín, you can try Notaría 17 there (in Poblado neighbourhood), who told us (at the end of 2013) that they would not require a copy of the registro civil.

Conditions for getting the legal document confirming your relationship

To be granted the unión marital de hecho, you must have lived together for two years or more (but not necessarily in Colombia). If this is not the case for you and your partner, you will have to decide whether or not you are willing to be creative with the truth and say you have been living together for two years (or preferably longer, to sound credible) in order to get this document. For the escritura pública, you need to give the dates that you’ve been living together, and where (eg. from May 2011 – Oct 2013 in London, UK; from November 2013 – present in Bogota, Colombia). We were not asked to provide any documentary evidence of this (my partner Javier was not asked to show his passport to prove he had been in London, for example), or asked to give details of our specific addresses during this time (except for our current address in Bogotá) by the notary or by the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores. But you do need to be sure about the dates and places you are both going to give, and be consistent about these throughout.

The day of the visa application – Immigration

You need to go to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (the Foreign Office) to apply for the visa. If you are granted the visa, you will receive it the same day.

The address of the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores is: Carrera 19 #98 – 03, Torre 100, 3rd Floor, Bogotá (Carrera 19, near where it crosses with Calle 98).

It is open for visa applications between 7.30am – midday, and the process took about two hours in 2014 (before they moved the application form and submission of documents online) and about 15 minutes the second time recently (end of 2016). I would recommend that you and your partner go together, just in case, and bring your passport and his ID card (though I did go alone recently when I went to collect my second partner visa and this wasn’t a problem).

In 2014…

We entered the building and went up to the third floor, saying to the receptionist that we were applying for the visa de pareja permanente (permanent partner visa); if you are married, you can say visa conyugal. We were then given a number, and waited for this to appear on the screen in the waiting area. When our number came up, we went to the booth indicated, and the immigration official quickly skimmed through our papers to check that everything was there. He asked us a few questions about how, when and where we met. We were also asked how long we had been living together in London. My partner and I were not asked much else than this, and we were not interviewed separately during the process. Then the officer said that our papers were fine, and to go back and wait.

The next step was to pay US$50 for the “study” of the papers, which comes before they decide whether to grant you the visa or not. Once we had paid this, we waited again, and eventually went back to our immigration officer’s booth and he started filling out the electronic form, asking a few more questions. He took a photo of me and then asked us to wait outside again. Once the visa was ready, the officer gave us a payment order for the visa which I had to take to the cashier. The visa cost US$205, which had to be paid in pesos. We then gave the payment receipt to the immigration officer, who returned my passport to me with the TP-10 partner visa therein. All payments at the visa office have to be made in cash, and in Colombian pesos.

In 2016…

When I went to get my new partner visa recently, there was no need for the “study” of the documents and no photo was taken because everything had been submitted online and checked already. They will email you beforehand if there is anything missing. We also paid the visa fee online, so there was nothing to pay at the immigration office on the day. I just went to the immigration officer’s booth, handed over my passport and he printed the visa there and then and stuck it on my passport – no questions asked. Things seem to be much easier now than they were three years ago! If it’s your first visa though, I would still recommend going along with your partner/spouse, just in case.

Please bear in mind that I am not a legal expert, and that the process changes regularly. If you require legal advice I would recommend that you find an English-speaking lawyer who specialises in immigration. You could try contacting James Lindzey, who is based in Medellín.

62 Comments on How to get a Colombian partner visa

  1. Hello, I’ve got a question about getting the relevant papers from the ‘notaria’, you only needed your passport right? did they check your stamps on the passport to see how much time you still had on your visa or whether you were currently legal here or not or did they just use your passport to check your identification? thanks

    • Hi,
      The notaria that we finally went to only asked for my passport, for ID purposes, and then for information about how long we’d been living together and our current address. When I went to apply for the partner visa at the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, then the immigration official did check my stamps to make sure I hadn’t overstayed (in fact, one of the things you have to bring is a copy of the page which has your last entry stamp to Colombia). Hope that helps! I’m on Twitter at @howtobogota if you want to add me and ask anything else!

  2. and how much did you pay for that document? (thank you for the info it has been really helpful :-))

  3. You know I can’t remember exactly, but it wasn’t more than $100,000 pesos. Somewhere between 50,000-100,000? It does vary among notaries though.
    Glad you’ve found it useful! 🙂

  4. hey I’ve got another question, when you went back to sign the papers at the notaria what type of questions did they ask? did they ask you about your relationship?

    • Hi,

      When we went back to sign the papers they just asked us to confirm how long we’d been living together, including dates (month and year), and where (i.e. how long in London, how long in Colombia), and where we were living now. I think they asked how we met too – my bf was studying in London and we were working part-time at the same place. They didn’t ask us to provide any evidence of this or proof of address. We then had to read through the whole legal document to check for errors and check that we agreed with it all, and then signed. It’s more likely that you’ll be asked questions when you go to apply for your visa.

      If you want, you can email me at naomiffrench@gmail.com if anything else comes up 🙂 I know how stressful the process can be!

  5. Hello, thanks a lot for your advises, this helps a lot especially for the notary, i had no idea that it was that complicated!
    I already have the union marital de hecho, and I’m currently doing all the photocopies necessary but I still have a question:
    When I compare what’s written in your blog and the requirements from the cancelleria website, they don’t specify that my partern’s cedula photocopy has to be signed and stamp by a notary, as they don’t specify it for the letter either. So is it really necessary or do you recommend it as a precaution?
    Thanks! Your blog is really great!

    A new frenchy in Bogota!

    • Hi Marlène, I’m glad you’ve found the blog useful!

      It is possible that the requirements have changed (as they do here regularly). I’m not sure if immigration placed much importance on the notary stamp, I just saw him looking at all of my papers. Having those papers notarised only cost me about 4000 pesos each so it’s not much, but if the website no longer specifies it as a requirement, you could just show that to the immigration officer on your phone or print it out, in case they question that. I’m sure you’ll be fine! 🙂

  6. My partner and I met online 1.5 years ago. I visited him back in March and now we have decided to live together in Colombia. My passport only shows me coming to Colombia in March 2014 and he doesn’t have a US visa. It’s impossible for us to provide any dates or stamps to show us living together or visiting before this year. I am a pilot and will be commuting back and forth between Colombia and the US. The consular told me I would have to get a visa because the frequency of visits will be to often for a tourist visa. But, if we cant account for 2 years of living, how will I get the union marital de hecho and than the visa? I’m stuck on this one. Please help!

    • Hi Blaine,
      I would go to one of the notaries in Bogota that I mentioned (41 or 11), and try anyway. You will have to make up some dates, as you’ve been together for less than 2 years – you could just say that you came here for the first time say 2.5 years ago to visit for x months (for credibility) and that you’ve been travelling back and forth since then, so effectively ‘living together’. You could say that your partner visited you in the US too (they most likely won’t ask to see his passport). In any case your only option, if you want the union marital de hecho, will be to sort out dates and places that you’ve been/lived together and then be consistent about these throughout. When I went through the process, no-one ever asked to see my partner’s passport to confirm that he had been living in the UK. And no-one asked for anything which proved that we had been living together for 2 years – neither the notary nor immigration.
      If you’re coming back and forth as a pilot anyway you could wait a few months to build up a few visits (and more credibility)?
      Good luck!

  7. Great post! We are planning to apply for a fiance visa and live in the States next year, but my F wants to buy a property in Colombia so we have a place to stay for vacation. He needs a cedula to open a bank account and transfer the money, so I think this type of visa would be a good option.How long does it take to get a cedula de extranjeria after your visa is issued?

  8. Great post! We are planning to apply for a fiance visa and live in the States next year, but my F wants to buy a property in Colombia so we have a place to stay for vacation. He needs a cedula to open a bank account and transfer the money, so I think this type of visa would be a good option.How long does it take to get a cedula de extranjeria after your visa is issued? thanks!!

    • Hi thanks for the comment! I don’t have a lot of information about what’s required to buy property in Colombia, but in answer to your question, it tends to depend on the time of year in terms of how long you have to wait to get the cédula de extranjería. I think I waited six weeks the first time I got a cédula (soon after getting my visa). You have to go to Migración in street 100 to apply for it. But I believe the waiting time has decreased since then, it may only take a couple of weeks now. They’ll give you an idea when you apply for it though! Good luck!

  9. Great post! thanks for it. Once you have the visa, do you need to apply for the cedula de extranjeria?

  10. Jorge Luis Morales // April 26, 2015 at 8:33 pm // Reply

    This blog is awesome. Congratulations Naomi.

  11. I just did it today, very easy process. Just a few updates:

    – “A photocopy of your partner’s cédula (identity card) – this copy has to be signed and stamped by a notary (this cost us $4900 pesos)”
    Actually it is NOT required to sign and stamp the copy. More informations here: http://www.cancilleria.gov.co/tramites_servicios/visas/clases and TP10

    – A letter from your partner requesting that you be granted the partner visa […] this letter must also be signed and stamped by a notary.
    Same as above, you do NOT need to sign and stamp it.

    – In Notaría 41, the process to draw up the legal document took us 1.5 hours, and 3 days later we collected the copy.

    – We arrived at 7h50 at Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (entrance on the right, not where you’ll see a big queue of people), and left at 9h50 with the visa. Be sure you have all documents, and enough cash (around 550’000 pesos). You can speed up the process by applying online: https://tramitesmre.cancilleria.gov.co/tramites/enlinea/solicitarVisa.xhtml but I did not try it.

    The same day you can go to Migración Colombia (just a few blocks away) to apply for your Cédula de Extranjería, but don’t forget a picture of you, a proof of your blood group, plus photocopies of your visa, first page of passport and last entry stamp.

    • Thanks Greg – the process and requirements are always changing so it’s useful to have an update! Will update the post when I have time! 🙂

  12. Deliana Zapata // December 21, 2015 at 10:17 pm // Reply

    Hi, thank you for your information, it was very helpful. We are a same sex couple, Colombian-Foreigner. We went to Cucuta, Notaria 2 and they asked to bring the Registro Civil of the colombian partner, and the Apostilled Birth Certificate and the passport of the foreign. We signed the Escritura Publica Union Marital de Hecho in 15 minutes. 3 days later they gave us the copies. We went to Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores and they granted the visa TP 10, everything as Greg said. Thank you very much.

    • Great! Congratulations!
      Some notaries as for more paperwork than others; I’m glad you had everything they asked for and that everything went smoothly!
      All the best!
      Naomi

  13. Thanks for all these useful informations Naomi.

    I will soon have to make a request for that visa, but as some people commenting here, i’m not able, with my girlfriend, to prove 2 years of living together. I will have two or 3 stamps of visiting Colombia on my passeport, but only for the maximum lenght of 3 months (tourist visa).
    So do we really need to lie and invent a “living together story” for example in France for 1 year and a half, and then count my visit in Colombia to make a count of a little more than 2 years ? If, for any reason, they ask for the passeport of my girlfriend, they will notice that she got no stamps existing of visiting France.

    That’s really the difficulty in this case to obtain the T10 visa. Having all the papers they ask is really not a problem, it’s really about this 2 years living together.

    My girlfriend lives in Medellin, it looks like it’s a little more easy with the Notary, which is great for me.

    So just a question, have you ever heard about a story where the colombian person has been asked for his/her passeport to verify the “story of the 2 years living together” … i’m a little bit afraid of lying, having my visa declined and not being able to travel to Colombia again.

    And to finish, i really thank you for your blog, and i hope your life is great in Colombia.

    Best regards, from France

    • Hi Sylvain! Well, if you want the unión marital de hecho, you will have to say to the notary that you have been living together for at least two years. I can’t really tell you what story to tell the notaria or migración, but I can say that, although they asked how long my boyfriend and I had been in a relationship for and how long we had lived together, neither the notary nor immigration asked for any proof of this. They did not ask to see my boyfriend’s passport to prove that he had been living in London (I guess some Colombians might say that they had lost their passport, if necessary…) and they didn’t ask for documentation showing that we had lived together. We just had to have a consistent story regarding places and dates. They will look at your passport because that’s where they will put the visa. I have not heard of a case where they asked to see the Colombian person’s passport (and if this was required, it would be listed as one of the necessary documents on the migración website which talks about visas). One thing is for sure: you won’t get the TP-10 visa without either a unión marital de hecho or a marriage certificate. I know it isn’t nice to invent a story but in the end, you love your girlfriend and you want to be together – and that’s what matters most! 🙂 good luck!

      • Thanks for your super Quick answer 😉
        Well we gonna invent a story and have The same version together. That’s The only way for me to live there quickly.
        Thanks again for everything

  14. Hi,
    Thanks for this very interesting and helpful blog. I just have one question: Do you know if you are allowed to work in Colombia with this visa?
    Greetings,
    Marlous

  15. Hi there,

    I love your blog, it has lots of super helpful information!! I wanted to give a recent (as of April 2016) update for anyone coming here – as I did – looking for help finding a Notary in Bogota that does not require a proof-of-single-status from the extranjero to perform the matramonio de hecho. Unfortunately both Notaria 41 and 11 each told me that I would need to produce the equivalent of the registro civil to demonstrate that I was “eligible to marry.” We called and/or visited over 20 notarias in Bogota and finally were successful with Notaria 34 near Unicentro. They did require that my birth certificate be apostilled and officially translated (apostille must be done by the state/country you were born in, but the certified translation can be done here in Bogota; I got it for $50.000 COP), but with that and my passport we were good to go. We went without an appointment, were attended to immediately, returned the following day to sign and then 3 days later to pick up the escrito publico. We spent in total < 45 minutes there and the entire process with them was completed within less than a week and cost $150.000 COP.

    Thanks again for all the useful info!

  16. HI there, I am looking into getting this visa currently. I have only been living with my colombian boyfriend in Colombia for three months in BOgota. Before that I was traveling. I am willing to be creative but my passport stamps show that I was in Peru and Bolivia and argentina from September last year not in ´ in Australia living with my Colombian boyfriend´Does this matter? They wont question me about this?

  17. Hi thank you so much for the given information.. its too much helpful!!
    My question is a little different…I am in Armenia (it’s a country, not the city in Colombia)) and my Bf from Colombia is going to travel here for getting married with me (civil marriage)…but we dont have time for appling TP10 VISA from here because we are going to travell to Bogota after 2 days of getting married here…..Can I apply and get my tourist visa beforehand as for this I dont need marriage certificate and when I go to Colombia I already will have my merriage certificate and I can Apply for TP10???

    • Hi Melly thanks for your comment and congratulations on your plans to get married! I am not a legal immigration expert, however, if you have a tourist visa and are therefore in Colombia legally, then I believe you can apply for the TP-10 visa after you arrive in Colombia. I recommend that you have your marriage certificate translated into Spanish and have the original copy authenticated by a notary in your country and translated. All the best and good luck!

  18. Geoffrey Currie // June 30, 2016 at 8:01 am // Reply

    Just to be clear on this, if we are legally married we don’t need this civil partnership business….?

    • Dear Geoffrey, thank you for your comment. If you are already legally married, you won’t need a civil partnership, you will just need to present your marriage certificate (translated into Spanish if necessary by an accredited translator) when you apply for your visa. This is assuming that you are married to a Colombian citizen. (But please remember that I’m not a legal expert.)
      All the best!

  19. Thanks for this post, really helpful. We just sorted this out this month so I thought I would update.

    – We needed an apostilled copy of my birth certificate, translated into Spanish (this was the most annoying part) along with my partners birth certification.
    – We used Notary 61 (a connection via my partners family). They could only vouch for our relationship from my first visa stamp into Colombia (6 months ago). Other Notary’s asked for a document to prove I was single (this is expensive and not actually required so go elsewhere if you are told it is needed, they have probably not done the process before). I also needed an interpreter to attend with me to explain the documents. We managed this in one morning as we had a connection and phoned ahead and collected the document the next day.
    – For the visa we went to the wrong office at first so check the address.
    – The only question we had for the visa as why we had waited to get the Union Libre (2 months after arriving). My partner works and my birth certificate took a while to arrive so arranging everything took time.
    – It was approved so I went to the other office and applied for Cedula. They seemed to have most my details so I just had to sit there for a few hours, have my photo and prints taken and I will go collect it in 5 days.

    Getting the Union Libre sorted as mentioned above is the most annoying part because most Notary do not know what it is and how to do it, but they do not tell you this they just make stuff up to try get your business. This is the impression I got. Everything else is just sitting around and waiting.

    • Thanks Matt, this is really helpful and I’m glad you managed to get everything sorted out in the end! Colombian bureaucracy (notaries and banks especially!) can be a nightmare! It’s true that when people don’t know how to do something, they’ll normally just tell you it’s not possible instead of admitting they don’t know!
      You said you went to the wrong office for the visa at first – is it still at calle 100 or has it moved?
      Thanks again!

    • Hi Matt,

      Thanks for your advise, really appreciate it.

      Can you tell me if your birth certificate has any mention of your marital status? I only ask because my UK birth certificate does not and elsewhere on this page it has been said that the birth certificate is used to prove you are single (not married).

      From what I gather I have 2 equally annoying options:

      1. It costs £50 for me to go to the embassy to sign an affidavit that says I’m single then I’ll need to get it translated and stamped.

      2. The other option is to get my birth certificate stamped in the UK (£30), get this scanned and emailed (hope this is accepted) then get this translated and stamped here. I think the scan bit should be ok because the official document will be the translation.

      My rather rambling question is what would you (or anyone else reading this) recommend?

      Many thanks,

      Sam

      • Hi Sam, in my opinion, it would be worth getting the ‘certificate of no impediment’ (perhaps that’s the affidavit you mention?) as this definitively proves that you are single. They only ask for a birth certificate here because in Colombia the equivalent contains information about marital status, and they don’t realise that this is not the case for most countries. So if it were me now, I’d try to get the certificate of no impediment/affidavit – basically the legal document which will tell Colombian notaries that you’re single.
        Good luck!

  20. Hi all,

    IF your plans are to hold this Visa for the THREE years & THEN apply for your Residence (RE) Visa . . . you MIGHT just want to check your Issuance & Expirations dates . . . I had read in other Blogs & discovered that they did this to ME as well.

    MY TP-10 was issued for TWO days SHORT of the THREE year requirement to get my RE Visa. NOW, in order to get my RE, I have to apparently RENEW my TP-10, however . . .

    I am personally UNABLE to find ANYTHING in regards to RENEWING a TP-10 Visa.

    Can anyone help here? PLEASE & thank you so much

    • Hi thanks for your comment. I will actually need to renew my TP-10 visa in December as I have been living outside of Colombia for one of the last three years so I won’t be able to get residency straightaway. I’ll write about how it goes when the time comes! All the best with getting yours.. you could ask on one of the Colombia expat Facebook groups?

  21. Hi thanks so much for this clear description of the process it really helped us. Just left the visa office with a 3 year TP10 visa in my passport. One small detail which changed since august; you have to fill in the visa request form and upload all your documents online before you go. Maybe good to update this in the info above.

    • Thanks a lot for this! I will update the post when I have a chance 🙂 in the meantime I hope that your comment will be helpful to others! All the best!

    • Hi there,

      If you have any intentions of continuing your stay in Columbia or applying for a residency visa . . .

      you better check the date on that TP10 you have, because I guarantee you it is not for a FULL three years

      • My one was for 3 years but I have heard that they sometimes give visas for only one year.. I’m not really sure what this depends on. Maybe the mood of the immigration officer?

        • You better check that three year visa AGAIN I guarantee you it SHORT the couple days

          • Ok I see what you mean. Mine was 2nd Jan 14 to 1st Jan 17, so I think mine was three years. But you make an important point regarding the few days – presumably so that people have to pay for another TP-10 visa before they can apply for residency.

          • Interesting.

            I had a TP4 a year before getting my TP10 – so in theory, could I apply for residency taking this year into account too, or does it have to be 3 years on a partner visa before residency?

      • hi thanks for the notification, but my visa is exactly 3 years valid: from 2016/09/13 until 2019/09/13. I decided not to worry what comes after for at least the next 2 years 🙂

  22. Hello, I’ve got my TP-10 approved recently so I thought I’d share some thoughts and tips.

    I was really stressed out after reading what I guess was every piece of information you could find online on escritura publica and I packed my suitcase beforehand because I was sure we won’t be able to get it (in the most optimistic scenario, I was prepared to spend a week running around Bogota trying to find a notaria willing to give us the paper). BUT we entered the first notaria we’ve seen (Notaria 10 on Calle 100) and got the paper without any hassle. The truth is that I did have my birth certificate translated and apostilled (I’m from the Czech Republic and the apostille can be done only in Prague, so check well beforehand with your embassy if it’s not the case with you as well). I wouldn’t be able to get the certificate of no impediment on time so I just risked it and presented my papers as if I had everything in order and it worked! In case they still insist on the certificate of no impediment, I was told you can bring two witnesses or sign an affidavit (declaracion extrajuicio) but I can’t confirm if this is true.

    Also, as for the 2 years you’re supposed to be together, this is not really the case as you can apply for “union marital de hecho” whenever you want to, the 2 years apply to “sociedad patrimonial” (jointly held property).

    Everything run smooth at the Immigration Office. Although the website says that you have to fill in an online application as of August 17, we didn’t and had no problems. The interview was really short and only basic questions were asked. Actually, the biggest pain was getting the cedula, as there are huge lines and only the applicant is allowed to enter the building. It took over 2 hours to have it done so bring a book.

    I hope I didn’t forget anything important… Being stressed out about not being able to get it was the most stressful part so I hope this will help and encourage some of you!

    Good luck!

    • I just have two things to add to this experience . . .

      1. If you’re planning on getting a Resident Visa after you have secured this TP – 10, you might want to check the date on your Visa. Because it has been my experience that they short your 3 year requirement by 2 to 3 days, as IS the case for me as well. Then you have to get another one in order to have your FULL 3 years.

      2. We were advised when the time came for me to get my next visa, that I did not have to return to Bogotá. That they had all of my information now & I could handle that locally.

      Upon researching in Cali, we have found no place to do this. In fact, we were informed that we WILL have to return to Bogotá.

      Also? There really is no such thing as renewing your visa. On researching ( & actually CALLING about ) the renewal process we were informed of this. You must reapply all over again.

      AND . . . as OUR ultimate goal IS the Resident Visa, I now have to get another TP – 10 in order to fulfill the 3 year requirement to obtain a Resident Visa.

      Bottom line, we are scheduling a trip to Bogotá with enough money to cover a Resident Visa, just in case they do let me get it.

  23. Hi,

    Great blog! Very useful! I am Asian and I have been doing long distance relationship for a year with my Colombian girlfriend. We met online. Actually, this is the first time I am going to visit Colombia to meet her. I don`t have any previous entry stamps of Colombia. We are planning to get into civil union after a month or so of being together. Will I have a problem getting the cedula? I cant cook a story of ‘living together for two years’. Any suggestion is highly appreciated. Thank you!

    Best
    Rockwell

    • Hi thanks for your comment 🙂
      In order to get a legal document from a notary certifying your civil union, you have to say that you have lived together like a married couple for at least two years, otherwise they will not give you this document. Whether you want to say that she has been living in Asia with you, or that you have been to Colombia before (i.e. if you said you came with a different/previous passport for example), that is up to you, but that is the only way to get the civil union document. If you plan to apply for a TP-10 (partner/spouse) visa, then you will need the civil union document. Or you can get married 🙂

      If you decide not to get the civil union, you could enroll on a Spanish course and apply for a student visa, which would allow you to stay in Colombia for longer. Learning Spanish is also really useful in terms of managing day-to-day life in Colombia! If you get a job here, you could then apply for a work visa. You might also be able to extend your tourist visa, but this might depend on your nationality (I’m not an immigration expert so you might want to get some professional advice about this!).

      Once you have a valid partner/student/work visa, then it is easy to get the cédula from Migración.

      All the best and enjoy your time in Colombia! 🙂

      • Thank you very much for your reply! Learning Spanish seems to be a nice option as I could stay longer 🙂

        By the way, could you tell me if there are any Spanish courses or programs available in and around Monteria? Most of the schools are either in Medellin or Bogota. Thank you again! Best!

        • Hi and you’re welcome! Montería is quite small (in comparison to the bigger cities) and I don’t imagine there is a large expat community there, so it may be difficult to find Spanish courses for foreigners. What I would suggest is going to or contacting the English departments at the local universities in Montería – the English teachers will almost certainly be Colombian – and ask if one of those teachers would be willing to give you private Spanish classes. I think you would expect to pay 30,000-40,000/hour for private Spanish classes. This is probably your best bet – if they know how to teach English then they should be able to teach you Spanish.
          The universities I have found online are the Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana, Instituto Tecnológico San Agustín, Universidad Católica Luis Amigó and Universidad del Sinú.
          The only problem is that private classes probably won’t help you to get a student visa. But maybe the universities will be able to tell you if there are any official Spanish courses on offer in Montería. Good luck!

          • Thank you very much! So kind of you! Its really helpful. I will contact those universities. Thank you again! Best!

  24. RICK WILSON // March 12, 2017 at 9:52 am // Reply

    Do you have the addres to Notary 17. Thanks

  25. Great blog. I’m going to curate a few articles from it tonight. I also wonder if I could do a video interview with you on my blog sometime in the future. I have a lady friend in Bogota and am thinking about moving there…especially since the the largest Kizomba community (a dance style) in Colombia is in Bogota.

    Regards,
    Art

  26. Hi, I got married to a US citizen on July last year, since then he stayed here in Barranquilla, Colombia, he left for a month on December, and he will be extending his entrance this week, but we have plans to be in Bogota in April 24th to May 1st, I don’t know if that is enough time to apply for the TP-10, or should he apply online and in case he needs to be interviewed can it be done in those days we are there or will they set an exact date he needs to go? I called the Cancillería, but they weren’t very helpful giving me this information. I just know we have to do it within the 30 days we apply. If someone has a case like that, that applied online and had to go for an interview, how does that works? Thank you!

    • Hi Margarita, thanks for your comment and sorry for the delayed reply. I applied for my last TP-10 visa online and paid online too. They then send you an email confirming that the application has been processed and that all the required documents are in order, and once you have that confirmation, you can go to the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores on cra 19 with calle 98 (Bogota) to collect the visa. They might ask a few questions, but as long as you answer honestly there shouldn’t be a problem, and they will issue the visa there and then. I recommend going quite early (7.30-8.30) in the morning to avoid a long wait!
      Good luck!
      Naomi

      • Hi Naomi, thank you for you answer. We went ahead and applied for the visa online, and in 3 days we had it, no interview required. But just an advice to everyone that is in the process and lives out of Bogotá, plan ahead. As I said before, we have a trip planned to Bogota on April 24th, either for the interview or to get the visa stamped on his passport and also for tourist purposes. But since the visa was already approved we only need to get it stamped, we now have the problem that it needs to be registered at Migración Colombia, within the following 15 calendar days, and it needs to be registered when you have it stamped on the passport, the electronic visa they sent when it is approved is not accepted. So I think this is tricky when you don’t live in Bogotá. They should give the same 30 days the Cancillería gives or at least start counting the 15 days after is stamped on the passport. Since we are going to be over the 15 days, they said we will have to pay a fine, between half of one month minimum salary up to 3 minimum salaries. So I called the Cancillería and asked them if we could give a power of attorney to someone in Bogotá and that person could go with the passport and get the visa stamped there, they said yes, thanks God!

  27. Great Blog! Lots of good info!

    We spent the day in notarias yesterday and for the Colombian national its very easy to get a new copy of there birth certificate / civil status. It cost my girlfriend 6,200mil pesos and was ready in 30 minutes.other than that all they ask for now is a copy of her Cedula. No letter is required in the notaria!

    For myself every notaria seems to be asking for proof that I am single, so I am going to translate my certified birth certificate and go in again tomorrow to see if this is sufficient.
    If this doesn’t work I have booked a meeting with the British embassy to obtain an affidavit / affirmation.

    Again the affidavit seems to be a legal document saying your able to marry and costs £50, however it isn’t the same as the equivalent official document, which needs to be applied for from England. ( has anyone applied with an affidavit? )

    Could you please advise of places to translate documents? preferably one day services? or maybe add this to the bottom of your blog? When searching online you’ll always get western services and if anyone knows of local services then it will save a lot of money.

    Thanks.

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