(Updated Aug 2018 with a link to a new post about getting the Salvoconducto)
First, if you’re planning to move to Colombia or are already living here, it’s a really good idea to join the following Facebook groups: Secret Bogota. Ssshhh and Expat, people traveling to Bogota Colombia!! People ask all kinds of questions on there and you’ll find so many helpful (and a few unhelpful) answers, and you can ask any questions that you have too.
What if your return flight is the day after your Colombian visa expires?
Just recently, someone posted a Colombian visa question in one of the Facebook groups. I guess this is a question that a number of people might have, so I thought I’d write a post on it. As a tourist, you can stay for up to 180 days in Colombia in any calendar year. You’ll normally get a 90-day visa initially (this is the stamp you get at the airport when you first enter Colombia). Before this visa expires, you’ll need to go to Migración to get a new passport stamp, or leave and re-enter the country. You can then stay for another 90 days. This person said that she was already on her second tourist visa and her flight home was booked for the day after her current visa was due to expire. She asked if this would be a problem. The answer is that they are really thorough at the airport about checking visa dates and the number of days you have spent in Colombia. If you have overstayed any type of Colombian visa, you’ll be fined.
Make an appointment at Migración to get a Salvoconducto
People advised this woman to either change the date of her flight, or take the less costly option of going to Migración and asking for a Salvoconducto. This is a way to legally extend your stay for a further 30 days, giving you time to either get a new Colombian visa (maybe a work, study or partner visa), or to catch a later flight without getting into problems at the airport and having to pay a fine. It costs 56,000 pesos, which is significantly less than it would usually cost to change a flight! A really helpful tip, I thought!
Here’s a map of the different immigration offices in Colombia where you can make an appointment to get the Salvoconducto.
Here’s a story from Dutch expat in Bogota Fetze Weerstra on his experience getting the Salvoconducto.
Where can I find out more about the different types of Colombia visas?
This blog post from Medellín Guru has more useful information about the new visa categories. Chris from The Unconventional Route has written a helpful blog post on how to renew a Colombian tourist visa.
I’m not an immigration specialist – I pass on what I know from experience or from what others have said. For professional immigration advice, I recommend you contact an immigration lawyer.
If you need any documents translated for visa purposes (they offer numerous different languages) I recommend Traducciones Bogota. I used them once and they had the official translation delivered to me in 2 working days. They also have English-speaking staff so you can write to them in English.