This article has been written with direct inputs from fellow traveler and expat Shawn Nay who is an American citizen and extended his Colombia tourist visa successfully online.
Colombian girlfriend: “Hey Shawn,. What happened to your plan to extend Colombia tourist visa? You know we were talking about the other day? You got it, right?”
Me: “Oh yeah! No worries at all. Was a piece of cake.”
Moment of truth? No, I had not. And no, I was not worried. I knew I could do it online and I had 15 days to go before my 90 days Colombia tourist stay would expire. So, we go back to netflixing. Yeah, I know what you are thinking. No, we did actually start a new episode of Black Mirror with Spanish subs. Yes, cuddling was involved.
Anyways, fast forward 10 days, and I heard from some Expats that the online one wasn’t all flowers and rainbows- and that’s when I remembered I still hadn’t done it and that got me worried as fuck. Coz’ if I couldn’t do it for some reason, I would have had to go for a last-minute ticket to leave Colombia. And I wasn’t ready to leave yet.
Well, to tell you the whole experience, it wasn’t really flowers and rainbows.
But hey, at least it wasn’t like when I tried to extend my tourist stay in Peru online. That portal is designed for giving heart attacks to people like me. And those heart attacks come in Spanish as well, which I needed to translate on Google later.
Ok, now, I am gonna explain you the whole process to extend Colombia tourist visa so that you know what comes after what, and your life is easier.
Note that this extension applies to Colombia tourist stay only, not to any other visas or permits. Many expats also refer it to as Colombia tourist permit extension.
Who is this visa extension for?
This extension is for people who entered Colombia with just an entry stamp as a tourist, and not with an actual visa sticker. Examples- Citizens of USA, Canada, EU countries, Australia, Philippines,New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago.
This extension is not for you if you entered with a real tourist visa with a visa sticker. Examples- India, South Africa, Nigeria, Vietnam
1. Don’t be a Lazy Bum. Don’t Stall it.
You don’t have to extend the tourist permit right after your arrival. Just do it a couple of weeks before the 90-day deadline.
Whatever you do, don’t wait until the last moment to extend Colombia visa. Yeah, doing it the Jason Bourne way sounds awesome in your head, but you are not in a movie.
Once you know, you are gonna be in Colombia for the long run( Ok, I mean 180 days), just do it. The best thing about the Colombian visa extension is that, the extension starts only after your current limit runs out. It’s not like some other Latin American countries ( I am looking at you Bolivia), where it would start from the day you get it and eat up the days you already have.
2. Colombia Visa Extension Requirements
Ok, so now that we know you are not a procrastinator, let’s talk about the documents. The fun part. Good news? Just 3 documents. Nothing more.
However, if you are trying to extend Colombia tourist stay for children, you need to submit a couple more documents.
1. Passport bio page
The passport bio page is, of course, the mandatory document. If you have a passport that has an address page, it’s not necessary to upload it. Just the page with your pic and name and DOB should do the trick.
2. Entry stamp
This is the page of your passport where the Colombian immigration stamped the date of your entry in Colombia.
3. Onward Flight from Colombia
An onward flight ticket that takes you out of Colombia. You can submit your flight flight confirmation email or a PDF of the ticket. Make sure it has your full name, the date of departure falls within the range of the initial 180 days of arriving in Colombia. And the itinerary must be from any Colombian city to a non-Colombian city. That’s kind of obvious, but still!
If you want to get your full 180 days in Colombia, reserve a flight that leaves on that 180th day. If you don’t, you might get the Colombian stay extension until the date of departure.
There are several ways to get an onward ticket without spending a penny. The easiest one is to get a refundable once through Expedia or Orbitz and then cancel it within 24 hours.
4. Birth certificate for Children & Passport of One parent
While this was not something I experienced personally (since I don’t have children), I got to hear from some other expats that Colombian authorities are asking parents to prove that they are in reality parents of the children whose tourist permits they are extending.
Apparently, when you enter, they don’t ask you a thing. However, when you extend the Colombian tourist permit for your children, they ask for extra proof. So you can upload the scanned copy of the birth certificate of your children in that case. And the Migraciones Colombia might ask you to notarize them as well.
If the birth certificate is in English, there is no need to get it translated. If it is in a language other than Spanish/English, check with them whether they need it to be translated.
Also note that you need to upload your passport bio when you submit the application for your child. One of the parents’ passport bio has to accompany the visa extension application for the child.
3. Submit the Online Colombia Tourist Visa Extension Application
You would need to start at the official website of Colombia migraciones.
Choose “English” on the top right. Be happy that they have that option, and you don’t need to use Google Translate.
Then, under “Tipo de Tramite” check the box beside “Permiso Temporal de Permanencia para Prorrogar Permanencia.”
Have all your documents ready. The whole thing won’t take more than a few minutes.
- When you choose English, the website doesn’t translate everything in to English in reality, which is really fun. Google what’s your nationality is called in Spanish and fill in the column for Nationality/Country of Issuance/Country. If the name you found in Spanish in not there, try searching for the English name.
- If you can’t find your place of birth, select “NO APLICA”.
- Note that, the state/departments are not available for all the countries except for some like the United States and Canada. Same goes for city/town of issuance. So if you can’t find yours, simply select your country in the state.
For example, if you are from Germany, you can see only three values in the states dropdown: BERLIN, MUNICH,GERMANY. I am pretty sure Germany has some more states. So in this case, simply choose Germany.
When you scroll down, you would find the option to upload the documents.
Now, what’s weird is that, when you upload the documents, it doesn’t really ask you for anything other than the passport bio page. I have known people who did the extension without uploading an onward flight ticket. Hell, I also know people who just uploaded just the bio page of the passport and not the entry stamp page, and they got it as well.
However, if you ask me, I would say that you should do it the right way. And the right way is to simply combine all three documents in one PDF, and make sure that the size of that PDF doesn’t exceed 1 MB.
There are many websites that combine and compress PDFs for free. I love these three for what it’s worth.
If you do everything right, and click on the ‘ACEPTO’ button, you will be forwarded to a page with your unique application number.
After this, you should receive an email like below shortly. I got it in English only.
In case you get it in Spanish, It would say the same thing that your application has been received and that you will receive a response within one business day. It would also include a confirmation number and a password to check your application status online.
In my experience, every time you file for a visa extension, apply for a cedula or do any bureaucratic work with migraciones in Latin America, just be a sport and pray. Pray that the person from immigration who is assigned your case is an efficient and happy employee who takes the job seriously, and who would check the papers and the dates properly.
So extending the Colombia tourist permit is not gonna be any different.
5. Pay the Fees to Extend Colombia Tourist Visa
Be on lookout for the emails from Migraciones Colombia. If you didn’t miss out any requirements, then usually you should get the email within a day only. This email should say “pre-aprobada or pre-approved”.
In my case, I received an email the next day indicating that my application had been pre-approved. This would contain the payment info.
If you’re a national of an EU country, your Colombia travel visa extension is free.
Otherwise, you have to pay equivalent of $30 in Colombian pesos. I paid 99,000 COP.
You can pay online, at a Banco Occidente bank or at a Migracion Colombia office.
Now the thing about payment is I was not able to make the payment successfully the first time. I got some kind of error. But after refreshing the page everything worked fine through a secure site called “Place to Pay”, and I was able to pay with my credit card.
6. Receive Success Email for Colombia Tourist Permit Extension
After you are approved and have paid you will receive a PDF indicating that your tourist permit has been extended. Take a printout and keep it with your passport. And there is no need to go to the Migracion Colombia office if you are able to successfully renew online.
This email must contain the phrase “con exito”. Those are the magic words you are looking for.
Problems with Extending Colombia Tourist Visa & Possible Solutions
Spoiler alert: The website can be slow and flaky. If you do it in English, you might see a lot of “Please Wait” or in Spanish, “Por favor espere”.
Here are the common scenarios that I got to hear from other expats. If you come across something else, do comment.
1. What to Do If You Get a Rejection Email
You might get a rejection email that would say “No fue aprobada” or something in the line of that for many reasons.
- You didn’t upload all the documents.
- The PDFs you uploaded were not of good quality. I would suggest to upload properly scanned documents rather than some pic from your phone.
- The guy who was assigned your case at migraciones was having a bad day.
- Your data was not correctly registered in the system when you entered Colombia, again by some immigration guy whose idea of work involved a bit of aguardiente.
In all these cases, if you are sure about your documents, fill out the form and upload the documents and submit a fresh application. You don’t pay until it’s approved, so no worries there. Many expats have tried two or three times, and then only were successful.
2. What to Do If You Don’t Get a Rejection or Approval Email
It’s possible that you don’t receive any kind of email after submitting the application. Wait for at least 24 hours but no more than 48 hours for the email. And then, I’d suggest just going straight into nearest migracion Colombia office, instead of stressing and checking the spam folder every hour.
Take a print off of the ‘code generated’ screenshot from the first email and a copy of all my documents. There is no need to take a prior appointment. Simply show up in the migraciones office and sort it out. Do carry a credit card and cash with you to make the oayment. You never know what will work there.
3. Call to Sort Things Out
I get that it is not always possible to go to a migraciones office, especially if you are in some place deep in the jungle or something.
So, if there is a problem with your application and you can’t go the immigration office, you may be able to solve this via the phone. You can ask to talk to an English-speaking agent.
- Land line (fijo) at 6-055454
- Toll free to 01800 0510454.
You can also schedule an appointment at a migraciones office through the same phone numbers.
Updates on Colombia Visa Extension
“How to extend a Colombia tourist visa?” is a common question asked by expats and tourists in Colombia. That being said, the visa processes change frequently in Colombia. If you experience something different than the Colombian tourist visa extension process outlined above, please let us know in the comments below. We intend to keep all of our visa articles up-to-date.