With over 10 years of experience helping expats get Colombian visas, we’re well aware of how popular the Colombian marriage visa is.
We enjoy listening to our clients and learn more about their reasons to get engaged here, most agree, that they find beauty, intelligence, understanding, happiness, and harmony in their Colombian partner to think about long-term relationships.
Also, this becomes a way to access a stay visa in the country to enjoy the Colombian paradise.
How to get married in Colombia?
To have the possibility of applying for a Marriage Visa in Colombia is very important to know the legal regulations regarding the types of unions that are valid for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We will do a little review below:
Civil Marriage is a contract between two people, and therefore, must be carried out before a judge or notary. It is a formal union that recognizes a couple as married by civil authorities and gives them the rights and duties of a marital union.
The requirements are:
- Copy of valid passport and Colombian ID.
- Copy of civil birth records with a valid note for marriage issued no later than three (3) months back.
- Certificate proving that foreigner is single in their home country to get married in Colombia.
- If either party has previously been married, a copy of the divorce certificate or death certificate will be necessary, as applicable.
- In case the foreigner does not speak Spanish, an official interpreter at the time of the marriage will be needed.
- If either of the spouses has underage children, they must request a solemn inventory of assets before the family judge. If they are children of the couple, they must attach a civil registry with a date no greater than 3 months, for legitimation.
Keep in mind that all the documents that come from abroad must be updated, apostilled and translated.
After submitting the documents to the notary, you must wait 5 days for the application to be approved and they will schedule a date for your marriage celebration.
All requirements and procedures can be verified through the notaries. The recommendation is that you contact the notary first because, in fact, there are some notaries that are not authorized to carry out procedures that involve foreigners. Here you can find the Directory of Notaries in Medellín, and through the menu (in the upper right), you can select another of the main cities of Colombia to see its options.
Civil Marriage has a notary cost of less than $200,000 COP (which would be around USD $50 approximately). You can find updated information about the process and notary prices for the year 2020 in the Resolution 1299 of 2020.
If you want to do a religious ceremony, the documents to present are:
- Baptism certificate recently processed, date no greater than three months.
- Confirmation certificate recently processed, date no greater than three months.
- Single status certificate before a priest and authenticated by a church official, in which two close relatives of the contracting party attest that they know you and that you have never been married by the church. If you have done so, you must present the invalidity documents.
Keep in mind that all the documents that come from abroad must be updated, apostilled and translated.
For a Religious Marriage, the prices and time will depend on the church you choose. You can research the different churches in Colombia for more information and choose one of them here.
However, you must keep in mind that in order for the marriage to be valid it will also have to be registered through a notary.
Domestic Partnership – Common-Law Marriage
Another type of valid union in Colombia for the Marriage Visa application is the Domestic Partnership or Common-Law Marriage, which is commonly known in Colombia as a “Unión Marital de Hecho” o “Unión Libre”. This type of union is regulated in Colombia through LAW 54 OF 1990.
What is special about this union is that the couple lives together under the same roof. The ideal is that this coexistence has more than two years to be legalized; However, it is possible to do the procedure with shorter relationships. Also, we have had many successful cases of visa applications with this type of union being a few months together.
The coexistence between two people can then be legalized in three ways: through a public deed in a Colombian notary, through a Judgment by Family Judge, or through a conciliation act with specialist lawyers.
Typically you will need documents similar to those required for a Civil Marriage, including apostilled and translated documents from abroad; However, at expatgroup.co, we can offer you a faster, cheaper and easier service through specialized lawyers. With our service, you will only need the identification documents (passport of the foreign person and ID of the Colombian person). No foreign document will be necessary.
The Domestic Partnership Document is different from the simple Extra-procedural Statements (Declaraciones Extraproceso) that can be obtained from a notary. To be a valid document, it must include at least the following statements:
- FACTS (HECHOS)
- PRETENTIONS (PRETENSIONES)
- TIME LENGTH (CUANTÍA)
Are same-sex unions legal in Colombia?
Yes. Colombia allows same-sex unions. Homosexual couples have the same rights as heterosexual couples in Colombia, and can also apply for a Marriage Visa. Our Domestic Partnership service is also for homosexual couples and the requirements are the same.
How can assets be protected before getting married in Colombia?
In Colombia, normally when a couple marries, from that moment, the properties, assets, and liabilities become shared, this means, everything will be divided 50/50.
However, if the couple wants to make a prenuptial agreement about the assets before they get married, this is allowed. The name by which this type of agreement is known in Colombia is “Capitulaciones Matrimoniales” or Marital Capitulations.
Capitulations are regulated in Colombia by the Civil Code, under Title XXII, from article 1771.
This process must be carried out by a specialized lawyer who prepares the agreement based on the specifications required by both spouses, and which includes clauses to protect the assets in the event of future claims.
What happens if we already got married abroad?
Marriage certificates issued abroad can be registered in Colombia in order to apply for a Marriage Visa. This applies to both same-sex couples and heterosexual couples in which one person is Colombian.
In this way, the marriage will be legally recognized in both countries. It is not recommended to get married again in Colombia because, in legal terms, the correct process is to register the original marriage in Colombia.
How can I legalize a foreign marriage in Colombia?
- Issue an updated Marriage Certificate with Apostille in your home country. Here we explain what the apostille is.
- If the certificate is in a language other than Spanish, it must be translated by an official Colombian translator. We offer you the official translation service with the endorsement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
- Copy of both identification documents (Passport and Colombian ID).
- In the event of Capitulations, a true copy of them must be provided to carry out its respective registry in the Colombian Marriage Certificate.
The process of registering a foreign marriage can be carried out through consulates, notaries, or national registries. You can know the location of these authorities abroad and in Colombia through the following link: DIRECTORY.
However, if you are in Colombia, at expatgroup.co we can also assist you so that your foreign marriage will be recognized in Colombia under all legal regulations. This is a procedure that can take about a week. If you want more information, contact us!
What are the documents required for the Colombian Marriage Visa?
In addition to the true and updated copy of the Colombian Marriage Certificate, or one of the valid certificates explained above, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will require the following documents:
- Valid Original Passport with at least two blank pages. We’ll need a photocopy of the data page.
- Photocopy of the document that demonstrates your legal stay in Colombia or in the country in which you will apply for your visa (if it is to be requested through a Colombian consulate).
- Good quality digital picture 3×4 cm, white background without accessories.
- Copy of the ‘cédula’ of the Colombian permanent spouse.
- Visa application letter signed by the permanent spouse.
- Notarized letter from the Colombian permanent spouse granting you the legal power to apply for the visa.
It is important to keep in mind that the Colombian government may require additional documents within the process, before giving a final approval response regarding the visa application. Some examples are:
- Certificate of Migratory Movements of the Colombian person and of the foreigner, issued by Colombian Migration (Migración Colombia). This is in order to verify if they have traveled together and the time that the relationship has been established.
- Pictures together where the date of capture can be seen.
- Information exchanges on social networks.
- And other documents that our expatgroup.co team will help you prepare to increase the success of your application.
Is an interview necessary to obtain a Colombian Marriage Visa?
The Colombian government may request an interview in any case that they think is necessary. However, interviews are more recurring in Marriage Visa processes. There are a few factors that can make an interview request by the government more likely:
- If the type of union is by a recent domestic partnership.
- Relationship time: When the relationship is less than 2 years old, the government is more likely to request an interview.
- Age difference: When there is a difference of more than 5 years of age, it is another factor of incidence.
- Demonstrable coexistence time: When it is not possible to demonstrate that you have traveled together, that you have lived in the same place for a long time and that you have common interests.
The interview may be together or separately to compare the responses. Some examples of typical questions could be the following to demonstrate that it is a real relationship:
- Where and when did you meet?
- What trips have you planned and taken together?
- Special and birthday dates.
- Questions to find out information about both families.
- How is the place where you live together? Describe some characteristics of the space.
- Questions about the couple’s scars, tattoos, or special tastes.
- What side of the bed does your partner sleep on?
- Last activities that you did together.
How long does it take to get a marriage visa in Colombia?
In addition to the time necessary to marry in Colombia or legalize a union in the country, as explained above, when you have all the necessary documents to start the application, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will take 5 to 6 business days to study your request. If there are no additional requirements and everything is correct, the visa will be approved and in one more week, you can obtain the visa stamped in your passport and submit your cédula de extranjería application.
With the cédula de extranjería you can access the health system, open bank accounts, obtain a driver’s license, among other benefits. In addition, you can carry out any legal activity in the country. You can work under any type of contract, be a freelance worker, start your own company, study, do business, etc.
You can leave and enter Colombia without any problem, but to keep the visa valid you mustn’t stay outside of Colombia for more than 6 months in the same departure. The Marriage Visa could be issued from a year up to three years and you will always have the possibility to renew it. When you accumulate two continuous years with this kind of visa, you can finally become a permanent resident.
How much does a marriage visa cost?
The costs of the marriage visa include two fixed items from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs: $52 USD for the visa application and an additional fee of $ 230USD for the Visa’s approval and issuance.
Also, if you want to minimize the risks, increase your chances of success and have professional assistance during the whole process of your Colombian visa application as a retired person, you can hire the services of a specialized agency, a private attorney, or a law firm. The prices of the service can range between $160 USD and approximately $500 USD depending on what you choose.
At expatgroup.co, we are an interdisciplinary team with more than 10 years of experience in services for foreigners, including the complete Colombian visas processes. If you want to know the detailed prices of our services, you can click below, fill out the small form and you will receive an automatic quote in 2 minutes by email:
Why choose us as your specialized visa agency?
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- Automatic quotes: You can get a quick and complete quote with the requirements and prices of the service you need. Completely online here.
- Virtual counseling, call scheduling or in-person appointments to discuss the visa requirements and process. (appointment request)
- Online chat through the website and online-enabled for quick advice through WhatsApp.
- Office for face-to-face attention and correspondence reception in El Poblado, Medellín city.
- English speaking advisor if required.
- Competitive price compared to other visa agencies. (Visa Agencies: 2020 Guide to Visa Agencies in Medellín and Colombia)
- Documents preparation, forms filling, and professional documents reviewing to increase the chances of success.
- Online visa application.
- Visa stamping service in Bogotá: when your visa is approved, we will take care of stamping it in your passport and returning it to you.
- Assistance with the visa registration with Migración Colombia and application to obtain your “cédula de extranjería” (foreigner ID card).
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