person signing documents

In this guide, we’re going to take you through the social security benefit reservation letter for American citizens. 

Many of our American clients past and present ask us about the importance of this letter when applying for the Colombian retirement visa. In this article you’ll learn:

  1. What is a US social security benefit reservation letter?
  2. Why you may need a social security benefit reservation letter if you apply for a Colombian visa
  3. How to get your social security benefit verification letter while being in Colombia

Let’s start defining what a US social security benefit reservation letter is.

What is a US social security benefit reservation letter?

Also known as a ‘benefits letter’, the US social security benefit letter shows your retirement, medical and disability (if applicable) benefits. It can also act as proof that you’ve applied for social security benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The benefits letter is an important requirement for American expats who want to apply for a Colombian visa, as we explain below.

Why do you need a social security benefit reservation letter if you apply for a Colombian visa?

The benefits letter is needed for legal purposes when applying for the Colombian retirement visa as an American expat. This benefits letter must be notarized, translated and with an official apostille in your application for the Colombian retirement visa. 

Getting the benefits letter is actually very simple and only means downloading it from the SSA’s website.

To get the Colombian retirement visa, however, this benefits letter needs to be certified through the US embassy in Bogotá. This makes the procedure for applying for the retirement visa slightly more complicated for American pensioners looking to settle in Colombia.

Fortunately, there are solutions – such as our benefits letter transmission service – that can help you successfully acquire the US benefits letter for your retirement visa application. 

How to get your social security benefit verification letter while being in Colombia

As we’ve said above, applying for the US benefits letter must be done through the American embassy in Bogotá, which is located at Cl. 24 Bis #48-50

This benefits letter must be notarized and stamped with an apostille by a recognized US government officer (like the ambassador) and also translated by an officially recognized translator to be accepted in the Colombian retirement visa application process. 

Given the border closures and national travel restrictions for expats and Colombians alike, doing these steps in person is likely to be difficult or even impossible for the majority of Americans. Luckily, you can have your benefits letter notarized and translated by the US embassy through our benefits letter transmission service. We send your benefits letter to the US embassy with one of our experienced couriers who’ll handle the notarization and translation process on your behalf. 

As we’ve already mentioned, you’ll need to download the benefits letter from the SSA’s website, and provide the following information:

  • A photocopy of the photo page of your passport 
  • A photocopy of the entry stamp page of your passport (if you’ve previously held Colombian visas before you may also be required to send photocopies of these)
  • A letter stating your application to get your benefits letter notarized and translated on your behalf signed and dated
  • Your last three months of bank statements that show the pension income reflected in your benefits letter

After you’ve got all these documents, we take care of the rest at the US embassy.

Choose an experienced benefits letter transmission service provider

At Expat Group, we’ve already helped hundreds of Americans such as yourself successfully acquire Colombian visas, buy property, start businesses and notarize documentation like the US benefits letter.

If you’re looking to apply for the Colombian retirement visa and have any queries regarding any stage of the process, book a call with us for a free no-pressure consultation today. We’re passionate about helping expats settle and grow in Colombia, so feel free to reach out if you’re looking for any visa, legal and business assistance while living here.

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