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How to Extend Your Colombia Tourist Visa Online or in Person

visa extension colombia

Time’s Up, Time to Extend

Last week, was a moment Kim and I had been dreading ever since we arrived in Colombia: the expiry of our 90-day Colombia tourist visas. It was time to come before immigration and plead for a 90-day extension.

In a turn of events as unsurprising as a James Bond escape from certain death, the process ended up being a debacle.

So now, as per the vows we swore to uphold when we became bloggers, we will translate our experience into tips to help your Colombia tourist visa extension goes more smoothly.

If you’re wise enough to be reading this more than a couple days before your visa expires, read our tips on how to extend your Colombia tourist visa online.

Otherwise, jump below to our tips on how to extend your Colombia tourist visa in person at the Medellín immigration office.

Note: This post only covers Colombia tourist visas. To extend your student visa, follow this guide by Tellanto and for 7 other visa options to extend your stay in Colombia, check out this overview by Brittany from Leaving Gringolandia


How to Extend Your Colombia Tourist Visa Online

1. Start early

As soon as you know you’re going to stay in Colombia for more than ninety days in a row, get started with extending your Colombia tourist visa.

Even if your visa doesn’t expire for another month, it doesn’t hurt to start now. There’s no penalty for applying early—the 90-day visa extension is added to the day your current visa expires, not the day you apply—but there is a penalty for starting late.

2. Get your documents together

You’ll need the following documents, in PDF format, to extend your Colombia tourist visa online:

  • The photo page of your passport
  • The page on your passport with your Colombian immigration entry stamp
  • Your ticket for your departure from Colombia within less than 180 days of your initial arrival in the country. This can be a copy of your flight confirmation email. Make sure it has your full name, the dates, and an itinerary from a Colombian city to a non-Colombian city.

Two helpful things to know regarding these documents:

  1. The three PDFs must be less than 1 MB total. Colombia’s online tourist visa extension system won’t accept files bigger than that. Use a scanning app like Scanbot (free) on your phone to make a PDF of your passport photo and stamp pages, then use a free site like ilovepdf.com to shrink the files to the required size.
  2. If you don’t have a departure flight yet, buy a ticket to wherever on Expedia, save a copy of the email in PDF, then cancel it immediately. Expedia refunds all flights as long as you do it within 24 hours.

3. Submit your online Colombia tourist visa extension application

Here’s the link for extending your Colombia tourist visa online.

Choose “English” on the top right if you think “no problemo” is proper Spanish, then under “Tipo de Tramite” check the box beside “Permiso Temporal de Permanencia para Prorrogar Permanencia.”

The rest of the form it super straightforward. It won’t take more than a couple minutes if you already have your documents ready. 

Screenshot of Colombia online visa extension application form
The form for your online Colombia tourist visa extension application is as easy as uno, dos, tres.

Shortly after you’ve submitted the form, you’ll get an email like the one below. It says your application has been received and that you will receive a response within one business day. It also includes a confirmation number and a password so you can check your application status online.

Colombia tourist visa application confirmation email
This online visa extension application thing might actually work…

Amazingly, we got a response within one business day just like the email said we would.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the response we hoped for.

3. Don’t take “No” for an answer

Despite having all the documents exactly as they asked, our online Colombian tourist visa extension applications were rejected.

The rejection email (screenshot below) included reasons the application was denied, but those reasons are complete “gentleman cow manure”. It’s just something the poor employee with the horrible job of having to review each application mindlessly copy-pasted.

Screenshot of online visa extension rejection email.
In Spanish, “no” doesn’t always mean “no.”

If you’re sure you have all the right documents, don’t take “No” for an answer. There’s no cost to you in doing so other than the couple minutes it takes to fill out the form.

4. Pray

Every time you submit your online visa extension, pray your application ends in the inbox of a Colombia immigration employee who does their job properly and not someone who hates their job or is spiteful that your country’s soccer team beat Colombia’s one time.

If you pray hard enough, you’ll get an approval letter like the one I got below (on my third try). It has an attachment you’ll need to keep on hand digitally or physically.

Screenshot of email confirming Colombia tourist visa extension
Exito isn’t just a supermarket in Colombia. It’s Spanish for success!

5. Pay

If you’re a national of a Schengen country your Colombia travel visa extension is free. Otherwise, you have to pay. On Colombia’s Immigration site it says the cost is 92,000 COP, but they charged us 96,000 COP. Either the price has gone up or we bought somebody a couple empanadas.

6. Mock your procrastinating friends

If you were forward-thinking and fortunate enough to have a smooth and successful online Colombia travel visa extension you now have permission to look down upon your friends who had to go to the Medellin immigration offices because they waited until the last minute.

7. Enjoy up to 90 more days in Colombia!

Here are some ideas and inspiration to make your next 90 days in Colombia even better than your first:


How to Extend Your Colombia Tourist Visa at the Medellín Immigration Office

1. Give the online Colombia visa extension application one last go

Unless today is the day your Colombia travel visa expires, before going to the Medellín immigration office submit an online application and hope for the best.

If I had done so, I could have avoided a miserable trip to the Medellín immigration offices.

They had already rejected my online application twice and there were only two business days left before my visa expired, so I prematurely gave up hope and went to the Medellín immigration offices.

There, the lady told me to fill out the online form once again. I didn’t understand the point, but I didn’t want to cause a fuss, so I did as she asked (I’m Swiss and Canadian after all). I then waited for over an hour to be called to talk with the guy who reviewed my documents. He pulled up my file on his computer and… asked me what I was doing there. He said the online application I’d just filled out had already been approved!

I’d gone to the immigration offices and waited around for nothing.

2. Make an appointment

If you’ve run out of time and hope for getting your Colombia travel visa extended online, don’t just show up at the immigration offices. Make an appointment.

To do so, call 018000-510454. If you don’t speak Spanish, don’t worry; there are call center agents that speak perfect English. They will set a time for you and give you an appointment number. Write it down because you’ll need it.

3. Prepare everything you need

Before going to the Medellín immigration offices, print off the required documents (see above) and get your appointment number and the number of your online application ready. If you’re not a citizen of a Schengen country, bring a credit card to pay for your extension. Cash is not accepted.

If you don’t have access to a printer, you can go to one of the many of opportunistic printing businesses located beside the Medellín immigration offices.

4. Turn lemons into (healthy vegan) lemonade

Except when we go to hike Cerro de las Tres Cruces, we don’t spend much time in the area where the Medellín immigration offices are. To make the most of being in a different part of town, we stopped for lunch at Copoazú, a twelve-minute walk away.

Copoazú is a vegan restaurant that opened in late 2017. The owner will everything she can to ensure you enjoy your meal. She even asked if we were right or left handed so as to set the cutlery for us accordingly.

Our meal included cream of lettuce soup topped with sesame seeds to start, then falafel, grilled zucchini medallions, cabbage salad with a herbed tomato sauce, and brown rice as the main dish. And the dessert of little pieces of french toast covered in chocolate sauce and carob powder was the best we’ve had in a lunch menu.

Costing just 10,500 COP, it was so good we almost wish we had to go to Colombian more immigration more often to give us a reason to come back.

Ok, that’s a complete lie. But Copoazú’s menu del dia was really one of our favorites. (See our list here.)

Our lunch from Copoazu
At least you can look forward to a good meal at nearby Copoazú if you need to go to the Medellín immigration office to extend your visa.

5. Go to the Medellín immigration office

The Medellín immigration offices aren’t where Google Maps says. They’re around the corner. Here’s a map. You can save these locations to your phone by following these easy instructions.

6. Stay calm and extend your visa

When you get to the Medellín immigration offices, show your appointment number to the security guard at the door. He’ll point you to a receptionist, to whom you also need to tell you have an appointment and then show your printed documents.

Be friendly but adamant to the receptionist that they respect your appointment. We weren’t and had to wait an hour because of it.

The receptionist will check your documents then tell you to sit down and wait to be called by an official. If you have an appointment the wait shouldn’t be long.

When called, the official will review your documents and stamp your passport. If you’re not a citizen of a Schengen country you’ll have to pay 96,000 COP. You will need to pay by credit card.

Then you’re done!

7. Enjoy up to 90 more days in Colombia!

Here are some ideas and inspiration to make your next 90 days in Colombia even better than your first:

Chris
Chris doesn’t want you to follow his advice. You should see the cool stuff he writes about as a challenge instead. Do even cooler stuff than him. Fight FOMO and your evolutionarily-embedded urge to follow the herd. Think and act independently. Make your own path. Chris is the co-CEO, co-CFO, co-CMO, co-CTO, and Co-Editor in Chief at The Unconventional Route.

4 Comments

  1. Chris, thanks so much for this helpful article! I completed the process in less time than it would have taken me to go to the office. One question, as I wait-praying–
    Did you pay the fee each of the three times you applied online, or did one payment cover the entire process?

    Thanks again!

    1. Glad to have helped Angie! I will pray for you too, haha.

      Don’t worry; applications are free. You only have to pay once at the very end after (fingers crossed) you’ve been approved.

  2. This article is very well written and detailed but I feel at some points you are a bit mocking colombian culture. If you don’t like it stay in your country.

    1. Hey Luigi, thanks for sharing! Believe me that if we ever get around to making a guide to renewing your driver’s license or passport in our homeland of Canada our post will be as mocking of the inefficient Canadian bureaucracy as we are of Colombia’s! It’s a global issue.

Complaints? Questions? Compliments?