Important Information About Pension Visas in Colombia: Avoid Issues with the Social Security System

At GB & Partners, we have observed recurring issues when applying for visas in Colombia, especially for retirees, digital nomads, and investors. Understanding the regulations and requirements is crucial to avoid unnecessary complications. Here, we provide a detailed guide based on our professional experience and current regulations.

Visas in Colombia: Key Aspects and Requirements

Pension Visa (Article 77 of Resolution 5477 of 2022)

Scope: This visa is for foreigners with steady monthly income from a pension granted by a state or private pension fund. It accumulates time towards obtaining a Resident Visa in Colombia, providing long-term stability for retirees.

Specific Requirements:

  1. Pension Certification: Document confirming monthly payment of a lifelong pension not less than three current legal minimum monthly wages. This document must be officially apostilled and translated, which can vary significantly depending on the country of origin.
  2. Criminal Records: Certificate of judicial, criminal, or police records from the country where the applicant has resided in the last three years. It must comply with apostille and translation formalities.
  3. Medical Certificate: Document confirming the applicant’s physical and mental fitness, issued by a competent medical authority.
  4. Health Coverage: Health insurance in Colombia or a health policy with national coverage against all risks, including accidents, illness, maternity, disability, hospitalization, death, or repatriation.

Validity and Benefits: The visa is valid for up to three years and allows applying for beneficiary visas. However, it does not allow working or affiliating with the Colombian Social Security System, except in specific cases according to bilateral agreements.

Common Issues When Applying for the Visa

A common issue applicants face is obtaining apostilled and translated documents, which can be a complex and lengthy process. The procedures for obtaining these documents vary by country, so it is essential not to leave this task until the last minute.

Apostille and Translation:

  • Different Procedures in Each Country:
    • United States: The apostille process involves obtaining the document notarized, then authenticated by the state’s Secretary of State, and finally obtaining the apostille from the same office. Each state has its own procedure.
    • Canada: As of January 11, 2024, Canada joined the Hague Apostille Convention. Documents issued in Canada can now be apostilled by provincial competent authorities, simplifying the process compared to the previous requirement of authentication through Global Affairs Canada.
    • European Countries: Most European countries follow the Hague Apostille Convention, making the process simple. The document is notarized and then taken to a designated apostille authority, often within the same region or country.
  • Complete and Accurate Documentation: Ensure that all documents meet the specific requirements before submitting them to avoid delays in the process.

Focus on Social Security

Colombian regulations state that holders of retiree, digital nomad, and investor visas cannot be affiliated with the Colombian Social Security system. A recent case we handled illustrates this point clearly:

Chancery Case: An applicant was required to unsubscribe from the EPS as a contributor and attach private health insurance. Such issues can arise if Cancillería checks affiliation in the ADRES system, as mentioned in the notification: “According to attached documentation, you are listed as not affiliated with the Colombian health system. However, the ADRES system shows that you have been affiliated with EPS SURAMERICANA SA since 08/23/2023. You must provide proof of deregistration from EPS as a contributor and attach private health insurance.”

Recommendation: Although it is not always verified, it is preferable to obtain private insurance that meets the requirements to avoid possible complications and ensure a smooth transition.

Our Experience: At GB & Partners, we have extensive experience in immigration and foreign investment processes. We advise our clients to ensure an efficient and trouble-free process, helping them from document collection to form filling and submission.

For more details on visas in Colombia and how we can assist, contact us through  .

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