A guide for registering your visa and applying for your Colombian Identity card for foreigners
You may have heard of a Cédula de Extranjería, but you may be wondering what a Cédula de Extranjería (CE) is, who has them, why are they important, etc. In this blog post, I will answer all of these questions and explain how to apply for and receive your cédula.
First, a cédula de extranjería is a Colombian identity card for foreigners, which corresponds with your visa. Only people whose visas duration is greater than three months are eligible to apply for a cédula. However, if you are on a short duration visa, you are not required to get a cédula, but you are required to register your visa with Migración. If you are here on a 90-day tourist stamp, you will not be eligible to get a cédula. After you have successfully received your Colombian visa, you will have a maximum of 15 calendar days to register your visa with Migración Colombia and if necessary apply for your cédula.
If you do not register your visa within 15 calendar days of receiving it, you are liable to pay a massive fine, up to seven times the minimum monthly salary in Colombia. The minimum salary in 2019 in Colombia is $828.116 pesos per month. Which means the fine is up to $5.796.812 pesos ($1,8 USD at an exchange rate of 3.200 COP to $1 USD) for not registering your visa in time
First, you will need to get a simple blood test and a certificate stating your blood type. (Any Colombian clinic or hospital should be able to do this for you for no more than $20.000 COP). You will need to do this before registering your visa online and applying for your cédula.
The first step of registering your visa with migration is the online form. After this, you will physically go to Migración office wherever you are to complete this process and apply for your cédula de extranjería in person.
Materials Required to Complete Online Form to register your visa and apply for your cédula
Your visa number
A scan of your passport in PDF format that is smaller than 1 MB
A certificate stating your blood type
To Access the Form for registering your visa online
Click: Ingresa aquí
At this point, you can switch the website to English in the top right-hand corner. However, we’ve had more success getting the form to work in Spanish and so the below guide will help you through the application in Spanish, images of what it looks like in English are below the translation for the form in Spanish.
Section 1: Tipo de trámite (Type of Request) o Trámite a: select “Cédula de Extranjería” o Centro Facilitador de Servicios Migratorios cercano a usted:
If city is listed, select your city.
If your city is not listed, use the closest Migración Colombia Office.
You can find Migración Colombia offices in the following major cities in Colombia:
Armenia – Carrera 12 No. 19-00 Local 18 | Centro Comercial Altavista
Barranquilla – Carrera 42 # 54-77, Barrio El Recreo
Bogotá – Calle 100 #11B-27
Bucaramanga – Carrera 11 #41-13
Cali – Avenida 3 norte # 50N-20
Cartagena – Carrera 20 B # 29-18, Barrio Pie de la Popa
Cúcuta – Calle 22N # 8-47 | Zona Industrial
Ibagué – Calle 10 # 8-07
Manizales – Calle 53 # 25A-35 | Barrio la Arboleda
Medellín – Calle 19 #80A-40, Barrio Belén (the entrance is on the other side of the building on Calle 19A)
Pereira – Avenida 30 de agosto # 26-37
Santa Marta – Avenida del Ferrocarril Calle 19 # 8 – 68 Esquina | Barrio Centro
A complete list of the Migración Colombia offices can be found here.
Section 2: Datos personales (Personal information), Write your name as it appears in your passport.
If your passport doesn’t state a country of issuance, put in your country name.
Make sure you include a current email address as you’ll get a confirmation email with information about your application.
Section 3: Información en caso de emergencia (Information in case of emergency)
Put in your blood type.
Enter the emergency details for your emergency contact in Colombia, their name, address, and phone number
Section 4: Registro de extranjeros (Registration of foreigners)
Categoría de visa: (Input your visa category here-Visitante for visitor visas, Migrante for Migrant visas or Residente for Resident visas)
Número de visa: (your visa number, it's specific to your visa)
País de expedición: Colombia (Unless you received your visa at a Colombian consulate in your home country or another country outside of Colombia)
Departamento/Estado expedición: This is the state where you received your visa, if this was Bogotá, write Bogotá, DC
Ciudad/Municipio expedición: City/Municipality Bogota, DC
Condición: Titular, if you are the primary person for the visa, Beneficiaria if you are the beneficiary-spouse, permanent partner or child of the visa holder
Nombre de la empresa (name of the business or organization who is sponsoring the visa as applicable):
Teléfono fijo empresa: Landline for business/organization sponsoring your visa as applicable.
Departamento empresa: The department where the business or organization sponsoring your visa is located.
Ciudad empresa: The city where the business or organization sponsoring your visa is located.
Dirección empresa: The address of the business or organization sponsoring your visa.
Click: Adicionar dirección and add: the address for the business or organization sponsoring your visa if applicable.
Idioma: (your first language may be English, so “Inglés”).
Profesión/Ocupación: Choose your occupation/profession from the list.
Ubicación y contacto en Colombia:
Departamento residencia: (Department where you are residing)
Ciudad residencia: (City where you are residing)
Dirección de residencia en Colombia
Click: Adicionar dirección and add:
Your address here in Colombia
Teléfono residencia: your landline number here in Colombia or your Colombian cell phone number
Section 5: Información de solicitud de cédula (Document request info)
IMPORTANT (this determines where you’re picking your cédula up):
If the city you are living is listed in the drop-down: select your city.
If the city where you are living is not listed in the drop-down: use the table in section 1 to find your nearest Migración office.
You can apply for a cédula in Bogotá, at the Migración office in Bogotá, after you get your visa stamped into your passport and request that your cédula be sent to the Migracíon office another city.
Note that applying for your cédula in Bogotá and having it sent to a different Migración office requires a letter to request this and make sure to have an extra copy of this letter. I have not personally done this, but I know others who have done this.
Section 6: Archivos (Files)
Tipo de documento: pasaporte (you can’t change this)
Click: Agregar archivo (Add file)
Upload a PDF of your passport (smaller than 1 MB – use smallpdf.com if you need to compress it)
This will upload the PDF scan of your passport.
Once the PDF is successfully uploaded it will look like the below image, and you can check the PDF by clicking “VER”.
Section 7: Consentimiento (Consent) o Click: Acepto (Accept)
Applying for your cédula in person
Next, you'll make an appointment online at Migración to apply for your cédula. You will need to take with you your passport, a copy of your passport info page, a copy of your visa, a copy of your entry stamp, and a copy of your blood test results to your appointment at Migración. You'll also need the number of the completed online form and a credit or debit card to pay with (they don't accept cash). A cédula de extranjería should cost you $196.000 COP, around $66 USD and will be good for the length of your visa.
Tips for how to avoid spending all day at Migración applying for your cédula
When I got my first cédula in March 2018, I was told that I needed to get to the Migración Colombia here in Belen in Medellín at 7 AM, one hour before they open at 8 AM to avoid lines. I would recommend arriving as early as possible to Migración Colombia office, since their online appointment system is down and it is a slow process. If you can try to get to Migración early in the day to avoid lines and bring something to do since you will be probably waiting for awhile.
What happens when you are with Migración applying for your cédula
When you apply for your cédula in person, you will check in and get a number and then wait until your number is called. Once the migración calls your number to have you come to their desk, they will confirm all of your details, photograph you, electronically fingerprint you and make you sign your name electronically. There are more steps to this visa registration process when you are with the Migración officer, but that is how it works as far as I can remember. The actual process for registering your visa and applying for your cédula itself does not take that long; it's waiting at Migración Colombia that takes a long time.
Picking up your cédula
After applying for your cédula, it should be ready for pick up within five business days at the Migración Colombia office. You can check on the status of your cédula and see if it is ready to be picked up online here. On this website, you will use your number for your cédula, and see if it is ready to be picked up at your local Migración Colombia office.
On applying for subsequent cédulas after receiving another Colombian visa
Once you get one cédula and if you get subsequent Colombian visas your CE number will always remain the same. If you have your old Cédula, you will not need to bring your blood test results with you to further appointments to apply for any new cédulas.
Why having a cédula de extranjería is great
Once you have a cédula life will become much easier for you here in Colombia, since you will be able to open a Colombian bank account, obtain internet, TV and phone services, sign up for health insurance here, begin to establish a credit history in Colombia, get rewards cards at stores like Éxito. And you will be able to travel within Colombia with just your cédula, and you can leave your passport at home. Once you have your cédula, this becomes your primary form of ID here in Colombia, which means you can leave your passport at home most of the time.
Finally, according to Migración Colombia foreigners have a Residente (Resident visa), who are least 18 years old, have lived in Colombia for at least five years after receiving their residency visa, and have a current Cédula de Extranjería for Residentes, can register to vote at offices of la Registraduría Nacional del Estado Civil throughout Colombia. People who have lived in Colombia who have been here at least five years after their residency visa was first issued, can vote in Mayoral, City Council, Local and Municipal Administrative office elections. But foreigners who do not have Colombian nationality cannot vote in Gubernatorial, Departmental Assembly or Presidential elections according to Law 1070 passed in 2006, for more information about this you can read article in Spanish which describes foreigner’s rights’ for participating in Colombia’s electoral process and voting here.
Special thanks to Shadon Badiyan, my regional coordinator for Antioquia on the Colombia Bilingüe program, for the documents and tips which helped me to write this post and apply for my first Cédula de Extranjería.
If there is something that you believe that I should cover, that I have not already covered on the blog, please let me know. If this post has helped you in any way or if you have learned something, please tell me in the comments, slide into my DMs or send me an email, since I LOVE hearing from my readers. Finally, if you are enjoying reading my blog and want more, do not forget to click the subscribe button below and you will receive emails from me on a weekly basis whenever I have posted new content on the blog.