I??m a newbie who has used the excellent info on PBH over the last few weeks for guidance on applying for a longer term visa to Colombia. The Rentista seemed like the best choice. I had all my documents prepared, the Consulado de Colombia in Toronto indicated all was in order, I paid my fees, and when I returned a few days later, my visa was denied. Here??s what transpired: (excuse the detail, my questions are below)

I got a letter from my investment firm stating I had a lump sum higher then what was required for one year of a Rentisa visa. Prepared a Spanish translation, had both notarized and apostle. The Vice-Consul reviewed my docs, she had to look up the Rentista visa requirements and admitted she was not familiar with this visa.We had a good conversation, I explained why I wanted to return to Colombia and stay for one year, after staying 5 months on a tourista visa early in 2007. She said it was good to hear positive comments about her country and that everything was in order with my application and took my payment for the visa and legalization fees. I was advised it would take 4-5 days. I felt positive.

Next day I received a call from the Vice-Consul. They required in writing the reason for wanting to stay one year. She agreed that the explanation I provided before in person was sufficient. I faxed the letter, in Spanish, that day.

The next day the Vice-Consul leaves a voice message at my office, we need to talk to you. Please bring your receipt for the fees paid. I called back and made an appointment for next morning.

I sat down with the VC and she explained the reason I provided for the visa ??is not good? and I have been denied. She was not at all relaxed as the last meeting. In a cool, calm manner, I recapped the reason for the visa, explained I enjoyed Colombia very much the last visit, the people, the climate of Medellin, have made new friends, would like to learn more about the country in preparation for my retirement, want to improve my Spanish, and that I am in a position to take time off work. She then said ??we do not understand the Rentista visa, you should apply for the Pension or student visa. So that??s it. I got the impression someone above her denied my visa without much consideration. She then said she ??personally? recommends I get the visa from another country. At her advice, I got my documents legalized for Colombia and paid the fee. Apparently to ease my next application.

I realize it is at the discretion of the consulate to decide who enters the country. I accept that and would like to move on and take another approach. I??m thinking of flying in on a tourista visa mid Dec (one way ticket from Toronto to Medellin is booked) and then go to Panama city in Jan or so to try again for the Rentista. I found some mention of this on PHB about this approach, not sure how well it works.

1) Anyone have success with a Rentista for Colombia, applied for in Panana?
2) Can I use my same docs that were notarized in Canada this month, at a later time in Panama, say Jan 2009?
3) Any other docs I should get for the Rentista from Panama while in Canada?
4) Having been denied in Canada, will this be an issue applying from elsewhere?
5) Would you risk NOT having a return flight from Colombia on a tourista visa?

Many thanks for the education and entertainment I??ve received from all the good posts. I hope to contribute in the future (and from Colombia).

Posted on November 20, 2008

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In your situation, regarding the visa, you can be subject to a restriction for a new application of the visa. There are some legal things you can do, but i would like to discuss them with you.

Esteban R
email: lawyerscolombia@yahoo.com

Posted on November 20, 2008

5) Would you risk NOT having a return flight from Colombia on a tourista visa?

Your only issue is your airline. If they let you on the plane without one you are fine. (you can also print up a fake e-ticket) I've never once heard of DAS asking for proof at the airport in Colombia (and I've done it myself several times)

Posted on November 20, 2008

Thanks Durito2... I may test out my creative skills on that ticket.

Esteban... do you mean as a result of having this Rentista denied, I may now have a restriction? OR, there may have been a restriction in place before this recent application? I can't image a reason for me having earned that.... the again, there was the time I ....

Posted on November 20, 2008

There's a space on the application form where you need to say if you've previously been denied a visa you applied for. You should maybe try and establish with the consulate in Canada if there's any record of them formally denying you the visa this time, or if you simply "withdrew the application".

You could probably arrive on a one way ticket, tourist stamp, and tell them you plan to bus around South America a bit and will buy the ticket when you get to Ipiales, Cucuta or whatever. I haven't personally done this.

If you want to look at alternatives, I have various ideas to discuss if we can chat on voice (PM me).

Posted on November 20, 2008


It is granted to a foreigner who receives a monthly income, permanently and regularly, provided by external sources, in a quantity equivalent to of fifteen (15) legal monthly minimum salaries.
? Passport with available pages, and valid for at least three (3) months.
? Two (2) photocopies of the pages of the passport containing information, as well as all previously granted visas.
? Two (2) originals of the Visa Application Form duly signed and completely filled out.
? Three (3) recent color passport-type photographs (1.5?x1.5?).
? Original of the certification issued by a government office, a bank, a financial enterprise, a social security institution, insurance company or any other private company, recognized by the respective government, that pays or transfers the income; or the original of the contract, duly legalized, which permits verification that the amount of the income is not inferior to the equivalent of ten legal monthly minimum salaries. This certification must be duly translated into Spanish and APOSTILLED.
US $175 in Cash, or Money Order only (Cost exempt for citizens of: South Korea, Spain, United States, and Japan).
If the visa is issued for more than three (3) months, the visa holder should register it in the Immigration Office of the Administrative Department of Security (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad - DAS -) upon arrival, or within fifteen (15) working days from the arrival date.
IMPORTANT NOTES ? Applicant is required to appear in person at the consulate's office either when submitting the documentation or when the approved visa is ready for pick-up. No exceptions.
? All Documents issued in languages other than Spanish MUST be submitted duly TRANSLATED INTO SPANISH, and both versions should be notarized by a Notary Public. They must also be certified with an APOSTILLE by the Office of the Secretary of State from the State where they were issued. ? For U.S citizens the visa takes three (3) working days; for non-U.S. citizens it may take up to two (2) weeks, and it is subject to the approval of the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

is your income source permanent and regular? "It is granted to a foreigner who receives a monthly income, permanently and regularly, provided by external sources, in a quantity equivalent to of fifteen (15) legal monthly minimum salaries."

could be they applied the letter of the law if your source isn't permanent despite what they actually told you about the reason for the visa "not being good" or maybe there's some miscommunication going on between you and them. could the reason for it "not being good" really refer to your funding source? most investment firm funds are hardly permanent.

best of luck

Posted on November 20, 2008

yes, the law states that in case of a denial of a visa, you ca not apply afetr certain time has passed.

perhaps, you should emai, so i can tell you what`s the real deal.

Esteban R

Posted on November 20, 2008

Pedro, yeah, I recall the application asking if I had ever been denied a visa before. Never thought to ask if this denial could be held against me. I'll call tomorrow. Thanks for the advise.

badboy, I met all the criteria with the exception of the monthly income. Rather, I showed a lump sum in a cash account. Apparently, this worked for another PBHer in the U.S. I was first told the reason I provided (in writing) for wanting to go to Colombia was not acceptable. Then that changed to them not understanding/accepting the Rentista visa. I didn't think so at the time, but I guess it's remotely possible there was a misunderstanding.

Posted on November 20, 2008

moto: i think technically you don't meet the regular income requirement. on its face, that's the most important thing you must document. apparently, their application of visa requirements is random and arbitrary so maybe one guy gets in with an investment lump sum amount and another guy must actually meet the obvious regular and permanent income requirement. see a colombian lawyer who's experienced with these issues. it's possible some "grease money" would facilitate securing the visa but again this should be done through someone familiar with this process.

Posted on November 20, 2008

badboy: it does appear to be hit or miss. Sound advise to seek a lawyer. I'll look into this once I'm in Colombia on a tourist visa.

I followed-up with the Vice-Consul today and she let me know my denial for a visa was not recorded in Bogota. Therefore, next application I do not need to indicate a previous visa was denied.

This is quite the learning experience. I recall the process to temporarily import my motorcycle into Colombia while touring last year. There were a few bumps and the agent shrugged it off "Sir, this is Colombia".

Posted on November 20, 2008