Post by Deleted on Feb 21, 2017 19:44:12 GMT -5
I should have had my Resident (RE) visa 4 years ago. I've had a total of three (3) TP-10 spousal visas over the years, but my "continuity" of residence in Colombia was disrupted in 2011 when I had to stay in the States for 8 months while undergoing radiation and chemo treatments. A visa de conyuge (TP-10) temporary resident only needs 3 years of continuous residency in Colombia in order to qualify for "permanent" residency. In 2011, I was out of Colombia for more than 6 months, so that knocked me out of the box. I applied for my first visa de conyuge at the Colombian consulate in NYC while my wife and I were still living in NJ. This method was relatively easy and straight forward. As my first TP-10 visa was approaching its expiration date, I made the mistake of using a Visa agency in La 70, Laureles, Medellin. An unscrupulous agent handled the tramite for 545,000 pesos, then tried to extort more money from me by holding on to my passport. It took me almost two months to get my passport back with a little help from the Police and Fiscalia. The Fiscalia threatened him with jail if he did not give it back to me. They also made sure that he accepted payment in full per the original agreement. Unfortunately, the bastards only got me an 8-month visa (TP-10 visas are normally issued for the max term of 3 years.) Even at the end of my second visa, I was a few months short of qualifying for the full resident visa. So, I decided to obtain my third visa de conyuge on my own. My wife and I took a 3-day holiday in Bogota, visited MRE, and 3 hours after touching down in Bogota, I had my third TP-10 visa stamp in my passport. It was the easiest of all three visas. Even though, I could have had my RE visa within a few months, I decided to get my money's worth, and rode my last TP-10 for the full 3 years.
Last year, I used Gesticol in Belen, Medellin to obtain a new US passport. Gesticol charged me 150,000 pesos to do the legwork for my new passport plus $160 US in cash to pay the new passport fee at the US Consulate in Bogota. Inside of a week, I had my new US passport in my back pocket So, when it came time to apply for my first RE visa, I decided to give Gesticol a shot. I kept a log, that I intended to post on here, to show how easy (or how difficult) it was to obtain my first RE visa:
Steps and Costs to Obtain RE Visa
Feb 2- Contacted Notaria 1 in Bogota to obtain certified copy of our marriage license. Notaria e-mails procedure for ordering copy. Deposited 27,300 pesos in Sudameris bank & e-mail deposit slip to Notaria. Promised certified license in 4 business days via mail.
Feb 6- Visited Gesticol in Belen, Medellin. Gesticol gave me an estimate to handle the paperwork for my RE visa in the amount of 1,645,000 pesos. 1,325,000 pesos in Canilleria fees and 320,000 pesos is Gesticol's fee for doing the legwork. Gesticol types up a vouch letter for my wife and a power of attorney letter for me. Notary authentication of both letters required. Gesticol tells me to deposit the full 1,645,000 in Bancolombia as soon as the package is complete. Gesticol completes application and takes my photo for the application. Provided my new and old US passports to Gesticol. My old expired passport has the active TP-10 visa stamp. Also provided Gesticol copies of my biography pages from both passports, the active visa stamp and last exit and entrance stamp from/to Colombia. Gesticol will make copies if you don't have them.
Feb 6- Visit Migracion Colombia in the old DAS Building in Belen, Medellin. Order my Migration certificate to be included with my RE visa application. Able to pay the 56,000 pesos fee with my Bancolombia card. Migracion Colombia says the certificate will be ready in 4 days.
Feb 7- My wife's vouch letter and my power of attorney letter for Gesticol are notarized by Notaria 2 in Rionegro for 8,000 pesos. These letters will be included in the application package.
Feb 8- Certified marriage license has not yet arrived. Call Notary 1, and clerk tells me they did not receive the receipt of deposit. Put my wife on the phone, apparently some confusion which department got the receipt, it gets straightened out.
Feb 11- Received my certified marriage license via Servientrega. 9 days from request to receipt because of SNAFU at Notaria 1 in Bogota.
Feb 13- Picked up my certificate of migratory movements from Migracion Colombia (old DAS building in Belen), and hand-carried to Gesticol across the street.
Feb 13- Met with Andres of Gesticol, reviewed my RE visa package and he placed it in the mail. Tells me that I should have my RE visa no later than Monday, Feb 20th.
Feb 17- Gesticol calls me and informs me they have my RE visa at the office in Belen. Andres has scheduled me for an 11:00 AM appointment on Tuesday, Feb 21st, at the old DAS building in Belen for my new cedula. (Once the visa is issued, a foreign resident has 15 days to register the new visa at one of the local Migracion Cololombia offices, and apply for a new cedula.)
Feb 21- Arrived at Gesticol to pick up my passport with new RE visa (valid for 5 years). Andres had my cedula solicitud with the required copies of documents ready to go. I walked over to Migracion Colombia with my paperwork arriving at 10:55 am for my 11 O'Clock appointment. I waited no more than 2 minutes, and the intake clerk was working on my new cedula. I paid the required 183,000 pesos with my Bancolombia debit card, and then the clerk registered my RE visa and stamped my passport. There was a small backlog of 3 foreign immigrants at the biometrics booth down the hall. In short order, my picture and finger prints were taken, and then I signed the record electronically. The cedula clerk told me my ID would be ready in 8 business day. By 11:25 am, I was walking out the door.
After all is said and done (and excluding gas, tolls and aggravation of making multiple trips to Medellin), I spent a total of 1,919,300 pesos in associated costs for my RE visa. Thank God, I won't have to shell out that kind of money again for another 5 years. If things go according to plan, I will be picking my new cedula at Migracion Colombia in 8 working days.
The fee I paid Gesticol was worth every peso. I highly recommend using this agency, if you want your tramites done quickly and efficiently. Andres is the "go-to" guy at Gesticol.. The office is just across the street from the old DAS building:
Address: #80b-, Cl. 19 #80b19, Medellín, Antioquia, Colombia
Phone: +57 4 3534222