Colombian citizenship is an attractive option for individuals seeking a vibrant and diverse cultural experience in South America. The country's breathtaking natural beauty, from the Andes Mountains to lush rainforests and pristine Caribbean coastlines, offers a paradise for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers. With a population of over 52 million people, Colombia is a melting pot of cultures and provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere for newcomers.
From an economic perspective, Colombia's growth potential is noteworthy. The country's growing economy, which experienced a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 7.5% in 2022, demonstrates its resilience and potential for investment opportunities.
Colombian citizenship grants access to its booming markets and the chance to be a part of a dynamic and rapidly developing nation. Making it a desirable choice for people who are thinking about getting additional residency and citizenship.
Colombian Citizenship Benefits
Colombian citizenship offers various benefits to its holders. These advantages encompass both rights and privileges that could enhance your global mobility and open up new opportunities. Let’s take a look at the top advantages:
Access to a Stable Political and Economic Environment
Colombia has made significant progress in recent years in terms of political stability and economic development. As a Colombian citizen, you can benefit from a relatively stable political environment, which can provide security and opportunities for personal and business growth.
Right to Live and Work
As a Colombian citizen, you have the right to live and work in Colombia without the need for visas or work permits. This can be especially advantageous if you plan to establish a career or business in the country.
If you are an entrepreneur, having Colombian citizenship can open up business opportunities in the country. You may find it easier to set up and run a business, access government incentives, and engage in trade and commerce.
Full Political Rights
Colombian citizens have the right to participate in the country's democratic processes. This includes the ability to vote in national and local elections as well as run for public office if eligible.
Social and Healthcare Benefits
Colombian citizens are entitled to access various social welfare programs and healthcare services provided by the government. These benefits can include healthcare coverage, education subsidies, and social assistance programs aimed at improving the quality of life for citizens. It is worth noting that the Social Security Rate in Colombia stands at 30.50% in 2023.
Citizens of Colombia can sponsor family members for immigration, thereby assisting them in obtaining legal status in the country. This is especially important when reuniting with family members.
Cost of Living
Obtaining Colombian citizenship can be a step towards a more affordable yet enriching lifestyle. The country offers a lower cost of living compared to many Western nations, which means you can enjoy good quality housing, healthcare, and education without burning a hole in your pocket.
Ownership of Real Estate
Colombian citizens have unrestricted rights to own real estate in the country. This can be beneficial if you want to invest in property or secure a permanent residence in Colombia. Between 2006 and 2021, prices for newly constructed residential properties in Colombia increased gradually. Bogota measured the highest house price increase, with an index value of almost 190 as of October 2022.
While Colombian citizenship does not grant automatic access to all countries, Colombian passport holders can often travel to various nations without a visa or with visa-free access, depending on diplomatic agreements and international relations between countries.
Traveling in South America with Colombian Citizenship
Colombian citizens enjoy certain travel privileges within South America:
Visa-Free Access: Colombian citizens can travel to other South American countries without a visa using only their ID cards. These countries include Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Chile, Peru, and Ecuador.
This makes it easier for Colombian citizens to explore neighboring countries compared to non-citizens, who require a valid passport, apply for a visa, and pay a visa application fee.
Regional Integration: Colombia is a member of organizations like the Andean Community and the Pacific Alliance, promoting regional integration and facilitating travel and trade with other South American nations.
Traveling in Schengen Zone with Colombian Citizenship
Colombian citizenship does not grant automatic access to the Schengen Zone, as Colombia is not part of the Schengen Agreement. Starting in 2024, Colombian citizens must have an ETIAS to visit Europe. However, in 2023, Colombian citizens can still travel without a visa to Schengen Zone countries for short-term visits (usually up to 90 days within a 180-day period) for tourism, business, or family visits.
Colombian Dual Citizenship
Dual citizenship is a legal status that allows an individual to be a citizen of two or more countries simultaneously. According to Article 96 of the Colombian Constitution, Colombia permits its citizens to hold dual citizenship. This means that if you are a foreign citizen and acquire citizenship in Colombia, you can retain your current citizenship.
In general, having Colombian dual citizenship comes with the following benefits:
Increased Global Mobility
Dual citizens have the option to choose between their Colombian passport and the passport of their other country of citizenship when traveling internationally. This provides flexibility in selecting the passport that grants more favorable visa-free access to their destination.
Access to Multiple Social Services
Dual citizens in Colombia can enjoy access to various social services, including healthcare, education, and other benefits, in both Colombia and their second country of citizenship.
Right to Work
Colombian dual citizens typically have the right to work in both Colombia and their other country of citizenship without the need for a work visa or permit.
Cultural and Family Ties
Dual citizenship in Colombia can serve as a valuable bridge for maintaining strong cultural and familial connections in both countries. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with family members residing in different countries.
In the event of political instability or conflict in another country of citizenship, a dual citizen may seek refuge in Colombia. This serves as a safety net in times of crisis.
In contrast, dual citizens are typically expected to fulfill their obligations in both countries, including obeying the laws, paying taxes, and, in some cases, participating in military service.
Dual Citizenship in Colombia and the USA: How it Works
Both Colombia and the United States allow for dual citizenship, but some rules and regulations surrounding dual citizenship vary. Please see the table below.
Acquisition of Dual Citizenship
Recognized and allowed
Rights and Responsibilities
Dual citizens enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as natural-born or single-citizenship citizens, including the right to vote and work
The U.S. taxes its citizens on their worldwide income, regardless of where they reside. There is currently no US-Colombia double taxation treaty
Colombia taxes only its tax residents on their worldwide income. Dual citizens may be subject to taxation on their global income
U.S. dual citizens are not required to serve in the U.S. military unless they voluntarily enlist
Colombia requires male citizens between 18 and 50 years old to register for military service, but dual citizens may have certain exemption
Dual citizens must have passports for both citizenships: a U.S. passport to return to the United States
Dual citizens must have passports for both citizenships: a Colombian passport to enter and depart Colombia
U.S. and Colombian embassies and consulates provide consular assistance to their citizens, including dual citizens, abroad
Dual Citizenship Colombia and Venezuela
Dual citizenship is allowed under both Venezuelan and Colombian laws. A detailed comparison of the dual citizenship regimes in these two countries is provided in the table below.
Recognition of Dual Citizenship
Recognized and allowed
Travel and Residency
Dual citizens of Colombia and Venezuela can travel freely between the two countries and reside in either country
Dual citizens may have the right to vote in elections, but voting rules may vary based on residency
Colombian male citizens, including dual citizens, are typically subject to Colombian military service requirements
Venezuelan male citizens, including dual citizens, may be subject to military service requirements in Venezuela
Both Colombia and Venezuela have their own tax laws. Dual citizens may be subject to tax obligations in both countries based on their income and assets. There is currently no Venezuela - Colombia double taxation treaty
Dual citizens can seek consular assistance from both their home country's embassy or consulate and the embassy or consulate of their other nationality when abroad
Legal Rights and Responsibilities
Dual citizens are entitled to the legal rights and responsibilities of both of their nationalities. They are expected to follow the laws and regulations of both countries
Dual Citizenship Colombia and Spain
Colombia and Spain both allow dual citizenship, which means that individuals can hold citizenship in both countries simultaneously without losing their citizenship in either one. Here are some points to consider regarding dual citizenship in Colombia and Spain:
Nationals can have dual citizenship without restrictions
Recognition of Dual Citizenship
Colombia recognizes dual citizenship and allows its citizens to enjoy the benefits and responsibilities of both nationalities
Colombia and Spain tax their residents based on their worldwide income. Dual citizens may have tax obligations in both countries. Colombia-Spain tax treaty may help avoid double taxation
Colombian male citizens, including dual citizens, are typically subject to Colombian military service requirements
Spanish male dual citizens may be subject to military service obligations in Spain, depending on their age and circumstances
Dual citizens can travel with either their Colombian or Spanish passport, choosing the one that best suits their visa requirements for the destination
Dual citizens can seek consular assistance from both Colombia and Spain when they are abroad
Pros and Cons of Colombian Dual Citizenship
Dual citizenship can have both pros and cons. The primary ones are listed in the following table.
Access to Multiple Rights and Benefits
Access to social services, healthcare, and education in both countries
May be subject to dual taxation, depending on the tax laws of both countries
Travel and Residence
Easier travel between Colombia and the other country
Potential travel restrictions or visa requirements when visiting certain countries
Employment and Business Opportunities
Eligibility to work, invest, or start a business in both countries
Complex tax implications for international business activities
Maintain cultural ties and connections with both countries
May face challenges in fully integrating into either country's culture
Own property and real estate in both countries
May be subject to different property laws and tax implications in each country
Family and Personal Connections
Easier reunification with family members in either country
May face difficulties in family disputes or child custody cases involving two legal systems
Eligibility to vote in elections in both countries
May be subject to conflicting political obligations and responsibilities
Security and Stability
Enhanced personal security by having multiple legal protections
Potential legal complications in the case of criminal activity or legal issues in either country
Ease of Retirement
Option to retire in either country with access to retirement benefits
Managing retirement accounts and pensions in two countries can be complex
Colombia Citizenship Military Requirements
In Colombia, military service is compulsory for male citizens, and it is regulated by the Colombian Ministry of National Defense.
Colombian males are typically required to register for military service at the nearest regional military draft board (Junta de Reclutamiento) when they turn 18 years old. Colombian citizens living abroad may also be subject to military service obligations. Registration can usually be done online or in person at designated offices.
This year, officials allowed females in the same age range to voluntarily join the military, in what the army says is part of an effort to “strengthen the role of women” in its ranks.
In some cases, individuals may be exempt from military service, including those with certain medical conditions or disabilities. There are provisions for deferments for students pursuing higher education.
Colombian dual citizens (males) may still be subject to military service requirements if they are between 18 and 50. There are various exemptions available for dual citizens who may be unable to serve in the military based on medical conditions, conscientious objections, or other valid reasons.
Additionally, a person possessing two citizenships who habitually resides in one of the countries and who is, in fact, most closely connected with that country shall be exempt from all military obligations in Colombia.
Colombian Nationality vs Colombian Citizenship
The terms "citizenship" and "nationality" are occasionally used interchangeably, but they have significant distinctions.
Colombian citizenship is a specific legal status that falls under the broader category of Colombian nationality. It grants individuals full rights in the country, including the right to vote, run for public office, and actively participate in the nation's political life. One can acquire this citizenship through various means, such as birthright, descent (having a citizen as a parent), marriage to a citizen, or through the process of naturalization
Colombian citizens have additional responsibilities, such as potentially serving in the military (for eligible individuals) and actively engaging in the democratic process by exercising their right to vote.
On the other hand, nationality refers to a person's legal affiliation with a particular nation, often determined by their place of birth or descent. It is a broader concept that encompasses all individuals considered part of the Colombian nation, including both citizens and non-citizens. Typically, a person inherits their nationality from their parents.
Colombian nationals, encompassing both citizens and non-citizens, are entitled to certain rights and protections under Colombian law. However, the scope of these rights can be limited for non-citizens. For instance, they might have restricted political rights, barring them from participating in national elections or running for public office
How to Get Colombian Citizenship
Colombian citizenship is governed by the Colombian Constitution and is based primarily on the principles of jus soli (right of the soil) and jus sanguinis (right of blood). There are several options for obtaining Colombian citizenship, each with its own set of requirements.
Citizenship by Naturalization
Naturalization is the most common way to obtain Colombian citizenship for foreign nationals. Most people prefer to apply for investment visas in order to get a residence permit in Colombia and then naturalize for Colombian citizenship, which is one of the quickest ways to become a Colombian citizen. To be eligible for naturalization, you must have resided in Colombia legally for at least 5 years with a permanent resident (R) visa. This term can be reduced to 1 year for Latin American and Caribbean citizens. Two years for Spanish citizens and for foreigners who are married to Colombians or have Colombian children.
Citizenship by Marriage
If you are married to a Colombian citizen, you can apply for Colombian citizenship after 2 years of legal residence in Colombia.
Citizenship by Birth
Those who are born to at least one Colombian parent (citizen or resident) are automatically eligible for Colombian citizenship. People who were born outside of Colombia to at least one Colombian parent can register as Colombian citizens by birth at a local consulate or by coming back to Colombia.
Citizenship by descent is granted to those born to at least one Colombian parent, regardless of place of birth. If they were born outside of Colombia, the local consulate can register their birth.
In addition, all applicants for Colombian citizenship must demonstrate a basic level of proficiency in the Spanish language, pass a test on Colombian history and culture, and demonstrate financial stability or sufficient proof of income.
How to Apply for Colombian Citizenship?
To apply for Colombian citizenship, you will need to follow a specific application process and meet the eligibility criteria. The exact procedure may vary depending on the grounds for obtaining Colombian citizenship. The general process will be as follows:
Step 1. Check Your Eligibility
Before you begin the application process, please make sure you meet the eligibility criteria for the type of citizenship acquisition process you are seeking (e.g., naturalization, marriage, or descent).
Step 2. Gather Required Documents
To apply for Colombian citizenship, you will have to collect all the necessary documents and complete the relevant application forms.
Once the application is submitted, you will have to pay the applicable application fees, which may vary based on the type of citizenship path and your specific situation. For example, the government fee for getting Colombian citizenship through naturalization is COP 350,000 (approx. USD 90). Keep copies of all payment receipts.
Step 5. Interview and Examination
Once the above steps are completed, you will have to attend the interviews or examinations, if required. This may include an interview to assess your language skills and a test on Colombian history, constitution, and culture.
Step 6. Wait for Processing and Notification of Decision
Wait for your application to be processed. This period can vary, but it may take from 6 to 12 months. You will be notified of the decision on your application. If approved, you will receive an invitation to a naturalization ceremony.
Step 7. Naturalization Ceremony
Once you get approval, you will have to attend the naturalization ceremony, where you will take an oath of allegiance to Colombia. After the ceremony, you will receive your Colombian citizenship certificate.
Step 8. Get Your ID Card and Colombian Passport
At this final step, you are receiving your citizenship certificate and getting your identification documents, including your Cédula de Ciudadanía (citizen ID card) and Colombian passport.
Documents Required for Dual Citizenship in Colombia
In order to get dual citizenship in Colombia, you have to collect the following general list of documents:
Official request for Colombian citizenship addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs;
Photocopy of a current, valid, and certified Foreign Resident ID Card and Resident Visa;
Appropriate document issued by the relevant authorities of the country of origin confirming place and date of birth, or a photocopy (authenticated before a Notary Public) of the relevant page of a (valid) passport containing the aforementioned information;
Employer-issued certification establishing the applicant's profession or occupation;
If the applicant is a self-employed professional, he or she must submit a copy of the Single Tax Registration (Registro nico Tributario - RUT), income tax return, and withholdings certification, if applicable;
If the petitioner is a partner or owner of a commercial enterprise, a Chamber of Commerce certificate issued no more than six (6) months prior to the petition date is required;
If the petitioner is financially dependent on another person, a signed statement from the petitioner's relative, spouse, or permanent partner is required;
Accredit fundamental knowledge of Colombia's Political Constitution, history, and geography, along with the Spanish language. Those who can provide evidence of a high school diploma or a bachelor's degree from Colombia, as well as those older than 65, are exempt from this requirement;
Colombian marriage certificate or proof of domestic partnership, if required;
Written assurance of compliance with the requirements regarding military status if granted Colombian citizenship, unless evidence is provided that said military status has been resolved in the country of origin by submitting a certification from the relevant authority. All women and men over the age of 50 are exempt from this requirement;
5 recent 4x5 cm photographs on a blue background;
Other documents depend on the type of citizenship path.
5 Tips to Get Colombian Citizenship from Golden Harbors Experts
Obtaining Colombian citizenship can be a complex process, but it is achievable if you follow these 5 tips:
1. Comply with Residency Requirements
If you plan to obtain citizenship through residency, be aware that Colombia typically requires 5 years of continuous permanent residence. Ensure you have the correct visa (only an R visa is acceptable) and can demonstrate your time spent living in the country. Keep a record of your entries and exits to prove your compliance.
2. Prepare a Comprehensive Application
When applying for Colombian citizenship, make sure that your application is complete and well-documented. This includes providing all required forms, supporting documents, and any additional information requested by immigration authorities. Any inconsistencies or omissions can delay or even jeopardize your application. Consider seeking professional assistance to compile a thorough and error-free application.
3. Build Strong Ties with Colombia
Colombian authorities may consider your level of integration into Colombian society when reviewing your citizenship application. Therefore, it is recommended to actively participate in the local community, enroll your children in a Colombian school or kindergarten, and register as a tax resident in Colombia. Engaging in social and cultural activities, and demonstrating a genuine commitment to Colombia can strengthen your case.
4. Learn Spanish
Spanish is the official language of Colombia, and a good command of the language is often required for some types of citizenship. Invest time in learning and improving your Spanish language skills, as you may need to pass language proficiency exams or interviews as part of the citizenship process.
5. Seek Professional Assistance
Navigating the Colombian citizenship process can be challenging due to its intricacies and the potential for changes in regulations. To ensure a smoother journey and avoid pitfalls, it is highly advisable to consult with an immigration expert. The Golden Harbors team can help you understand the specific requirements, guide you through the application process, and increase your chances of success.
Colombian Citizenship FAQ
How long does it take to get dual citizenship in Colombia?
It takes from several months to 1 year to get dual citizenship in Colombia. For certain types of citizenship, the residence requirement (typically 5 years) applies.
How difficult is it to gain Colombian citizenship?
It is not difficult to gain Colombian citizenship if you meet the eligibility criteria and have all the required supporting documents.
How much does Colombian citizenship cost?
The cost of acquiring Colombian citizenship can vary based on a range of factors, including the method of application and individual circumstances. As of the latest update, the general fee for the Colombian citizenship application is around COP 350,000, which is roughly equivalent to USD 90. Additionally, you must account for other significant fees associated with professional services, document preparation, and certification. Please inquire within for a more precise quote based on your circumstances.
How much does a Colombian passport cost?
It costs COP 121,000 (USD 30) to get a regular 32-page passport and COP 216,500 (USD 55) to obtain an executive 48-page passport if you apply for a passport in Colombia. In Europe and Cuba, you are required to pay about EUR 70 for a regular passport and EUR 120 for an executive passport. In the rest of the world, a Colombian regular passport costs approximately USD 100, and an executive one is about USD 170.
What is a Colombian citizenship card?
A Colombian citizenship card, known as the "Cédula de Ciudadanía," is an official identification document issued by the Colombian government to its citizens. It serves as proof of Colombian citizenship and is equivalent to a national ID card.
Does Colombia allow triple citizenship?
Yes, Colombia allows triple citizenship as well as multiple citizenships. You are not required to renounce your previous citizenship to become a citizen of Colombia.
Can a US citizen have dual citizenship with Colombia?
Yes, a US citizen can have dual citizenship with Colombia. The United States does not prohibit its citizens from holding dual citizenship with another country, including Colombia. This means that as a U.S. citizen, you can become a citizen of Colombia without automatically losing your U.S. citizenship.
Can a US citizen get dual citizenship with Colombia through marriage?
Yes, a US citizen can get dual citizenship with Colombia through marriage. Marrying a Colombian citizen does not automatically make you a Colombian citizen, but it can provide you with a pathway to Colombian citizenship after 2 years through a simplified naturalization process.
How can your child get dual citizenship in the USA and Colombia?
Your child can get dual citizenship in the USA and Colombia through a combination of birthright and descent. If one parent is a U.S. citizen and the other is a Colombian citizen, your child will automatically acquire both U.S. citizenship (jus soli) and Colombian citizenship (jus sanguinis) at birth. You can further establish their U.S. citizenship by applying for a Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) at the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate if they were born outside the U.S.
How to maintain dual citizenship in America and Colombia?
To maintain dual citizenship in America and Colombia, it is essential to comply with the respective legal requirements of both countries. This includes fulfilling your tax obligations in the U.S. and Colombia, ensuring your identification documents such as passports and citizenship cards are up-to-date, avoiding actions that could lead to loss of citizenship in either country, etc.
Can you vote in both the USA and Colombia with dual citizenship?
Yes, you can vote in both the USA and Colombia with dual citizenship. Individuals with dual citizenship generally have the right to vote in both countries, provided they meet the respective voting eligibility requirements and register to vote as required by each country's election laws.
Can I travel to Colombia with dual citizenship?
Yes, you can travel to Colombia with dual citizenship. Colombia recognizes dual citizenship, so if you hold citizenship in another country in addition to your Colombian citizenship, you are permitted to travel to Colombia using either passport.
Is there a mandatory military service requirement in Colombia for dual citizenship?
No, there is no mandatory military service for dual citizenship in Colombia. Dual citizens may be exempt from military service obligations in Colombia, depending on various factors, including age, gender, and whether they reside in Colombia or abroad.
Does Germany allow dual citizenship with Colombia?
Yes, Germany allows dual citizenship with Colombia. In general, Germany does not permit dual citizenship. However, the German nationality law was recently amended to make it easier for more people to obtain dual citizenship.
Can you have dual citizenship in Colombia and Singapore?
No, you cannot have dual citizenship in Colombia and Singapore. Singapore does not allow dual citizenship. When you become a Singaporean citizen, you are typically required to renounce your previous citizenship(s).
What are the alternatives to Colombian citizenship in South and Latin America?
The alternatives to Colombian citizenship in South and Latin America are citizenship in Panama, Chile, and Argentina. All of these countries provide opportunities to apply for citizenship through naturalization, birth, descent, or marriage.
How to renounce Colombian citizenship?
To renounce Colombian citizenship, the citizen is required to appear at a Colombian embassy or consulate if they reside outside of Colombia or at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs if they reside in Colombia. You can find the detailed process on this government website.
Residence Permit Advantages
Fast application processing
Global mobility and freedom
no residence limits. In order to maintain residence status, it is necessary to spend six months per year in Colombia
expansion, entry into the Latin American market, and access to development projects in Bogota, Cali, Barranquilla, and other cities
Global mobility and freedom
Option to purchase commercial and residential real estate with an annual return of up to 5%, and a return on initial investment in 5 years
The clear path to Colombian citizenship
residents can apply for Colombian citizenship if they have been in Colombia for 10 years
Global mobility and freedom
family members (spouse, financially dependent parents, and children) can apply for a residence permit together with the main applicant
Rights of a resident
a residence permit is issued with the rights to work, do business and study
Global mobility and freedom
Colombia has a favorable tax regime, with low taxes and generous incentives for foreign investors
Processing Time and Terms
Enter your estimated application start date for the Colombian Residence Permit and receive a clear timetable for each step
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Sign a service agreement with Golden Harbors, pay the initial service and due diligence fees, and fill out application forms.
Prepare the necessary documentation for your chosen residency category.
Open a bank account and make the investment.
Apply for a visa at the Colombian Embassy or Consulate. The processing time will vary depending on the embassy or consulate handling your application.
Visit Colombia and apply for a residence permit. Within two months, the Immigration Service will review the application and make a decision.