March 16, 2024


 min read

Colombia Citizenship by Marriage 101








Colombia Citizenship by Marriage 101


Colombian Citizenship by Marriage Overview

Colombian citizenship through marriage is a popular option for individuals who are married to Colombian citizens and wish to establish a more permanent legal status in Colombia. Becoming a citizen facilitates integration into Colombian society, enabling individuals to fully participate in various aspects of life, including work, business, education, and community activities.

The legal framework for acquiring Colombian citizenship through marriage is outlined in the Colombian Constitution, Law 43 of 1993, and Decree 19 of 2012. In the past five years, an average of 5,000 foreign individuals have annually acquired Colombian citizenship through marriage. Of the total citizenship acquisitions in the country, approximately 20% were attributed to marriage-based applications.

Benefits of Colombian Citizenship

Marrying a Colombian citizen provides a strong connection to the local community and allows for the seamless blending of traditions and customs. Moreover, obtaining Colombian citizenship through marriage offers several significant benefits, with rights and privileges equivalent to those of Colombian citizens. Here are the top advantages:

Legal Residency

As a Colombian citizen through marriage, you gain legal residency in Colombia, which gives you the same rights and privileges as any native-born Colombian. It allows you to integrate into the Colombian community. This legal status provides you with the freedom to live and work within the country's borders without the requirement for additional visas or permits. 

Right to Work

You have the right to work in Colombia without any restrictions. With this right, you can contribute to and benefit from Colombia's growing economy, opening up numerous opportunities for your career and financial growth. This means you can seek employment, start a business, or engage in freelance work just like any other Colombian citizen. The Colombian labor force participation rate stands at 64.60% in 2023. 

Access to Social Services

As a Colombian citizen, you have access to various social services provided by the government, including healthcare, education, and other public services. Approximately 94.7% of Colombia's population was enrolled in the public health care system in 2022, up from 93% the previous year. This comprehensive social support system ensures that you and your family can lead a fulfilling and healthy life in Colombia, with a strong emphasis on the well-being of its citizens.

Voting Rights

Colombian citizens, regardless of how they acquired their citizenship, have the right to vote in local and national elections. This means you have a say in the democratic processes of the country.  Participating in elections allows you to actively shape the future of Colombia and have a voice in the decision-making processes that impact the nation's development.

Property Ownership

You are allowed to own property in Colombia, which includes both real estate and movable assets. From 1997 to 2023, the Housing Index in Colombia averaged 65.37 points, reaching a record high of 126.78 points in the third quarter of 2023. This dynamic property market offers opportunities for investment and growth, making it an advantageous time to consider real estate ventures in Colombia.

Business Opportunities

With a thriving business environment and a diverse market, Colombia presents fertile ground for innovative ventures and economic success. Having Colombian citizenship can open doors to business opportunities in the country. You can start a company, invest in existing businesses, and engage in entrepreneurial activities. In 2023, the total revenue in the business market is $5.51 million at the moment of writing. 

Family Reunification

Being a Colombian citizen facilitates the process of bringing family members, such as spouses, children, and parents, to Colombia. They may be eligible for residency or citizenship through family reunification. In 2023, the net migration rate for Colombia will be -3,473 per 1,000 people, a 78.47% increase from 2022. This demonstrates the increasing appeal of Colombia as a destination for families seeking to reunite and build a life together in this welcoming nation.

Travel Benefits

Colombian citizens enjoy certain travel privileges, including visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to many countries around the world. This can make international travel more convenient and cost-effective. These travel privileges not only simplify your journeys but also promote cultural exchange and global connections for Colombian citizens.

Cultural Integration

Obtaining Colombian citizenship through marriage can enhance your cultural integration and understanding of the country. You may have a deeper connection to the local customs, traditions, and way of life. This deeper connection can enrich your personal experiences and relationships, fostering a stronger sense of belonging within the Colombian community.

Dual Citizenship 

According to Article 96 of the Colombian Constitution, Colombia allows dual citizenship, which means that a person can hold citizenship in Colombia along with citizenship in another country. There is no need to renounce your current citizenship. This dual citizenship policy provides you with the unique opportunity to maintain strong ties with both Colombia and your home country, offering a broader spectrum of cultural and legal benefits.

Colombian Citizenship by Marriage Requirements

Acquiring Colombian citizenship through marriage involves meeting specific legal requirements and providing the necessary documentation. The main requirements for obtaining Colombian citizenship through marriage are as follows: 

Valid Marriage

The foreign spouse must have a legally recognized marriage with a Colombian citizen. This marriage must be registered with Colombian authorities and comply with local marriage laws.

Residency Period

The foreign spouse typically needs to have resided in Colombia with a permanent residence (R) visa for a specified period, which is commonly 2 years. A one-year absence from Colombia interrupts the continuous residence period for the purpose of acquiring Colombian nationality.

Clean Criminal Record

Applicants must demonstrate a clean criminal record both in Colombia and in their home country. Any criminal convictions may hinder the application process.

Proficiency in Spanish

Proficiency in Spanish is often a requirement. This demonstrates the foreign spouse's ability to integrate into Colombian society and communicate effectively. Those who can provide evidence of a high school diploma or a bachelor's degree, as well as those older than 65, are exempt from this requirement. The Spanish language proficiency examination is waived for natives of Spanish-speaking nations.

Colombian Citizenship by Marriage Documents

In order to perform a civil marriage in Colombia, foreign individuals must present the following documents: 

  • Copy of passport;
  • Photocopy of the page in your passport that shows your most recent entry stamp; 
  • Certificate of marriage and any other legal proof that you are allowed to stay in Colombia; 
  • Passport-style photo, 3x4cm, with a white background; 
  • Copy of the Colombian ID card ( Cédula) of your spouse; 
  • Visa application letter signed by your spouse and notarized by a Colombian notary; 
  • In the case of a second marriage, you must present the Civil Registry of Marriage with the respective registration of divorce, cessation of Catholic marriage, dissolution of marital partnership, or death of the spouse, as applicable.

If the documents are in a language other than Spanish, they must be officially translated and certified.

Colombian Citizenship by Marriage Application Process

Obtaining Colombian citizenship through marriage involves a multi-step application process and consists of the following steps: 

Step 1. Get Married in Colombia and Apply for a Migrant (M) Visa 

To legally live in Colombia as a foreigner married to a Colombian citizen, you should first get married in Colombia. Afterward, you can apply for a migrant (M) visa, which allows you to reside in the country as the spouse of a Colombian national. After 3 years of legally living in Colombia, you can apply for a permanent resident (R) visa. 

Step 2.  Ensure Eligibility for Citizenship 

You should make sure you meet the eligibility criteria for obtaining Colombian citizenship through marriage. This includes having a legal marriage recognized in Colombia, having a resident (R) visa, meeting permanent residency requirements (at least 2 years), and demonstrating good conduct.

Step 3. Gather Required Documents and Fill Out Application Forms

At this step, you will need to get all the supporting documents and obtain and complete the citizenship application form, known as "Solicitud de Nacionalidad.

Step 4. Pay Application Fees

After submitting the application, you will have to pay the application fees, which are COP 350,000 (approximately USD 90) at the time of writing. You should keep a copy of the payment receipt.

Step 5. Submit Application

Then you will visit the Colombian immigration office and submit your application along with all the required documents. Ensure that you have all originals and copies, as well as any translations and notarizations if needed.

Step 6. Wait for Processing

The processing time for Colombian citizenship applications can vary from 3 to 8 months. You may receive updates or notifications from the immigration office regarding the status of your application.

Step 7. Attend Interview or Provide Additional Information (if required)

In some cases, the immigration authorities may request an interview or additional information to assess your eligibility for citizenship.

Step 8. Take Oath of Allegiance

Once your application is approved, you may be required to take an oath of allegiance to Colombia. This is a formal ceremony affirming your commitment to the country. 

Step 9. Obtain Citizenship Certificate

After successfully completing all the steps above, you will receive a Colombian Passport and ID Card. 

4 Tips How to Get Colombian Citizenship by Marriage from Golden Harbors Experts

Our deep understanding of Colombian immigration laws and procedures guarantees a smooth and efficient application process for our clients. Leveraging our extensive experience in assisting individuals to obtain Colombian citizenship through marriage, we offer the following tips to enhance your chances of success

1. Meet the Eligibility Criteria

Your marriage has to be legally recognized in Colombia. This involves registering your marriage at a local civil registry office (Registraduría Nacional del Estado Civil). 

2. Reside in Colombia

You may need to establish residency in Colombia before applying for citizenship. Colombian immigration laws often require foreign spouses to reside in Colombia for a specific period before they can apply for citizenship. This residency requirement can vary, but it is typically at least 2 years of continuous residence as a permanent resident. During this time, you will need to maintain your immigration status and have a residence permit.

3. Show Language Proficiency and Cultural Knowledge

You have to demonstrate proficiency in Spanish, take a language test, or obtain a language proficiency certificate like DELE (Diplomas de Español como Lengua Extranjera). You may need to consider enrolling in formal language courses. Language schools and universities often offer programs specifically designed for immigrants seeking to improve their language skills. You are also required to show some knowledge of Colombian geography, history, and constitution.

4. Professional Advice and Legal Assistance

It is highly recommended to seek professional advice or hire an immigration expert who is familiar with Colombian immigration laws. Golden Harbors team can guide you through the process, ensure that you have all the necessary documents, and help you navigate any potential complications.

FAQ Colombian Citizenship by Marriage

Can a US citizen get dual citizenship with Colombia through marriage?

Yes, a US citizen can get dual citizenship with Colombia through marriage. Colombia allows for dual citizenship, so marrying a Colombian national does not require giving up US citizenship. This process typically involves meeting residency requirements, providing proof of a legal marriage to a Colombian citizen, and demonstrating a sufficient level of Spanish language, constitution, and history. 

Is marriage the easiest way to get citizenship in Colombia?

Yes, marriage is the easiest way to get citizenship in Colombia. You can obtain Colombian citizenship quickly by marrying a Colombian national. This includes same-sex and civil unions. You can apply for this citizenship if you have been married to a Colombian for at least 5 years and have a Resident (R) Visa.

Are there other ways to get Colombian residence and citizenship?

Yes, there are several other pathways to obtaining Colombian residence and citizenship aside from marriage. Here are some of the most common methods:

By Birth: Individuals born in Colombia to Colombian parents automatically acquire Colombian citizenship at birth.

By Descent: Individuals born abroad to Colombian parents can apply for Colombian citizenship through their familial ties.

Investment: Foreign nationals can obtain Colombian residency by making a significant investment in the Colombian economy, such as buying real estate or starting a business. After holding a resident visa for a certain number of years, they may apply for citizenship.

Employment: Securing a job in Colombia can potentially lead to residency. Employers can sponsor foreign nationals, facilitating the process of obtaining a resident visa.

Education: Foreign students studying in Colombian educational institutions can apply for a student visa, which might eventually lead to residency and citizenship, depending on various factors, including the duration of the stay and the level of education pursued.

Retirement: Retirees with a stable income or pension can apply for a resident visa under the pensioner category, which can be a pathway to Colombian citizenship over time.

Humanitarian Grounds: In certain circumstances, individuals may be granted residency on humanitarian grounds, such as refugees or individuals seeking asylum.


Residence Benefits

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Fast application processing

2-3 months


Global mobility and freedom

no residence limits. In order to maintain residence status, it is necessary to spend six months per year in Colombia


Business opportunities

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


Residence Permit

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

There are Always Options to EXPAND YOUR BOUNDARIES! Let's Discuss Yours

Every client is unique

Every case requires an individual approach and solution. Our years of experience in the industry allow us to provide both.

We will answer all your questions and provide detailed information about the available second passport and residency programs to help you make the right choice.


Lead Attorney at Golden Harbors

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Lead Attorney at Golden Harbors