What Happens If You Overstay Your Visa In Colombia?

Overstaying a tourist visa in Colombia is a common occurrence. It isn’t surprising – Colombia is an easy country to fall in love with, after all!

But what happens exactly if you violate the terms of your visa? Will you be locked-up? Deported? Fined? Prohibited from entering the country ever again?

Here’s the latest information.

 

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A Quick Note On The Colombian Tourist Visa

Most tourists that arrive to Colombia on a tourist visa will be granted 90 days in the country. These 90 days can be extended (usually a week or so before your initial 90 days are set to expire) at an immigration office in any major Colombian city for an additional 90 days.

90 days + 90 days = 180 days

Travellers are permitted to stay in the country for a maximum of 180 days per calendar year. After these days are up, you must leave the country for 6 months before you can return.

6 months in Colombia, 6 months outside of Colombia.

It’s worth noting, however, that the ‘clock resets’ with each new year. In other words, if you travel to Colombia from July to December (6 months), you can leave again and return on January 2nd and you *should* receive an additional 90 days (but, there are no guarantees).

So, if you really want to spend a lot of time in Colombia, plan your trip so the end of your 180 day limit corresponds with the coming of a new year.

NOTE: Colombia used to be very stingy about granting 90 days on arrival – they usually would only grant 30 or 60. Now, they seem to grant most tourists the full 90 days. However, you may want to specifically ask for 90 days at customs, just to be sure you don’t get shortchanged!

 

How to renew your visa

The visa renewal process is simple. A week or so before your initial 90 days are set to expire, book an appointment online at a DAS office in your city (or nearest big city, if you’re staying in a small town). What you’ll need to bring with you will be listed on the website. Go into the appointment, give them the required documents (usually, just copies of your passport) and fill out the form. Within the hour, you’ll have an additional 90 days!

What happens if you stay too long?

What happens if you’ve stayed over the 180 days or have neglected to renew your initial 90 days?

If you overstay your tourist visa in Colombia, you will be fined. This fine is supposed to be based on the amount of days you have overstayed, but what they charge will be arbitrary. Unless you’re particularly charming, they’ll charge you at least 350.000 COP if you overstay, or about $120 USD. Even if you’ve overstayed a day, this is the minimum they are likely to charge.

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For this reason, if an experienced tourist to Colombia notices that he or she has stayed too long, they may spend a couple more weeks in the country, as the fee is unlikely to go up. The so-called “sweet spot” for overstaying appears to be a month. Anything more and they may up the fine substantially. Any less and you’ll still be charged the 350.000. May as well enjoy a few more weeks!

But note that you’re playing with fire with this strategy. Colombian authorities are cracking down on people that overstay. They can charge you basically whatever they feel like regardless of how long your violation is. It’s best not to break the rules, but if you have stayed too long, it is better to get things sorted out sooner rather than later.

You’ll need to hit up a migration office to sort out an overstay fine. This is the same office that you’d do your visa renewal in. As mentioned, they are in most big cities. You book an appointment, fill out some paperwork, pay the fine and you’re on your way. You can now fly home without any issues!

 

What happens if you stay way too long?

People who have stayed wayyyyy over their allotted time (a year or years) will face a heavy fine, or deportation. The fine will likely be around $500.00 if you’ve stayed any longer than one year over your 180 days (again, it’s at their discretion).

If you seriously overstay, you will probably be eligible for deportation. The good news is that, if you opt to be deported, you won’t have to pay the fine. The bad news is that you will probably be banned from the country for a year or more. Usually, if you’ve overstayed for an inordinate amount of time, they will give you the option of paying a hefty fee, or being deported…but don’t count on this – ultimately, your fate is at their whim.

I suggest paying the fine if you’re given an option between the two. You never know if you’ll run into problems if you try to enter Colombia after being deported. You can be sure that immigration will have a record of it, and I can’t imagine they’ll be too enthusiastic about letting you back in their country.

That being said, it’s safe to say you’ll never have to worry about being permanently banned from Colombia. I mean, An Israeli accused of drug and weapons smuggling and human trafficking in Colombia Only Got Banned From The Country For 10 Years!

That being said, it’s best not to mess around with this one. If you seriously want to stay in Colombia longterm there are visa options available.

 

Border hopping?

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Border hopping will achieve the same thing as a visa renewal – you will receive another 90 days. However, keep in mind that you are only allowed 180 days per year in the country. So, if you’ve been in the country for 180 days already, don’t think you can cheat the system with a border hop – all your data is documented in computers so the guard will know how long you’ve been in the country.

Some people have reported being let back into the country via border hopping after their 180 days, but this is not the norm. If you have a sob story, the border official may grant you an additional 30 days to get your ducks in a row and get out of the country, but if you attempt to stay longer than that, expect complications when you attempt to renew your visa or leave the country.

 

Final notes

In short, if you stay too long in Colombia, you’ll be hit with a fine. The amount of this fine will be loosely based on the time period that you have overstayed, but at the end of the day, what you’ll pay will be up to the official. My suggestion? Try to be as friendly as possible and be armed with a suitable excuse as to why you have stayed for so long (even if you don’t have one).

– At the time of writing (2021), the standard you should expect to pay seems to be around $350.000 COP, or about $120 USD. 

– If you stay for a year or longer over your 180 days, expect a fine of around $500 USD or, worse case scenario, deportation and a temporary ban from the country.

– You cannot border hop to a neighbouring country to renew a visa if you have stayed 180 days in Colombia (unless you do so at the start of the year, at which time the clock resets).

And that about covers it!

As you can see, the punishment for overstaying a tourist visa here aren’t too severe. That being said, it is best to adhere to the laws of the country you’re in – it just makes everything easier!

Thanks for listening,
Vance

23 thoughts on “What Happens If You Overstay Your Visa In Colombia?”

  1. Even if you don’t overstay you can be charged. I believe they told me it was anything over 60 days. I had stayed 64 of my 90 days and had to pay 70.000 cop.

    Reply
    • What likely happened is that they gave you 60 days when you entered the country. They can grant as many days as they want, but it’s usually 30, 60 or 90. You’re entitled to 180, but without the renewal they’ll treat the violation the same way (as an overstay).

      It seems what they charge is completely random haha. I’ve heard horror stories of $150 USD+ but 70.000 isn’t bad at all.

      Reply
  2. Hi, are you familiar if a tourist visa can be extended from the immigration, I’m asking about a proper tourist visa not the permit stamp.
    I have a Thai passport which requires a Visa in advance to visit Colombia, however, I got only 24 days which is quite short was wondering if I could extend that when I arrive in Colombia?

    Reply
  3. Very useful info Vance, I am in this situation right now. My visa got denied for basically no reason and now I have to overstay, I am questioning how long I should but will probably make it just one month due to your advice. Appreciate it. Cheers

    Reply
    • Thanks!

      Yeah, it’s always a tough one – there are no guarantees on what will happen. It depends on a number of things, namely the immigration officer you get and what kind of day they are having!

      Regardless of how long you overstay (unless it’s a year or more) a fine is likely the harshest punishment you’ll face.

      At the end of the day, there shouldn’t be too much to worry about.

      Reply
  4. Hi Vance, I’ve got a little bit more information for everyone. I’m from the US and overstayed my 90-day visa by 2 days. I panicked and headed for the immigration office in Cali. I hoped and prayed they’d just give me a fine and then give me a new 90-day stamp. Nope! They were sweet and kind, but advised me to get the hell out ASAP. Moreover, an official told me my best bet was to go to Panama. I was specifically advised not to go to Ecuador because Colombian immigration may not let re-enter since I was already past the 90 limit. In addition, I was told that Panama is a much cheaper flight (under $300 round-trip).
    So, being the cheap-ass person that I am, I booked a flight to Panama ($377 RT) via Bogota. I had a 5-hour layover between flights so I went to the local library about 11 miles away which is awesome! When I got back to the airport for my connecting flight I had to go through an immigration screening prior to the security station. The immigration officer immediately spotted my visa violation and I was then escorted to the immigration office in the actual airport. I was told that before I could leave the country my visa would require processing (estimated time 2 to 3 hours). Hence, I’d would have to miss my flight. I was instructed to change my ticket to a later flight and come back to the immigration office approximately 2 to 3 hours before the time for pre-flight check-in with my new boarding pass. The immigration officials (Spanish only) were very pleasant and non-discriminatory. I watched other foreign nationals (Germans, Brazilians, and Swiss, get the exact same treatment). After processing I took a 10:30 pm flight to Panama City and returned to Bogota approximately 4 hours later. I was given a 90 day stamp no questions asked.

    One couple of final notes: A little bit of humility goes a long way. I was the a#@hole who screwed up by not renewing my visa on time not the immigration officials. Therefore, I did everything in my power not to come across as a self-righteous prick. Moreover, Colombians in general are extremely sweet people. Being obtrusive and demanding just doesn’t play well in this part of the world. I wasn’t fined during the process, but if I receive a bill in the mail for the processing fee I will gladly pay it. Finally, upon re-entry you’ll be asked to show proof of when you’ll be leaving Colombia (i.e., plane reservation), otherwise your visa might be denied.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers!

    Reply
    • Man, thank you for posting this!

      It’s tough to find updated/coherent information – sharing this will help a lot of folks.

      You’re right that humility goes a long way. Being aggressive in that situation may work in Canada and the United States, but definitely not in Latin America.

      Glad to hear it all went smoothly, for the most part.

      It’d be interesting to know what happens if you’ve overstayed the 180 days/year (i.e overstayed after using two 90-day visas). I’m going to try to find someone that’s done that (there has to be many!) and see what happened.

      Thanks again for the comment, man! Excellent info.

      Reply
  5. I’m smack in the middle of this right now… genius I am forgot that I was in Colombia at the beginning of the year. So when I bought my ticket. I thought I had planned accordingly which has turned out to be incorrect. Because of the time of year, tickets are wicked expensive so I’m going to be doing this at the airport it seems… I’ve been to the immagracion office and I can’t seem to pay my fine there… I will be over by 7 days. I will reply once this is over. Maybe this info can help someone else. Haha

    Reply
  6. Hi Vance,
    I’m going to working remotely and was hoping to spend a year in colombia. However, I just became aware of the 180 day total. Suggestions?

    Reply
    • Only two options, really. You overstay and pay the fine (no one can predict exactly how much it will be).

      Or, you spend 6 months in Colombia, 6 months somewhere else.

      Reply
  7. Hi Everyone,
    Overstayed my tourist visa over 3.5 years now. I have been teaching English at private schools and they promise on taking care of the working visa, but they really don’t want to pay the $1,200,000 work visa permit fees plus time it takes to send someone to the immigration/foreign relations office/online that it requires. One school that employed me went bankrupt and I lost over $6,000,000 pesos in pay over a year as did other teachers.
    I live with a recently divorced Colombian woman, but that will take some time to reach the 2 year minimum requirement (from the time of her divorce papers).
    I worked with an Argentinian guy who told me that he overstayed and had no money to pay the fine, so the Colombian immigration office deported him to Ecuador.
    I will try to get this resolved – survived an avalanche here in Colombia as well as not being paid by multiple companies (sometimes it takes 7 months to get your salary pay – it happens to Colombians here all the time). Had everything pretty much stolen multiple times, so I am broke. But all that being said, it still is better than living in my home country.
    Yes, being humble with everyone here in Colombia is in your best interest – throw in some humor and you will win their hearts especially if you do in Spanish.
    My plan B is Ecuador. Any suggestions? I think they will either throw the book at me and fine me like 8 minimum salaries (8*$865,000 COP = almost $7,000,000 COP = USD $2,307.00 or if I get lucky the US $500 which is $1,500,000 COP). I don’t have the money, so deportation is the only answer – I read that they ban you for 5 years.

    Reply
  8. Hey everyone,

    I think I have overstayed my tourist stamp now by an additional 90 days and wanted to know if its possible to travel throughout Colombia taking flights although my last entry stamp is more than 90 days ago? I wanted to visit Bogota but am not sure if they will hassle me at the airport as they did in western union and other areas.

    Reply
    • I have taken half a dozen or so internal flights in Colombia using my British passport. They have never checked the stamps. They appear to be only interested in checking that the name and document number on the passport matches the name document number on the boarding pass (I have always checked in online and printed the boarding pass in advance which is probably a good idea in your case).

      Reply
  9. Hello,
    I have a pretty particular situation. Almost 2 years ago my grandma traveled to Colombia to visit family. She lives in the US with a Green card but travels internationally with a Venezuelan passport, which at the time did not require any Colombian visas. Anyways, we were under the impression she could stay for an extended period of time, were not aware of the 90 days. Grandma stayed for about 5 months. When she was leaving the country the immigration officer brought up the overstay. Missed flights, paperwork and new flight tickets later she left Colombia the next day. We were told we would be notified of a fine to be paid later. Apparently it would be emailed. We never got anything or even heard anything again. Now my grandma wants to visit family in Colombia again (for less than 90 days lol) but we are worried about running into any issues at immigration because if that one incident a couple years ago. Is there a way we can check into this? a website for Colombian immigration where we can ask questions? would this be on some kind of registry? I’m clueless here. Just want to make sure she doesn’t run into any issues when trying to visit, don’t want her to get denied entry.

    Reply
    • @george im in a similar situation now. so if I try to leave I will miss my flights? I have been here for around 5 months was under the impression I was allowed 6, but no. I really don’t want to miss my flight.

      Reply
  10. @george im in a similar situation now. so if I try to leave I will miss my flights? I have been here for around 5 months was under the impression I was allowed 6, but no. I really don’t want to miss my flight.

    Reply
  11. If you stay in Colombia for more than 183 days, then you are considered a tax resident and thus subject to Colombian taxes. That might be an issue for some visitors or is that not enforced?

    Reply
  12. Hello I overstayed my visa by two days last year. I miscounted my days not my best moment. They told me I’d be sent an email to pay my fine in a few months, it’s been 10 months and I’m hoping to return to Colombia when the borders. I’ve tried emailing the department of immigration / the interior but no response. Will I be able to pay the fine at the airport? What should I do?

    Reply
    • Hi I am in the same situation itching to have some fun and get back and waiting for the email. Something tells me you will be able to pay at the airport. I dont see why not.

      Reply
  13. Hi, great post, i’ve currently overstayed my second 90 day tourist visa by 47 days and i don’t want to leave until November (Today is July 27th 2021) i paid a lawyer to do a professional visa in May but it turned to be a scam and stole 2.5M pesos from me, i have all the messages and i recorded all of our meetings, i am hoping that this evidence will be a perfect justification for my extemporaneous stay. If i go to Immigration in November It will be less than an 180 day overstay and hopefully if i can just pay a fine an leave i can come back in January 2022 and get married with my girlfriend.

    Any advice or input? been talking to lawyers but they all give different information, some say don’t worry and one today said i could get banned for 5 years. I found 2 guys on reddit today who overstayed their tourist visas by 2 years and one posted that all he got was a 1.1M peso fine, this is 2021, I have the link.

    Sincerely,

    Michael.

    Reply
    • Hi there! I wouldn’t worry too much about it — the different information you’re getting is due to the fact that, end of the day, it’s up to the discretion of the customs agent. For an overstay of a few months, you’ll most likely get slapped with just a fine. Be polite and upfront with customs about what happened and it should all go OK 🙂

      Reply

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