Obtaining Retirement visa

I'm having a difficult time finding what documents are required and the fees to obtain an M-11. Perhaps I'm blind. I will go to a consulate in the US to do this. Unfortunately, all I get is a recording when I call the consulate and no info. So, sorry to ask. Can someone point the way to a site that lists this info as well as any money orders that I need to bring? Thanks.

This site has the latest updated information:


Thank you.
The consulate responded to my email, something I didn't expect, and provided a link for the application.

Here is the official.migraciones site with links to the procedure

http://www.cancilleria.gov.co/en/proced … visa-guide

Apparently its a lot easier now mostly online and they will send you the visa by courier (of course you pay) and wont have to send your passport

If you live in Bogota area you can even get by without a lawyer or facilitator.

You will still have to go into the local.migracions Office to register your visa and apply and pay for your cedula, and then again 10- 20 days later to pick Up  your cedula when.it is ready

One of the requirements is confusing. They ask for a copy of a passport AND green card (yes, they use that term) AND visa. I hope they don't give me a hard time when I only submit a copy of my US passport.
They also don't ask for proof of income, like a social security benefits letter. They do ask for 6 months' bank statements though.
They don't say who to make the money order payable to.
Hopefully I can resolve these things as I will go to the consulate in NY in person to finalize it.
Can I get a cedula in the US after the visa is issued?

I dont think so. Think you have to come here..

But you are not given the same time restrictions after visa issue to get itt registered

I really dont know why you and other  people do this from the US. It makes no sense to me. If you come here with a 90 day passport  stamp its easily  enough time to do it, and you can easily extend it to 180 days lf it isnt.

And way easier to do it in Colombia..other than getting financial data.

I want to get health insurance and open a bank account immediately, hence my reason for getting the visa in the US. I would think it's easier to do in the US since I wouldn't have to deal with Bogota. I'll be in Medellin. Or, is my reasoning wrong?

You can get medicina prepagada ( which is more expensive than EPS) and open a Bank account with just a passport. I did both with just a passport.

And you dont need a Bank account in Colombia if you have a US account and ATM card.

I personally would recommend against a Colombian Bank account..

Quechimba, first off, thank you for your responses. Hopefully, I haven't worn out my welcome.

For reasons I can't get into, I will not be able to keep my US bank account. I've read elsewhere advising against opening a Colombian bank account. No one mentions why though. What is the problem with that?

It also seems that there is a lack of consistency with Colombian banks and even branches in the documents required to open an account. My thought is better safe than sorry.

As for health insurance, I read on one site that it is very difficult to get prepaid insurance if you're over 62, which I am. Is there a problem with the better EPS policies? I'm hoping to get a policy with benefits more or less equivalent to Medicare Part B.

Many thanks.

You have to have your Cedula to get health insurance ( and apartment lease, utilities, cell phone, internet contracts ) here in Colombia. You must apply for your Cedula within 15 days of receiving your Visa in your passport.  If you do not, you pay a hefty fine. How you can do that outside of Colombia is beyond me. Very easy to get your Cedula on your own.

We have a bank account with Bancolombia, primary to pay our rent and utilities on their web site avoiding carrying cash and paying at the local offices.
When we went to open the bank account the first person at the first branch said we have to have 6 months residency here to open an account. Total BS. Luckily we have a driver/translator that has helped us with everything and he said let's go to another branch. Sure enough, we opened the account with no problems, other then they spelled our last name wrong and that took a week to get corrected. Keep in mind that doing business is VERY black and white here. There are no grey areas. They go by the book. You will need proof of your retirement income, a copy of passport and Cedula. We have several friends that have accounts with Bancolombia. They are the largest bank here. Opening an account is a bit more challenging without a Cedula. Is Bancolombia the best? Certainly not, but it is what it is.
Regarding the EPS insurance, we have had friends use it and have heard great reports. If you get the expedited coverage your wait time for appointments is greatly reduced. We will be getting signed up tomorrow and will let you know our experience.


sailcomania, are there any drawbacks to having a Colombia bank account vs. US? Are you able to make withdrawals at no charge and/or use their ATM at no charge or at a  low fee? If so, and I know every bank is different, do you get close to the posted exchange rate?
Sort of related, how does one know what the exchange rate is at a cajero before one takes out money?

Colombian bank service to customers versus US bank service to customers, in general:  Colombia is backwards and charges and/or penalizes customers for everything, where US banks although of course they exist to make money for themselves, offer customers many fee-free services and conveniences - almost as if they were trying to please their customers, whereas Colombian banks would rather let you know who's in charge, even if it is your money...

If you like waiting in long lines and taking forever to do even simple things, and with lots of paperwork, you'll love Colombian banks.

When you plan to go to a Colombian bank, make sure you pack a lunch.

Some Colombian banks will let you know how they calculate the exchange rate, and what measure they base it on but the info is usually rather well hidden.

http://www.banrep.gov.co/es/tasa-cambio … mbiano-trm

That link was a complicated explanation of the methodology used to calculate the rate! However, bottom line, the bank's rate was near the posted rate.

I've seen the line in banks and don't relish having to deal with it. But I'm pretty much stuck.

Thanks for the info.


are there any drawbacks to having a Colombia bank account vs. the US?

Not that we are aware of, except opening the account initially. The big plus with having Bancolombia is we can pay our bills with their online bill paying system and it helps to establish credit for us here in Colombia. We have and use our US bank accounts  for withdrawing money from ATM's.  We use Xoom to transfer money from our USAA account to Bancolombia. They charge $4.95 per transfer. We have Charles Schwab and it is the best bank to deal with. They reimburse for all ATM fees and no foreign transaction fees. Awesome service. We can go to any bank to get cash.

Are you able to make withdrawals at no charge and/or use their ATM at no charge or at a  low fee?
There is no charge to use the Bancolombia ATM's providing you have an account. They do have monthly fees but with the low cost of living here, it is minor.

If so, and I know every bank is different, do you get close to the posted exchange rate?


Sort of related, how does one know what the exchange rate is at a cajero before one takes out money?

You can Google for that info.
We have Units Plus app on our iPhone for converting currency, weights, metrics, Celsius, etc.

Hope that helps you.


There are lines at the bank. But it is well organized. You sign in at a kiosk for the service you need, get a number, take a seat, watch the monitor for your number to be called.

If you don't go to the bank on a Monday or Friday and around the 1st and 15th of the month, ( paydays ) you will avoid the crowds. I never had to wait more than 30 minutes. 10 minutes has been average.


Most Colombian banks have quite heavy hidden charges for any activities where their staff attend to you.
You can mostly avoid these charges by using the ATM, although Davivienda (and others) start to charge you $1300 after your 6th visit in a month.

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