How to Get Married in Colombia


How To Get Married in Colombia

Marriages between Colombians and foreigners are becoming more common every year but the question remains, how to get married in Colombia? Here are some legal issues to considering before planning a Colombian marriage to make the process as easier as possible. For more information see our site dedicated to Colombian marriage visa, (click here).

1. Colombian citizens have a birth certificate which also indicates current marriage or divorce status. Before anyone can marry in Colombia, a judge or notary (Called Notaria in Colombia) will need to verify that the Colombian birth certificates indicate single status. A citizen of Colombia cannot be married in Colombia if their birth certificate shows they are married to another person. In the way, Colombia ensures that Colombian citizens are not married to more than one person at the same time. The Colombian marriage law is very strict on that issue. 

2.When a foreigner is getting married in Colombia, they must also prove that they are single, by providing a variety of documents. This proof must be submitted before a marriage license will be approved. Since the documents will most likely be from another country, they must be apostilled, which is a formal authentication performed in the country of origin. Also, if the required documents are not originally drafted in Spanish, they must be translated by an official translator before they will be accepted. we can order birth certificates in Colombia (click here)

3. If either or both parties getting married in Colombia already have children, a judge is required to review the couple’s assets in order to protect the children’s future rights and well-being. The judge must ascertain which assets belonged to which party before they began their relationship. This is accomplished by both people declaring their assets through an attorney. The formal declaration is then reviewed by a judge. A Colombian marriage license will not be issued without a judge’s approval if children are involved.

There are two other options to consider in Colombia:

There are two other options to consider in Colombia to be certified as a Colombian and foreign couple.

A) If you already have a Civil Union from another country, you can certify that relationship (Legalize your civil union in Colombia) instead of going through a traditional marriage in Colombia.

B) Alternatively, you could consider a Common Law Marriage performed in Colombia

Both options are performed by a Notaria in Colombia. The ceremony is held in the Notaria’s office, and not in a religious location. Colombian notaries are similar to a County Clerk or Clerk of Court in the United States.

Large cities like Medellin and Bogota have many notaries and finding one is relatively easy, but you need to be very careful in selecting a reputable one. We have long standing relationships with many trust-worthy notaries and we would be happy to introduce you. Notaries also store many public documents for marriages and divorces in Colombia, including when a Colombian marries a foreigner. The Notary 1 in Bogota registers all marriages to Colombians reported by Colombian consulates overseas. Assistance for ordering and certifying public documents is available. Please contact us if your having problems.

Are you already in a Common Law Marriage without knowing it?

If you live together with your partner for 2 years in Colombia, your relationship automatically qualifies as a common law marriage. Unlike many countries which either don’t recognize common law unions, or set longer time frames to qualify, Colombia makes common law marriage a very appealing alternative. Keep in mind, however, that if you live with someone for 2 years, they will have equal rights to your assets, just as if you were in a traditional marriage.

If you are considering your options in Medellín (Colombia), we highly recommend a Civil Union as opposed to a traditional marriage. First, a Civil Union is much less expensive to perform with a Notaria, and the basic requirements are much simpler, if done correctly. Also, for a Civil Union you need not show a birth certificate and proof of single status. These documents can be difficult to produce, and expensive to legalize in Colombia.

At COLOMBIA LEGAL & ACCOUNTING S.A.S. our Colombian attorneys and staff provide quality legal assistance and will walk you through the Colombian marriage or Colombian civil union process with the utmost care and professionalism. Contact Us today to discuss your specific needs. For more assistance in Spanish please see our spanish website

Articles Related to Colombian Marriages:
Divorces and Liquidations in Colombia
Colombian Prenuptial
Colombian Civil Law
Colombia Marriage Visa
Colombia Translations & Apostilles
Colombia Birth Certificate



how to get married in colombia

Renew passport in Colombia

Colombian Residency

Popular Types of Colombian Visas

If your ultimate goal in Colombia is to get Colombian citizenship or permanent residency, there are a lot of visa options that will get you started on that path, which you can discuss with your Colombian immigration attorney. Some visas provide a faster track than others. For example, if you happen to be the parent of a Colombian national, you get permanent residency immediately and then, after two years, you can apply for citizenship and a Colombian passport. The TP-10 visa, which you can apply for if you have a Colombian civil union or marriage, gives you permanent residency after three years. After another two years as a permanent resident of Colombia, you can apply for citizenship. 

Colombian work visas, student visas, business owner's visas, retirement visas, and some others require five uninterrupted years before you can become a permanent resident; two years after that, you can apply for Colombian citizenship.

Whether or not to become a Colombian citizen (while remaining a citizen of your country of origin or giving up your original citizenship) is a choice only you can make, and it should be carefully considered. However, if you would like to keep your options open, it's a good idea to get your visa to get started on the path to permanent residency and the option of Colombian citizenship. Maybe you're unsure now, but in five years you might wish you had started the process sooner.

It's important to work with an experienced Colombian immigration attorney. Colombia Legal & Accounting can help you evaluate your unique situation and choose the visa that makes the most sense for you. Take a look at some of your options, then contact your Medellín lawyer to get started. 

NE business visa in ColombiaBusiness Visa - NE-1 - Workers for foreign entities may perform consultations, meetings, Setup Business, Bank Account, Conduct Market Studies. This visa will get you a cedula to allow for easier setup of bank account when opening a business. more on business visas in Colombia

Colombian student visaColombian Student Visa - Proof of Enrollment by Accredited Institution, &  Funds to Pay for Classes. This is a great visa which should be for classes at least 3 months long. Spanish classes are very common but are amoung the most expensive classes. If you speak Spanish you can go for technology or regular university classes. Contact us for more information

iconos-13The Colombia Pension / Retirement Visa - TP7 - Pension - At least 800 USD monthly from a government pension source, (if pension is private you need annutiy visa).  You may have to qualify for a annuity visa.  You have to receive 3 times minimum salary in monthly bases to qualify for the retirement / pension visa.  click here for more

Work VisaWork Visa - TP4 - To qualify for a work visa you must be sponsored by a Colombian corporation, with more than 69 million pesos average bank balance over 6 months. Be sure that the position you will have in the company relates to the registered principal economic activity. Click here for more

Colombian business owner visa - TP7 share holder visaColombian Business Owner - TP7 - This is also technically a company shareholder visa which you can obtained by owning 69 million pesos in shares in Colombian corporation. Includes working rights if you are a president or vice president of the company. Denied a work visa? Then learn more about the Colombian business owner visa here

iconos-16Colombian Property Owners Visa - TP7 - Direct foreign investment of at least 241.3 million pesos in real estate. This is a step down from the full Colombian investors visa, and offers a 1 year renewable visa. Be careful because each year the value is adjusted for inflation. more on the Colombian investors visa here

iconos-13Colombia Rentista / Annuity Visa - TP7 - Annuity or more accurately persons ho have a FIXED INCOME from overseas (meaning your home country) - This visa is great for landlords, trust fund holders, or persons earning fixed monthly income paid from sources outside of Colombia. This can not be from salaries or commissions.  Read about the Colombian Rentista Visa by clicking here.

iconos-27Marriage - TP10 Visa - A great visa for married or civil union couples. Full work benefits & up to 3 years. more

iconos-42Colombian Tourist Visa - TP 11 visa is for citizens of countries that can not enter with a stamp at the airport. Many high risk and poor countries are required to visit a colombian consulate to obtain a tourist visa. Click here more information on the Colombian tourist visa

Technical ServiceTechnical Service - TP 13 - This is a limited temporary visitors visa for performing technical services in Colombia. With the TP-13 visa you can be in Colombia for 180 days in one year. You may work for a foreign company in Colombia, but you may not receive pay directly from a Colombian company. more on Colombian visas with work privileges.

Resident RE Visa - Full residency visa, good for 5 years, and full working benefits. The best visa to have. This can be obtained by investing 449 million pesos in property or in a Colombian company. Money must be a direct foreign investment arriving from personal account. more on the investor visa

Colombia residency beneficiary visaBeneficiary RE Visa - Full residency  is also provided to beneficiaries of RE principal visa holders. Children up to 25 years old, and spouses qualify for this visa. Supporting documents must be completely legalized. marriage certificates may not be older than 90 days,  and must be translated to Spanish. We also offer legalization services
more translations and apostilles 

RE HOME investors visaProperty Investor Visa - RE - For a direct foreign investment paid in full by visa applicant. For the year 2016 the qualifying investment amount is 450 Million pesos. This is a permanent visa, which must be updated every 5 years. more

Qualified RE Visa - This visa is for holders of varios TP visas who reach 3-5 years living in the country, and then QUALIFY for a FULL RE - residency visa residency visa. learn more here