Colombian Visa TP7 Income, Step 2
How much retirement income is needed?
The exact amount of income required changes every year since it’s based on the current Colombian minimum salary. For a pensioner, you only need 3 times the current legal Colombian minimum monthly salary to qualify. For the other types of visas and other categories of TP-7 you need a lot more — 15 times the Colombian minimum salary or even more. So if you can get qualified on your retirement income and don’t intend to work or start a business, it’s by far the easiest way to go.
The other thing to check is the current exchange rate between the currency you get your retirement income in and the Colombian peso. As of this writing, the US dollar is quite strong, so you would only need about $700 USD per month income to qualify. Of course, part of your research is to find out the current income requirement for you. (See Step 1)
What documents to bring with you to Colombia
For me, this was one of the best parts… there is very little documentation you will need to get your TP-7 visa in Colombia as a pensioner. No birth certificate, no letter from the local police certifying you don’t have any felonies, etc. The Colombians only need:
- Your passport, which of course you’ll already have with you.
- Proof of your retirement income.
The easiest proof by far is if you are qualifying using your Social Security income. Then all you need to bring is the latest copy of the “Your Benefit Amount” letter that the Social Security office sends you every year. And even if you forget to bring this paper letter or can’t find it, no problem! Read on…
How to get an electronic copy of your Social Security benefit letter
This is super easy once you’ve set up an online “My Social Security” account:
- Go to https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/ If you have an online account, sign in. If you don’t have one, create one. You’ll need a USA address, your Social Security number, etc. Having an account turns you into a paperless client so you won’t get those hard copies mailed to you any more. But you’ll be able to do everything online so I think it’s much easier anyway, especially for expats.
- Once you have your online account and are signed in, there is a text link near the bottom of the page. Click to see the benefit letter you need. Then download it and save it on your computer.
Request a ‘proof of income’ letter from the USA Embassy in Bogota
The whole point of getting your Social Security benefits letter is that you need it to submit to the USA Embassy in Bogota. This next step is very easy and can be done via email.
The official instructions are embedded in a webpage on the USA Embassy Bogota website. It’s a long page with lots of services detailed, but there is one small section covering getting your “proof of income” from them.
You simply send a little email to the Federal Benefits Unit (FBU) at the Embassy with three attachments:
1) Privacy Act form DS-5505.
Print it, fill it out and scan the completed doc to get it back into digital form for emailing. (PDF is best on this one.)
2) Social security benefit letter.
If you’re using the one that SS mailed you, you can scan it or take a photo of it to get it into electronic form. If you downloaded it from the your SS website account, then you’ve already got an electronic version.
3) Passport details page.
Super simple. Just take a photo of your photo page or scan it. However, there is an important detail here I should mention… Colombia requires that you have more than 180 days remaining on your passport validity and at least 2 fully blank pages. It’s not important for the USA Embassy and getting your income letter, but it’s critical for the follow-on steps. So do the math and check for blank pages before you go any further.
What I emailed and to who
Send your email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
(be sure to remember your 3 attachments!)
Here’s what I wrote:
To FBU unit, USA Embassy Bogota:
I am writing to request a Social Security benefits letter confirming my benefit amount, translated into Spanish. I need it for submitting my documents to Colombia for a TP7 retirement visa.
Attached is the information that you require:
1) Privacy Act Form DS-5505
2) Social Security Benefit letter
3) Passport details page
My Colombia address and phone number is on the form DS-5505.
Please email me if you need any additional information.
Thank you very much,
(your name here)
What I received back from the US Embassy
Within 2 days I got an email back from the embassy telling me that my certification letter had been sent to me. It also gave me a tracking number for the local courier delivery service that they use. (I did not have to pay for the courier.)
Within a few more days the courier delivered the letter from the FBU. It was exactly what I needed for submitting to Colombia to get my visa. It’s in Spanish, on USA Embassy letterhead, official signature, official stamp, etc.
Bottom line, getting your proof-of-income is super simple and very fast!
Posts in Colombian TP-7 Visa series:
The TP-7 category I used. What I will share that may help you.
Simple basic research is the key to making the right choice for you.
Income needed. How to get your official proof-of-income letter.
What to expect using a visa service. Who I picked, why, costs.
The simple steps I went through guided by my visa service.
The final prize... getting your official ID card, your cédula.