There have been a couple of cases where people try to get an easy visa into Colombia and one of the most common is the so-called “Girlfriend Visa”. This is sought after by many as it would not seem to hold the same amount of responsibility as a Marriage visa however it does not exist. The closest thing to a Girlfriend Visa is the “Union Libre” which will be explained below.
In Colombia, there are three ways you can enter into a marital relationship.
1. RELIGIOUS MARRIAGES:
This is the traditional marriage format where you have a religious ceremony. The most common religious marriage in Colombia is overseen by the Catholic church. A religious marriage is dissolved via a formal divorce process.
2. CIVIL MARRIAGE:
Couples who enter into a civil marriage do so before a local notary, judge or arbitration center. Civil marriage is dissolved via a formal divorce process.
3. COMMON LAW MARRIAGE:
The so-called “Union Libre” is Colombia’s version of common-law marriage and what some people use to get a “girlfriend visa.” Any couple living together can certify before a local notary that they have entered into a marital relationship at any time.
All of the above are considered MARITAL relationships under local law. This means that all of them can generate legal and financial obligations for each party. With respect to the Union Libre, under Colombia law, there is a presumption that marital property has been created if a couple has lived together in excess of 2 years. A common law marriage can be dissolved if any partner moves out at any time. In addition, anyone in a common law marriage that has been maintained during a period of at least 2 years can request financial support from their spouse so long as they file proper paperwork within 1 year following the date that the common law marriage ended.
In summary, DO NOT enter into a Union Libre thinking that “I want to get a visa but I don’t want to get married” because that is precisely what you are doing: getting married.