Colombian Civil Union
Colombia Civil Union: What qualifies as a Colombian common law marriage or a civil union in Colombia? In Colombia, when you have lived together with another person for only 2 years, your relationship automatically qualifies as a civil union (i.e. many people do not understand this, as other countries, for example the United States, establish common law marriage at 7 years). When someone lives with you for 2 years in Colombia they have equal rights to your assets just as if they were married to you. The civil union here is also commonly referred to as certifying the relationship as permanent friends or in Spanish “Compañeros Permanente”.
However, two persons may certify their relationship with a Colombian Civil Union at a notary LONG before 2 years passes in order to qualify for certain federal benefits their common law spouse has such as health, pension and immigration benefits. The later being of more interest in this article. Some notaries are very difficult to deal with and often ask for the same documents as a regular marriage. For those of you in Medellin their is hope, as our main office is in Medellin and our attorney can arrange Civil Unions with no foreign documents such as a Colombia birth certificate, or proof of being single (commonly referred to as prueba de solteria).
Rights to Assets / Prenumtial
As for protecting assets, after passing 2 years together you will have rights to your spouses assets which were earned since the relationship passed the 2 year mark. if you want to protect your assets in a civil union, both inside and outside of Colombia, it is critical that you have a Colombian prenuptial contract with an attorney. The phrase for Prenuptial Agreement in Colombia in Colombia is “capitulaciones matrimoniales”. Civil unions are favored by many foreigners because they do not require as many prerequisites, and they are much cheaper since foreign documents are not that necessary. On all legal matters our company works with Colombia Legal & Accounting SAS to prepare such documents.
Additionally, civil unions between a foreigner and a Colombian national will qualify the foreign national for the Colombian M-1, visa, commonly known as a “Colombia Marriage Visa“. A marriage visa gives you full work privileges in Colombia and is issued for up to three years. After three continuous uninterrupted years you have been on this type of visa, you qualify for a Colombian Residency visa.