If working in Colombia appeals to you, you should check out our guide on getting a Colombia work visa.
A Colombian Work Visa is a temporary visa issued to foreign nationals who wish to work or have found a job in Colombia. The visa allows them to stay in the country for three years.
Colombia is an excellent place to live and work. And, there are plenty of job opportunities for foreigners. Keep reading to explore Colombia’s work visa, requirements, fees, and application processes.
What Should You Know About Colombia Work Visa?
A Colombia work visa is perfect for you if you have a job or have found employment in Colombia. However, it is often challenging for foreign nationals to get jobs with a local employer in Colombia. The country’s work visa is still very well known among expatriates. A Colombia work visa is simple to get as long as you’ve fulfilled all the requirements.
Previously, the Colombia work visa was better known as the ‘TP-4’. But in December 2017, Colombia changed its visa policies. The visa is now referred to as an M-5 visa, a migrant (M) visa category. In addition, contrary to other migrant visas, the work visa for Colombia is only valid for the duration of the work contract. The extension period cannot be more than three years.
Also, those seeking work visas should know they can only apply for a work visa if their qualifications match the job requirements. Hence, their work history must align with the employer’s business needs.
N/B: Please remember that when TP-4 visas expire, they do not automatically become M-5 visas.
Who Needs a Colombia Work Visa?
All citizens whose countries are not on the list below need a work visa to get a job in Colombia. Only citizens of the listed countries can enter and remain in Colombia for up to 90 days without a visa. After that, they can stay in Colombia for 180 days without a visa or further extension.
European Union citizens, Albania, Andorra, Antigua, and Barbuda, Argentina*, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bhutan, Bolivia*, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil*, Brunei, Canada, Chile*, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador*, El Salvador, Fiji, Georgia, Grenada Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong (up to 180 days), Iceland, Indonesia, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Micronesia, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay*, Peru*, the Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Sovereign, Military Order of Malta, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Suriname, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, the United States, Uruguay*, Vatican City, Venezuela*
Key: * Countries that can enter Colombia with only an ID.
Other Countries Exempted from Colombia Work Visa
Aside from the countries mentioned above, the second category of nations is allowed to enter Colombia without a visa for up to 90 days. This includes individuals with a short-stay visa or a residence permit given by a Schengen country or the USA. The country’s nationals are as follows:
- Macau (up to 180 days)
N/B: For your visa/residence permit to be helpful, it must be valid for 180 days from your arrival date.
Types of Work Visas in Colombia
Since the time Colombia changed its visa policies in December 2017 to form several visa categories. The country now has three main visa options, namely:
#1. Visitor “V” type visa: The V type visa is for visitors who enter Colombia without a permanent establishment. It is also known as a tourist visa.
#2. Migrant “M” type visa: The migrant M visa is meant for those who wish to enter Colombia and reside in the country temporarily.
#3. Resident “R” type visa: The resident R visa is perfect for you if you want to establish a firm in Colombia and live there permanently.
Usually, Migrant M visas are the most common among ex-pats for special purposes such as marriage, studies, work, investment, and retirement. To get this visa, you must meet certain requirements. For instance, you must have:
- a spouse or partner who’s a Colombian resident,
- a spouse who is maintaining permanent employment,
- a spouse/partner who is coming to Colombia as a missionary.
In addition, these visas are primarily valid for three years. However, there are some exceptions, such as category five work visas and category nine student visas, which can be valid for less than three years depending on the length of employment and study visas.
Documents Required to Obtain a Colombia Work Visas
Before you apply for a Colombia work visa, bear in mind that you must have the following documents at hand:
#1. Valid Passport Photocopy
Provide a photocopy of the first page of your valid passport, which indicates your biographical information. It can either be in black or white color. Both colors are accepted.
#2. A copy of the Previously Issued Visa
If you have had a Colombian visa before, such as a student visa, then provide a photocopy of this visa.
#3. Proof of Legal Entry
It required that you provide a copy of the page of your passport. It should indicate the last stamp of entry or departure from Colombia.
#4 Passport photograph
Provide a digital visa photo with white background. It must have a maximum size of 100 Kb and a jpg file. No earrings, hats, or white shirts are allowed.
Additional Documents Needed for a Work Visa in Colombia
In addition to the general requirements, there are specific documents that you must submit when applying for a work visa in Colombia. This include:
#1.Original Work Contract
You must provide a summary of your original job contract. Once you and your employer sign a work contract, you can start the application process. Be reminded that your work contract must be in line with that established by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
#2. Certificates Of Experience
You must show at least three certificates of experience in the relevant profession or occupation. All three professional certificates of experience or licenses must be legalized, translated, and apostilled.
#3. Degree / Diploma / Techincal Certification(s)
It would be best to have certifications or diplomas to back up your experience when applying for a work visa. Furthermore, before issuing a visa, the immigration officer may request that the appropriate authority sign your degree.
This may necessitate “homologar su grado.” Registering your degree is determined by the profession that issued your certifications or diploma.
In the case of a liberal profession, the Ministry of Health must validate your academic degree title. Which may require the process of homologacion de grados.
#4. Permission or license
If your profession is regulated, obtain permission or license granted by the competent authority.
#5. Certificate of suitability for the applicant
All foreign job employers must tender a certificate showing that the applicant is suitable. It must be relevant to the signed contract.
#6. Letter of Academic Support
All Colombian employers must provide a letter of academic support indicating that the applicant has the necessary academic training, which aligns with their prospective position.
If you are applying for a work visa while working for a company, you must provide the following documents:
- Bank statements – give a six months bank statement before you apply for a Colombia visa.
- Income Statements: If you are an employer, submit your business’s last year’s income statement.
Suppose you are applying for a work visa while employed by an individual or normal person. In that case, you must submit the documents below:
- Bank statements: You must submit your employer’s bank statements of six-month-old. It should show an average monthly income of 10 times the legal minimum wage of the employer.
- Tax ID: you have to submit a copy of your employer’s Unique Tax Registry or RUT.
- Data from Chamber of Commerce – you have to provide current data from the Chamber of Commerce, also known as Cámara de comercio. Which shows productivity and economic activity carried out by the employer.
- Copy of identification card – when applying for a Colombia work visa, provide a copy of your employer’s cedula.
How to Apply for Colombia Work Visa
The Colombian work visa application is relatively easy to complete. Follow these steps to complete your application:
#1. Fill out online Colombia work visa application form
You have to complete your application for the Colombia work visa via the online application website provided by the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Enter your name, nationality, and passport number to begin the application process. Then answer all questions carefully. Try to complete the application within 30 minutes; if not, the session will expire.
#2. Choose the type of visa you are applying for.
#3. Attach an electronic copy of the visa.
#4. Attach PDF files of all the necessary documents.
You have to attach all the documents we listed earlier in this article. Keep in mind to submit the files in PDF format.
#5. Choose the Colombian Embassy/Consulate where you want to submit your application.
Note: Suppose you want to apply from within Colombia; you must choose the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (Ministry of Foreign Relations) office in Bogotá as your visa application location.
#6. Select the method of payment for the visa fee.
You can use four main payment methods for a Colombia work visa. First, it can be through an online PSE electronic service provider or the Colombian consulate. Also, if you’re in Colombia, you can pay through the Servibanca ATM or Banco GNB Sundameris in Bogotá.
#7. You will receive a notification through email about the status of your visa application.
If your application was successful, you would receive a notification via email.
#8. Finally, if you have received a positive notification, visit the Colombian Consulate or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Bogotá to get your visa.
How Long Does It Take to Process a Colombia Work Visa Application?
Work visas for Colombia can take several weeks to process, depending on the individual case and the consulate through which you apply.
Generally, the process usually takes 5 to 15 working days. It will entail completing an application form, providing documentation such as a passport photo, resume or CV, proof of funds, and attending an interview. Some applicants may also be required to submit a criminal background check.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Work in Colombia With a Visa?
With a Colombia Visa, you are not permitted to engage in any paid activities unless you have permission to work. Work visas, marriage visas, and investment visas are the three types of Colombian visas that allow the holder to work. You cannot work if you have a Student, Retirement, or Tourist/Visitor Visa.
This only applies to those who want to work for a Colombian company or employer. However, you can carry out your activities if you are a journalist or a short-term transferee and receive your salary from abroad.
How long does it take to get a Colombian work visa?
The Colombia work visa application takes about five working days to process. Still, it can take up to 30 days if there are any irregularities or missing documents. Therefore, apply well in advance of your intended travel date.
Can I work in Colombia on a tourist visa?
Yes, if you have a V visitor visa. The V visitor visa is a new visa for Colombia that allows its holder to perform specialized work in Colombia for a limited time.
Is it hard to find work in Colombia?
Yes. Although Colombia’s economy is expanding, it can be difficult for foreigners to find work. However, Colombia is very business-friendly, and ex-pats may wish to start their businesses.
Finally, a person seeking a Colombia work visa must meet the eligibility requirements, complete the application process, and provide the necessary documentation. The process can be time-consuming, but obtaining legal working status in this lovely country is well worth it.