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How to get a Colombian work visa: all you need to know

Colombian Work Visa
Valeria Garbin

Valeria Garbin

I was born in Venezuela, but I've also lived in Mexico, Colombia, and Belgium. One of my passions is politics and Human Rights, so I studied International Relations and specialized in Human Rights and Development. My other passion is traveling and food, and writing about it makes my days. Bogotá is a city that I love! and I hope you can love it too through my articles, and of course, when you come and see it with your own eyes!

Do you have a work offer in Colombia? Or would you like to come and work independently? You are probably wondering what you need to do to be able to work in this incredible country.  If you are coming for more than three months, and you want to be hired by a company or you are expecting to open a business, you will need to request and work visa. But do not worry it is an easy process and in no time you will be convinced that working in Colombia was the best decision ever.  Follow the steps in this article and everything will be much easier.

Step 1 – Type of visa

There are two general types of work visa, depending on what you are going to do in Colombia.

  • Type V (Visitor):
    • V-BOAT CREW OR ON A COASTAL PLATFORM
    • V-AUDIOVISUAL AND / OR DIGITAL PRODUCTION
    • V-COVERAGE JOURNALISM
    • V-TEMPORARY SERVICES PROVIDER
    • V-OFFICIAL OR COMMERCIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF FOREIGN GOVERNMENT
    • V – Volunteer / volunteer
  • Type M (Migrant)
    • M-EMPLOYEE
    • M-EXERCISE PROFESSION OR INDEPENDENT ACTIVITY

Now, depending on what you want to do, you will have to ask for one of these types of visa, but it will be really easy, so continue to step 2.

Just in case, the website of the Colombian Foreign Ministry (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores) can help you find out exactly what  visa you need depending on the country of origin and the reason of your trip:

http://www.cancilleria.gov.co/tramites_servicios/visa/requisitos

Step 2 – Documentation you will need

For either of the two visa processes, you will need to gather some documents and fill the required forms.

You will need general documentation for either of the two types of visa:

  • Passport or valid travel document, in good condition and with free space for visas.
  • Fill out the electronic visa application form (https://tramitesmre.cancilleria.gov.co/tramites/enlinea/solicitarVisa.xhtml)
  • All documents from abroad must have apostille or legalization and official translation into Spanish if it is in any other language. The official translation must be legalized or apostilled according to the case.

For the type V visa you will also need:

  • A letter signed by the applicant or by the person supporting the request that includes: full identification of the applicant or the person supporting the visa, the reason for the trip and declaration of economic responsibility for the expenses of stay and travel.
  • Bank statements of the applicant or of the person supporting the request for the six (6) months prior to the visa application.

For the type M visa you will also need:

  • For M-EMPLOYEE

    • Present the summary form of the contract (The visa authority may require the presentation of the original contract when the information recorded in the contract summary format is not sufficient, presents inconsistencies or requires clarification.)
    • Motivation letter from the employer.
    • Bank statements of the employer corresponding to the six months prior to the request. When the employer is a legal entity, it must demonstrate average monthly income of one hundred (100) legal monthly minimum wages. In the case of a natural person, you must show average monthly income of 10 legal monthly minimum wages.
  • For M-EXERCISE PROFESSION OR INDEPENDENT ACTIVITY

    • Application letter.
    • At least three certificates of experience in the corresponding profession.
    • Personal bank statements of the six (6) months prior to the request. You must credit average income of at least ten (10) legal monthly minimum wages.
    • For regulated professions, you must accredit the corresponding permit, license or provisional permit to perform in Colombia the respective profession, granted by the competent authority.

The documents may vary depending on the country, so you should check the web page of the Colombian Consulate (Consulado de Colombia) in your country to find all the information regarding everything you need to apply for your visa.

In addition to the documentation, you will have to pay for the process of the visa, and once approved, make another payment to get it stamped. The cost varies depending on the type of work visa. The process for an M visa is around USD $40-50 (COP 115,000 – 145,000) and the visa itself is between USD $180-230 (COP 525,000-330,000). The process for the V visa cost USD $40-50 and the visa itself is between USD $130-180.

This may seem like the hard part, but do not worry, if you gather the right documentation you will not have any problems when applying.

Step 3- Where do I get the Visa?

To apply for your visa you must fill out the electronic visa application form and go to the Colombian Consulate (Consulado de Colombia) in your country. Visit this page to find out where yours is: http://www.cancilleria.gov.co/embajadas-consulados-colombia-exterior

Step 4 – Apply and wait

When you know where you have to go and you have gathered the necessary documents, you only have to apply for the visa and wait. Be sure to follow the steps indicated by your consulate.

Once you leave your passport in the hands of the consulate you can relax, the difficult part is done. The visa will be ready in approximately one week (four to five business days). While you wait for your visa, you can start to look for where you are going to stay or what else you can do during your time in Bogotá.

Step 5 – Pack Your Bags!

Now you are all set! With the visa on your passport, you just need to pack your bags and prepare for an incredible experience, enjoying all the wonders Colombia and Bogotá have to offer while working with incredible people. You see, it is not that difficult and now you have all the information you need to know about your Colombian work visa!

If you are interested in other types of visas to visit Colombia, you can read How to Get a Colombian Student Visa and Tourist Visas for Colombia: All you Need to Know. Additionally, read our article about obtaining Colombian nationality in case it’s useful as well.

Now, It is important that you know that if you are not fluent in Spanish, you will probably need to learn the language in order to work (read about finding part-time jobs in Bogotá here) live in this incredible country, but do not worry we have that covered for you too, just go to our best Spanish schools in Colombia article.

Go to our homepage and start planning everything you are going to do when you arrive! You will probably want to read  “Bogotá at a glance” and many other articles that will help make your stay in Bogotá perfect!

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