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Please note that while usual visa requirements have been detailed below, it is essential that you check on the details with your closest consulate, as requirements change frequently and can vary from place to place.


Tourist Visa

Residents of Latin American countries, the U.S., Canada, Western Europe, and several others in Asia and the Middle East (a total of 69 nations around the world) do not need a tourist visa to enter Colombia. When citizens of the aforementioned nations come to Colombia, an immigration officer will stamp an entry seal in their passport which will say how many days the person is allowed to stay. Although the maximum amount of days for most nationalities to visit Colombia is 90, the officer generally will stamp 30 or 60 days, so be sure to ask for more if you need it. U.S. and some European nations now only receive a maximum of 60 days upon entering Colombia.


Tourists may stay in Colombia for up to a total of 180 days. To apply for an extension, go to any DAS office in the country (located in departmental capitals; URL: You’ll need passport, a photocopy of the passport's information pages, two three-centimeter by four-centimeter color photos (blue background) and a ticket exiting the country. The person also needs to complete the required form and pay 72,350 COP (at the designated bank). A complete set of fingerprints will be taken. The Bogotá DAS office can give up to 60 additional days. Offices in other parts of the country give only 30 days more, and require two each of photocopies and photos. Travelers report DAS is more stringent on requirements in Bogotá, Cartagena and other places with many foreigners. It is easier in towns off the "gringo" trail.


For residents of nations who do need a tourist visa (check with the local Colombia consulate) the most important thing to know is that your visa will take approximately 15 days to process. You will need three passport pictures, a valid passport, a filled application form, a photocopy of passport, bank statement, round-trip ticket and information on the place where you plan to stay. An appointment and a $40 fee will complete the transaction. Updated: Apr 5, 2011.


Business Visa

To conduct business in Colombia or perform marketing studies, it is necessary to apply for a business visa, which can last for a maximum of three years. The visa does not allow the business person to live in the country, thus every visit should last no longer than six months. In order to apply for this visa, applicants will need three passport pictures, a valid passport, a filled application form, a photocopy of the passport, and a letter from the company the person works for describing the operations its employee will carry out in Colombia or a letter from the applicant if he or she is self-employed explaining the purpose of the visit.


If these last two options don’t apply to your situation, then the letter must come from the Colombian entity—private or public—inviting you, as they will be responsible for your stay. Lastly, you must present a certificate of incorporation and legal representation issued no more than three months previously. Note that the letter and the certificate you present must be notarized and certified with an apostille from the secretary of the state where it was issued.


Independent business people must show a nonrefundable round-trip ticket and bank statements for the three months previous to the visa application date. Though the applicant must go to a consulate for the request, the visa takes about three working days to come through for U.S. citizens and it can take up to two weeks for other nationalities. The cost of application for a business visa is $150, and it is necessary to make an appointment at the consulate.


Work Visa

To be eligible for a Colombian work visa, an applicant must meet one of the following criteria: be employed by a Colombian company; work in Colombia under an academic agreement between countries; get transferred by a multinational to a Colombian subsidiary; get hired by a news agency as a correspondent in Colombia; participate in an artistic or cultural group coming for a performance or work as a volunteer or missioner for a religious organization.


For any of these circumstances, the applicant needs three passport pictures, a valid passport, a filled application form, a photocopy of passport, a letter of the company that is employing the applicant, a certificate of incorporation and legal representation issued no more than three months previous, a certificate of proportionality, which must be issued by the Ministry of Work and Social Security of Colombia, proof that the applicant is qualified for the position (diplomas, licenses or certificates) and a police report translated into Spanish. The cost to apply for a work visa is $205; the applicant must make an appointment at the nearest consulate for the request.


Student Visa

The student visa can be requested by someone planning to attend a private or public educational organization recognized by the national government. The applicant must sustain a minimum of 10 hours per week schedule in the institution to be eligible for the visa. It is also possible to ask for a student visa if you are completing an internship as part of an academic program or if you are participating in an exchange program recognized by the government.


A student visa in Colombia lasts for a maximum time of one year, however, you may renew the visa as many times as needed to complete an educational program, after which, if you intend to stay in Colombia, the visa can be exchanged for another of a category. To apply, you need a valid passport, a filled form, three passport photos, an authorization from parents or legal guardians (if applicant is under 18), a medical certificate stating the physical and mental health of the applicant, a certificate of acceptance from the Colombian educational institute the applicant is planning to attend, and certificates of economic solvency from parents or person who will be responsible for the expenses of the applicant.

27 Sep 2011

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