Colombia’s expertise visa is intended for foreigner professionals who want to practice a profession in Colombia such as an architect or electrician. We provide 2021 updates on the Colombia expertise visa rules.
Medellin Guru has published popular articles about many of the Colombian visas. And we have received several questions from readers about the expertise visa. So, we look at the Colombia expertise visa in more detail.
The Colombia expertise visa is a category 7 migrant visa (M visa), which is similar to the previous TP-13 that changed with Colombian visa changes that went into effect in mid-December 2017
The Colombian expertise visa can be more difficult to obtain than other Colombia types of Colombian visas, as you must:
- Prove that you have a professional license/degree – for example an architect or electrician.
- Demonstrate that your license/degree is recognized under Colombian law.
- Demonstrate that your academic background is similar to what is required under Colombian regulations.
In addition, in some cases you may even need to take classes in Colombia to complete the validation process.
The validation process can take several months before you can apply for an expertise visa. So, only pursue this type of visa if you have time and are seriously planning to practice a profession in Colombia.
Coronavirus Visa Impacts
Has the visa process changed in Colombia due to coronavirus?
Migracion Colombia offices in Colombia were closed for over five months during the pandemic. However, Migracion Colombia offices reopened on September 21 with a resumption of services. So, it is now possible to obtain tourist visa extensions and cedulas for foreigners.
On September 21, 2020, Migración Colombia reopened it offices in Colombia and restarted operations for the following services:
- Issuance of the Alien Identification Card Cédula de Extranjería and its duplicate,
- Foreign Registration for both minors and adults,
- Certificates of Migratory Movements,
- Certificate of Migratory Movements and Nationality,
- Safe conduct (Salvoconductos) SC-1 and SC-2,
- Temporary Permits of Stay (PTP) for extensions of stay in the national territory and a category change,
- PEP-FF – this is for Venezuelan citizens.
According to ExpatGroup, the visa agency we partnered with, during to pandemic they have been submitting visa applications online without issues and have been receiving visa approvals for over five months during the coronavirus pandemic.
How to Apply for a Colombia Expertise Visa
You can apply for a Colombia expertise visa online. In addition, you can obtain Colombian visas at Colombian consulates around the world. In the U.S., Colombia has consulates located in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando, Newark, New York, San Francisco and Washington DC.
The Colombian visa process is fairly easy as it’s done online. You can apply for a Colombia visa online here. This application will require scans of all required documents in PDF files plus the photo in jpg format. In addition, a detailed guide for applying online is found here.
After receiving the online visa approval, if doing this in Colombia, you need to travel to Bogotá to get the visa in your passport. Or if at another country you can get the visa put in your passport at a Colombian consulate.
Visas in Colombia are issued at the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores office in Bogotá. This is located at Avenida 19 # 98-03, Torre 100 Building, 3rd Floor. It’s open from 7:30 am until noon. But now all visa applications must be done online. And the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores office has been closed during the pandemic.
I successfully obtained three Colombian visas that I applied for my own in the past that were good for a total of five years. But the biggest challenge with doing a Colombian visa yourself is not benefiting from the experiences of a visa agency, which has processed hundreds of visas and knows exactly what is needed for each type of visa.
Also, another big benefit of using a visa agency is that they offer services to courier your passport to Bogotá to get the visa put in your passport. So, you can avoid a trip to Bogotá. The cost of a visa service including the service to courier your passport to Bogotá can even be cheaper than the cost of a trip to Bogotá.
So, for my latest visa received in 2018, a Colombia resident visa, I used a visa agency. And I found the experience painless and now highly recommend using a visa service over doing a Colombia visa application yourself. The bottom line is with a visa agency you are less likely to run into problems and you can avoid a trip to Bogotá.
Requirements for a Colombia Expertise Visa
Documents required for the Colombia expertise visa are as follows:
- Photocopy of the first page of your valid passport where your personal data is displayed.
- Photocopy of the page of your passport with the last stamp of entry or departure of Colombia is located.
- If you’ve had a previous Colombian visa, a photocopy of this visa.
- School curriculum demonstrating training in the activity to be pursued in Colombia.
- At least three certificates of experience/licenses in the profession, which are legalized, apostilled and translated.
- Reference letters of Colombian companies interested in hiring the independent service of the visa applicant.
- Bank statements for the past six months demonstrating an average income of at least 10 times the Colombian monthly minimum wage (minimum is 908,526 pesos per month in 2021, so this is 9,085,360 pesos per month of income).
- International health insurance policy certificate showing you have an international health insurance policy that covers you. This policy should be valid for at least a year, since the validity time of your visa is dependent on the validity time of your international health insurance. This health insurance policy should show that it has at least $60,000 USD in coverage. We have a separate article that looks at inexpensive travel insurance that meets this requirement.
- Passport style face photo with a white background, sized at 3 cm width X 4 cm height, maximum size of 300 kb jpg file for online application.
Using a Visa Agency for an Expertise Visa
If you are in Colombia and not located in Bogotá and you don’t want to travel, you can use a visa agency to obtain a Colombia expertise visa. A visa agency can handle the online application. And it will courier your passport to Bogotá to get the visa in your passport.
Medellin Guru has partnered with what we believe is the best visa agency in Medellín to offer Colombia visa services. Features of this service include:
- Online chat – get visa questions answered fast.
- Online quotes – get immediate visa quotes.
- Courier your passport to Bogotá to get the visa in your passport.
- Office in El Poblado in Medellín.
- Competitive price compared to other visa services.
The Medellin Guru visa service partnership was launched in March 2019. And in the first 26 months, 374 visas have been successfully received by clients:
Also, our visa service renewed 49 American passports in Bogotá using our passport renewal service and provided visa stamping service to 10 clients (getting the visa in a customer’s passport who applied for a visa himself before the pandemic). In addition, 28 clients extended tourist visas using our tourist visa extension service.
So, in total we had 461 clients of the Medellin Guru visa service in the first 26 months.
In addition, many more visas are in process – short, medium or longer term, depending on client needs.
We reviewed all the Colombia visa agency services in Medellín and found one agency that offers a more efficient visa service with more features and more comprehensive communications including online chat, WhatsApp, Skype, email and phone plus a low price and a convenient office in El Poblado.
Our visa partnership is an affiliate relationship (like the Amazon affiliate program). If you use our visa partner, Medellin Guru receives a small commission and you support the website. This is at no additional cost to you. The price remains the same, whether you use a button or affiliate link on this website or not.
Furthermore, the visa agency we partnered with offers visa services anywhere in Colombia. So, if you are located in another city in Colombia you can use this service.
Getting a Colombian Cedula
After you have successfully received your Colombian expertise visa you have a maximum of 15 calendar days to register your visa with Migración Colombia to get a Cedula de Extranjeria (Colombian ID for foreigners). Or if you received your visa at a consulate, you will have 15 calendar days after you arrive in Colombia to register your visa.
Due to being photographed and fingerprinted this must be done in-person at a Migración Colombia office.
Especially relevant, normally it is very important to register your Colombian resident visa within the allotted time frame. If not, you will be liable for a big fine of up to seven times the minimum monthly salary in Colombia. The minimum salary in Colombia is 908,526 pesos per month in 2021. So, the fine is up to 6,359,682 pesos in 2021. But this fine did not apply during the quarantine.
To register your visa and apply for a cedula this must be done at one of the Migración Colombia offices. You can find Migración Colombia offices in major cities in Colombia.
- Barranquilla – Carrera 42 # 54-77, Barrio El Recreo
- Bogotá – Calle 100 #11B-27
- Cali – Avenida 3 norte # 50N-20
- Cartagena – Carrera 20 B # 29-18, Barrio pie de la Popa
- Medellín – Calle 19 #80A-40, Barrio Belén (the entrance is on the other side of the building on Calle 19A)
A complete list of the Migración Colombia offices is found here. In addition, we have a guide to applying for a Cedula Extranjeria in Colombia. Starting on September 21, 2020, Migración Colombia offices have reopened in Colombia. So, it again possible to obtain a Cedula de Extranjeria.
After having a migrant (M) expertise visa or other M visas for five years you are eligible to receive a resident (R) visa. And after having an R visa for five additional years you can apply to become a citizen of Colombia.
Also, you won’t have to give up your existing citizenship. Colombia permits dual-citizenship, as does the U.S. and many other countries.
Once you become a dual citizen with Colombian citizenship, you will no longer need to deal with visas anymore. Also, you will be able to travel to a few counties as a Colombian citizen without a visa such as Russia, which require a visa for U.S. citizens.
Also, if you have Colombian citizenship, this benefits you with the Mercosur trade block. Nationals of Member States (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay) and Associated States (Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru) do not need a passport or visa to travel around the region, with only a national identity card required.
In addition, the Mercosur Agreement grants the right to residence and work for citizens with no requirement other than nationality. Citizens of the Member States and Associated States that are part of the agreement enjoy a facilitated procedure for applying for a residence visa, as long as they have a valid passport, birth certificate and a negative certificate of criminal record.
To become a citizen, Colombia requires a citizenship test, just like the U.S. does. And you will be required to pass a test related to Colombian history, geography and the constitution. Also, a basic Spanish oral test is required. Those who have a bachelor’s degree from a Colombian university or are over 65 years old are exempt from these tests.
Furthermore, a complete list of the requirements for Colombian citizenship is found on the Cancillería website here.
Medellin Guru’s Comprehensive Visa and Passport Series
The Colombian visa changes that went into effect in mid-December 2017 were significant. So, on the Medellin Guru site, we have a comprehensive series of visa articles that are kept up-to-date and should answer most visa questions. These articles include:
- Colombia Visa Guide: Ultimate Guide How to Get a Colombian Visa
- How to Obtain a Colombian Visa with Up-to-Date Info – an overview of all the Colombian visas
- Popular Colombian Visas for Foreigners: Which Visa is the Most Popular?
- Coronavirus Impacts on Colombian Visas and Tourist Visas
- Visa Agencies: A Guide to Visa Agencies in Medellín and Colombia
- 7 Common Colombian Visa Mistakes: How to Avoid Them
We have looked in detail at the seven most popular Colombian visas used by foreigners:
Also, we have looked in detail at three additional Colombian visas, which are less popular for foreigners:
- Rentista visa (annuity visa) – for foreigners with a fixed income
- Beneficiary visa – for relatives of visa holders
- Expertise visa – for professionals
Furthermore, we provide information about travel insurance that meets the insurance requirement for Colombian visas. And we have a guide to how apply for a cedula extranjeria in Colombia and a guide to using notaries in Medellín and Colombia. Finally, Medellin Guru has partnered with a visa agency to offer Colombia visa services.
All of our Colombia visa articles were updated in 2020 to ensure they are up-to-date and are being updated again in 2021. In addition, all visa articles on this website will be kept up-to-date as new details are disclosed.
The Bottom Line: Obtaining a Colombia Expertise Visa
Colombia’s expertise visa can take a while to get as you need to validate your professional degree/license and this can take several months.
Also, this visa is only intended for foreigners with a professional degree/license that is recognized under Colombian law. And you should only consider the Colombia expertise visa if you plan on providing professional services in Colombia.
The expertise visa is one of the least commonly used Colombian visas by foreigners. Several other visas in Colombia are more popular with foreigners including the retirement visa, marriage visa, investment visa, work visa, student visa and resident visa.
The visa agency we partnered with has helped 461 Medellin Guru readers obtain visas, tourist visa extensions and U.S. passport renewals.
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Editors note: updated on March 30, 2020 with Colombian visa process changes due to coronavirus and the quarantines in Colombia.
Editors note: updated on April 21, 2020 with information that the national quarantine in Colombia has been extended to May 11 and international flights banned until the end of May.
Editors note: updated on May 6, 2020 with information that the national quarantine in Colombia has been extended to May 25.
Editors note: updated on May 20, 2020 with information that the national quarantine in Colombia has been extended to May 31 and that international flights will be restricted until August 31.
Editors note: updated on June 10, 2020 with information that the national quarantine in Colombia has been extended to June 30 and updated information about the Medellin Guru visa service.
Editors note: updated on July 3, 2020 with information that the national quarantine in Colombia has been extended to July 15 and added information about inexpensive travel insurance that meets the health insurance requirement for this visa.
Editors note: updated on August 28, 2020 with current information regarding the quarantine impact on the Colombia visa process for Colombia expertise visas.
Editors note: updated on September 22, 2020 with information that Migracion offices in Colombia reopened on September 21.
Editors note: updated on January 23, 2020 with the updated information about the Colombian expertise visa for 2021.