Colombia’s student visa is intended for foreigners engaged in an academic program at a school in Colombia. The Colombia student visa is relatively easy to get. And a student visa is a good way to stay longer in Colombia than the six-month tourist visa permits. We provide 2023 updates to the Colombia student visa rules.
To be eligible for a student visa you need to be enrolled in a public or private educational establishment that is recognized by the Colombian government. Most universities in Colombia are approved. In addition, you need to be taking at least 10 hours of classes per week.
The Colombia student visa used to be known as the TP-3 visa. The student visa is typically valid for the time you are enrolled in an approved school. I previously had two TP-3 student visas that were valid for one-year each when I was taking Spanish classes at Universidad EAFIT in Medellín.
In the past, there were two categories of visas for students The Migrant (M) and Visitor (V), but with Resolution 5477, only the Visitor (V) category remained as the only one for university studies and non degree programs.
Also, we have this article about the Colombia student visa in Spanish.
Colombia changed its student visa category
Colombia changed its Colombian visa rules in late 2022. And these new visa rules went into effect on October 21, 2022.
So, student visas have changed, previously, there was the Migrant visa (M) for undergraduate and graduate studies and the Visitor visa (V) for non-degree courses such as Spanish classes.
Due to the new Resolution 5477, there is now only one category for any study in Colombia, either at a university or at a language institute.
In fact, with this new change, online classes are also allowed in order to obtain the Colombian V student visa.
The validity of this visa can be up to two years, but if you remain outside Colombia for more than 90 days, you will automatically lose the validity of the visa. So, in 2023 the cost of the Student visa is 63 USD, including study and approval fees.
New Visa Resolution Impacts
Has the visa process changed in Colombia due to the new Resolution 5477?
According to ExpatGroup, the visa agency we partnered with, tells us that with the new resolution, the government has introduced new application requirements, in addition to having eliminated some visas, such as the M student visa, and changed the category, for example, the R type visa for Colombian child, it is now M category.
The visa agency we partnered with has helped many foreigners obtain visas, including retirement visas, marriage visas, student visas, investment visas, and resident visas.
How to Apply for a Colombia Student Visa
You can apply for a Colombia student 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.
Visas in Colombia are issued by the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores. Since the coronavirus, all visas are issued electronically, so you do not have to travel to Bogota for the stamp.
I successfully obtained three Colombian visas that I applied for my own in the past (including two TP-3 student visas) 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 help you gather all the information and documents necessary for the student visa application. The cost of the service includes immigration advice, visa application, visa registration, and application for a foreigner identification card.
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 instead of doing a Colombia visa application yourself. The bottom line is with a visa agency you are less likely to run into problems.
Spanish Schools in Medellín That Offer Student Visas
There are at least three universities normally offering Spanish language programs in Medellín that qualify for a student visa:
- Universidad EAFIT located in El Poblado,
- Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana (UPB) located in Laureles and
- Universidad de Medellín in Belén.
Universidad EAFIT reportedly has the largest university Spanish program for foreigners in Medellín and Colombia.
In addition, there are at least two private schools that qualify for a student visa: OLSA International and Elefun.
Medellin Guru Partnered with OLSA International
Medellin Guru reviewed all the Spanish schools in Medellín and selected OLSA International as our recommended Spanish school partner.
Features of the OLSA Spanish School Partnership
- Ability to obtain a Colombian student visa
- Lower prices for Spanish classes than at Universities
- Only Spanish program in Colombia based on U.S. University Spanish curriculums
- Curriculum emphasizes conversational Spanish, so you learn to speak faster
- Location in Estadio is convenient to two metro stations
- Owner of OLSA is from the U.S and has 25 years of education experience in the U.S.
New 2023 requirements
Documents required for student visa now are:
- Photocopy of the first page of your passport with a minimum validity of 6 months 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.
- Certificate of admission or enrollment to studies of elementary school, high school or higher education in undergraduate school authorized in Colombia.
- In the case of student internships, paid or unpaid, communication from the educational institution that endorses it and stating the duration of the activity.
- Authorization of the parents and designation of the person responsible for the student during his/her stay in Colombia, authenticated by a Colombian notary or consul in the case of minors.
- Mandatory health insurance policy that covers Colombian territory, all risks, death, and repatriation. This policy should be valid for at least the duration of the study.
- A letter (in Spanish) from the person with economic responsibility for the student guaranteeing the expenses of the student and documents showing economic solvency. If you are the student, the letter should say you will be financially responsible for yourself while in Colombia. To show “economic solvency” you could use a bank “certificate” showing the average balance over the past six months is greater than 10 times the legal minimum wage in Colombia or 11,600,000 pesos in 2023. And this certificate should be notarized and translated. Or you can provide six months of bank statements with no need for translation in my experience. Also, credit card statements which show a sufficient available balance could be used.
- In case of a previous visa, attach the certificate of class attendance and grades.
- 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.
Note that the student visa to study Spanish or degree programs are now Visitor Visa (V)
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Using a Visa Agency for a Student 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 student visa. A visa agency can handle the online application.
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.
- Bilingual team.
- 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 47 months, 855 visas were successfully received by clients including 106 student visas for Medellin Guru readers, which included two in February 2023.
Also, our visa service renewed 112 American passports in Bogotá using our passport renewal service . In addition, 28 clients extended tourist visas using our tourist visa extension service.
So, in total we had 997 clients of the Medellin Guru visa service in 47 months.
In addition, many more visas are in process – short, medium or longer term, depending on client needs.
Use the Expatgroup Visa Service
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 Colombia student 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, it is very important to register your Colombian visa within the allowed 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 $1,160,000 COP per month in 2023. So, the fine is up to 8,120,000 COP pesos in 2023.
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.
Although with the new visa rules, it is no longer possible to accumulate time on the student visa since it is a category V visitor. If you plan to stay in Colombia, opt for a Migrant visa, because after having a Colombian Migrant (M) visa for three or five years, you are eligible to receive a Resident (R) visa in Colombia. And after having the R visa for five more years, you are eligible to apply to become a Colombian citizen.
In addition, 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 countries 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. 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.
Medellin Guru’s Comprehensive Visa and Passport Series
The Colombian visa changes that went into effect in mid-October 2022 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
In addition, we have a guide to Colombia tourist visas and how to extend a tourist visa. Also, we have a guide to renewing U.S. passports in Colombia and a guide to obtaining a Colombian passport.
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 2022 to ensure they are up-to-date and are being updated again in 2023. In addition, all visa articles on this website will be kept up-to-date as new details are disclosed.
The Bottom Line: How to Obtain a Colombia Student Visa
Colombia’s student visas are relatively easy to get. Furthermore, schools like OLSA International in Medellín will provide the documents needed for the visa.
But the student visa is only intended for people who enrolled in a public or private educational establishment such as a university, which is approved by the Colombian government. And you must be taking at least 10 hours of classes per week.
The visa agency we partnered with has helped 186 student visas for Medellin Guru readers, which included one in February 2023. Click on the blue button below and that will take you to a page of the visa agency where you can obtain a quote and ask questions using a chat.
Use the Medellin Guru Visa Service
Also, be aware that Migración Colombia now reportedly checks with schools to ensure you are taking classes. And if you have a student visa and aren’t taking classes you lose the student visa. So, only get a student visa if you actually plan to take classes.
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Editors note: updated on August 7, 2019 with information that the Visitor student visa for studying Spanish in Colombia in most cases is only being granted for a maximum of six months.
Editors note: updated on December 14, 2019 with information about the Mercosur agreement benefits of having Colombian citizenship.
Editors note: updated on January 10, 2020 with current information about the Colombia student visas including the new 2020 Colombia minimum wage information.
Editors note: updated on March 11, 2020 to add a new student visa requirement, which is an international health insurance policy. Also, updated the bank statement requirement with the current exchange rate.
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 8, 2020 to add information that the nationwide quarantine in Colombia has been extended to April 26.
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 11, 2020 with information that it is possible to obtain a student visa for virtual online classes as long as from a certified school in Colombia.
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 June 24, 2020 to add amounts of health insurance coverage needed for a student visa and updated information that the national quarantine in Colombia has been extended to July 15.
Editors note: updated on July 8, 2020 with information that the national quarantine in Colombia has been extended to August 1.
Editors note: updated on August 30, 2020 with current information regarding the quarantine impact on the Colombia student visa process.
Editors note: updated on September 22, 2020 with information that Migracion offices in Colombia reopened on September 21.
Editors note: updated on September 15, 2021 with updated client counts for Colombia’s student visa from our visa partner.
Editors note: updated on December 11, 2021 with updated client counts for Colombia student visa from our visa partner.
Editors note: updated on March 12, 2022 with current information about the Colombia student visas including the new 2022 Colombia minimum wage information and updated client numbers.
Editors note: Updated on February 15, 2023 with updated information regarding the new changes on Resolution 5477
Thanks for this article. I am planning to take some Spanish classes at EAFIT next year and I was looking for up to date student visa information and looks like your website is the only one that has updated visa info. Others are so out of date. Thanks again!
Hi Richard, thanks. Yes, there are many out-of-date visa articles out there.
Unlike other sites, we plan to keep this student visa article up-to-date.
Medellin Guru will not let articles on this website site go out-of-date. Every article published on the site will be reviewed at least once a year and updated or a completely new article written if things have changed significantly.
There are some significant changes coming to the visa regulations in Colombia. So, we are providing a series of articles about the new Colombia visa regulations. And as we find out additional information we’ll update these articles.
Thanks Jeff, I appreciate up to date info.
Richard I agree with you. And the Medellin Living site is the worst site with hundreds of old posts that are completely out of date. I looked and see their student visa article is from 2010 and talks about DAS that has been gone for years! So absolutely worthless!
I am so happy to see this new Medellin Guru website with current information.
Thanks for this updated student visa info as I am also planning to take Spanish classes at EAFIT next year.
Jeff, two questions:
1. I have heard that at times, EAFIT does not hold classes since they do not have the required minimum students for group lessons (I have heard its more common in the more advanced classes). Say you apply for a 2 month visa for enrolling in 2 months of classes, but for some reason, there wasn’t availability and as a result will require 3 months. Does that mean you need to reapply for the visa again for the extra month or does the visa adjust?
2. If you are at a C1 level of Spanish but would like to have maximize the 6 months of student visa for classes to refine and perfect, do you know if that’s possible? In other words, is it possible to be a student for six months in Spanish when you are at the higher level classes?
For short-term students, I have heard that EAFIT really doesn’t look for student visas. I was never asked by EAFIT to see my student visas while taking Spanish classes. The visas were more for my benefit to enable staying in Colombia for more than 6 months.
The student visas I received were for 1-year each. But I wasn’t taking classes this entire time due to work travel.
And yes, the more advanced classes tend to have fewer students, so more likely to not be offered due to insufficient number of students. But it only happened once to me when taking classes.
See my article about taking classes at EAFIT – https://medellinguru.com/eafit/. They offer 4 classes at the C1 level.
Hey Jeff, Nice writing.
Few questions I did not see in the copy above. I have an investor visa for many years now but a friend is wondering how many years he could get a student for?
How many 10 hour per week classes one month courses are required annually to meet visa requirements?
What other course requirements are needed to hold good status with immigration?
Friend has some serious back problems and he is wondering if any of the approved schools allow for in home private studies whereby the teacher comes to him?
PS Did not see any links to other non university but approved private companies offering courses? But I recall you mentioned them. Can you recommend any? Thanks in advance for any help?
Hi John, thanks. The student visas are given for the time required to take classes and I understand perhaps a few extra months. So, if plan to take 10 months of classes perhaps could get a year visa.
EAFIT does have some more expensive 1-student classes and I suspect could be arranged for the teacher coming to him. There are many private Spanish schools but you won’t be able to get a student visa. I recommend the Toucan Spanish School, which is reportedly the largest private Spanish program in Colombia: https://www.toucanspanish.com/. Plan to cover that program in a future article.
Thanks Jeff another good post. We’ll see if and what changes occur in December. Since I need to learn more Spanish. This will do nicely now.
Hi Brock, thanks. We plan to update the visa articles as we learn more in December — things like the new visa costs, which haven’t been disclosed yet.
As always, excellent info. Thanks. Will the duration of all student visas starting in Dec be one year, or is this dependent on the particular program / enrollment period length? I see on your post “Guide to taking spanish classes…” that you took several different class levels interspersed with breaks for work trips. Will they issue the visa based upon the initial projection of enrollment length from the school, and then if changes occur afterward to your enrollment status will the visa be updated or revoked?
Hi Chad, my understanding is there is some discretion as to the length of student visas and it is normally dependent on your enrollment period and they may add a few months. Since I knew I was going to be traveling for some of the months in the year, I had EAFIT provide me paperwork that basically said I would be enrolled in classes for a year – even though I didn’t take classes each month. And I understand no update to the visa duration is possible once you have a visa.
Excellent. Thanks again!
Thanks for this information. Does the following still apply in 2018: “show your enrolment document and the schools registration certificate to Immigration on your way into the country” for a Temporary Visitor Entry Permit (PIP-2 or PTP-2) to study less than 90 days?
I’m returning to the UK in June having used up my 180 day tourist visa allowance so I can’t re-enter Colombia on a tourist stamp. A 90-day temp study visa to return to do three months Spanish study would be perfect.
That’s a question that is better for a visa agency as I have no experience with a Temporary Visitor Entry Permit and I also haven’t encountered a foreigner with one in 7+ years. So, I recommend asking: http://inter-col.com/.
Hello Jeff, do you know approx how much does the agency charge for courier service to get my student visa stamped in Bogota and returned to me in Medellin? Is better then just getting the round trip airfare ticket to Bogota and return the same day?
Hi Mike, no I don’t know the charge, so you’ll have to contact one of the visa agencies listed in the article to ask.
HI, just an addition to this post. Apparently (since we’re going through this process right now), minor students cannot apply for student visas unless their parent has a valid Colombian visa first (and a tourist visa is not sufficient). So the parent has to apply for a visa first, and then the minor students can apply for student visas.
Tell me the answer this question I have Colombia student visa can I enter Mexico on this student visa some people say Mexico free entry on Colombia student visa this right or no …
Hi Israr, to enter Mexico, this is based on your nationality or Mexican visas you have. It is not based on a visa to another country. There are reportedly 65 countries that Mexico permits to enter without a visa – see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visa_policy_of_Mexico
I just applied for a student visa using the instructions here. I got DENIED because wrong Visa type.
I applied for a type M visa, as stated in the article. They told me for student visa I need Type V: intercambio academico
I did not get a refund for the fees I paid, and I had to go back and completely start process over. Heads up.
I just talked to someone that got an M student visa. You have to be enrolled in an approved university program and not a academic exchange program.
Just to add to this experience – I am enrolled in the EAFIT Spanish program exactly the same as other folks have been in the past. It’s not an academic exchange, I simply came to Colombia and signed up for their Spanish program. I have a certificate stating I’m attending for 1 year, and I applied for the M class student visa. I just got the rejection yesterday (INADMITIDA). I was told I need to apply for the “V: intercambio académico” as well. I also spoke with an immigration attorney today and was told that this has been a common occurrence lately and they are beginning to not allow this type of program to qualify for a MIGRANTE (M) visa, only VISITANTE (V). Once I finally receive my completed visa, I will update here.
I wonder if this means you can no longer do the 5 year M visas for the Resident Visa like the article states?
I will be taking classes in UTP in Pereira, Colombia and they are an official University and recognized by the government. I am taking Spanish and music classes for a year then get my residency. Once I have my residency, I can apply and take the college courses for my music degree. Do you know if taking Spanish and music classes is enough to obtain a M class visa good for 3 years? I will not be taking undergrad classes until next year. I have been here working with TP-7 visa for 4 years. Many thanks.
Hi Cuong, I recommend checking with one of the visa agencies listed in the article to see if they think Spanish and music classes is enough to obtain a M class visa good for 3 years. InterCol is responsive in my experience – http://inter-col.com/en/.
Can you expand on the situation of that person that got his Student M visa? It will give us a chance to compare to our own situation and many others might have similar stories. Did he enroll as an underrate, type of classes he is taking, etc. Also, an you explain the difference between approved university program and academic exchange program?
Sorry, it is best that you talk with a visa agency as I first recommended, as the student visas have become more complicated with two types now. A visa agency like InterCol will have experience with the different situations.
Hi Jeff, is a credit card statement only sufficient? I’m already in Medellín and only have online access to my bankaccount so unless I contact my bank I can only take a prt scr. How did you resolve this.
I have also read on an FB group that someones student visa was refused cause he jad to add a health insurance. Can’t find back the info but I dont see this included on your list. Thanks 🙂 Trudy
Hi Trudy, I used online back statements from my bank that I printed out here and they were fine with that. And no, health insurance is not listed in the requirements for the visa and I haven’t heard about this being needed from other expats that got student visas.
Thanks a lot Jeff! I didn’t refresh the page and just saw your reply after I posted that the health insurance was requested by the university. Never print3d my statements but I’m sure I’ll be able to do that. But If I do this I need it from the last 6 months and just my total balance is not sufficient?
When I applied they they wanted to see 6 months of statements. Not sure if this has changed.
Just found the info about the health insurance back, it was the university (EAFIT) that asked for this.
Hi Jeff, I wanted to thank you for all the info. Without you I wouldn’t have managed. I applied for a student visa this week and their website is far from clear cause they never list all the documents you need, not even in the application form. They ask for proof of sufficient funds but don’t mention what type of proof they need and don’t mention the letter of responisbility and it has to be uploaded in 1 pdf. Also the 1st passport page and the 2nd had to be uploaded separately. Additional documents also have to be uploaded as 1 pdf. I had to start over again cause I had to merge and separate my documents so I wanted to mention it here ask advice. I still need to do the payment as the link first didn’t work and know I see I need to have a Colombian bank account to pay online. How did you pay?
Hi Trudy I applied in Bogotá before they had online visa applications and paid in cash.
Thank you for putting this together. Once the online application has been submitted for the student visa, what is the wait time for approval? My current visa runs out on a set date but I want to leave it as late as I can so I don’t lose too much time on the visa. But I have my flight booked for Bogota already so I want to make sure I have approval by then. Obviously at this time of year it will be busier but I just want to know if its waiting weeks for approval or a couple of days.
Considering Spanish classes at EAFIT Universidad?
Are you considering EAFIT for Spanish lessons while in Medellin? My recent experience with EAFIT may interest you.
After reading several articles from Medellin Guru and numerous posts in this FB group, I chose the 4-week Spanish class EAFIT offered in Medellin as a good place to start my Spanish studies. While I thought it was unusual for EAFIT to insist on a Student stamp (PIP-2) in my passport prior to enrolling, I had no idea that once my status changed from Tourist to Student, I could not extend my stay in Colombia unless enrolled in additional courses with EAFIT.
Fortunately, I discovered this small detail (that no one bothered to tell me about) in time to arrange a quick trip across the border, before my first 90 days expire.
Should a student stamp be required for one 4-week course with 40 hours of class time? I spoke to a representative from Migraćion Colombia and they said it is not necessary. EAFIT says it is necessary.
Migraćion also says extending a Tourist stamp requires proof of onward travel… True or False?
Migraćion also allows making online appointments…. True or False?
Hopefully somebody can avoid the stress and added costs I have had to endure from this. Sometimes its what you are not told that is more important than what you are told.
Hi Brian, see the comments in our Tourist Visa/stamp article. It looks like it is hit or miss regarding the need to show proof of onward travel – some said yes and some no. https://medellinguru.com/tourist-visa/
Migracion does permit making online appointments as seen in the article.
Does your website have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to send you an email.
I’ve got some ideas for your blog you might be
interested in hearing. Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it develop
Yes, a link to the contact page is at the bottom of every page – https://medellinguru.com/contact/
hey jeff greating im from iran and i want study in on of Medellín city university so i want ask you which university you offer me For undergraduate For foreign and Spanish language courses thanks
Thanks for this article, and many more helpful articles. My student visa (T-type) is going to expire and I want to follow another Spanish course. There is a 1,5 week period in between the two courses. Can I go back to a tourist visa in the time in between?
To go back to a tourist visa (stamp) you will have to leave the country and reenter to get the tourist stamp.
Hello Jeff, I am a bit confused even after I read the article
So, my plan is to stay in Colombia for about one year. I will be back in Colombia next January and I plan to stay with normal tourist visa for up to 6 months from then. But I want to be able to ‘extend’ my stay in Colombia after July. I believe my best bet to do that is with a student visa.
However, here’s the confusion.
1. First of all, you said I need to provide 6 months of bank account statement. Let’s just say my tourist visa will expire before 6 July. That means I need to provide bank account statement from 6 January to 6 July and from all these time my account balance has to be above 7,812,420 pesos?
Because you wrote “showing the average balance over the past six months is greater than 10 times the legal minimum wage in Colombia or 7,812,420 pesos” – but what does ‘average balance’ mean? if in my first month I have money below 7,000,000 pesos BUT in my second month to the sixth month I always have more than 14,000,000 pesos, is that allowed? Because that’s how I interpret ‘average balance’, which mean I need to have more than 7,812,420 pesos in average. It doesn’t mean I always need to have more than 7,812,420 pesos all the time, right? Can you explain in details?
2. My bank account statement is not in peso and not even in USD. It’s a bank account in my own country. How do the colombian government check the conversion rate? Will they check the conversion rate in the same day with them reviewing my bank account statement?
3. You said I do not need to translate and notarize anything if I provide 6 months of bank statement. Is this still true even if my bank statement is an e-statement that I get every month from my bank to my email address?
4. How many days do the colombian government need to approve the student visa application? If my tourist visa expires on July 6, when is the best time to apply for student visa according to your experience?
5. Is it possible for me to apply for student visa (and get it back) while I am in another country? For example, let’s say I want to apply for colombian student visa through colombian embassy in Peru. Can I do that? Let’s say I get out from Colombia on July 6 and I go to Peru until August 6. Then, I apply for colombian student visa on July 25 in Lima (Peru). Is that possible?
6. You wrote “After you have successfully received your Colombia student 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)” – but how if I get the student visa while I’m abroad (check question no. 5 above). How to get this cedula? and is it mandatory to apply for cedula after we get the student visa?
#1 is best to ask a visa agency, there are several listed in the article; #2 yes, they can do the conversion, mine was in USD but not sure what rate they use, another question for a visa agency. #3, I used electronic statements downloaded from my bank; #4 visas are normally approved in about a week if they have no questions; #5 yes, you can apply for a Colombian visa at any Colombian consulate or embassy; and #6 that is 15 days if you are in country or 15 days after you arrive in the country if you were out of the country.
Hey, Jeff. I have some other questions.
You mentioned this “After you have successfully received your Colombia student visa, you have a maximum of 15 calendar days to register your visa with Migración Colombia to get a Cedula de Extranjeria” <- how long is this cedula process after the day I register with Migracion Colombia and can I do this after my tourist visa expires or i need to do this prior to the expiration of my tourist visa?
For example: let's say my tourist visa (after PTP extension) expire on July 7. I get the student visa on July 3, is 4 days enough to register cedula before the expiration of my tourist visa? because you mentioned we have a maximum of 15 days to register visa with migracion colombia to get a cedula. BUT, how long is the process of that cedula itself assuming we register our student visa as soon as we get it?
The cedula process is a week to two weeks in Medellín but can take longer. See our cedula article where I talk about my experiences with cedulas: https://medellinguru.com/cedula/
Once you have a student visa you are valid in Colombia with your passport with the new visa. You just need to register the visa with Migracion and they will put a new stamp in your passport and the cedula will arrive about a week or two later.
Alright. one more question, sir. you recommended EAFIT for the spanish classes because you said EAFIT can provide me with necessary documents needed for Colombian student visa. Do you know if there’s any other
cheaper option that can also give me necessary documents? And what’s the cheapest option to go with EAFIT? can i pay monthly or i need to pay a yearly class in advance? Thanks
See our article about taking Spanish classes at EAFIT. You get a discount if you pay for multiple classes. I paid for classes up-front to get the discount. https://medellinguru.com/eafit/
Thanks but my question was more like “what’s the cheapest option to get enrolled just so I can fulfill the requirement of student visa?” on your other web page, it’s written: “In 2019, each Spanish class at EAFIT costs 1,390,000 pesos for a 38-hour class if there are 3 to 8 students in a class. ” <- can I just take this 38 hour class, instead of a full year enrollment, and still apply for a student visa? or do i need to have evidence that I will enroll there for at least xx months or something like that?
Because, to be honest, I cannot this kind of spanish class as I work in the morning until 5 PM. I just need the student visa
A visa agency told me recently that they now check to see you are taking classes and if you aren’t they cancel your student visa. They started checking on student visas due to visa fraud like getting a student visa and not taking classes.
EAFIT provided information about enrollment and when I paid in advance they provided a document that said I was enrolled for X months. Plus I included a receipt showing that I paid for classes with my visa application.
Alright, thanks. I will see whether I can get cheaper option than EAFIT. It’s not that I don’t want to pay for 12 months upfront. it’s that, I cannot take classes earlier than 5 PM as I work remotely and I pay my bills with this job
Even if you pay for a year of fees upfront, and have a letter from the university for two or three semesters, include the fee payment evidence in you application, you are not guaranteed to get a visa for this period. I have just been refused two semesters – they told me in Bogota I would only get awarded a semester at a time. They are now ensuring students are in fact studying 10hrs a week with good attendance. So I will need to reapply in 5 months for the next semester and pay again. Someone else on the course with the same paperwork, at the same time, got the whole year.
Hello, Jeff. Got a new question. so I asked GESTICOL through the link on your page and they told me i do not need to have any minimum balance in my bank account statement for the student visa as long as it’s economically enough to pay for my spanish class fees, live, and traveling. However, on your page you said:
” To show “economic solvency” you could use a bank “certificate” showing the average balance over the past six months is greater than 10 times the legal minimum wage in Colombia or 8,281,160 pesos ($2,550 at an exchange rate of 3,247 pesos to the USD) in 2019″
So, basically, GESTICOL denied this statement and they said i do not need any specific number (above 8,281,160 pesos). Which one is correct?
Hi Ruddy, this is a possibility as Colombia changes its visa rules frequently.
Hey, Jeff. it’s me again. so I talked with INTERCOL and they gave me some answers. they said i can get either type V student visa or type M student visa. But what’s the difference, really? I will just assume after staying for 180 days in a year with normal passport, I have to apply for type M?
Because in the article you never mentioned about type V student visa so I will just assume everybody applies for type M for their student visa
Yes it mentions V student visas in the article. It says “So, starting on December 15, 2017, a Colombia student visa changed and is known as a Migrant (M) visa of category 9 (an M-9 visa) or as a Visitor (V) visa.” And also says “The M student visa is intended for those studying a degree program, like for a bachelors degree. The V student visa is intended for non-degree programs like studying Spanish. Both visas can be for longer than one year depending on the length of studies.”
so, just to clarify, I can stay here with normal tourist stamp until 7 July. and I can stay from July until December with student visa type V? Because requirements for type V and type M are very different and it will be great if i can just stay with type V instead of type M
Yes, but some of the schools will require you to have a student visa to take classes. So, depending on the school, you won’t be able to take classes until you have the student visa. You would need to check with the schools.
Hey, Jeff. so i had a brief conversation with EAFIT. They said i also need international health insurance for the student visa. They said
“The international health insurance has to cover you from hospitalization, medical expenses, repatriation, and so on, and it has to be valid for the whole time that you are going to be studying Spanish with us”
^ but from your previous comment, you said it’s not needed. So, how to go about this and how cheap the health insurance for at least 6 months?
I understand it is required but when I had a student visa I was never asked. However, I had an international travelers health insurance policy at the time – but don’t recall the company as it was several years ago.
Hi Jeff, can I get a student visa by attending a Spanish language school or is it a requirement that I take Spanish classes at a university? I’m
just assuming taking classes at a university will cost more in the long run. Is there any way of knowing which institutions in Colombia are accredited and suitable for a student visa? Thank you.
Hi Larry, to get a student visa you need to take Spanish classes from a school that is recognized by the Colombian government. It is mainly the universities that have this recognition. The most popular school in Medellín where you can get a student visa for studying Spanish is Universidad EAFIT – https://medellinguru.com/eafit/. They reportedly have the largest university Spanish program for foreigners in Colombia.
Hi Jeff; Do you know if it is possible to mail the passport to the embassy in Bogota myself? Or, is that something only a Visa agency can do?
Hi Marv, no you can’t send it, you need to use a visa agency. And for an agency to do it for you need to provide a notarized authorization. If you click on the blue “Use the Medellin Guru Visa Service” in the article this will connect you with a visa agency that can do this.
Thanks for the helpful article about Colombia student visas. I did not know that for studying Spanish this is now a Visitor visa.
If I want to start my study at EAFIT in January 2020, when should I apply for student visa? Is it possible to apply this month?
I understand you can’t apply until you have enrolled. You can ask detailed questions about the student visa directly to a visa agency by clicking on the “Use the Medellin Guru Visa Service” blue button in the article. That will bring up a screen with a chat box at the bottom right of the screen where you can chat directly with the visa agency.
Hello sir hope you are doing fine. Please help me to clear out my doubts for me. my student visa expires at the end of this month. My question is do I need to exit the country and enter again in order to “switch” to regular tourist type thing (90days stay) or can I just dtay in Colombia without exiting ?
Please help me thank you
Yes, you need to leave the country in order to switch to a tourist stamp.
Do you know if Free courses at an accredited university will work for the student visa?
Hi David, I recommend asking a visa agency. If you click on the blue “Use the Medellin Guru Visa Service” button in the article it will bring up a screen with a chat box at the bottom right where you can ask questions to the visa agency we have partnered with.
You said that you were able to stay for one year on a tourist visa, how did you manage to do that? Did you take the 38 hour course 12 times ?
I had a student visa, not a tourist visa. With a tourist visa you are limited to 180 days per year in Colombia. EAFIT has more than one 38 hour course, EAFIT has an entire program with 15 different classes levels and they don’t offer classes in December.
Thanks Jeff. Would that mean doing a different course every month and having to pay 1’200’000 each month? I’m looking to stay full-time with my girlfriend and I’m after something a bit more sustainable.
I repeated a couple of classes that I passed but felt that I didn’t learn the material sufficiently.
If you have a student visa you need to be in classes at least 10 hours per week. Each Spanish class at EAFIT costs 1,390,000 pesos for a 38-hour class if there are 3 to 8 students in a class. But if you pay in advance for more than six classes you will receive a 7 percent discount, which is 1,292,700 pesos per class.
But there are cheaper options – I have talked to several foreigners that studied at LCN – https://www.lcnidiomas.edu.co/, which has lower priced classes and you can also get a visa from taking Spanish classes at LCN.
There are other visa options than the student visa – we have a comprehensive guide to Colombian visas – https://medellinguru.com/colombia-visa-guide/
Thanks for the hepful information you are providing. I would habe two questions:
– Can you open a bank account in Colombia with just a visitor (V) visa? Cause with a tourist visa it is not possible. A bank account would be required for a longer stay in Colombia, cause I`d have bills to pay and the rent.
– Does the visitor (V) visa also qualify for the resident (R) visa after 5 years? Or is that only applicable with the M student visa?
Thanks very much for any help. Colombia is such a beatiful country, but the visa thing makes it difficult for me as I´m remote worker.
With a visitor (V) visa you will get a cedula, which can be used to open a bank account. And no the V visa doesn’t not quality for the R visa after five years. That is only with a M visa, as seen in the requirements in our article about the Resident (R) visa – https://medellinguru.com/resident-visa/
Hey Jeff, thanks for all the info. You mentioned that you have done a few student visas. Do you know if there is a standard amount of days you are given to leave the country on a student visa after your last day of classes?
For example, if your last day of Spanish classes is on November 1 then what date will be the last day of the visa?
I’ve asked around and one person thinks it is 30 days and another person thinks it is at the discretion of the agent at cancilleria. If possible I would like to get as many days as possible. Thanks.
I recommend asking the visa agency we partnered with. If you click on the blue “Use the Medellin Guru Visa Service” button in the article it will bring up a screen with a chat box at the bottom right where you can ask questions.
Hi Jeff, I’ve searched but probably missed…Do you know how long it takes on average to get a student visa (type V)? Thank you very much!
I recommend asking the visa agency we partnered with. The visa agency does many student visas (type V) so will be able to give you accurate information. If you click on the blue “Use the Medellin Guru Visa Service” button in the article it will bring up a page where you can chat directly with the visa agency at the bottom right of the screen.
Got it, I’ll check it out. Thanks Jeff!
Thanks for the helpful update about the student visa. Too bad you no longer can renew the V student visa while in Colombia.
Thanks for the information!
So what are the benefits of getting the V-student visa rather than just a tourist visa and renewal?
It seems like the V-Student visa ties you down more. You have to stick to one school, and it could be jeopardized.
Could you explain the benefits of that over just getting tourist visas and attending school(s) in the meantime?
I’m not seeing an upside, except for maybe the chance at 1 year at the school you mentioned in Poblado.
Would places like UPB not accept your attendance if you’re on a tourist visa?
You could first spend 180 days as a tourist in Colombia and then get a V-student visa and stay another 6 months for a total of a year. Also, the schools like EAFIT technically require a visa for you to study. In addition, you can renew a V-student visa but this must be done outside of Colombia in a consulate.
If you spend 180 days as a tourist, could you turn it into a V-student Visa and get an additional 180 days without leaving the country?
Thanks for all the info,.
Yes, can combine 180 days as a tourist with a V-student visa without leaving the country.
Thank you for this informative article. Would it be possible to take guitar lessons instead of Spanish and obtain a student visa through that?
Hi Jeff, thank you for the information. I am in the process of applying for a student visa (V) to study Spanish for 6 months. I understand that it is requirement to have international health insurance. Do you know if there is a document which specifies this? I cannot find any more information online. I have read that people have had their visas rejected because they do not have health insurance. However it is not listed as a requirement on the website of the cancilleria.Thanks Sam
Hi Sam, the health insurance is a new requirement, which is likely why it is not listed as a requirement on the cancilleria website. The visa agency we partnered with started getting visa applications kicked back by the cancilleria without health insurance and the visa agency told Medellin Guru the requirements they have been told by the cancilleria. You can contact the visa agency for more details by clicking on this link – https://expatgroup.co/english/visasincolombia/
Great article as always! Do you happen to know of any accredited schools in Cali, CO? I am in the process of looking for a program.
Universidad Javeriana and Universidad Santiago de Cali both had a program but Javeriana have just announced that they are running the next program online so not sure when they will open up again. I attended Santiago for one term but it wasn’t a good course in my opinion.
Thanks for the response. I also haven’t heard great things about Santiago. Appreciate your time. ? I’ll look at Javeriana.
While in Colombia I will be working remotely mon – friday 9am – 5pm for a U.S. Are there any schools that offer weekend or late afternoons in Medellin?
Are there any requirements that I must pass the classes to keep my student visa? I work alot so I am not sure if I will have the energy to attend EVERY class.
Sorry not aware of any that offer classes in late afternoons or weekends.
I arrived in Bogota at the end of October last year. I extended my visa until April 20th and have only just realised that Student Visas applied to anyone enrolled on a Spanish course. I am wondering how long the Student Visa takes to process and whether or not it is better to leave the country and return or apply while here in Bogota in the hope of getting it before my visa runs out. Could you advise me on this?
See our popular article about how long visa processing takes in Colombia. https://medellinguru.com/how-long-to-get-a-colombian-visa/
Jeff, awesome blog and I find it of great value.
A question. Is it possible to stay in Colombia on a visitor’s visa for 6 months(180 days) and a student visa the remaining 6 months for a total of 1 year? If so then is it possible to continue this process every year? Have you heard of anyone doing this?
Yes, possible to come with a tourist visa for six months – https://medellinguru.com/tourist-visa/ and then obtain a student visa.
Could do this another year but would need to leave when the student visa expires and return as a tourist.