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.
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. This 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 was taking Spanish classes at Universidad EAFIT in Medellín.
However, Colombia changed its Colombian visa rules. And the new visa rules went into effect on December 15, 2017.
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. Furthermore, if you have an existing TP-3 student visa, it doesn’t change to one of the new student visas.
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.
In addition, with the new M-9 or V student visas you are not permitted to work in Colombia. This is the same as the previous TP-3 student visas.
The cost for the M-9 student visa is $67 USD. This is higher than the previous TP-3 student visa that cost $55. So, the visa price has increased somewhat for the new student visa.
How to Apply for a Colombia Student Visa
You can apply for a Colombia student visa in-person in Bogotá. 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. Also, it’s done online. You can apply for a Colombia student 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.
Documents required for student visa are essentially the same as the current TP-3 student visa:
- 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.
- Photocopy of university registration form signed by a school official.
- Certification or document of the school, stating that the class timetable is a minimum of ten (10) hours per week.
- Photocopy of “certificate of existence and legal representation” from the university.
- 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.
- 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 8,281,160 pesos ($2,550 at an exchange rate of 3,247 pesos to the USD) in 2019. 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.
- 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.
After receiving the online visa approval, if doing this in Colombia, you need to travel to Bogotá to get the visa in your passport.
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 7:30am until noon.
I successfully obtained two TP-3 student visas on my own a few years ago. And I found the process relatively straightforward. I was taking Spanish classes at Universidad EAFIT in Medellín. And the university provided me with the documents needed for the Colombia student visa when I enrolled.
Or you could use a visa agency and avoid the need to travel to Bogotá. And the following section has several visa agencies you could use.
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 Colombian student visa. A visa agency can handle the online application. And it will courier your passport to Bogotá to get the visa in your passport.
You can find visa agencies in several cities in Colombia. For example, there are at least five visa agencies in Medellín:
- Intercol Trámites Internacionales
- Visas y Trámites Internacionales
- Extranjería & Migración en Colombia
Also, some other cities in Colombia have visa agencies. For example, Visas Americanas has offices in Bogotá, Cali and Pereira. Furthermore, in Cali there is Cali Capital and in Bogotá there is Migracol.
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 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 828,116 pesos per month in 2019. So, the fine is up to 5,796,812 pesos in 2019.
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)
After having a Colombian Migrant (M) visa like the M student visa for 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 some counties as a Colombian citizen without a visa such as Russia and Brazil, which require a visa for U.S. citizens.
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.
The Bottom Line: Obtaining a Colombia Student Visa
Colombia’s two types of student visas are relatively easy to get. Furthermore, schools in Colombia like Universidad EAFIT in Medellín will provide the documents needed for the visa. But 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.
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 visa articles include:
- How to Obtain a Colombian Visa with Up-to-Date Info
- How to Obtain a Colombia Retirement Visa
- How to Obtain a Colombia Marriage Visa
- How to Obtain a Colombia Student Visa
- How to Obtain a Colombia Work Visa
- How to Obtain a Colombia Investment Visa
- How to Obtain a Colombia Resident Visa
- How to Obtain a Colombia Beneficiary Visa for Relatives
- How to Apply for a Cedula Extranjeria in Colombia
- Tourist Visas and How to Extend a Tourist Visa in Medellín
Also, all of our Colombia visa articles were updated in early 2019 to ensure they are up-to-date. In addition, all visa articles on this website will be kept up-to-date as new details are disclosed.
Sign up for the Free Medellin Guru Newsletter – You can see all of the previous Medellin Guru weekly email newsletters and sign up here.
Editors note: updated on December 16, 2017 with the cost of the new student visa.
Editors note: updated on December 31, 2017 with the new 2018 Colombia minimum wage information.
Editors note: updated on August 18, 2018 to add the Extranjería & Migración en Colombia visa agency located in Medellín.
Editors note: updated on September 3, 2018 with both types of Colombia student visas.
Editors note: updated on January 1, 2019 with the new 2019 Colombia minimum wage information. Also, added the Expatgroup.co visa agency.
Editors note: updated on January 16, 2019 to add the Migracol visa agency in Bogotá.