The Colombia work visa is intended for foreigners who have a job in Colombia. And the visa is relatively easy to get once you have found a job in Colombia.

Colombia changed its Colombian visa rules, which went into effect on December 15, 2017. So, the previous TP-4 work visa in Colombia became a Migrant (M) visa of category 5 (basically a M-5 visa).

Also, previous TP-4 work visas were valid until the visa expiration and didn’t convert to a M-5 visa. In addition, work visas are typically valid for the duration of a work contract.

In addition, the job activity of the foreign worker must be related to the company’s activity. This prevents a business-owning friend from doing you a favor by sponsoring you for a work visa, even though the company in realty has no need for your services.

The cost for the M-5 work visa is $282 USD including all fees.  This is lower than the previous TP-4 visa which cost $304 USD.

Applying for a Colombia work visa

Applying for a Colombia work visa

How to Apply for a Colombia Work Visa

You can apply for a Colombia work 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 retirement 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. You used to be able to apply for visas in person here. But now all visa applications must be done online.

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 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 Bogtoá.

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.

Documents Required for a Colombia Work Visa

Documents required for new M-5 work visa are similar to the previous TP-4 work 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.
  • Summary format of work contract established by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The visa authority may demand the presentation of the original work contract when the information registered in the form is not sufficient, presents inconsistencies or requires clarification.
  • 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.

In the case of working for a business, you also need:

  • Bank statements of the employer corresponding to the six months prior to the visa application. The employer must demonstrate average monthly income of 100 times the legal monthly minimum wages during the six months prior to the application when it is a legal entity. The minimum salary in Colombia is 828,116 pesos per month in 2019.
  • Last year’s income statement of the business.
  • Certificate of suitability of the foreigner and relevance of the contract, issued by the company.
  • Academic support of the visa applicant, which agrees with the position to be performed (in the case of having them).

In the case of working for a person, you also need:

  • Bank statements of the employer corresponding to the six months prior to the visa application. The natural person employer must demonstrate average monthly income of 10 times the legal monthly minimum wages during the six months prior to the application. The minimum salary in Colombia is 828,116 pesos per month in 2019.
  • Unique Tax Registry RUT.
  • Chamber of Commerce updated.
  • Copy of employer’s cedula.
  • Certificate of suitability of the foreigner and relevance of the contract, issued by the employer.
  • Academic support of the visa applicant, which agrees with the position to be performed (in the case of having them).

Using a Visa Agency for a Work 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 work 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 eight months, 126 visas were successfully received by clients.

Use the Medellin Guru 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.

New entrance to Migracion Colombia in Medellín, on Calle 19A

New entrance to Migracion Colombia in Medellín, on Calle 19A

Getting a Colombian Cedula

After you have successfully received your Colombia work visa approval, 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 work 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 work 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.

Dual citizenship is possible

Dual citizenship is possible

Dual Citizenship

After having a migrant (M) work visa 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.

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.

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:

We have looked in detail at the seven most popular Colombian visas used by foreigners:

  1. Retirement visa
  2. Marriage visa
  3. Investment visa
  4. Resident visa
  5. Work visa
  6. Student visa
  7. Visitor visa

Also, we have looked in detail at three additional Colombian visas, which are less popular for foreigners:

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 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 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.

Obtaining a Colombia Work Visa

Obtaining a Colombia Work Visa

The Bottom Line: Obtaining a Colombia Work Visa

Colombia’s work visa is relatively easy to get with few documents needed. But the work visa requires finding a job in Colombia before you can apply.

The visa costs in Colombia are lower than in many other countries in Latin America. Also, the Colombian visa process is streamlined with online applications and is relatively fast.

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Editors note: updated on December 16, 2017 with the cost of the new work visa.

Editors note: updated on January 3, 2019 with the new 2019 Colombia minimum wage information.

Editors note: updated on April 9, 2019 with with current information and added additional documents required for the work visa.