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How to Get a Colombia Work Visa & Work Permit: Requirements & Procedure

Hiring employees through a Colombia work visa can be a useful way of finding talent that a company in Colombia may not have access to. Another advantage is the potential to strengthen the company’s international networks and collaborations.

Read here to find out how to sponsor or apply for Colombia work visas. 

Key Takeaways

  • There are several types of Colombian work visas, including the Migrant (M) visa and the Visitor (V) visa with permission to work.
  • The application process involves submitting an application online, paying the fee, and then potentially attending an interview.
  • You will need to gather a number of documents for your application, including proof of employment or business ownership, among other things.
  • Always check the latest regulations and requirements from the Colombian embassy or consulate in your home country.

What are the different types of Colombia work visa?

If you’re planning on working in Colombia, you’ll need to obtain a work visa. There are two main types of work visas available:

  • Migrant (M) Visa: This is intended for foreigners who wish to stay in Colombia for a longer period, usually over 3 months. One subtype of this visa is the M-5 visa, which is granted to foreign nationals who have a contract with a Colombian company.
  • Visitor (V) Visa: This visa type is typically for short-term stays in Colombia. However, if granted permission, a V visa holder can engage in certain business activities or work. The V-5 visa allows foreigners to enter Colombia to carry out business or work activities for a period not exceeding 1 year.

Note, Colombia has recently introduced a Colombia work visa for employees working for employers based outside Colombia. Read our Colombia digital nomad guide to find out more. 

How to apply for a Colombia work visa

Applying for a work visa in Colombia involves a series of steps:

  1. Online Application: The first step in the application process is to fill out an online application form on the website of the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  2. Upload Required Documents: Once you’ve completed the online form, you’ll need to upload digital copies of the required documents (see the next section for details).
  3. Pay the Visa Fee: After submitting your application, you’ll need to pay the visa application fee. The fee varies depending on the type of visa, so make sure to check the latest fees on the official website.
  4. Visa Approval: If your application is approved, you’ll receive an email confirming this. If you’re outside of Colombia, you’ll need to get the visa stamped in your passport at the nearest Colombian consulate.
  5. Interview (if necessary): In some cases, you may be required to attend an interview at a Colombian consulate or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bogotá. If this is the case, you’ll be informed during the application process.

Which documents are required for a Colombia work visa?

The documents required can vary depending on the type of work visa you’re applying for, but generally, you’ll need to provide:

  1. A completed visa application form.
  2. A valid passport with at least two blank pages.
  3. Passport-sized photos.
  4. Proof of financial solvency, like bank statements or tax returns.
  5. A letter from your employer or business partner in Colombia, detailing the nature of the work you’ll be doing, the length of your contract, and your compensation.
  6. For the Migrant (M) Visa, you’ll also need to provide a copy of the work contract with a company registered in Colombia.

Colombia work visas — get the support you need

The Colombia work visa process can be confusing and time-consuming for those unfamiliar with the system. For companies interested in hiring employees in Colombia by sponsoring a work visa, or applicants interested in getting one, it can be worthwhile considering the services of a Colombia Professional Employer Organization (PEO). These companies specialize in supporting companies with all aspects of hiring within Colombia. A similar type of Colombia service provider which can also sponsor work visas is a Colombia Employer of Record (EOR)

FAQs

Generally, the Colombian work visa is tied to the specific employer and job position mentioned in the visa application. If you wish to change jobs or employers, it will likely require a new visa application. Changing your job without informing the immigration authorities could violate the terms of your visa and may lead to penalties or deportation. Always consult with immigration experts or legal advisors when considering a job change on a work visa.

Yes, if you hold a Migrant (M) visa, you may apply for beneficiary visas for your spouse, permanent partner, parents, or children under 25. These beneficiary visas would allow your family members to live in Colombia for the same period as your work visa, although they would not automatically have the right to work. It's important to check the latest regulations and requirements for family visas from the Colombian embassy or consulate in your home country or the official website of the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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