South America Living

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How to Obtain a Colombian Work Visa

Editor’s Note: This is a guest article by Kate Caroline who publishes “The Wanderlust Chronicles” blog.

Part of What Your New Colombian Work Visa Will Look Like!

So you have decided to work in Colombia? There are many opportunities here, and in my opinion, you have made an excellent choice. I’ve been here for about fourteen months and it’s a country full of wonderful people, excellent food, and a wide variety of cities to choose from for both work and travel.

Whether or not you are already in Colombia, you need a Work Visa in order to legally work here. And be prepared for the many bureaucratic procedures that always go along with dealing with any government. If you follow these steps, though, your visa process should hopefully be relatively hassle-free.

Step-by-Step Instructions on What You Need to Do to Obtain the Visa

  1. Go to http://www.cancilleria.gov.co/services/abroad/visas/temporary/worker. Read it carefully and make sure your boss reads it carefully as well. Check that you have all the documents you need to apply for your work visa. Following is a list of documents you will need. Again, check the consulate website listed above also because the rules are constantly changing.
    – Notarized Resumen de Contrato signed by both you and your boss.
    – A letter from your work authorizing you to work in Colombia.
    – A letter from your work saying that they are not responsible for any of your expenses if something were to happen.
    – A photocopy of the Declaración de Renta from your work.
    – A Certifcado de Camara de Comercio for your work.
    – A photocopy of your passport and all pages with Colombian stamps.
    4 visa pictures on a white background.
    – Proof of your ability to work in your field, such as a diploma or certificate.
    – A photocopy of the exit and entry stamps from Colombia and the country you are entering to get the visa.
  2. Okay, so now you have all of the documents you need. If not, do not bother going to the consulate, thinking, “Oh, it’ll be fine.” It won’t, I promise. You need to have everything.
  3. If you have work before going to Colombia, that’s great, it’s much easier. Go to the nearest Colombian Consulate in your country with all of the necessary documents and go early. I also recommend going on a Monday so that you have the whole week if you have any problems.
  4. If you are in Colombia and found work and are now ready to get the visa, you must leave the country. Venezuela is often a top choice because it’s usually fairly cheap, if you fly to Cucuta and then cross the border. You can go to any country with a Colombian Consulate, but make sure you don’t need a separate visa for the country you choose. For example, Brazil requires a visa for all non-Latin American citizens.   Visas & Fees in Brazil
  5. You need $225.00 USD for the visa, plus travel expenses.
  6. At the consulate, they look through your papers and give you a form to fill out. If there are no problems, the procedure is fairly quick, depending on the speed of those working there. You give them everything, pay them, the Consul signs the visa, and you’re done.
  7. So you now have the visa. When you’re back in your city of residence in Colombia, you must go to the DAS (Colombian immigration) and register with them and apply for your cedula de extranjeria (Colombian national ID for foreigners). Here’s what you will need:
    – Your passport with the visa.
    – The cedula costs $144,250 COP ($77 USD), and you need to pay for this at Davivienda and get a receipt.
    – 3 cedula photos on a blue background.
    – 2 photocopies of your visa.
    – 2 photocopies of your main passport page and all pages with Colombian stamps.
    – Proof of your blood type

When you finish at the DAS, you go back in approximately eight days to reclaim your cedula, and you’re done! You are officially and legally registered with Colombia. Congratulations!

Taking a trip to Colombia to check things out first?
Here is information on Tourist Visas in Colombia and a Travel Guide to Bogotá.

For more information on Colombia visit Kate Caroline’s blog – The Wanderlust Chronicles: From Barranquilla to Bogotá: Impressions of Colombia Year Two