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Immigration and Visas

Colombia - Immigration and Visas

For many visitors a short stay visa is not required if you wish to remain in Colombia for less than 90 days, though this will depend upon your country of origin. Those from Europe or the USA will not need a visa. If you are in doubt then a complete list of exempt countries can be obtained from the website of the Colombian government.

When applying for any type of visa you will need to ensure that your passport has at least six months left to run. Visas can be issued more quickly for residents of some countries than others. For example, a British citizen applying for a visa can expect to receive one within five days of application. For those of other countries the process can take as long as 15 days. If you are in any doubt it is better to apply for the visa with plenty of time allowed before you travel.

Other requirements for applying for a visa include return tickets (for short stay visas), proof of funds to cover the cost of your visit, the fee for processing the visa application, letter from the relevant company if the visit is for business and proof of address. Visa fees will vary on the type. A short stay tourist visa costs the equivalent of £30, while a temporary working visa can cost as much as £160.

A foreign worker can be supplied with a temporary work permit if they obtain a job with a company in Colombia. The spouse and dependent children will be able to remain in the country on the same visa but it will not entitle them to work. In order to apply for this permit a worker must have a passport which has at least six months left to run, a firm offer of employment and a copy of the contract and a certificate of goodwill from the company which has been notarised. They must also be able to prove their qualifications for the job. Copies of police records must also be provided along with a letter from the employer which promises to cover all expenses when the worker is due to return to their country of origin.

It is possible for an expat to become a Colombian citizen but many do not bother. Work permits and residency permits can be renewed if required and most people choose not to change their nationality.

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