Colombia has a difficult past. The conflict with the FARC, in addition to high crime, caused the U.S. State Department to issue a travel advisory for a few regions. A new peace accord between FARC and the national government could stabilize the situation. On a positive note, Colombia’s growing economy makes the nation a good place for expansion. The World Bank points to the financial services, commercial services, and construction services as the main contributors to Colombia’s economic growth. If you want to take advantage of these opportunities by sending an employee to the country, you’ll need to get a work visa in Colombia.
The TP4 Visa in Colombia Becomes M
In December of 2017, Colombia changed their visa rules. The old system had several different categories of temporary visa from TP-1 to TP-13, each one with a different reason for coming to Colombia. The new system narrows the visa options into three:
- Visitor “V” type visa: For the visitor who wants enter the country without permanent establishment
- Migrant “M” type visa: For those who want to enter the country and live there on a temporary basis
- Resident “R” type visa: For those who want to establish themselves in Colombia permanently
Both holders of M and R visas have permission to work in Colombia.
How to Obtain an M Visa in Colombia
Like most work visas around the world, the process begins with a job offer from a local employer. Once your worker has a signed contract, they can begin the application process. To apply, they will need these documents:
- Summary of the employment contract. The visa authorities may ask for the original if they need more information.
- Letter of motivation from the employer
- Six months of bank statements
- Photocopy of the first page of the applicant’s passport
- Passport-style photo with a white background that is 3 cm wide and 4 cm tall
After your employee has gathered all these documents, they can apply for the M visa online at the local consulate website.
Once the online visa application has been approved, your worker will need to travel to Colombia to get the visa which is issued in Bogota at the offices of Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores. The M visa is good for up to three years, though it may be fewer if the employment contract stipulates a period less than three years.
Cédula de Extranjería or Foreigners Identity Card
Each foreigner who has a visa that is good for more than three months should apply and obtain a foreigners identity card, which they can do at any of the regional offices. They should do so within 15 days of entry into the country or after the visa was issued if it was issued in Colombia.
When the employee goes to the office, they should bring a copy of their passport and the M visa. Appointments can be made in person or online. After filing the right documents and paying the fee, the office will issue an ID card.
Colombia is a growing market with great opportunities for businesses that know how to explore and take advantage of them. If you’re looking to move employees either temporarily or permanently to Colombia, contact Velocity Global today to learn how we can help with your immigration needs.