The Colombia Student Visa is intended for a foreigner who wants to study in an academic program in Colombia. The visa is relatively easy to get with few requirements. The visa also known as the TP-3 visa is also relatively inexpensive – costing just $65 including the processing fee.
Colombia Student Visa Requirements
To qualify for the Colombia Student Visa you need to demonstrate that you have enrolled in a qualified educational institution in Colombia with a class intensity of at least 10 hours per week.
Many foreigners receive Colombia student visas for studying Spanish in Colombia. I currently have a student visa that enables me to study Spanish at Universidad EAFIT in Medellín, which claims its program is the largest Spanish language program for foreigners in Colombia. The Spanish classes at EAFIT currently cost 910,000 pesos ($353) for each class of about one month duration for semi-intensive classes (2 hours per day) or two weeks for intensive classes (4 hours per day).
I have been studying at Universidad EAFIT for over a year and now have my second student visa. I am no longer limited to the six months per year restriction for being in Colombia, which comes with the tourist visa. I can now stay in Colombia for a full year.
The Student Visa Process
The following documents how to get a Colombia Student Visa (TP-3) in-person in Bogotá based on my experience in July last year. You can also get a visa at Colombian Consulates abroad.
The Colombia Student Visa is applied for in-person at the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores office located in Bogotá at Avenida 19 # 98-03, Torre 100 Building, 3rd Floor. The office is open from 7:30am until noon.
- Copy of the first page of your current passport where your personal data is displayed.
- Copy of the page of your passport where the last stamp of entry or departure of Colombia is located.
- Letter from the applicant accompanied by bank statements indicating that the average bank balance for the applicant for the past 6 months is more than 10 times the legal monthly minimum wage in Colombia. The Colombia minimum wage is 644,350 pesos per month in 2015; 10 times this is 6,443,500 pesos or $2,570 at the current exchange rate.
- Copy of the admissions or enrollment certificate issued by the educational institution.
- Document issued by the educational institution proving that the hour intensity is at least the minimum of 10 hours per week.
- Receipt of payment for classes from the educational institution (requirement not listed on the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores website but I was asked for this).
- Valid current passport with an expiration date of more than 180 days and two blank pages.
- Since you are applying for the visa in-person you will not need photographs, your photo will be taken on site.
The cost of the Colombia Student Visa (TP-3) is $15 for processing (study) in the Bogotá visa office and $50 for the visa for a total of $65. This is paid in pesos in a small bank branch located in the visa office.
You can apply for the visa online here, which will require you to have scans of all the required documents. But this is not needed if you apply for the visa in-person. If you apply in-person, the agent will ask you questions, fill out the online application for you, scan all your documents and return them to you as well as take your photo with a digital camera.
The length of time given for the TP-3 visa depends on the length of your planned enrollment. I paid in advance for six months of classes at EAFIT and received a visa good for a year.
After you have successfully received your Colombia Student Visa you will have a maximum of 15 days to register your visa with Migración Colombia to get a Cedula de Extranjeria (Colombian ID for foreigners). This must be done in-person. We previously documented this cedula process in our report about the Colombia Investment Visa but we are repeating the process here for completeness.
It is important to register your visa within the allotted time frame or you will be liable for a big fine of up to seven times the minimum monthly salary in Colombia (about $1,800).
The following is information successfully used at the Migración Colombia office in Bogotá in July 2014.
Before going to Migración Colombia’s office, deposit 162,000 pesos at Banco Occidente. In Bogotá there is a Banco Occidente branch located at Calle 100 #9A-39, which is a few blocks from the Migración Colombia office.
At the bank they will have a sample deposit slip posted on the wall showing how to fill it out with:
- Account name: Migración Colombia
- Account number: 263-05464-5, codigo 101
- Amount: 162,000 pesos (this is the new amount, which is up from 156,300 pesos in 2014)
After making the deposit at Banco Occidente, it is a short walk to the Migración Colombia office in Bogotá, which is located at Calle 100 #11B-27.
- Original deposit slip from Banco Occidente
- Original passport
- Signed “Formato Único de Tramites” application form (form available in the office)
- Photocopy of biographical page of passport
- Photocopy of your TP-3 visa
- Photocopy of blood test showing your blood type (or if you have a previous visa, photocopy of your cedula)
- 1 photo (3×4 cm) – no photo needed if you have a previous visa
If you register your visa with Migración Colombia in Bogotá, the cedula should be ready for pickup in three business days at their office. You can check status on the Migración Colombia website, which has a list of cedulas ready for pickup.
You can also register the visa in Bogotá and have the cedula sent to the Medellín Migración Colombia office – this requires a letter to request this and make sure to have an extra copy.
If the visa is registered at the Migración Colombia office in Medellín (located at Calle 19 #80A-40) or another city the process takes longer, which is about 10 business days to receive the cedula.
It is possible to get the visa and apply for the cedula in the same day in Bogotá. The visa office opens at 7:30am but I recommend going at 6:00am so you will be one of the first in line and make it out normally before 9:00am. This way you avoid sitting for much time in the visa office and provides plenty of time to register the visa with Migración Colombia, which closes at 4pm.
Also make sure to bring something to read and dress warmly as it can be cold in the morning in Bogotá.
The Colombia Student Visa is relatively easy to get but is strictly intended for someone who plans to study in a school in Colombia. The steps outlined above show how to get a Colombia Student Visa yourself based on the current procedure.
We have now looked at four popular types of visas for Colombia: the Investment Visa, the Marriage Visa, the Retirement Visa and in this report the Student Visa. There are currently 17 different types of visas available to foreigners in Colombia however the procedures and requirements can change so it’s important to have professional help when looking to acquire a non-tourist visa. Lifeafar offers a wide range of client services including Visa Services.
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