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The Colombia Student Visa Explained

A student visa is a legal authorization issued by the ministry of foreign affairs of the government of Colombia to foreign students who want to enroll for various academic programs offered by schools and universities in the country. 

To be eligible for a Colombian student visa, foreigners must get admitted in a Colombian government-approved school or college. Note that most universities in the country are recognized by the government. 

Here's what foreign students should know about the Colombian student visa and its benefits.                

Who Needs a Student Visa?

Foreign students, irrespective of their nationality and citizenship, are required to have a Colombia student visa to study in the country for a year or more. 

The country has privately-run educational institutions and publicly-funded ones. 

Foreign students should enroll in a recognized institution and must take classes for 10 or more hours in a week to be eligible for this visa. 

Difference Between Visitor Student Visa and Migrant Student Visa   

A type M (migrant) student visa is granted by the Colombia foreign affairs ministry to foreign students who wish to enroll for a bachelor's degree or a post-graduation course. 

This visa is issued for a maximum period of three years. In a majority of cases, the visa is issued for a period longer than one year. 

The Type M student visa loses its validity if the applicant stays outside the country for more than six months during the visa period. 

The cost and processing fee for a type M student visa varies from consulate to consulate and is around 67 US dollars. 

A type V (visitor) student visa is issued to foreign students who take up short-term courses including Spanish language programs offered by various educational institutions in Colombia.  

It is reported that a type V student visa to study Spanish is issued for a maximum period of six months. 

However, the Colombia government has the authority to take the final call on this. Applicants are advised to check with the nearest Colombia mission about this. 

Foreign students arriving on a type V student visa cannot extend or apply for a new visa type while they are in Colombia. 

They have to apply for the new visa in a Colombia consulate or embassy of a foreign country.  

The government of Colombia also issues a beneficiary’s visa to the spouse, parents and children of a student visa holder if they are economically dependent on him/her. 

Note that a beneficiary cannot work in the country and his/her occupation must only be taking care of the family. 

Can I Work in Colombia with My Student Visa?

Holders of a Colombian student visa (both type M and type V) cannot work in the country.

Foreign students arriving in the country either need a sponsor or enough funds to support themselves during their stay in the country.

If they are found to be engaged in paid employment, they may have to face legal action including fines 

Academic Programs Qualified for A Student Visa

International students enrolled in student or academic exchange programs are qualified to apply for a Colombian student visa. They can learn art and crafts of the country or to get training in these areas.  

Foreign students who are planning to attend postgraduate level courses are eligible for this visa

Foreigners who are coming to Colombia for internships or training programs can apply for a student visa. Such visas will have a maximum validity of two years. 

Minor students can get a Colombia student visa to attend primary, middle and high school or preschool.  

Validity of a Student Visa

A Colombian student visa is valid for the duration of the course. The type M student visa is issued for up to three years and the type V visitor visa validity varies from six months to two years.  

How To Apply for a Colombian Student Visa?

Applicants for a student visa for Colombia have to complete an application form. Most Colombia missions offer online application forms. However, applicants coming under the jurisdiction of a few missions may have to fill in a physical application form.  

They have to go to the Colombia mission to submit the application form along with identity and travel documents. They also may have to submit biometric information and attend an in-person interview. 

If the applicant is in Colombia at the time of application, they can visit the foreign affairs ministry’s office in Bogota. 

Documents Needed for a Colombian Student Visa

Following are the documents to be submitted while applying for a Colombia student visa:

  • A legal passport and completed application form. Applicants should also provide a photocopy of the passport page that shows his/her personal and passport data.
  • A passport-size photo in a white background. Applicants must not wear earrings, hats and white shirts in the photograph.
  • A photocopy of the previous visa (if any) issued by the Colombia government
  • A certificate of admission from an educational institution in Colombia
  • A photocopy of the certificate of existence and legal representation. This certificate is issued by universities in Colombia to foreign students.
  • A proof of financial sponsorship. This can be from the parents of the applicants or from the university. If the applicant is financially independent, he/she can show the bank statements of six months as proof of economic solvency. Applicants arriving on a Colombian student visa are not allowed to engage in paid employment.

Famous Educational Institutions in Colombia 

Low cost of living and the quality of life outside the campus make Colombia a good place for college education, especially international students from other Latin American nations. 

Over 40 Colombian universities were featured in a recent ranking of the best 300 universities in Latin America. They are also known for specialized academic programs in indigenous customs and traditions. They also actively promote student exchange programs with foreign universities. 

The government of Colombia promotes Spanish, its official language, through various universities that offer short-term programs in the language for foreign students. 

Some of the famous universities in the country are: Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, University of the Andes Colombia and Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
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