Colombia

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Basic monthly living cost

  • Rent in a shared flat

    152
  • Share of utilities

    22
  • Internet subscription

    23
  • Local transportation

    27

Sample lifestyle cost

  • Fast food combo

    5
  • Cinema ticket

    3
  • Pint of local beer

    1

About Colombia

Columbia is a constitutional republic located in northwest South America and bordered by the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean Sea, Peru, Brazil and Venezuela. A "middle" power considered having the 3rd biggest economy among other South American countries; Columbia's government is guided by a constitution amended in 1991 and operates according to principles of "separation of powers".

The head of government and state is the president of Columbia, who is supported by the Council of Ministers and the Vice President. Similar to the structure of the U.S. government, Columbia has a bicameral Congress, Senate and Chamber of Representatives. The Supreme Court of Columbia rules over the judicial branch and consists of 23 judges presiding over the Civil, Labor and Penal chambers. Established in 2005, a civil system of legal procedures has been applied by upholding adversarial (jury or judge) procedures in all courts.

Columbia's Legal System

Working under an amended Penal Code from 1938 originally incorporating Spanish law principles, Columbia’s legal system has a striking resemblance to U.S. and Western laws that define crimes as misdemeanors or felonies. However, Columbia's maximum prison sentence is 24 years (similar to Scandinavian laws) regardless of the crime. The death penalty in Columbia was abolished over 100 years ago.

Divided into several judicial districts containing superior courts that are presided over by at least three judges, Columbia's municipalities are supervised by specialized, juvenile and circuit courts that use "Public Ministry" lawyers to represent individuals in court proceedings.

Study in Colombia

Earning a Law Degree in Columbia

Columbia as well as other Latin American countries has been attempting to reform their higher education process by making it easier for low income students to obtain higher education degrees.

Becoming a lawyer in Columbia involves completing a Bachelor of Law (4 years). You can then complete a Master of Law (LLM). Depending on your specialization, you need or not to take the Bar exam to practice law. Internships consisting of at least one year with a law firm or individual counselor is sometimes needed before law students can take the bar examination.

Many lawyers obtaining a degree in Columbia choose to practice law in Brazil, where the economically thriving cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro offer opportunities that Columbia does not provide. Attorneys specializing in corporate, business and contractual law will have no trouble finding employment in Brazil while criminal and family lawyers tend to be more in demand in Columbia.

Visa Requirements

  • Migrant visa of category 9 (M-9 visa) - replacing the old TP-3 visa as of December 15, 2017.
  • If your course lasts less than 6 months, you may be able to use a tourist visa.

What type of Visa do you need?

Visa name

Migrant visa of category 9 (M-9 visa); Tourist Visa

Price and currency

The visa fee will depend on your nationality. For US applicants, the cost for the M-9 student visa is $67 USD.

Who can apply for the visa?

To qualify for the Colombia Student Visa you need to have enrolled in a qualified educational institution in Colombia with a class intensity of at least 10 hours per week.

All universities require you to have a Student Visa if you are enrolling on a course for 3 months or longer.

Citizens of several countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States do not need a visa to enter Colombia as a tourist for up to 90 days. A Colombian “tourist” visa isn’t a formal visa. It’s just a stamp in your passport. Furthermore, a “tourist” visa can be extended by 90 days at any Migración Colombia office in the country. If you are studying at a non accredited school for a period shorter than 180 days, you can do so under a normal Tourist Permit (PIP-5) and don't need to apply for a visa.

Where can you make the application?

Colombian consulate or online

You can apply for a Colombia student visa at a Colombian consulate or online.

Website:

How to make the application?

If you are applying online, you will need the following:

  • Photocopy of the first page of your valid passport with your personal data.
  • Photocopy of the page of your passport with the last stamp of entry to or departure from Colombia.
  • If you’ve had a previous Colombian visa, a photocopy of this visa.
  • Photocopy of university registration form signed by a school official.
  • Certification or document from the school, stating that the class timetable is a minimum of ten (10) hours per week.
  • Photocopy of “certificate of existence and legal representation” from the university.
  • Authorization of the parents and designation of the person responsible for the student during his/her stay in Colombia, authenticated by a Colombian notary or consul in the case of minors.
  • A letter (in Spanish) from the person with economic responsibility for the student guaranteeing the expenses of the student and documents showing economic solvency. If you are a student, the letter should say you will be financially responsible for yourself while in Colombia. To show “economic solvency” you could use a bank “certificate” showing the average balance over the past six months is greater than 10 times the legal minimum wage in Colombia or 7,812,420 pesos ($2,605 at an exchange rate of 3,000 pesos to the USD) in 2018. And this certificate should be notarized and translated. Or you can provide six months of bank statements with no need for translation. Also, credit card statements that show a sufficient available balance can be used.
  • Passport style face photo with a white background, sized at 3 cm width X 4 cm height, the maximum size of 300 kb jpg file for online application.

If your consulate does not allow you to apply online, then take the documents mentioned above to the consulate at the time of your appointment and complete the process they indicate.​ 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.

Once you receive your electronic visa, you must go to a Colombian consulate to get it stamped on your passport.

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.

When should you apply?

The length of time given for the Colombian student visa depends on the length of your planned enrollment and can be up to three years.

Processing time

Work opportunities

With the M-9 student visa, you are not permitted to work in Colombia.

Hours per week

0

Why do you need this type of visa?

Your visa application may be rejected if you are not able to show proof of the required funds, or if you provide incorrect or incomplete documents.