Colombian Student Visa
The visa situation for studying in Colombia depends on three things:
- The accreditation of the school
- The length of study
- Your nationality
Non Accredited Schools:
If you are studying with a non-government-certified institution then you can do so on a normal tourist PIP-5 Entry Permit, this is the passport stamp that which you get when you enter the country, easy peasy. The only exception is if you are from one of the countries that requires a Visa to enter Colombia (see note below).
Less than 90 days:
If you’re planning on studying at a government certified institution, such as a university, then the normal PIP-5 Entry Permit tourist stamp is no longer valid.
If you’re studying less than 90 days, you need to obtain a Temporary Visitor Entry Permit (PIP-2 or PTP-2). If you’ve booked your course in advance then simply show your enrollment document and the schools registration certificate to Immigration on your way into the country and they’ll stamp your passport accordingly. If you don’t do this you will have to make a trip to Migracion Colombia to change your stamp from PIP-5 to PIP-2 which will cost you not only in time but in taxi fares, photocopies and obtaining photographs, plus there is a 81,000 COP processing fee. Failure to change your Entry Permit stamp may result in a fine of between 1/2 to 7 minimum monthly salaries, ie. 350,000 to 4.5 million COP.
Greater than 90 days:
If the course is more than 90 days then you’ll need to apply for the more formal TP-3 Temporary Visa (Student). This requires a lot more paperwork and preparation. In many cases you can apply for the TP-3 Temporary Visa (Student) in your home country if you have access to a Colombian Consulate or Embassy. Otherwise if you are already in Colombia it has to be submitted in Bogota (by yourself or via an agency). Recently the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores has been implementing an online system for submitting documents and making payment. We recommend you do your homework and check the latest requirements as they do change from time to time. You can read the requirements for student visas on the Cancillería website and a clear process of the process is defined on the government’s SiVirtual website and finally here is the link to request a visa online.
Remember that Student Visas are only available if you are studying at a government accredited program for a minimum of 10 class hours a week. A student visa is not a cheap way to stay in Colombia – we recommend this option only if you are interested in studying for an extended period of time. In addition you must attend 85% of classes otherwise the school is required to report you to immigration for failure to meet the minimum attendance requirements.
If you are from one of the countries that requires a Visa to enter Colombia then if you’re coming to study you must apply for the TP-3 via. If you’re not sure if your country is on the list please check the How to get a Colombian Visa page.