Visas, Visas, Visas — The topic no one enjoys talking about yet the topic everyone needs to know a lot about. Our ITA Alumni Ambassadors have been in your shoes when it comes to visas. It's a foreign topic to most, no matter how experienced of a traveler you are. Our Alumni Ambassadors have been through the visa process firsthand and were tasked with walking us through the steps they took for their visa. In this edition, Lisa Koprosky discusses the visa process she went through for teaching English in Colombia. Get your notebook ready and enjoy!
→ TP-6 Volunteer Visa (in Bogota, Colombia)
(Please note that the TP-6 Volunteer Visa is not the visa that most teachers work on in Colombia. This was offered to Lisa as she was working for volunteer purposes or charity to begin. The majority of teachers receive the M-5 Work Visa).
Where Did You Process Your Visa?
I arrived in Colombia on a Tourist Visa and applied for my TP-6 Volunteer Visa in-person in Bogota. If you tell the people at the border that's what you plan to do, you won't have any trouble.
The documents needed to get a TP-6 Volunteer Visa in Colombia include:
→ Copy of Passport
→ Entry stamp into Colombia
→ Copy of your teaching qualifications
One copy of each document was required, but I recommend making a couple of passport copies to be safe.
Your work will be required to provide other documents such as:
→ Employment Contract
→ Their bank statements
→ Form from the Immigration website
It is pretty simple process in Colombia, and most of the burden will fall on your employer to provide the documents. The Immigration website provides a clear list of requirements for each one.
Notarization, apostillation, or authentication wasn't required for any of my documents.
Where Did You Send Your Visa Documents?
After filling in a form online, you have to take your documents in person to the Visa office. It only accepts people until 11am, so get there early! From there, they send you down the street to register your visa at the Immigration Office and receive your Cedula (Colombian ID card). The whole process has taken me anywhere from 3 to 8 hours, so pack a snack!
The first year fee was covered by my school, however the last year I had to form out the money, roughly $250 USD.
Visa Validity, Renewal & Restrictions
You apply and receive your visa on the same day - you are required to wait at the Visa Office while they process it. The visa is valid for one (1) year.
The visa is renewable. I am not at a different job though, so I will need to reapply.
The visa allows me to both work and study. I can leave and enter Colombia as many times as I like.
**NOTE: Colombian Immigration is a bureaucratic nightmare. If you encounter any problems, demand to speak with the supervisor if the people helping you can't resolve it.**
An avid traveller from northern Canada, Lisa has spent time living abroad in New Zealand, South Africa, and Kenya. She is currently living and teaching English in Bogotá, Colombia. Lisa did volunteer projects in Kenya and South Africa that gave her a taste of teaching, and she really enjoyed those experiences. After university Lisa was looking to learn a new language and have a job that was dynamic and exciting.
- Teach English in Colombia: Country Chart
- Where Can I Get an English Teaching Job In Advance In Latin America?
- Is Colombia Safe? Tips for Staying Safe & Making the Most of Your Experience