Travel to Colombia, like any good thing, does come with a bit of a catch. By this, we don’t mean anything particulary ominous; just that you need to do a few boring beuracracy-type things before the good people at Immigration will let you get amongst the magic that is this country. But don’t worry too much: we’ve worked out pretty much everything you need to think about, and, as it so happens, we’ll talk you through it right now.
First up, obviously you need a valid passport, wherever you come from. If you’re a dual citizen, you’ll need your Colombian passport to get in and out of Colombia and your other passport for the country you may possibly never want to return to. You will also need to present evidence of a return/onward bound flight and an address for where you’ll be staying in Colombia (a Colombia hotel name is fine).
Some countries, of course, need a visa.
A visa is required for entry into Colombia, unless you are citizen of one of the following countries:
Argentina, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Chile, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Spain, United States, Finland, France, Great Britain, Guatemala, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Mexico, Norway, The Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea (South Korea), Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela and foreign residents of Canada and the United States.
So far what you need to get into Colombia:
- Return/Onward Flight
- An address for your stay
This will grant you a stay of 90 days without having to get a visa. If you want to stay more, you will have to obtain a visa from a DAS office. It is possible to leave the country and come back, effectively extending your stay, but you can only do this for a maximum of 180 days in total. Following is a list of costs for the most popular visas you can obtain in order to prolong your stay in Colombia (rough guides):
- Tourist Visa – $55 (6 months)
- Temporary Visitor – $65 (6 months)
- Student Visa – $50
- Work Visa -$210
- Business Visa – $210
A Colombia student visa will cost much more eventually owing to the costs of studying here, but will grant you over a year here. Equally, the Colombia work visa and Colombia business visa will grant you up to 2 years in Colombia but it is important to note that both need to be obtained abroad. Most people choose to travel to either Ecuador or Venezuela and apply from these countries, but if you have a job waiting for you it would be advisable to apply from your home country.
For the work/business visa you will need to supply some evidence of your job and a guarantee from your employers, as well as a notarised copy of your university degree. This is basically a legal stamp obtained in the country your degree was issued in. Again, I recommend obtaining this before coming to Colombia to save on postage costs.
Visitors to Colombia will sometimes be required to pay an exit tax. This is usually about COL$80,000 but can be less. If your stay is under 30 days it is likely you will be exempt from this tax.
You’ll only need injections if you plan on visiting the Amazon. If this is the case, be sure to bring documentary evidence of your injection. Otherwise, just bring lots of insect repellent, sun tan lotion, and your best gringo accent: “Dahhhnde estarrr lous baniows por favaww?”