How Long Does it Take to Get a Work Visa for Colombia?

Are you dreaming of working in the beautiful country of Colombia? Well, getting a work visa is an essential step towards making that dream a reality. But you may be wondering, how long does it actually take to obtain a work visa in Colombia? In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of the Colombian work visa process, shedding light on the time it typically takes and the factors that can affect the duration. So, let’s dive in and uncover the answers you’ve been searching for!

Understanding the Work Visa Process in Colombia

Before we delve into the timeline, let’s quickly go through the work visa process in Colombia. The first step is finding a job with a Colombian employer who is willing to support your visa application. Once you have a job offer, both you and your employer need to gather the required documents and submit them to the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Ministry will then review your application and issue an “Approval Request” document, which allows you to travel to Colombia. Once you arrive in Colombia, you must apply for the work visa at the Visa Application Center (VAC) within 15 business days. After submitting your visa application, you will need to wait for it to be processed by the immigration authorities.

Factors Affecting the Processing Time

While it would be ideal to have an exact answer to how long it takes to obtain a work visa in Colombia, the truth is that the processing time can vary. Several factors can influence the duration, including:

1. Completeness of the Application:

The more accurate and complete your application is, the smoother the process generally goes. Missing or incorrect documents can lead to delays.

2. Current Workload:

The volume of visa applications that the immigration authorities are dealing with at any given time can impact the processing time. It’s worth noting that peak seasons, such as holidays, can lead to longer waiting periods.

3. Security and Background Checks:

The Colombian authorities prioritize safety and security, so they may conduct thorough background checks as part of the visa processing, which can elongate the timeline.

4. Additional Requirements:

Depending on your specific circumstances, you may need to fulfill additional requirements, such as providing medical certificates or translated documents. These extra steps can extend the processing time.

Estimated Processing Time Frames

While individual cases may vary, it is helpful to have a rough estimate of the processing time for a work visa in Colombia. On average, it can take anywhere from **four to twelve weeks** to complete the entire process and obtain your work visa.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that this is just an estimation, and your case could be processed faster or slower depending on the aforementioned factors.

Case Study: Maria’s Experience

Let’s take a look at a case study to better understand the timeline involved. Meet Maria, a talented graphic designer from Spain who secured a job offer in Bogota, Colombia. Maria diligently gathered all the necessary documents and submitted her application to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Within two weeks, Maria received an “Approval Request” document, allowing her to travel to Colombia. Once in Bogota, Maria went to the Visa Application Center and submitted her visa application. Thanks to her well-prepared application and the relatively low workload at the time, Maria’s visa was processed in just five weeks. She was thrilled to start her new job and explore the vibrant Colombian culture.


Obtaining a work visa for Colombia requires time, patience, and careful preparation. While the processing time can vary, on average, you can expect it to take between four to twelve weeks. It’s crucial to ensure your application is complete and accurate to avoid unnecessary delays. Remember, each case is unique, so it’s essential to stay informed and be prepared for any circumstances that may arise during the process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I speed up the process of obtaining a work visa in Colombia?
Unfortunately, the processing time is primarily determined by the immigration authorities and external factors. However, you can ensure a smoother process by submitting a well-prepared and accurate application.

2. Are there any shortcuts or expedited services available?
The Colombian work visa process does not offer expedited services or shortcuts. Every application goes through the same standard process.

3. Can I start working while my visa is being processed?
No, it is illegal to work in Colombia without a valid work visa. You must wait until your work visa is approved before starting any employment.

4. What should I do if my visa application is taking longer than expected?
If your visa application is taking longer than anticipated, you can track its progress through the Visa Application Center’s online portal. If significant delays occur, it is advisable to contact the authorities for further assistance.

5. Can I apply for a work visa extension in Colombia?
Yes, if you wish to extend your work visa in Colombia, you can apply for an extension. However, this must be done before your current visa expires, and you must meet the necessary requirements for an extension.

6. What happens if my work visa application is rejected?
If your work visa application is rejected, you will receive a notification stating the reasons for the rejection. You may have the option to re-apply, address the issues outlined, or seek legal advice depending on your specific circumstances.