There are more and more restrictions on Student Visas. Some are restrictions that are already specified in the law that the Colombian government wants to now enforce in a more comprehensive manner while others appear to be more administrative in nature and are intended to 1. force foreigners to pay more out of pocket and 2. encourage foreigners to apply for more long-term visas.
By way of background, in general terms, there are two types of student visas available for most foreigners. The first type is the Visitor Student Visa which is what many foreigners apply for when they start a short-term Spanish class and the like. It has specific restrictions, including the fact that it does not qualify for long-term residency. The second is a Migrant Student Visa that is appropriate for someone enrolled as a full-time university student, pursuing a master’s, or the like. This type of visa definitely qualifies for long-term residency.
WHAT WE ARE SEEING
Over the past month or so we are seeing the Colombian government enforcing the following restrictions for Visitor Student Visas more and more:
• you are limited to only 6 months max, even if you register as a student for longer;
• you cannot apply for another visa while in Colombia (meaning that you would need to go to a foreign consulate to apply for a new visa); and
• you cannot apply for the same type of visa after the first visa expires.
If you apply for a Visitor Student Visa be prepared to have to jump through certain hoops in order to remain in Colombia after the visa expires. For some of you who decide to get a student visa prior to applying for a more long-term visa, you will need to plan accordingly