Would you believe this?
Being citizen of one of the many countries without required visa for Colombia, we didn't think much about it at first. You usually get a 90 days Tourist visa stamped into your passport at imigration. Then one of the language schools requested a student visa, as we would be staying in school more than 60 days. Huh? I mean, this is Colombia, not the US ?!
Ok, getting into Detail we found out the following:
If you want to study (yes, that does also include language school, not only university...) or even worse, work in Colombia (e.g. work and travel), you would need a visa. To apply for a visa you need to go to the colombian embassy/consulat in person (!) and for a student visa you need to bring at least the following documents:
- Student Card and/or confirmation of the colombian university/school
- Certificates of vaccination
- Health insurance that is valid also in foreign countries (beware: german health insurance, also private ones, will cover you only for a few months, if you are abroad. See also Health insurance)
- biometric passport pictures
- copies of several documents like passport, insurance, credit card, account statements ... (get in touch with the embassy upfront to ask for the required documents at the time being).
So, that being said, we decided that there must be an alternative way. Actually you could tell the immigration officer, that you are traveling, right? Not even a lie. We also found a school, that doesn't request a student visa.
The Dept of Foreign Affairs (Auswärtiges Amt) states, that the immigration officer is allowed to ask for a Return- or Continuation flight ticket. It seems to get quite nasty (missing your flight is only one point), IF they ask and you don't have such a thing. Now, there are several good reasons for not having it. Maybe you are leaving the country overland or you want to keep things flexible. Our approach is to book a flight ticket out of each country BEFORE entering - either a flexible ticket or a cheap one, that we wouldn't use. Honestly, I don't have the slightest desire to discuss with border control in times of terror, why I cannot prove to leave the country again. I mean - hello? Those guys have guns! :-)
The Dept of Foreign Affairs (Auswärtiges Amt) also states, that it is possible to ask the imigration officer to grant a longer stay (with some documents to prove it of course - invitation, flight ticket ...). Usually it is granted up to 180 days. If you need to extend your visa later, you will need to fill out a form and be charged a fee. If you ask me, I would invest the money in a nice cruise to Panama and back - gets you a new stamp in your passport as well.
Anyways, you should take care, that you will get a stamp in your passport. Especially if you are entering the country overland and/or at night. Truth be told, this sounds much more like Colombia to me ;-)
Read also: Visa - mania: Canada