Working in Colombia

Medellin: City of the eternal spring
(Photo credit: El Instituto para el Desarrollo de Antioquia en

Hey, I finally arrived here in Medellín late Sunday night to start the work-term portion of my Schulich iMBA degree!  I’m so happy to be back in Colombia.  I never ever thought I would get the chance to come back here for such a long period of time … perhaps a 2-week paseo but never for 2 months, and certainly not to Medellín!  More on that later … for now I figured I’d post a small update about what’s it like to get a work visa for a foreign country!

The work visa requirements for this country are pretty extensive.  The Colombian company I’m working for had to get all kinds of documents from the government before I could submit my application for the visa.  But overall I was impressed with the efficiency and speed of the process.  From start to finish it took 3 weeks and there were no problems at all organising things with my employer, the Colombian government, or the Colombian consulate in Montreal.

Work Visa Requirements for Colombia

  1. completed application form

  2. valid passport (at least 6 months remaining before expiration)

  3. certificate of education legalised by a Colombian consul, ambassador or the nation’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs;

  4. certificate from the local Cámara de Comercio attesting to the company’s legal existence

  5. certificate of proportionality from the Ministerio de Protección Social

  6. original contract of employment legalised & notarised by a Colombian public notary

  7. original letter from the employer accepting financial responsibility for the applicant

  8. 3 passport pictures.

    Actual processing time at the Colombian Consulate in Montreal: 2 days

    Source: Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Colombia ( no longer works)

So that’s a little about the process of the work visa… The working culture here is something else altogether.  A little more on that now, and perhaps a lot more at a later date.

The company I’m working for operates locally and is in the knowledge management consulting industry.  In the photo above, we are located where the red circle is.  I don’t live too far from there, about five blocks.  I’m working as an analyst here but I can’t say much more about my project.  The truth is though, I could not have picked a better job had I been presented with a list of alternatives.  The working atmosphere is very relaxed and not at all stressful, the people are super cool and friendly, and the work I’m doing is fascinating.  The job is directly aligned with many of my personal interests – think “seize the day”.  The company I work for is essentially based on the value of self-improvement of character.

I’ll be working here until the end of July when I’ll have a couple of weeks to relax before heading to Brazil for the exchange portion of the iMBA.  The project I’m working on is so interesting that I’ll happily be continuing it part-time after I leave…

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