The Working Holiday Visa for Colombia

Updated 2022-10-09 14:00

What makes Colombia unique is that it is one of the most diverse countries in the world, bordered by two oceans and with different climates, vibrant cities, amazing wildlife, as well as activities such as kayaking, rafting, climbing, paragliding, surfing, diving, dancing, etc. Yes, everything to seduce the participants of the Working Holiday Visa program! Indeed, if you dream of visiting this colorful and beautiful country, you can do so by participating in Colombia's Working Holiday Visa program. In this article, you will find all the information you need to apply.

Colombia is not only known for its wonderful and delicious coffee but also for its extensive natural resources, modern cities and diverse culture. It must be said that the Colombian government has made great strides in recent years to secure peace with the revolutionaries, reduce crime and protect its strong democratic institutions, making the country much more welcoming to visitors. Indeed, Colombia boasts a growing economy and a much safer climate than before.

Conditions to be met for obtaining a Working Holiday Visa for Colombia

First of all, it is essential to know that the WHV visa allows you to live in Colombia for a maximum of one year, work during your stay in Colombia and study while living in Colombia.

Below is a list of the criteria you will need to meet to apply for the working holiday visa:

1. Your nationality

It's important to know that there is an agreement between Colombia, Peru, Chile and Mexico — these four countries have created the Pacific Alliance group, which works as a free trade zone and offers citizens of a certain age from these countries the possibility to work and travel in the Alliance countries.

In 2015, an agreement was also signed between France and the Republic of Colombia that offers French citizens the unique possibility to work and travel in Colombia for up to one year on a working holiday visa.

This means that only four countries have an agreement with Colombia at the moment, and if you want to go on a WHV to Colombia, you will need to be a Peruvian, Chilean, Mexican or French national.

Good to know:

Residing in one of the four countries mentioned above is not enough! You need to be a citizen to be able to benefit from the WHV program.

2. Your age

The minimum age to apply is 18, and the maximum age is 30! This means that you can apply at the Colombian embassy or consulate in your country (i.e., France, Peru, Chile, or Mexico) until the day before your 31st birthday, but don't wait until the last moment.

3. Having a valid passport

Having a valid passport when you apply is obviously very important. It should also be valid for a minimum of one year after your arrival in Colombia.

It is also essential that you have a minimum of two blank pages in your passport so that they can hold your new visa and customs stamps, both on arrival and departure, at the airport.

Good to know:

Losing your passport could cause you a lot of trouble, as reapplying for your WHV in Colombia could be very complicated! It is recommended that you keep your passport safe once you have received your visa.

4. Having sufficient funds

As with any trip you plan to take outside of your home country, it is important that you have savings that will allow you to survive when you arrive in Colombia. Although there is no budget mentioned for Peru, Chile and Mexico, French participants will need to have a minimum of 1,300 Euros (approximately 5,723,750.09 Colombian pesos) in their bank account to be allowed to travel to Colombia. Make sure to present an official bank statement from your bank when applying.

5. Having a medical insurance policy

A health insurance policy that will cover all cases of illness, hospitalization, repatriation, disability and maternity is mandatory. You don't want to find yourself in a country with a large hospital bill without being covered! So you are advised to get ahead of the game and find yourself an excellent insurance policy that will be available 24/7, even when you are in Colombia.

6. Only one participation

When the WHV agreement between Colombia and the four countries mentioned above was signed, one of the conditions was that participants could only participate in the program once. This means that if you have already been on a WHV in Colombia, your second application will not be considered.

However, if you have been on a WHV anywhere else in the world - Japan, Australia, Canada, Spain, New Zealand, among others - this will not be a problem.

7. The quota per country

In general, when two countries sign a WHV agreement, a quota of participants is set per country. This allows the host country to have a certain level of control over the number of visas issued per year and the number of entries into their territory. In the case of the WHV in Colombia, here are the quotas established by country:

  • 400 participants per year for France,
  • 300 participants per year for Peru,
  • 300 participants per year for Mexico,
  • 300 participants per year for Chile.

Good to know:

Quotas are updated every year on 1 January. Therefore, it is recommended that you apply at the beginning of the year to have a better chance of getting a place!

8. Airline tickets

You will need to book your return tickets and show them at the time of application. Unlike other WHV programs where you can choose to buy only the outward ticket and wait to buy the return ticket (by proving that you can afford to buy a return ticket to your country), the WHV in Colombia requires you to show proof of purchase or booking of both outward and return tickets.

9. Having a clean criminal record

To get the green light to enter Colombia, you will need to provide a clean criminal record to prove that you have never committed a crime.

10. Duration and cost of the visa

The WHV in Colombia lasts for one year. Unlike most WHVs in the world, the countdown starts as soon as you receive the visa and not when you set foot on Colombian soil!

Good to know:

You are not allowed to move to Colombia on a WHV with dependents. If you choose to travel as a couple, for example, you will have to make two separate applications that will be processed independently.

How to apply for a Working Holiday Visa to Colombia?

You will need to collect and then scan the following documents in order to submit them in the first stage of your application - the online application. All documents must be in PDF format (make sure they are all legible and not larger than 5Mb), except for the passport photo, which must be in JPG format with a maximum size of 300kb. Here they are:

  • Your passport - You will need to scan pages 2 and 3 of your passport (the part containing your personal information) and two blank pages (to show that you have room for the visa and new stamps). If you have been to Colombia before, you will also need to provide a scan of your entry and exit stamps from Colombia.
  • A recent passport-size photo - (3 x 4 cm), preferably on a white background, obviously frontal, with your face clearly visible.
  • Commitment form - this will be used to state that you aim to stay in Colombia temporarily and that you only want to experience the culture and have fun and to emphasize that you understand that the program allows you to work only to support yourself during your stay and that this is certainly not the main purpose of your trip.
  • Cover letter — this should be in Spanish and should detail the purpose of your trip to Colombia. Explain what attracts you to the country and why you have chosen it.
  • A bank statement — a bank statement for the last three months should do the trick. Since 2020, participants who do not have sufficient finances have the right to have a guarantor. In this case, the guarantor will have to provide a bank statement.
  • Airline tickets
  • An insurance certificate from your insurance company explaining in detail the policy of your choice.
  • A clean police record
  • A medical certificate explaining that you are in good health.

Useful addresses:

Embassy of Colombia in Paris - France

22 Rue de l'Elysée,

75008 Paris,


Embassy of Colombia in Lima - Peru


Ca. Los Eucaliptos,

Cercado de Lima 15073,


Embassy of Colombia in México - Mexico

Avenida Paseo de la Reforma 412 piso 19

Colonia Juárez, Delegación Cuauhtémoc

06600 México D.F.


Embassy of Colombia in Santiago - Chile

Los Militares 5885,

Tercer Piso,

Las Condes Santiago


Things to consider before moving to Colombia

The cost of living in Colombia

Before traveling to Colombia, we recommend that you have an idea of the cost of living in order to prepare your budget.

Here is a table that will give you an idea of the cost of living in Colombia - (source Numbeo; as of July 2022):


Currency: US Dollars (USD)



1-bedroom flat (in the city center)


1-bedroom flat (outside the city center)


3-bedroom flat (city center)


3-bedroom flat (outside the city center)




Water, electricity, air conditioning, heating, refuse collection for an 85m² apartment


Internet (60 Mbps or more, ADSL/cable, unlimited data)




1 ticket (one way) for local transport


Monthly pass for local transport




Rice (1 kg)


Milk (1 L)


12 eggs (normal size)


Bread (500 g)


Chicken (1 kg)


Red meat (1 kg)


Oranges (1 kg)


Bananas (1 kg)


Apples (1 kg)


Potatoes (1 kg)


Onions (1 kg)


Water (1.5 L)


Wine (mid-range bottle)


Local beer (0.5 L)


Imported beer (0.33 L)


Cigarettes (pack of 20)




Movie theatre - 1 seat


Sports club - monthly cost for 1 person


Looking for accommodation in Colombia

Finding accommodation is essential - you'll feel much safer arriving in Colombia knowing where you can safely rest that evening. Airbnb is a classic that should not be overlooked: it will allow you to find the type of accommodation you want in Colombia at the price you want. and are trusted platforms that can also help you find accommodation at good prices.

For those on a very small budget, Couchsurfing, flat-sharing and hostel options are not to be overlooked!

Looking for work in Colombia

What kind of work do you plan to do while in Colombia? If you already have a specialty that you plan to use, check out and, which are websites that will help you find your dream job in Colombia!

Volunteer, au pair and language teacher options are also available.

Learning the Spanish language

As you probably already know, Spanish is the main language spoken in Colombia. English is barely spoken! So you'll need to go there with a basic knowledge of Spanish in order to communicate with the locals and really immerse yourself in the culture. Duolingo, Babbel and Rosetta Stone are excellent applications to help you learn the language as much as possible in a fun way.

Getting around Colombia

How do you plan to get around when you arrive in Colombia? If you are not planning to move to a city where public transport is available, it is recommended that you rent a car! and are trusted platforms for finding the vehicle of your choice.

The first steps to take on your arrival in Colombia

You will have 15 days after your arrival in Colombia to apply for your 'Cédula' - the Colombian identity card. To do this, you will need to go to one of Colombia's immigration offices and bring along:

  • Your passport and a photocopy of pages 2 & 3 (where your personal details are)
  • A photocopy of your WHV visa
  • A completed "Formato único de trámites" form
  • A Colombian telephone number and proof of address (a hotel bill may suffice).

The process costs 206,000 Colombian pesos, and you will have to pay for it on the spot by credit card.

Useful links:

The form « Formato único de trámites »

Rosetta Stone

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.