I decided to enter Colombia on a tourist visa since all my efforts job-wise were proving futile from the UK. However, in my research online, I discovered that Colombia has a Partner visa (TP-10 visa) that is the same as a Spouse visa except you don’t necessarily have to be married. Since, legally, in Colombia if you have been with someone for 2 years or more you are as good as married, this visa gives you the right to a cédula (ID card) and to work for 3 years. You don't even have to prove you have been together for that long but may need a convincing story. Since my boyfriend and I have been together for over 3 years, I figured this would be a good plan B if I wasn’t able to get a work visa quickly.
Nevertheless, getting this visa is not easy, especially if you do not live in Bogotá. In short, you have to go to a notary and pay around $50 for an escritura pública which is a document that states you are in an official partnership with a Colombian. You then have to go to Bogotá with your partner and book an appointment for $50 for the visa interview, then pay over $200 for the visa itself. All in all with transportation, visa fee and accommodation I would have been looking at over £300 for the whole thing. This would have been difficult to do since I am unemployed and would have had no guarantee of finding paid work after obtaining this visa.
This blogger provides a more detailed account, albeit a little outdated:
I was debating whether to bite the bullet and start the process for this visa in the last month as my tourist visa runs out on Christmas Eve and time was running out but thankfully I received a job offer literally 2 days before I was about to book the flights to Bogotá – great timing or what!? Now I am getting a work visa but since I am foreign, I have to collect it in a foreign consulate which is quite inconvenient but of course it’s worth it as I know I am starting work soon as a result of it. So now I am waiting for all the paperwork to be completed and as it is Christmas time with expensive flights that are quickly filling up, and there are less working days this month, I am still worried I won’t be able to go to Panama before my tourist visa runs out in which case I’ll have to make a quick dash for Ecuador to get a new tourist visa and go to Panama in January just before starting work. The expenses add up!
In hindsight, it would have made much more sense to get my Partner visa in London while I was there with my partner and enter Colombia on that visa originally! Silly me!
I hope I have given a good overview of the visa options available in Colombia and I will post an update when I finally know when I am getting my work visa!