Colombia: New Requirements for Degree Validation Process

Effective October 24, 2017, foreign nationals with a bachelor's degree who seek to work in Colombia will see a more complicated degree validation process but a shorter overall processing time. Foreign nationals cannot use the online system to validate their degree until October 24, 2017, while the government prepares for the new process requirements.

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Oct 11, 2017
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The situation
Changes made to degree validation process.

A closer look
Foreign nationals who require a validated degree to work in Colombia will see the below changes:

  • New document required.
    In addition to documents already required for the degree validation process, on or after October 24, an apostilled academic certificate, translated into Spanish, will be required. The academic certificate is an official document issued by a university that must include details including but not limited to courses taken, content, methodology, credits, duration and hours. Fragomen may be able to assist with obtaining a certificate that includes all the requirements and apostilling the certificate where required.

  • Amended process step.
    On or after October 24, the process of obtaining a degree validation receipt - which takes five to eight business days - will be replaced by a preliminary review period - which takes longer to complete. Once the new process is effective, the Ministry of Education will issue a statement called a resolution of feasibility within 30 business days after submission of the degree validation documents. This statement will confirm that the degree validation requirements have been met. 
    • Foreign nationals should submit their documents far in advance of their work visa application so as not to delay their start date since a resolution of feasibility is required prior to commencing work.

  • Impact on permanent professional license seekers.
    An additional change is that the standard government processing time for the final degree validation resolution will be reduced to two to four months, down from eight to twelve months. Once the final degree validation resolution is issued and depending on the decision, temporary permit holders can request a permanent professional license.

  • Online validation system temporarily unavailable.
    Foreign nationals cannot use the online system to validate their degree until October 24, 2017, while the government prepares for the new process requirements.

Background 
All foreign nationals with a bachelor's degree must validate their degree in Colombia, however the deadline to validate will differ as follows:

  • Those whose occupation's professional board does not issue professional permits by practice must validate their degree prior to starting work.
  • Those who work in an occupation where the related professional board issues a professional permit must validate their degree no later than two years after the professional permit is issued.

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