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UK removes visitor visa requirement for Colombian travellers

Short on time? Here are the highlights:

  • The United Kingdom is removing its visitor visa requirement for Colombian nationals as of 9 November 2022
  • This will mean that Colombians can travel to the UK and stay for up to six months for tourism, business, or study

Colombians have long been able to travel to the 26 European countries in the Schengen Area without a visa. But the same has not been true of the United Kingdom, which has maintained its visitor visa requirement for Colombian nationals. That visa requirement has been accompanied as well by processing times of up to 60 days, and an additional expense for visa fees (US$173 per applicant).

For all of those reasons, the need for a visitor visa has been seen as an irritant and an impediment to Colombian travel to the UK. And so it was big news this week when the UK Ambassador to Colombia George Hodgson announced the removal of the visitor visa requirement, effective 9 November 2022. “The UK will open up its doors to tourism and other sectors for Colombians,” said the Ambassador during a 18 October press conference. “This is a great step forward in our bilateral relations.”

Colombians will now be able travel to the UK as “standard visitors“, which means they can stay in the country for up to six months, for “tourism, business, study (courses up to 6 months) and other permitted activities.” Needless to say, the move improves the competitive position of institutions and schools in the UK that aim to recruit Colombian students for short-term programmes.

The British embassy in Bogota reports that roughly 12,000 Colombians travelled to the UK in the first half of 2022, and projects that there are between 24,000 and 25,000 Colombian visitors annually – a number that is expected to rise now that the visa requirement has been removed. Ambassador Hodgson added that any Colombian travellers that have already applied for a visitor visa, can now withdraw their application and apply for a refund of their visa fees.

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