What is the change? Colombia’s Ministry of Education now requires that applications for degree validation include apostilled or legalized undergraduate diplomas, transcripts and university curricula for the Colombian program for which they are applying.

What does the change mean? The additional validation procedures can add significant time to the document gathering and preparation process.

  • Implementation timeframe: The new requirements took effect Dec. 25, 2014.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas or permits that require degree validation.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals who require degree validation.
  • Impact on processing times: No significant impact on processing times is expected; however, preparation of degree validation applications will take longer due to the new apostilization/legalization requirements.
  • Next steps: Applicants for degree validation should plan for the extra time it will take to get their transcripts apostilled or legalized. Documents must be apostilled or legalized in the country where the applicant studied; these services are not available at Colombian embassies or consulates.

Background: Foreign nationals applying for some visas and permits in Colombia are required to have post-secondary degrees validated.

On Dec. 22, 2014, Colombia’s Ministry of Education issued Resolution No. 21707 on the validation of degrees from non-Colombian colleges and universities. Under the resolution, degree certification now requires an applicant to submit a written application, an apostilled or legalized copy of the applicant’s diploma, an apostilled or legalized copy of the applicant’s transcript, an apostilled or legalized copy of the applicant’s university curriculum for the Colombian program for which they are applying and payment of the applicable fee.

Additional requirements may be included for specialized fields. For example, those applying to practice law in Colombia have to show that they have studied Colombian constitutional law, administrative law, civil procedure, criminal law and labor law. Those interested in practicing medicine have to show that they have completed a year of practice as a student. The changes described above took effect Dec. 25, 2014.

BAL Analysis: Degree verification applicants should make sure that they understand what is required for their particular application. The apostilization/legalization requirements will add to the time it takes to prepare applications, so applicants should allow additional lead time when going through the process.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Colombia. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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