UK Removes Tourist Visa Requirements for Colombians

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Gustavo Petro, the president of Colombia, has revealed that Colombian citizens will be able to travel to the UK visa-free for tourism for the first time. These new changes to the United Kingdom visa policy will come into effect on November 9, 2022.

“I thank the United Kingdom for its decision to eliminate the tourism visa requirement for Colombians”, Petro tweeted in appreciation of the move.

Colombia’s former President Iván Duque was also grateful for the result after “many months of hard work,” adding that his government had signed the post-Brexit Free Trade Agreement with former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

UK Removes Tourist Visa Requirements for Colombians

Visa-Free Entry for Colombians Long Time Coming, Says UK Ambassador

The news was later confirmed by George Hodgson, the British ambassador to Colombia, at a press conference held at his Bogotá residence. ”The UK will open up its doors to tourism and other sectors for Colombians,” Hodgson said.

“Without a doubt, the elimination of visitor visas, a process we have been working on for quite some time, marks a big step in our thriving relationship between the United Kingdom and Colombia,” the Ambassador added.

The process of obtaining visa exemption for the UK for Colombian citizens was first initiated during the two-term government of previous President Juan Manuel Santos. But it seems that Petro’s administration has finally been able to successfully end the negotiations.

Visa Exemption for Colombians to Expedite Travel to the UK

The elimination of tourist visa requirements for Colombians means that citizens of the country will no longer need to endure an expensive visa application process and waiting times of up to 60 days to have a tourism permit processed.

Instead, the new rules mean that Colombians can cross UK borders visa-free simply using  a valid passport for a stay up to 6 consecutive months. The move is expected to greatly increase the number of Colombian arrivals in the UK, which was recorded as 45,788  between January and September 2022.

Hogdson said he only expects the number to rise with the visa-free rules. He also stressed that Colombians who had already applied for a UK tourist visa but had not yet provided biometric data before the announcement will also be eligible for a refund of their visa fee.

Although the new UK visa exemption for Colombians currently only applies to tourist and business travel, as well as short-term study, it could also open the door for visa-fee stays for other purposes in the future.

Hosgodn has acknowledged that there is great interest in Colombia in studying visa-free long-term in the UK, but said that study visa policies would remain in place for the time being.

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