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Population: 47,6 million

Colombia is a young country, in fact, 41,47% of the population is under 25 and the average age of the population is 29,6. Contrary to Europe, the rate of senior citizens is low: 7,44% of the population is above 65 years old and life expectancy is 75,7.

Based on agricultural opportunities and natural resources, the population is mostly located in the North of the country.

Currently, the mining, oil and manufacturing sectors are growing and as a consequence, the country (which had a limited immigration rate because of political violence and economic problems), is now facing  an increase of labor migration.

Climate: Colombia being near to the equator, the territory has a tropical climate with 2 seasons: a dry season (between December/January and July/August) and a rainy season (between April/May and October/November). Colombia has a large range of climates depending on regions, temperatures can be freezing in Paramos while there are desertic conditions in Guajija.

Spoken languages and religion: Spanish is the official language (99,2%) and the Colombian Spanish is similar to the European Spanish. However, it is possible to make an inventory of 65 dialects. Even if the Colombian Constitution makes Spanish the official language of the country, it recognizes an official value for every dialect in its respective territory.

More than 95% of the population is Catholic and even if the 1991 Constitution makes a reference to God, freedom of religion is guaranteed. Little communities of Muslim, Jewish and Jehovah exist but are a minority. It is difficult to have the number of regular churchgoers, but churches are abundant and often full.

Non-working days and holidays: There are 18 public holidays, especially July 20th which is the Independence Day.

The maximum of weekly working hours is 48 with 6 days of paid leave per year minimum.


Health care sector: There are 3 entities responsible for the health care system in Colombia : State, as the entity of coordination, Insurer and the Care providers that provide health services. 57% of all the establishments within the country are private and one-third of Colombian doctors are specialists.

Even if Colombia has achieved the general improvement of access to health care services (97% of the Colombian population is covered), important regional differences persist (lack of health centers nearby, poor quality of services, lack of resources, etc.).

We can note that one of the particularity of the Colombian healthcare market is medical tourism  which makes Colombia one of the most famous medical destination.


Foreign doctors: To practice medicine as a foreign doctor in Colombia one must have a recognition of titles, a work visa and affiliation to the general social security system.

Several steps need to be followed:

  • Recognition of titles, explained in detail in Chapter 1, Article 2 of Decision 21707. It is carried out by the Ministry of National Education. There are general requirements for the recognition of title:
    • Written application in the format provided by the Ministry
    • Authenticated photocopy of the diploma/title to be validated. The original diploma/ title must be duly legalized, through diplomatic channels or with a stamp of annotation
    • Original certified copy of the certificate of qualifications or curriculum of the degree program that is submitted for validation, issued by the original institution. The original certificate of qualifications or curriculum must be duly legalized, through diplomatic channels or with an annotation
    • Photocopy of identity document (citizenship, passport)
    • Receipt of payment of the corresponding fee.
  • Obtain a work visa: There are several, but the one that is suitable for doctors is the Visa TP-13: “Al extranjero que desee ingresar al territorio nacional con el fin de brindar asistencia técnica especializada, con o sin contrato de trabajo, a entidades públicas o privadas. En el presente caso la vigencia de la visa será de ciento ochenta (180) días, con múltiples entradas.
  • Affiliation to the general social security system as dependent (health, pension, professionals’ risks). This step is not mandatory but recommended.

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