The Colombian Government, through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a new immigration statute. The new instrument is intended to modernize the Colombian immigration system and existing regulations in order to adapt them to today´s global mobility requirements and demands. The instrument, “DECRETO 0834” will enter into force definitely on June 24th 2013.

Though the Government has kept the principle of discretion as central in its visa-awarding functions, it has reduced the categories of visas from six to three and has created new sub types to expand them accordingly to the various activities foreigners may eventually perform in Colombia.

The statue still requires further development and each type of visa and entry permits will be regulated through and Executive Resolution. Having said this, the details for the requirements of documents, place of issuance etc. has not yet been defined by the authorities.  The instrument is extensive and covers many aspects of Colombian immigration. Bearing this in mind, in this newsflash, we will discuss and inform on the changes and novelties introduced to those visas most pertinent to our corporate practice.

In its essence not many changes are made. It does however represent an advance in immigration norms. It provides more detail and specifications on the type of activities a foreigner is allowed to perform in Colombia under the different type of visas.

As this is a frame instrument, the specific requirements for each visa as well as its practical implications will have to be verified along the way and once visas are requested under the new rules.

The first and most important aspect of the new instrument is the new visa classification. The Colombian Government as well as its consular offices will be granting three different types of visas:

  • NEGOCIOS (BUSINESS) “NE”
  • TEMPORAL (TEMPORARY) “TP”
  • RESIDENTE (RESIDENT) “RE”

Please note the previous “Temporary Worker Visa” (Visa Temporal Trabajador) falls under TP category and is now named TP-4 Visa. As the new instrument defines it, it will be granted to the foreign employee to be hired, transferred or seconded by company in Colombia. Requirements as those regarding the exercise of regulated professions remain in effect and to be complied with.

Entry permits are still granted to foreigners from those nationalities that do not require a visa to enter Colombia. Two new categories are established: Entry and Stay Permit (PIP) and Temporary Permanence Permit (PTP) applicable for extensions when a foreigner has been granted a PIP permit previously.

Under entry permits foreigners from non-restricted nationalities are allowed to engage temporarily in a wide range of activities: from business to medical treatment, tourism, academic gatherings etc., Colombia will still allow permanence in Colombia for 90 and up to 180 days in a single year without a visa (work not included).

An important aspect to mention is the fact Technical Entry Permit is still available to foreigners for up to 30 days. A Technical visa may be obtained if the activities are to be extender. Further development however is still required.

Immigration novelties include the responsibilities and attributions granted to the Colombian Immigration authority “Migracion Colombia”. Such entity will be in charge of registration, compliance, police functions and identification services for foreigners. All visas granted for more than three months are still subject to registration. Also underage foreigner over the age of seven will be granted Colombian IDs (“cedulas”). 

The most important aspect of the new instrument to highlight is the fact it makes a compilation under a single instrument of all immigration requirements, scenarios, activities allowed and obligations to be complied with by companies and foreign nationals. 

We are attaching an executive summary for your further revision. Click here