IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? The Colombian government has announced a legalization path for approximately 150,000 Venezuelan nationals in the country whose visas have expired.

What does the change mean? Venezuelan nationals who entered Colombia legally before July 28, 2017, are eligible to apply for a special permission to stay through a Department of Migracion Colombia website. In order to be eligible, they cannot have a criminal record in Colombia or another country and must not be subject to a deportation order. Authorities may exercise their discretion in deciding whether to issue special permission to stay.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Special permission to stay (PEP).
  • Who is affected: Venezuelan nationals who entered Colombia legally before July 28, remained in Colombia through that date and do not have a criminal record or a deportation order against them.
  • Business impact: The special permit authorizes the individual to work, study and qualify for social security.
  • Next steps: Beginning Aug. 3, applicants may apply online at www.migracioncolombia.gov.co. PEP will be granted for a period of 90 calendar days and can be extended 90 days at a time, without exceeding a period of two years.

Background: Minister of Foreign Affairs María Ángela Holguín announced the resolution this past Friday. The policy was announced as Venezuela continued to spiral toward a crisis ahead of Sunday’s vote in which President Nicolas Maduro sought to establish a constituent assembly to revise the constitution.

BAL Analysis: The resolution will provide relief to thousands of Venezuelans, including those who have been unable to return home due to the ongoing political unrest.