Colombia introduces new immigration rules

New rules and regulations were introduced on December 15, affecting all new visa applications.

What’s changed? 

  • The visa system has been re-organized with the Visitor (V), Migrant (M) and Resident (R) categories replacing the previous 21 visa categories.
  • Foreign nationals authorized to work under certain Visitor or Migrant subcategories are restricted to performing the specific job. Working for any company other than the sponsoring company listed on their original application is not permitted. For role or employer changes, the foreign national must obtain a new visa before any legal work may commence. They will be given 30 days to complete the immigration process. If a new visa is not obtained within this timeframe, the foreign national must depart Colombia. Failure to do so may result in penalties.
  • Technical visitors will now be allowed to stay up to two years (previously 180 days), resulting in fewer renewals being required. For short-term visits, technical visitors can continue to enter under a Visitor (V) visa.
  • Adjudication times have been decreased and immigration authorities are now required to adjudicate a complete application within five business days of submission. Where the authorities request additional information or documentation from the applicant, they are required to adjudicate within 30 days of receiving the additional material.
  • Applications must be complete and accurate at the time of submission. If not, authorities have the right to deny applications at their discretion. Appeals will not be accepted and the foreign national cannot submit a new application for six months.
  • A labor or services contract must be submitted for all applications under the V-13 category.

Key considerations

Visas issued before December 15 will continue to be valid. Delays should be expected as processing times may increase during the implementation of the new immigration law. Increased scrutiny is expected and therefore applications should be carefully completed and verified before submission to the authorities. 
Disclaimer: The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have any further inquiries regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Roberta Carnaccini, Global Operations Director, Immigration Services.