COLOMBIA – New Regulations Modify All Visa Types
A major new set of immigration regulations has established new visa categories and requirements . Resolution 6045 of 2 August 2017 repealed Resolution 5512 of 4 September 2015, and will come into force ninety business days from its publication date.
Visas issued prior to the entry into force of Resolution 6045 will keep their validity and conditions. Before expiration, a new visa must be requested in accordance with the regulations established in Resolution 6045.
What are the new categories?
Under the new regulations, the previous visa sub-categories have been reorganised into three broad categories: Visitor (type V), Migrant (type M) and Resident (type R).
Visitor (V): This category applies to tourists, business travellers, ships’ crew, short-term service providers, lectures, artists and trainees, among others, and may be valid for up to two years (longer than under the previous regulations). Migrant (M): This category may be valid for up to three years, and applies to Mercosur nationals, foreign spouses and partners of Colombian nationals, foreign nationals employed in Colombia, investors, students and others. Resident (R): This category, valid indefinitely, is for foreign nationals wishing to establish themselves permanently in Colombia.
What are the other key changes?
The term “work permit” is introduced and automatically granted in certain cases, allowing the visa holder to work and provide paid services in the country. The term “transversal permit” is also introduced and automatically granted to visitor visa holders, allowing them to carry out business negotiations, market research, direct investment plans and enterprise creation. Showing proof of professional accreditations to exercise a regulated profession or occupation in Colombia was not a visa requirement. However, under Resolution 6045, this became a requirement for those applying for a migrant visa as a self-employed person (formerly known as a TP-7 visa). Previously, if the visa was granted electronically, the visa holder had to request the visa stamp/tag within two months of the visa approval date. Resolution 6045 reduces this term to 30 days. Under Resolution 6045 there is no mention of the specific activities authorized by the former TP-13 visa (providing specialized technical assistance, with or without a work contract, to public or private companies). The expectation is that these activities will be covered under the visitor visa granted to provide temporary services. Submitting a motivation letter will be an essential requirement to obtain any type of visa. A resident visa will not be granted to foreigners who have been out of the country for more than 180 continuous days. While the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was already asking for supporting documents to be recently issued, Resolution 6045 makes it mandatory that supporting documents should not be older than three months. All visas will be issued for multiple entries
Companies employing foreign nationals in Colombia are advised to contact an immigration specialist for the latest information about these new regulations.