ANNOUNCEMENT 31 Jul 2013

On 31 July 2013, the law firm Fragomen reported that the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued further changes to the new visa regime of June 2013 (see “Related Measures”). The new measure stipulates the following changes:

NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS

2

  • 1 harmful
  • 0 neutral
  • 1 liberalising
Inception date: 31 Jul 2013 | Removal date: open ended
Still in force

Labour market access

Colombian sponsoring employers will have two additional financial requirements for temporary work visas under the TP-4 visa category. Companies will now need to present the previous year’s tax return and the previous six months’ bank statements with a minimum average balance of approximately USD 32'000. This amount represents 100 times the monthly minimum wage established by Colombian law. The MFA may waive this requirement or require fewer bank statements for newly-established companies. The government has implemented streamlined electronic procedures for all visa and renewal applications submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in Bogotá or to a Colombian consular post. The former procedure required visa applications to be sent by mail to a Colombian consular post or filed in person by the applicant or third-party representative. Renewal applications were also filed in person at the MFA office in Bogotá by the applicant or third-party representative. The MFA will have up to four days to approve or deny an application following the electronic submission. MFA officials in Bogotá and consular officials abroad will, however, have increased discretion to request that the applicant appear for an interview. Applicants for renewals who require same-day processing can apply in person at the MFA in Bogotá. All visa applicants will be required to hold a passport with a minimum remaining validity of six months. There was no previous requirement for remaining passport validity, though, in practice, most immigration officials required a minimum remaining validity of three months.

AFFECTED SECTORS

 
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AFFECTED PRODUCTS

 
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Inception date: 31 Jul 2013 | Removal date: open ended
Still in force

Labour market access

Foreign nationals may now enter Colombia under tourist status and apply for business, residence or work visas in-country. Previously, all foreign nationals were required to obtain visas in these categories directly from a Colombian consulate abroad and prior to traveling to Colombia. Certain professionals (such as attorneys, businesspeople, engineers and scientists) have typically required an approval from the Colombian entity that regulates that profession in order to obtain work authorization. This approval will still be required to work in Colombia, but it will no longer have to be presented as part of the visa application. Holders of the following visas will be authorized to study in addition to the activities authorized by their respective visa type: NE-2 (business related to the Pacific Alliance trade bloc), NE-3 (representatives of foreign government institutions), TP-1 (miscellaneous – family members of diplomats, crews of cinematography projects), TP-4 (temporary work), TP-5 (religious) and TP-7 (self-employed individuals, retirees and property owners). Previously, visa holders had to apply for a student visa to study in Colombia.
 
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