This summary is intended for informational purposes only and should not be considered an authoritative guide on how to obtain work authorization in Colombia. The intent is to give the reader a general overview of the process only. Procedures and requirements may have changed since the writing of this article. For current and detailed information regarding the topics below, as well as documentary requirements, processing times, post-arrival and departure requirements, penalties for non-compliance, allowances for accompanying family members, and any other information pertaining to your specific needs, please contact your Pro-Link GLOBAL immigration professional.

Overview

VISITOR VISAS AND TEMPORARY ENTRY PERMITS

Type of Short-Term Visas – The following are examples of the types of short-term visas that are available to the visitor traveler:

Temporary Tourist Visa – This visa may be granted to foreign national wishing to carry out tourist activities.

Temporary Visitor Visa – This visa may be granted to business individuals travelling to attend short business activities:Permitted Activities – temporary visitors must generally limit their activities to the following:

1. Attending business meetings or discussions
2. Making sales calls to potential clients provided that the visitor represents a commercial entity outside of Colombia
3. Attending seminars or “fact-finding” meetings
4. Cover special events such as reporters, newscasters, or photographers from a registered news agency.
5. Establish commercial and trade connections
6. Attend academic seminars, conferences, exhibitions, short term studies, job interviews
7. Participate in scientific, sporting and cultural events that will not be compensated

Temporary Technical Visa – This kind of visa may be granted to foreign nationals who intend to provide urgent technical assistance to a Colombian party.

Basic Requirements –

1. Intention of a genuine visit for business and not for paid employment;
2. Valid passport;
3. Evidence that there are no restrictions on his or her traveling to Colombia;
4. No intention to permanently reside in Colombia;
5. A ticket for onward travel from Colombia;
6. Proof of funds.

According to the Colombian immigration legislation, certain nationals may enter Colombia without need of a visa (visa-exempt nationals). All visa-exempt nationals will receive their visitor visas/ temporary entry permits at the port of entry, depending on the activities they will be carrying out and the duration of their stay in Colombia.

Maximum Time On Visa – Visitor visas allow business people to make a short business visit to Colombia for up to 90 days in a one year period. Technical visitors can spend up to 30 days in Colombia. Visas can not be extended in country.

Typical Documents Required
All travelers need to present the following documents to officers in immigration clearance:

  • a valid passport or other acceptable travel document and in some cases;
  • a valid visa or authority to enter Colombia.


BUSINESS VISAS

Business visas are issued to executive level individuals who wish to visit the country for temporary periods, representing public or private foreign entities of a commercial or industrial nature, with the purpose of initiating or discussing businesses, or opening branches in Colombia. It is usually granted to legal representatives, directors or executives of a foreign entity that has an economic relationship with an organization in Colombia.

Permitted Activities – As a business visa holder, a foreign national may attend board of directors meetings, sign contracts, and establish new business contacts.

Process Overview – The process for obtaining a business visa consists of two steps, summarized below:

1. Business Visa application at Colombian Embassy/consulate in home country or at the Visas Coordination of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bogotá
2. Migration National Agency Registration to obtain alien ID card – done post arrival.

Estimated Processing Time – about 4 weeks

Validity periods – A Business Visa may be granted for up to four years, with multiple entries, allowing a maximum length of stay of one year per entrance. If a foreign national stays in the country beyond the authorized period of stay, his/ her visa will be rendered invalid.

EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZATION

Basic Requirements – The principle visa category for temporary employment in Colombia is the Temporary Work Visa. This is a category for employers to sponsor qualified skilled workers to work as intra-company transferees in Colombia on a temporary basis.

Process Overview – The process for obtaining a temporary work visa involves a two step process summarized below.

1. Temporary Work Visa application at Colombian embassy/consulate in home country;
2. Registration to obtain alien ID card – done post arrival.

If the applicant’s qualifications, profession or the Colombian entity’s service sector are in a regulated area, e.g. engineering, then special approval for the employment must be obtained from the relevant Professional Council in Colombia. The process for this depends on which Professional Council must be approached.

Estimated Processing Time – six to eight weeks

Validity periods – Visas are generally valid for up to twelve months and may be renewed for the same period of time.

Family Members – Secondary/ family dependants can not work and study without separate permission.

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