US

Nov 20 2019

New Entry Permit Categories and Other Technical Changes for Visa-Exempt Nationals

Colombia

At a Glance

  • Effective December 1, 2019, Migración Colombia will replace existing entry permit classifications for visa-exempt nationals with three new types of entry permits.
  • Migración Colombia will also implement technical changes for nationals or residents of Comunidad Andina de Naciones, Mercosur, and Pacific Alliance member countries, largely to formalize its current practices.
  • There will be no changes for visa nationals.

The situation

Effective December 1, 2019, Migración Colombia will replace its existing entry permit classification system and establish formal criteria for entry to Colombia for nationals and residents of Comunidad Andina de Naciones, Mercosur, and the Pacific Alliance member countries, according to a recently published resolution.

There will be no changes for visa nationals, who will still require a visa to enter Colombia.

A closer look

  • Entry permit details. The new resolution will replace the existing entry permit categories with three types of Entry Permits:

Entry Permit

Change

Validity

New Requirements

Tourism Permit (Permiso de Turismo)

Will replace the current PIP-5 (tourism) and PIP-6 (business) permits, among others, and will group them into a single Tourism Permit for tourism and/or business.

This permit will continue to allow foreign nationals entering Colombia for tourism or business to stay for up to 90 days, extendable in country for an additional 90 days, for a maximum of 180 cumulative days in a calendar year.

Business visitors applying for a Tourism Permit on arrival should  carry an invitation letter issued by a Colombian entity. Although Fragomen currently recommends this, the new resolution expressly advises that immigration authorities at the port of entry will have the discretion to require this letter when admitting a business visitor. 

Integration and Development Permit (Permiso de Integración y Desarrollo)

Will allow foreign nationals to conduct several activities in Colombia, such as assisting in some academic or educational courses, programs and exchanges. In addition, it will be available for foreign nationals part of International Treaties and agreements signed by Colombia.

It will depend on the activity but will generally not exceed 90 days, extendable in country for an additional 90 days.

None

Permit to Develop Other Activities (Permiso para Desarrollar Otras Actividades-PDA)

This permit will be granted for some specific activities and situations. Most importantly, it will replace the current PIP-7 for urgent technical activities.  It will also be available for foreign nationals who intend to perform artistic activities in tours or mass events.

The process to obtain the PDA for urgent technical activities is expected to be the same as the current process to obtain the PIP-7. It must be approved before entry and generally cannot be obtained upon arrival. 

This permit will still to allow foreign nationals entering Colombia to conduct urgent technical activities to stay for up to 30 days. It is not yet certain whether in-country extensions will be available. 

In relation to the technical activities, the new resolution establishes that foreign nationals will be able to conduct urgent technical activities in Colombia, if the host company is unable to find a specialized Colombian worker to perform them. Currently, this requirement is not expressly stated in the law. 

 

  • Impact. Foreign nationals and employers should work with their immigration professionals to determine the applicable permit for their activities in Colombia, and to carry out the appropriate process.

 

  • Changes for individuals entering Colombia under Multinational Treaties
    • Electronic Migratory Card. The resolution will introduce an Electronic Migratory Card (Tarjeta Migratoria Electrónica) that will be issued on arrival to nationals or foreign nationals who are residents of Comunidad Andina de Naciones (CAN) and Mercosur member countries entering Colombia with an identification document instead of a passport. Member countries include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.
      • Impact. CAN and Mercosur nationals can already enter Colombia using their national identification document instead of a passport. The resolution formalizes this eligibility and simply introduces a new type of entry document that they will receive on arrival for tracking purposes.
    • Visa exemption. Restricted nationals who are permanent residents of a Pacific Alliance member country (Chile, Mexico and Peru) will not require a visa to enter Colombia and will be eligible to obtain the applicable entry permit.
      • Impact. In practice, immigration authorities have been applying this exemption, so the resolution simply officializes it.
    • Border Mobility Card. The resolution will implement a Border Mobility Card (Tarjeta de Movilidad Fronteriza) for nationals of border countries that need to cross into Colombia on a regular basis.
      • Impact. Affected foreign nationals may need to apply for this document at Migración Colombia if they intend to cross the border on a regular basis.

Background

The resolution formalizes several administrative changes to Colombia’s migratory control system that have been enacted over the past several months into one comprehensive resolution to align and facilitate their application. These measures are intended to simplify and streamline the immigration categories and processes for visa-exempt nationals, in an effort to make the immigration system more efficient and to better track and monitor the entry and exit of foreign nationals.

Looking ahead

The new entry permit scheme is in line with other changes across governmental entities looking to simplify their administrative processes, such as the recently implemented degree validation changes by the Ministry of Education.

Additional changes and guidelines to existing visa categories can be expected with the implementation of the new immigration law (which is likely to occur by 2020).

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].