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Immigration Measures in Colombia as Consequence of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Main Points
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Immigration Measures in Colombia as Consequence of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Main Points

In light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Government of Colombia has implemented a range of measures to contain the spread of the virus in the country, aiming to mitigate its impact on its population and the economy.
 
The following are some of the most relevant measures in relation to immigration matters:
 
1. Through Decree 457 of 2020, the Colombian Government ordered the mandatory preventive isolation of all individuals in Colombia as of March 25, 2020, until April 13, 2020, limiting the free movement of people and vehicles within the national territory (with 34 exceptions enumerated in the same decree necessary to guarantee life, health and survival of the population).
 
2. Through Decree 439 of 2020, the Colombian Government has suspended, for a period of 30 calendar days, effective March 23, 2020, the arrival of all international passenger flights at any Colombian airport.
 
The only exceptions are in the event of a humanitarian emergency, fortuitous event or force majeure, with prior authorization from Migración Colombia and the Civil Aeronautics Authority.
The restriction does not apply to the crew, technical and managerial personnel and companions of air cargo companies.
 
3. Through Resolution 918 of 2020, Migración Colombia implemented the following concessions:
 
  • Automatic extension until May 30, 2020 (or until the government lifts the state of emergency). of the validity period of safe passage documents (salvoconducto) granted to foreign nationals for the following purposes: (i) to resolve an administrative status; (ii) to serve a mandated probation period; (iii) issued by Migración Colombia in its discretionary power for the safeguarding of a foreign national's fundamental and human rights; or (iv) to a foreign national born in Colombia.
    • The validity period of safe passage documents issued for the purpose of requesting a new visa or changing migratory status is not being automatically extended at this time.
  • Possible waiver (determined on a case-by-case basis) of fines and sanctions for foreign nationals unable to complete the visa registration and/or foreign ID card request before Migración Colombia due to coronavirus-related restrictions and measures.
  • Validity periods of Entry Permits for foreign nationals in Colombia will freeze between March 19, 2020, and May 30, 2020. Venezuelan nationals with a PEP permit who are unable to return to Colombia during the state of emergency (and at least until May 30) will not be subject to cancellation of status for remaining outside of Colombia over the maximum legal limit allowed of 90 calendar days.
  • Validity periods of POA Entry Permits (permiso para otras actividades) for foreign nationals in Colombia will freeze between March 19, 2020, and May 30, 2020.
 
4. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has suspended in-person public services from March 24, 2020, until April 13, 2020.
 
5. Visa applications filed before any Colombian consulates will not be accepted, regardless of class or category.
 
The measures adopted by the government are intended to partially mitigate the effects of the economic and social crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic by strengthening actions to protect the health and wellness of the inhabitants of the Colombian territory, and to prevent its negative impact on the economy.
 
The spread of the virus is directly related to the migratory movements of international travelers worldwide; in fact, future immigration-related measures will possibly become more restrictive, while no certain scientific advances for the control and eradication of COVID-19 currently exist.
 
In the medium term, new restrictions will likely be aimed at greater control over the flow of migrants between nations and, possibly, stricter requirements for obtaining visas and permits will be implemented, such as health insurance certifications, affiliations to the social security system, verification of previous migratory movements, and even medical exams that certify a foreign national’s good health, as well as risk insurance coverage to mitigate the impact to the Colombian health system.
 
For more information on this topic, please contact Adriana Amaris at [email protected]
 
NOTE: Any government decisions detailed in our blogs are current as of the time of posting, but are subject to change.