Colombia: New Rules for Business and Technical Visitors, Investors
Business Visa holders may now remain in Colombia for up to one year, sponsor family members for Dependent Business Visas, and obtain work authorization in country. In addition, Business Visa-exempt nationals entering to perform technical activities on an urgent basis may be able to remain in Colombia for up to 180 days. Investors are now eligible for indefinite residence after three continuous years in investor status.
Colombia recently introduced new rules that allow Business Visa holders to remain in Colombia for up to one year, sponsor family members for entry as dependent business visitors under a newly-created visa category, and apply for work authorization in country. Under the new rules, foreign nationals who do not require a visa to enter Colombia for brief visits to perform technical activities on an urgent basis may now apply for a Technical Visa in country and remain for up to 180 days cumulatively. Additionally, investors are now eligible for indefinite residence after a qualifying period of three years.
New Business Visa Rules
Business Visa (“Visa de Negocios”) holders may now remain in Colombia for up to one year. Previously, they were limited to stays of up to six months.
In addition, Business Visa holders may now bring family members with them as dependents by submitting applications for the newly-created Dependent Business Visa on their behalf together with their own Business Visa application. Previously, Business Visa holders were not allowed to sponsor family members for entry as dependents.
Business Visa holders may now also change to work authorized status in country by submitting a work authorization application directly to the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bogota prior to the expiration of their Business Visa without the need to travel abroad. Foreign nationals seeking to obtain work authorization while in Colombia as business visitors were previously required to leave the country and apply for work authorization at a Colombian consulate abroad.
Under the new rules, foreign nationals of countries that are members of free trade or other international agreements with Colombia may be granted stays of up to two years.
Extended Stay For Visa-Exempt Nationals Performing Technical Activities
Business Visa-exempt nationals (“unrestricted nationals”) entering Colombia to perform technical activities on an urgent basis may do so for up to 45 days by obtaining a Technical Entry Permit (“Permiso de Visitante Tecnico”) upon arrival at a Colombian port of entry. Under the new rules, unrestricted nationals seeking to remain beyond the initial 45 day period may submit an application for a Technical Visa (“Visa de Visitante Tecnico”) to Colombian immigration authorities in country prior to the expiration of the initial 45 day period. Unrestricted nationals holding Technical Visas may remain in Colombia for up to 180 days cumulatively. Technical Visas are granted in the sole discretion of the Colombian immigration authorities.
Business Visa-nationals (“restricted nationals”) seeking to perform technical activities on an urgent basis must obtain a Technical Visa from a Colombian consulate abroad prior to entry and are limited to stays of up to 45 days with no possibility for an extension.
Investors Now Eligible For Indefinite Residence In Colombia
Investor Visa holders who reside in Colombia for three years continuously are now eligible for a Qualified Residence Visa, which confers the right to reside in Colombia indefinitely, provided the visa holder does not leave the country for more than two years. Qualified Residence Visa applications must be submitted to Colombian immigration authorities at least thirty days prior to the expiration of the Investor Visa. Previously, investors were ineligible for indefinite residence in Colombia.
In preparing this article, Fragomen has worked closely with Brigard & Urrutia (Colombia). The content of this alert is provided for information purposes only.
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