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COLOMBIA – Temporary Solution to ID Card Delays; New Free Trade Agreements on Engineers; New “Pacific Alliance” Visa

A number of changes to Colombian immigration procedures have occurred in recent months; this alert summarises the most significant of these.

Temporary Solution to ID Card Delays

Foreign nationals entering Colombia with a visa valid for longer than three months are required to register and obtain an ID card.

However, the issuance of ID cards has been subject to significant delays, due to increased security checks, ever since the new Special Administrative Unit “Migracion Colombia” (UAEMC) replaced the former Immigration Branch of the Department of Administrative Security (DAS).

The UAEMC has therefore been issuing a temporary document called a “contraseña”. This is issued approximately 8-10 days after the registration application. Resolution 0562 of 2012 of the UAEMC states that the validity of the contraseña is extended to 31 December 2012 and means that public and private entities (banks, health entities etc.) must now accept a valid contraseña as an ID document.

Free Trade Agreement Facilitates Applications for US, Canada Engineers

Until recently, and although the general regulations related to quotas for hiring were repealed by Act 1429 of 2010, some special Professional Councils of Engineering placed limits on the number of foreign national engineers vs. Colombian engineers hired in Colombian companies.

However, the Chapter on Trade in Services in both the US and Canadian Free Trade Agreements with Colombia expressly repeal this proportionality rule for engineers (Article 22 of Law 842 of 2003) meaning that for US and Canadian national engineers, proportionality is no longer an issue.

Pacific Alliance Visa

A new visa category for nationals of Mexico, Peru and Chile has been created, through Decree 107 of 2012. The new visa is not yet available, pending reciprocity arrangements being established with the other members of the alliance.

The visa is intended for legal representatives, managers, directors or executives of Chilean, Peruvian and Mexican corporations looking to develop activities of corporate governance, such as promoting business, establishing the commercial presence of a company, developing investment and promoting trade in goods, services and capital.

The visa will be valid for up to four years and will allow multiple entries, allowing a maximum in-country stay of 90 continuous days.

Action Items

  • Note that contraseñas should be considered valid ID documents and update colleagues in Colombia accordingly
  • Note that proportionality rules are no longer applicable to US and Canadian engineers
  • Note the creation of the new Pacific Alliance visa – but that this is not implemented yet

This news alert was prepared using information provided by Brigard & Urrutia Abogados S.A.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2017 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.