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COLOMBIA – New Rules for Bolivians, Ecuadorians and Peruvians

The Ministry of Labour in Colombia has issued a new decree (0046 of 2013) simplifying immigration processes for nationals of the Andean Community (Comunidad Andina, or CAN), i.e. Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru. Nationals of these countries may now apply for work visas post arrival in Colombia or, in some situations, may work without the need for a visa at all.

Declaration Upon Entry to Colombia

At the time of entry to Colombia, the applicant must declare to the authorities at the border (the Special Administrative Immigration Unit, or the Unidad Administrativa Especial Migración Colombia “UAEMC”) that he or she is entering the country in order to work.

Post Arrival Applications

Once the applicant has entered Colombia, he or she may apply for a work visa at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, submitting an application form with details about the planned work plus a signed employment contract or a letter of confirmation from the company which intends to employ him/her.

Registration at Migracion Colombia for a Columbian ID is still required.

Once the visa and registration has been completed, the applicant must approach the Ministry of Labour to obtain a certificate as an Andean migrant worker.

Contract Types

According to the Decree, the following employment types will be accepted:

  1. Individual workers: Individual applicants moving to Colombia in order to take up employment with a local Colombian company;
  2. Employees or assignees: Employees or assignees moving to Colombia for a period exceeding 180 days, either with a local contract or in order to work on a project on behalf of the sending company;
  3. Seasonal workers: Workers moving to Colombia for seasonal work such as farming, livestock and forestry. These workers must have a local contract in place confirming suitable accommodation, expenses, hours of work. These workers may work without a visa for up to 90 days, renewable for one period of a further 90 days per calendar year, but must still obtain certificates as Andean migrant workers from the Ministry of Labour;
  4. Cross-Border Workers: Workers who will maintain their residence in Bolivia or Peru, but who will be working across the border in Colombia. These workers may work without a visa for up to 90 days, renewable for one period of a further 90 days per calendar year, but must still obtain certificates as Andean migrant workers from the Ministry of Labour.

Regulated Professions

Note that the legislation on regulated professions (e.g. engineers, professionals in Economics, Law, Medicine, Business Administration) is still applicable. This means for those professions considered regulated either a professional permit is required or degree validation, depending on the case.

Action Items

  • Note that immigration procedures into Colombia have been greatly simplified for nationals of Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru.
  • Since the new procedures have just been announced, it is difficult to estimate timing at this stage; each application should be looked at on its own merits; contact us, or Brigard & Urrutia directly, for more information
  • Note that legislation on regulated professions is still applicable

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.