Colombia – New Immigration Regulation

What is changing?

As of December 15, 2017, a new immigration regulation has gone into effect regarding a change to the name and structure of certain types of visas. However, most documentation requirements and procedures have remained the same.

Who will be affected?

  • All clients planning to send an employee to Colombia, or who currently have a foreign employee working in Colombia.
  • Tourists who plan to visit the Colombian territory, migrants wishing to stay for extended period of time, and resident visa holders who wish to remain permanently.

What to expect

While the new legislation has renamed and restructured the three primary visa types, Emigra Worldwide anticipates minimal effects on clients due to the minimal process changes and Emigra Worldwide’s proactive adaptation to the changes ahead of enforcement.

The analogous visa types under the new legislation are as follows:


Former Legislation
New Legislation
Business Visa (NE)
Visitor Visa (V)
Temporary Visa (RE) Migrant Visa (M)
Resident Visa (RE) Resident Visa (R)

Visitor Visa

This type of visa will bR)granted to the foreigner who plans to visit the Colombian territory several times or stay in the country up to two (2) years, depending on the particular activity to be executed by the foreigner, without establishing himself or herself in it.
Types of visitors visa (V): Transit, Tourism, Business, academic exchange, medical treatment, judicial or administrative procedures, crew, lecturer, internships, volunteers, audiovisual productions, journalist assignments, intra-corporate transfer (short assignment), government officers, vacation program and courtesy visa (refugees, artists, diplomatic officers).


Migrant Visa

This type of visa will be granted to the foreigner who plans to stay in Colombian territory for the duration of a particular bond (work contract, foreign investments, religious assignments, education, etc.) without establishing in the country permanently and to be determined by the assigned Migration officer.
Types of Migrant visa (M): Colombian’s partner, Colombian’s parent or son, daughter by adoption, refugees, work contract, associate in a Colombian company, skilled professionals, religious assignment, student, investments, retirement allowance beneficiary.


Resident Visa (V)

This type of visa will be granted to the foreigner who plans to enter the Colombian territory with the purpose of establishing permanently in the country. It will be granted for indefinite stay; however the stamped tag shows a validity of five (5) years.


Types of Resident visa (R):

Colombian’s partner, Parent of a Colombian National, uninterrupted stay in Colombia for five (5) years, Investors over 650 minimum wages, uninterrupted stay in Colombia for two (2) years as a Migrant visa holder, resigning to Colombian nationality.


Process Changes

Visa stamping

The previous legislation established that once the visa had been approved by the Immigration officer, it must be stamped on the foreigner’s passport within the next two (2) months. The new legislation requires that the visa must be stamped on the foreigner’s passport within the next thirty (30) days after the visa approval.


Updated status for the application documents

The new regulation imposes a strict cutoff on documentation issue dates, requiring all documentation to be issued within three (3) months prior to the application date. Under the previous legislation, documents issued more than three months prior to the application date may have been accepted by the Immigration officers.

The standard documents required for all applications under the new legislation are:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Conciliation Act
  • Certificate of legal existence and Representation of the company
  • Police clearance certificate
  • Death certificate

What you need to do

Planning ahead

  • Contact your Emigra Worldwide representative for further details on how these updates may impact you or your client.