Assessing travel and visa obligations in Colombia

When traveling to Colombia, your nationality and the types of activities you will conduct during your trip will determine whether you may travel lawfully as a business visitor or if you require work authorization. Please seek advice from your immigration counsel if you are uncertain about the specific types of activities that constitute business or work.

Traveling for business

What types of activities may I engage in as a business visitor?

As a business visitor to Colombia, you may engage in the activities below depending on the type of authorization you are traveling under. The most common types of authorization for business visitors are the Visitor Visa (V) for Business Activities, Tourist Permit and Integration and Development Permit. While this list is not exhaustive and other activities could qualify as business, depending on the visa held, you may:

  • Conduct business negotiations
  • Perform market studies
  • Conclude contracts or give commercial representation
  • Attend or participate in academic, scientific, artistic, cultural or sporting events
  • Perform journalistic activities or coverage


If I qualify as a business visitor, do I need a visa for Colombia?

Most foreign nationals intending to enter Colombia to conduct business activities must obtain authorization. Depending on their intended activities, non-restricted nationals may apply for a Tourist Permit or an Integration and Development Permit upon arrival at the port of entry or in-country if already in Colombia. Non-restricted nationals may alternatively choose to apply for a Visitor Visa (V) for Business Activities. Restricted nationals must obtain a Visitor Visa (V) for Business Activities from a Colombian Consulate or Embassy prior to travel. Please obtain an individual assessment before traveling to determine your eligibility for a Tourist Permit, Integration and Development Permit or Visitor Visa (V) for Business Activities.

Working in Colombia

What types of activities require work authorization?

The activities below, whether paid or unpaid, generally constitute work under Colombian law. This list is not exhaustive, and many other professional activities are considered work in Colombia, even if conducted for a short duration.

  • Hands-on technical work
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Consulting


If I am traveling to Colombia for work, what type of work authorization do I need?

The requirements for work authorization depend on your qualifications, on the nature and duration of your work and on whether your employer has an entity in Colombia. The most common types of work authorization for Colombia are:

  • Permit to Develop Other Activities (short-term work authorization for urgent technical services)
  • Visitor Visa (V) for Participation in an Event (short-term work authorization for special event participation)
  • Migrant Work Visa (M) for Local Employment or a Service Contract (long-term work authorization for direct hires)
  • Visitor Visa (V) for Temporary Provision of Services (long-term work authorization for carrying out services under a local or foreign contract)
  • Visitor Visa (V) for Intra-Company Transfers (long-term work authorization for intra-company transferees from companies based in countries with international trade agreements with Colombia)


Is it possible to be exempted from work authorization requirements?

Colombia does not offer work authorization exemptions.

What else should I know?

Inevitably, the legal and strategic considerations impacting visa selection, as well as visa waiver and work authorization eligibility, entail the careful consideration of many factors. We recommend that you consult with your immigration counsel before taking any course of action.


Copyright ©2024 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. Government immigration agencies often change their policies and practices without notice; please consult an immigration professional for up-to-date information. This document does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. BAL maintains comprehensive immigration information and processing specifics for our clients.