What is the change? Colombia has created the Supplementary Special Permanent Program (PECP) for Venezuelan nationals.

What does the change mean? Venezuelan nationals who have requested recognition of refugee status in Colombia between August 19, 2015, and December 31, 2018, are eligible for the 90-day work and residence permit. The PECP is extendable for equal 90-day periods, without exceeding the term of two years.

  • Implementation time frame: The application period is open between July 5 – Sept. 5. Although the resolution is in force, the authorities have not yet begun issuing the PECP.
  • Visas/permits affected: Supplementary Special Permanent Program (PECP).
  • Who is affected: Eligible Venezuelan nationals.

Eligibility requirements:

To be eligible for the PECP, applicants must meet the following qualifications:

  • Must be a Venezuelan national;
  • Must have requested recognition of refugee status in Colombia between Aug. 19, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2018;
  • If they have not obtained refugee status, must have submitted a request that conforms with current immigration regulations;
  • If they have been denied refugee status, the Venezuelan national may be eligible if they meet one of the following qualifications:
  • Have been persecuted for reasons of race, religion and nationality that do not allow them to return to the country,
  • Have been forced to leave the country because their life, security or freedom have been threatened,
  • Have been in danger of cruel and inhuman treatment or punishment.

Otherwise, individuals that have been denied asylum between Aug. 19, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2018 are not eligible for the PECP.

  • No valid expulsion or deportation record;
  • Must have been in Colombia on the date of issuance of this resolution;
  • Cannot be a holder of a Colombian visa, or be in the process of requesting one;
  • Cannot be a holder of another special permit, or be in the process of requesting one.

Background: The Venezuelan crisis has led many governments to adjust their immigration regimes to account for the influx of Venezuelan migrants entering their countries. Colombia, in particular, has allowed Venezuelan nationals to obtain special stay permits and has eased the validation process for higher education degrees from Venezuela. The most recent change allows Venezuelans who have applied, but have not been granted refugee status, to apply for a 90-day work and residence permit.

Analysis & Comments: The change is good news for Venezuelan nationals who entered Colombia between Aug. 2015 and Dec. 2018 and have not been granted, refugee status. While the application period is officially open from now until Sept.5, the application form is not yet available, and the application period may be extended to account for this delay.

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