What is the change? The Colombian government has extended the legalization program for Venezuelan nationals into a second phase.

What does the change mean? Venezuelan nationals who entered Colombia legally before Feb. 2 are eligible to apply for a special permission to stay through a Department of Migracion Colombia website. In order to be eligible, they (1) must have a valid Venezuelan passport with a stamp that proved entrance to Colombia before Feb. 2, (2) cannot have a criminal record in Colombia or another country and (3) must not be subject to a deportation order. Authorities may exercise their discretion in deciding whether to issue a special permission to stay.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Special permit of permanence (PEP).
  • Who is affected: Venezuelan nationals who entered Colombia legally before Feb. 2, remained in Colombia through that date and do not have a criminal record or a deportation order against them.
  • Business impact: The special permit authorizes the individual to work, study and qualify for social security.
  • Next steps: Applicants may apply online at www.migracioncolombia.gov.co. A PEP will be granted for a period of 90 calendar days and can be extended 90 days at a time, without exceeding a period of two years. Venezuelan citizens who already have a PEP may not request a new document.

Background: Minister of Foreign Affairs María Ángela Holguín announced the first phase of the legalization program in August 2017 and Venezuelans who entered Colombia legally before July 28, 2017, were eligible to apply for a PEP. At that time, approximately 150,000 Venezuelan nationals were in Colombia with an expired visa.

BAL Analysis: The legalization program continues to provide relief to tens of thousands of Venezuelans, including those who have been unable to return home due to the ongoing political and economic crisis in that country.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Colombia. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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