What is the change? Colombia’s new immigration law, which will simplify and reorganize visas into three main categories (visitor, migrant and residence), will be implemented Friday. In addition to the visa revisions, the law contains other important changes.

What does the change mean? BAL has confirmed that short-term technical activities will continue to be recognized under the visitor category and will continue to allow foreign employees to exercise temporary technical activities while remaining on a foreign employment contract. Additionally, short-term technical visas may be granted for up to two years. Currently, the maximum period for the TP-12 visa is 90 days and for the TP-13 visa it is 180 days.

  • Implementation time frame: Dec. 15.
  • Visas/permits affected: All Colombian visas, work permits and residency permits.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals visiting, working or residing in Colombia.
  • Impact on processing times: The implementation of the new law may cause delays during the transition.
  • Business impact: The law is not expected to significantly change criteria or document requirements for regular work permits (TP-4), but this will be clearer after officials fully implement the law and any new procedures. The longer validity for technical visas will provide more flexibility for companies sending foreign nationals to Colombia to conduct approved technical activities.
  • Next steps: Those seeking to file new applications are advised to wait at least two weeks to avoid disruption to their applications.

Background: The law was published Aug. 2 and takes effect Dec. 15. Some other relevant clarifications include the following:

Requirements for TP-4 visas will not change significantly and the tax return of the employer will no longer be mandatory (although BAL will continue to recommend submitting it). The employer’s letter of support, however, will now be required.

Visitors intending on providing technical services must fill out a contract summary form. The form has not yet been released, but the ministry has confirmed to BAL that the current version will be updated to include an option for foreign employees who will remain on a foreign employment contract.

BAL Analysis: Companies should work with their BAL professional to prepare for the changes and factor in the potential for delays as authorities transition to the new law.

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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