What is the change? The Colombian government has issued a resolution (Decree 1288) that allows Venezuelan nationals who registered in the recent census to obtain special stay permits, or PEPs. The resolution also eases the validation process for higher education degrees from Venezuela.

What does the change mean? Although the PEP is not a visa, it gives Venezuelans a valid ID and temporary permission to remain in Colombia and work or study as well as access health and social security benefits.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate. The resolution took effect July 25.
  • Visas/permits affected: PEPs.
  • Who is affected: Venezuelan nationals in Colombia.
  • Business impact: Venezuelan nationals who hold PEPs are authorized to work.
  • Next steps: The Ministry of Education will release guidance within the next three months on the procedure for validating educational degrees from Venezuela.

Background: Colombia introduced a legalization program for Venezuelan nationals in August 2017 and extended it in February. The PEP is a valid ID for Venezuelan nationals, but it is not a visa and does not shorten the eligibility period to apply for a residence or migrant visa. Additionally, the PEP can be revoked if the holder remains outside Colombia for more than 90 days or violates immigration regulations.

The eased process for validating educational degrees will facilitate certain applications; although degree validation is not required for work visas, it is requested for visa applications for independent professionals and it is mandatory for individuals seeking to work in a regulated occupation (regardless of immigration status).

BAL Analysis: The extension of PEPs to Venezuelans who registered in the Colombian national census will benefit additional Venezuelan nationals unable to return to their home country due to the ongoing political and economic crisis there. The easing of validation requirements will benefit Venezuelans seeking to work as independent professionals or in regulated professions in Colombia.

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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