• Government to Restructure Visa Regime
  • May 17, 2013
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • The Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a new law that will restructure the current visa regime. Changes include new names for visas and a total of three visa categories, down from the current six. The new law will take effect on June 24 but is not expected to affect document requirements or processing times for employers and foreign workers.

    The current six visa categories will be consolidated into three: Temporary TP, Business NE and Resident RE. The three categories will each have several subcategories.

    Temporary TP Category. This category will include subclasses for temporary workers, interns, students, religious workers, volunteers, property owners, pensioners, refugees, individuals involved in adoption proceedings, and participants in academic, artistic, scientific and cultural events.

    The temporary worker visa will be the TP-4 visa, which will be valid for up to three years. The current temporary worker visa is valid for just one year.

    Short-term technical workers will seek the new TP-13 visa, which will allow stays of up to 180 calendar days per year.

    Business NE Category. Business visa options will expand with the creation of several new subcategories.

    The multiple-entry NE-1 visa, valid for up to three years, will be available to entrepreneurs and investors establishing new business in Colombia.

    The NE-2 visa will be open to foreign nationals engaged in business dealings related to treaties, including the Pacific Alliance trade bloc, of which Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru are members. Representatives of foreign government institutions will be eligible for the NE-3 visa. The NE-2 and NE-3 visas will allow foreign nationals to receive local remuneration and establish residence in Colombia for up to two or four years respectively.

    The NE-4 visa, valid for up to five years, will be available to high-level executives of multinational corporations seeking to invest and promote business in Colombia.

    Resident RE Category. The Resident RE category will provide a path to permanent residence for the following groups:

    • Parents of children who were born in Colombia;
    • Former Colombian nationals who renounced their citizenship;
    • Temporary residents who have remained in Colombia under a TP visa (subcategories 3 through 9) for at least five years;
    • Partners or spouses of Colombian nationals who have resided in Colombia for at least three years under the TP-10 visa; and
    • Individuals who have registered an investment with the Bank of the Republic of at least 650 times the Colombian monthly minimum wage.

    Visas in this category will not be tied to a local employer and will be valid for five years. Resident RE visa holders who remain outside of Colombia for two continuous years will lose their residence.

    As the June 24 implementation date approaches, further changes may be announced.