Colombian business visas

Different ways to work in Colombia

Colombian business visas

If you have an employment contract in Colombia, you can apply for a work visa which is linked to it and provides temporary residency in the country.

How business visas are issued in Colombia

Business visas are usually issued in Colombia to high-ranking executive workers representing foreign and multinational companies. These business visas aim to create business links and deals over a temporary time frame.

Letters from employers stating employees intentions are essential and must be translated into Spanish. Processing times vary widely depending on which consulate you apply to and in which country. Here we explain the different types of work visas as well as the requirements and procedures for obtaining one.

Business visa

A business visa can be granted to a foreigner who is a business representative, such as a director or executive of a multinational or foreign company with the aim of formulating business ties with Colombia, whether it be opening new branches or exchanging services.

There are four different types of business visas you can apply for, it is advisable to make sure that you are applying for the correct one:

  • NE1 - Foreigners who wish to enter the country for the purpose of conducting business and business management, foster economic exchange, invest and create business.
  • NE2 - Foreigners wishing to enter the country temporarily as a business person for infrastructure within Colombia, including: free trade agreements, partnership and within the framework of the Pacific Alliance for the purpose of advancing business management activities; promoting business; developing investment; establishing commercial presence of a company; promotion of cross-border trade in goods and services or other activities that can be defined in such a way.
  • NE3 - A foreigner in the form of a government official, interested in the promotion of economic and commercial exchanges in or with Colombia.
  • NE4 - A foreigner entering the country as president or senior executive of a multinational company in order to invest and generate business.

A business visa is not permanent and is granted for a maximum of three years. It allows multiple entries of up to six months at a time, but does not allow the holder to reside in Colombia. The visa can be renewed for a period of up to two years, in accordance with an evaluation of the job contract.

The costs will vary depending on your nationality so its advisable to check with your local consulate.

To obtain this visa you will need the following:

  • Application form DP-FO-67  filled out.
  • Three passport sized photographs
  • Copy of Passport or International Identity Card
  • A letter from the employer who represents the employee. This should include, the time he or she has worked for the company, the duration and aim of the trip and the current job position that they hold. The letter must include a declaration of responsibility in accordance with the Colombian government, to cover all expenses of the trip and to ensure the return of the said employee to his original residing country.
  • Certification of incorporation or legal representation of the company or a similar document, according to the country of origin. The certificate must be duly apostilled.
  • Letter from the receiving organisation in Colombia confirming the corporate relationship. The letter must be signed and dated.

Temporary work visa

A work visa can be obtained for expats who have acquired work in the country but wish to do so for a temporary period. The processing fees are US$50, and the cost of the visa itself is US$205.

Multiple entries are allowed on this visa, however it becomes invalid if you leave Colombia for more than 180 days continuously. The requirements for applying for this visa are similar to the business visa, however it should be noted that this visa only lasts for up to 2 years. For sports teams or artistic groups it is granted for 6 months.

Requirements for a temporary work visa:

  • Three passport-sized photos
  • Photocopy of your passport
  • Correctly filled-in application form
  • Processing fee
  • Original and copy of your contract
  • Proof you are qualified for the position, degree certificates, diplomas etc.
  • Police report (translated into Spanish)
  • Letter of commitment from the hiring company, stating financial responsibility for providing a return flight when the employee’s contract expires.
  • Certificate of Proportionality issued by the Ministry of Work and Social Security of Colombia 
  • Certificate of incorporation and legal representation issued within a maximum precedence of 3 months

If you receive this visa you are responsible for registering with the National Directorate of Intelligence (DNI) to receive your foreigner ID card (cedula) once in Colombia.

NGO visa

This is a special type of visa that is granted to those who enter Colombia working as a volunteer of a non-governmental organization (NGO). It is valid for up to two years but may be cancelled in the event of 180 continuous days of absence from the country. It can take up to 2 weeks to process and costs depend on your nationality.

Requirements for this specific type of visa:

  • A letter signed by the legal representative of the NGO clearly stating the nature of work carried out, the position to be held, the exact duration of work there.
  • Application form
  • Letter from the entity assuming obligation to the Colombian government to pay all respective expenses during your stay in, and departure from, the country.
  • If the NGO does not have a branch or office in Colombia, a document certifying the legal representation issued by the competent authority.
  • A valid passport or travel document, in good condition and with a minimum of two blank pages
  • Two recent 3X3 cm photographs, full face front view, against a white background.

Further reading

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