Starting a business in Colombia is a popular option among foreign investors seeking to enter Latin America, in part thanks to the relative ease of obtaining a business visa for the country. As long as you meet the necessary requirements, getting a business visa in Colombia is a straightforward process that will allow you to remain in the country for a designated amount of time while you develop your commercial operations and undertake necessary business-related activities.
Colombia has experienced significant growth over the past two decades, with gross domestic product (GDP) more than tripling since 2003 to reach $323.6 billion in 2019 (all figures in USD unless otherwise stated). The country saw a concomitant rise in gross national income — a key marker of general prosperity — which reached $6,510 that same year, placing the country as an upper-middle income nation, according to standards established by the World Bank.
Colombia has a strategic geopolitical position, being a major regional ally of the United States, with business connections to that country bolstered by the fact the two countries are just a few hours away by airplane. Meanwhile, Colombia benefits from being situated at the meeting point of North and South America, with major ports serving both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It also borders some key regional economies, sharing frontiers with Brazil, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela.
Colombia has a range of free trade agreements (FTAs) in place, providing local businesses with preferential access to economies in Europe, Asia, and the rest of the Americas. The country is also a founding member of the Pacific Alliance — a regional economic integration that includes Chile, Mexico, and Peru, and which has ambitions to expand beyond the region.
All of this contributes to Colombia’s popularity as an investment destination, with foreign direct investment (FDI) rising almost ten-fold over a twenty-year period to hit $14.3 billion in 2019. Among the country’s major exports are petroleum oil, coffee, minerals and precious stones, cut flowers and trees, and fresh produce.
If you are interested in relocating to this lucrative market to develop your business interests, read on to understand how to get a business visa in Colombia, as well as the different types of business visas available. Or go ahead and reach out to us now to discuss your business options.
Types of business visa in Colombia
There are three different types of business visas in Colombia, which will be granted based on the scale and type of investment you will be making. Some of the details for each business visa include:
A visitor business visa in Colombia: is exclusively tied to a particular event, project, or entity, and can only be used in conjunction with investing, setting up, or working on that particular activity.
A migrant business visa in Colombia (M-6 visa): gives the holder residency for between one and three years, and is granted for investments of at least 100 times the Colombian minimum monthly wage, which was set at COP 908,526 (approximately $239) for 2021, making the minimum investment for an M-6 visa approximately $24,000 as of May 2021. This visa comes at a cost of $282, including the processing charge, and becomes invalid if the holder spends more than six consecutive months outside the country.
A resident business visa in Colombia (R visa): gives the holder residency for five years, and is granted for investments of at least 650 times the Colombian monthly minimum wage, or approximately $155,250 as of May 2021. The R visa comes at a cost of $443 including the processing fee, and becomes invalid if the holder spends more than 24 consecutive months outside the country.
How to get a business visa in Colombia
The following guide is based on the process and prerequisites associated with receiving an M-6 business visa in Colombia, which is the type most commonly sought by foreign investors. The following documentation must be provided to Migración Colombia, the country’s official immigration agency.
1. Provide a photocopy of the front page of your passport
The passport must have two free pages. If you already have a Colombian visa in your passport, you should also send them a photocopy of that.
2. Provide a photocopy of certain pages of your passport
Including the pages with the most recent entry or exit stamp, the photo ID page, any past Colombian visas that appear in the passport.
3. Provide two passport-style photos in support of your visa application
The photos should be 3cm by 4cm and have a white background.
4. Provide a letter of request related to the company being invested in
To obtain a business visa in Colombia, you must provide a letter of request, specifying the company name and address, and its tax ID number (NIT).
5. Provide a letter from the Chamber of Commerce confirming your investment
The letter must state the amount being invested, which must exceed the minimum of 100 minimum monthly salaries. Additional documentation demonstrating this can also be provided.
6. Provide an opening company bank statement
This document will demonstrate any initial investment deposited into the company accounts.
7. Provide other documents as requested by local authorities
These can include a foreign exchange declaration form (F-4), a certificate of share composition provided by a certified accountant, photocopies of documents related to that accountant, a certificate of foreign investment issued by Colombia’s national bank, and historic bank statements of the company.
Biz Latin Hub can help you obtain a business visa in Colombia
At Biz Latin Hub, our multilingual team of visa processing and company formation specialists is available to help you oversee your market entry and receive your business visa in Colombia in the shortest time possible. With our complete portfolio of back-office support, including legal, accounting, and recruitment services, we can be your single point of contact for doing business in Colombia, or any of the other 15 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean where we are present.
Contact us now for a free quote or to discuss your commercial needs.
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