According to experts and attorneys at Expat Group, Colombia’s foreign ministry and immigration authority, Migración Colombia have taken measures to accommodate those foreign nationals that find themselves within Colombia’s borders during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic and the associated travel restrictions. Expat Group’s Jaime Aristizabal shares these insights with Finance Colombia readers:
Recent days may seem mayhem, this unexpected pandemic has citizens of all nations locked down and adapting to new changes. Recently, Colombian Authorities released a couple of resolutions to modify established times of the visa procedures determining a suspension of the time lapse for applications, end of visas, tourist permits, giving foreigners in the country a clear legal basis for staying in Colombia and start planning for when all gets better. Therefore, there is no need for foreign nationals in Colombian to get unnecessarily stressed out. These changes as they are now are very simple and for the better. Let’s review most of them.
There were two recent resolutions whose goal is to reduce the visa related stress of visitors and resident foreigners in Colombia. The first issued in March by Migration Colombia was a resolution targeted to reassure all tourists having to extend their periods in the country due to the declared Covid19 National Sanitary Emergency, and in April the Foreign Affairs Ministry pronounced a hold on the expiration of pending visas.
The second, as mentioned, came out of Colombia’s foreign affairs ministry and affects the status of all foreign nationals within the country holding visas or needing visa related procedures, the key here is that the accounting of the timing of the status of visas and visa applications has been frozen, and it will recontinue once the state of sanitary emergency declared in March has been lifted.
Foreign Affairs Resolution 1296 of April 21st, 2020 pronouncements:
By which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Colombia suspends some of the terms in the visa, passport and nationality procedures
Article 1. Visa applications for foreigners staying in the Colombian territory:
Foreigners who are in regular residence within Colombian territory may apply for a visa before the Visa Authority in Bogotá through the electronic means provided for this purpose by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During the validity of this Resolution, foreigners holding a visitor visa in Colombia will not be allowed to make visa applications that signify class changes, being able to only request the same class of visa of which they are the holder, always, in accordance with the requirements established in Resolution 6045 of 2017, and the principle of discretion in the granting of visas.
Article 2. Suspension in the processing of visa applications for foreigners staying outside the Colombian territory:
It provisionally suspended until the Sanitary Emergency declared by the Ministry of Health remains in effect, the processing of visa applications by foreigners staying outside of Colombian territory, established in Resolution 6045 of 2017. The Colombian consulates and the Visa Authority in Bogotá, are prevented from admitting during the referred term such visa applications, regardless of their class or activity.
Article 3. Suspension of the validity terms of the visas:
It provisionally suspended until the Sanitary Emergency declared by the Ministry of Health remains in force, counting the validity time of the visa for foreigners that are abroad and are holders of a visa in force at the time of issuance of this Resolution, in accordance with the following:
- Type (v) visitor visas to provide temporary services to a natural or legal person in Colombia, and to hold office in a Colombian headquarters of a company with a presence abroad by virtue of intra-corporate transfer of personnel.
- Type (M) migrant visas regardless of their activity
Article 4. Suspension of the terms of early termination of visas due to the absence of national territory:
Provisionally suspend until the Sanitary Emergency declared by the Ministry of Health remains in force, the accounting of the time of absence from the national territory, as a cause of early termination of type M and R visas established in number 3 of article 66 of Resolution 6045 of 2017, for foreigners who are abroad and are holders of such classes of visa in force at the time of issuance of this Resolution.
Article 5. Suspension of the provisions related to the printing and stamping of the visa. Suitability of the electronic visa for purposes of registration in the Foreign Registry:
It provisionally suspended until the Sanitary Emergency declared by the Ministry of Health remains in force, the terms established in article 89 of Resolution 6045 of 2017, relating to the duty of the foreigner to print and stamp the visa with validity equal to or more than three months, in order to advance its registration in the Register of Foreigners. Such registration may be advanced with the current electronic visa (e-visa), whose authenticity and conditions will be verified by the Immigration Authority at the time of the respective registration. This, in line with public policy regarding Digital Government and streamlining procedures.
Article 6. Suspension of the time limits to claim the passport once issued:
It is provisionally suspended until the Health Emergency declared by the Ministry of Health remains in force, the deadlines enshrined in articles 12 and 18 of Resolution 10077 of 2017.
Article 7. Suspension of the procedures for issuing ordinary and executive passports:
Provisionally suspended until the Sanitary Emergency declared by the Ministry of Health remains in force, the issuance of ordinary and executive electronic passports by the issuing Offices in Bogotá, Calle 98 and Cale 53 and Colombian Consulates abroad.
Article 8. Suspension of the process of renunciation of nationality:
It is suspended provisionally until the Health Emergency declared by the Ministry of Health remains in force, the process of renunciation of nationality referred to in article 18.104.22.168.20 of Decree 1067 of 2015 for applications submitted after the Issue of Resolution 0385 of 2020 by which the sanitary emergency was decreed.
Article 9. Suspension of the term to issue a certificate of renunciation of nationality:
It is provisionally suspended until the Sanitary Emergency declared by the Ministry of Health remains in force, the terms for the process of renunciation of nationality referred to in article 22.214.171.124.21 of Decree 1067 of 2015 for requests presented after the issuance of resolution 0385 of 2020 through which the sanitary emergency was decreed.
Article 10. Suspension of the term to issue the act of recovery of nationality:
The sanitary emergency declared by the Minister of Health remains provisionally suspended until the term of five (5) days provided for in Article 126.96.36.199.5 of Decree 1067 of 2015 expires to issue the recovery act of Colombian nationality for the applications that are in progress after the issuance of resolution 0385 of 2020 by which the sanitary emergency is decreed.
Article 11. Validity and Application:
The present resolution governs from the date of its publication and will remain in force until the end of the health emergency declared by the ministry of health and social protection through resolution 0385 of 2020.
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