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:
This new National Sanitary Emergency situation has forced us to change our plans and even our way of life. In this sense, Colombian Authorities recently modified some procedures for the benefit of all, by flexibilization in visa expirations providing visitors in Colombia the legal basis they need to adapt to the situation and plan their flights home.
There were two recent resolutions aiming to accommodate foreign visitors in Colombia. The first issued in March by Migration Colombia was a resolution targeted to 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 visa expirations.
The first, came out of Migration Colombia, used mostly in Colombia by tourists for extensions, safe passage documents and other administrative migration related procedures, which very similarly to the above, the time lapse of the visa are extended until the sanitary emergency is over.
Tourists who stay in Colombia need not fear any infractions derived from their visa status or legal status in the country. For a specific legal basis Foreigners may refer to the articles of the resolution as summarized below.
The purpose of this is for foreigners in Colombia to relax during these troubled days of Coronavirus and the adaptation to new staying and flying procedures. We are always please to update foreign nationals in Colombia and all our clients at expatgroup.co, our group of professionals steadily update us with the Government resolutions and communication regarding the new conditions which the immigration service of the Republic of Colombia will enforce for the remaining of the State of Sanitary Emergency declared this current year:
Imigration resolution 0918 of March 19th, 2020 pronouncements:
Resolution by which temporary extraordinary Covid19 measures are adopted for the provision of immigration procedures and services at the national level:
Article 1. Suspension of the Validity Terms of the Permanent Safe-conducts (SC-2):
It provisionally suspended the accounting of the validity time of some of the Permanent Safeguards or Safe-conducts (SC-2) in force as of the date of this resolution, until May 30, 2020, inclusive, or until the term established by the National Government for the sanitary emergency.
The Safe-conducts to which the suspension will be applied are the following:
- By Provisional or conditional release or order of competent authority.
- To solve administrative situations.
- For discretionary criteria in the opinion of the immigration authority, as long as they are related to human rights and fundamental rights of their applicants. The situation in each particular case must be motivated through an administrative act.
- Foreigner born in Colombia.
Exceptions are the SC-2 Permanence Safeguards to request and/or change visa and recognition of refugee status.
Article 2. From the Visa Registration and Issuance of Immigration Certificate:
The immigration authority may grant an opportunity to amend or refrain from initiating administrative action because there are grounds exempt from liability, as the case may be, in the terms provided in Resolution 1238 of 2018 to foreigners that on the occasion of the preventive isolation ordered by the national government to prevent the spread of COVID-19, has not been possible for them to carry on within the established terms in Decree 1743 of 2015 the registration of the visa and/or requested the Foreigner ID issuance.
Article 3: Of the Extensions of Permanence:
It provisionally suspended the accounting of the time of validity of the extensions of permanence or Temporary Permits of Permanence, as of the date of this resolution, until May 30, 2020 or until the term established by the National Government for the health emergency is met.
Article 4. Of the Special Permission to Stay (PEP):
The Special Administrative Unit for Migration Colombia will provisionally suspend the accounting of the time of absence for the cancellation of the Special Permits to Stay for the reason enshrined in number 4 of article 6 of Resolution 5797 of 2017, until May 30, 2020 or until the term established by the National Government for the health emergency is fulfilled.
Article 5. From the Otpas Activities Permit (POA):It suspended the term of stay in national territory, foreigners who have been granted a POA type Entry and Permanence Permit, up to 30 calendar days, for any of the activities described in number 3 of article 13 and in accordance with the term established in Article 14 of Resolution 3167 of 2019, with the exception of the permission granted by Shore Pass to the Members of Maritime or River Crew, until May 30, 2020 or until the term established by the National Government for the health emergency is met. .
Article 6. Regarding Temporality:
Before the expiration of the term stipulated herein and based on what the National Government determines, Colombia Migration as the authority for the surveillance and control of immigration and aliens of the Colombian State, will determine the continuity or not of this measure.
Article 7. Regarding face-to-face procedures:
The Regional Directors will be in charge of coordinating general public access to the Migration Colombia facilities so that the corresponding procedures by foreigners can be carried out, as well as evaluating and determining the provision of services in an extraordinary way outside their facilities. , in accordance with the preventive, obligatory and transitory measures established in Resolution 385 of 2020 of the Minister: 3 of Health and Social Protection and other regulations that modify, add, complement or clarify it.
Article 8. Regarding Validity:
The present resolution governs from the date of its publication and is above all provisions that are contrary to it.
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Photo courtesy Migración Colombia via Twitter