Colombia Business Visa
If you’re not a qualified professional going to work for a Colombian corporation, you won’t be able to get a Colombia work visa. If you think your work visa application could be denied (we can help you determine whether or not you’re a likely candidate), it’s worth looking at your other visa options. For example, you might want to consider a Colombia business visa or business owner’s visa.
Four Types of Colombian Business Visas
1) Colombia Business Visa – This is now referred to as the NE visa category with four subcategories: NE-1, NE-2, NE-3, and NE-4. Business visas are for people working in a foreign company outside of Colombia that has a contract with a Colombian corporation, which might require you to travel to Colombia for business meetings and consulting. Legally, you are not really working in Colombia, since your paycheck is coming from a foreign corporation; these visas do give you work privileges, only the permission to engage in business activities like promotion, set-up of a company, or investments.
Occasionally, this visa will be given to those who wish to expand their business operations into Colombia, even without a pre-existing contract with a Colombian company.
Under the new visa law, the NE-1 now permits the holder to stay in Colombia for just 180 days. This is a big change from the previous years.
2) Colombia Business Associate / Business Owner Visa: This visa is designed to help foreigners who are starting new businesses in Colombia, or who may be purchasing a business in Colombia. To meet the requirements for the business owner’s visa you must purchase shares in a corporation (or own a company outright) that shows your investment to be equal to or greater than 100 minimum salaries so you can set up a Colombian company. In 2016 that is 69 million pesos or more per person. This option has a lower condition than an investor visa, but it is another form of investing in Colombia. Additionally, we can help you set up Sole Proprietor, SAS, or SA companies. The duration of this visa is normally one year.
3) Colombia Work Visa: This is available to people who will live in Colombia and work directly for a Colombian corporation. Persons applying for this visa must proove they have a professional credentials in some cases, and based on the new visa law Immigration must see proof of financial documents showing that the company has good monthly bank balances over a 6 month period. New companies must show a significant account of money in the bank to cover operating expenses.
4) Colombia Investor’s Visa: This is for those investors who are capable of investing at least $200,000 USD (exactly 650 times the minimum wage salary for the current year) via a registered foreign investment.
*This value changed with the new Colombian visa law which went into effect at the end of July 2013. This investment must be made via the purchase of shares in said corporation under the name of the foreigner making the investment and applying for the visa. (Click here for more on the Colombia Investor Visa).
If you are creating a Sole Proprietor business (Persona Natural is a basic business entity parallel to DBA in the United States) you can do this on a tourist visa, and you do not need a cédula (Colombian ID Card). However, if you are setting up a SAS corporation you have to have a legal representative who is Colombian or a foreigner with a CURRENT cédula de extranjería (current Colombian foreigner’s ID card). This which should be someone you know and trust. This person’s name will be on the business license, while the foreigner holds a private notarized document that clearly shows the foreign investor maintains controls of the shares in said corporation.
Once the visa and foreign ID card are obtained, the business owner may put his or her name on the business license as the legal representative. With a SAS or SA corporation the legal representative has access to the corporate bank account, so it is best to be very cautious about who you select if you decide to set up a Colombian corporation in this manner.
As part of setting up a SAS company you must open a Colombian bank account for the company. We can also assist in this process. As a foreigner, this process is very delicate for banks due to international banking problems created by cartels laundering money. Banks in Colombia demand that foreigners prove where the money is coming from, among other things, before they will allow you to open a bank account. Again, this is something we cover in detail with our clients who wish to establish a business presence in Colombia. Our job is to reduce the headaches and make the transition to Colombia a smooth one.
Please note that a Sole Proprietor business entity or Persona Natural can be upgraded to a Colombian SAS Corporation later on.
Apostilles, Translationss, Legalizations
$75 USD (USA Apostille) + Mail Fees
$50 USD (Colombian Apostille) + Mail Fees
Professional Services for Business Owners Visa
$649,000 COP / $359 USD
Apostilles, Translationss, Legalizations
65 – 95 USD (Legalize Labor Certifications)
117 – 171.000 COP (Legalizar Certificado Laboral)
Messenger, Mail, and Notary Fees
$20 USD up to $100 USD
$36.000 Pesos up to $180.000 Pesos
How We Can Help:
Contact Colombia Legal & Accounting and let us help you determine which visa is best for you and get you started on the road to your new life in Colombia. We pride ourselves on leading efficient and transparent processes for our clients.
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