Colombia, within its opening process and economic integration at a global scale, has held different trade and international agreements that have offered the opportunity to open its borders in a reciprocal way, for foreign investment that enters Colombia and for Colombian investment abroad. In practice this means, the entry of foreign people to Colombia and the entry of Colombians to countries abroad.
The above is reflected in the Free Trade Agreement (from now on referred as FTA) with Mexico (1995), Colombia joining as an Associated State of Mercosur (2004), the FTA with the Northern Triangle of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras (2009), FTA with Chile, the Pacific Alliance was (2011), the Trade Promotion Agreement with Canada (2011), FTA with Peru and the European Union (2013), and FTA with South Korea in 2016.
I would like to mention all the agreements as currently these have migratory benefits to those nationals coming from the countries mentioned above that wish to enter to Colombia to carry out business or work activities. Likewise, I believe it is important to point out that although there are currently other Trade Agreements between Colombia and the United States of America, Venezuela, Costa Rica, among others, these do not have yet an impact on the migratory field.
Migratory alternatives through agreements
Although nationals of the aforementioned countries can enter Colombia without a visa in order to carry out some corporate activities with an entry and stay permit (PIP), those foreigners who require more than 180 days performing these activities or, for example, going to work, will require a visa, but being nationals of countries with which Colombia has signed free trade agreements, they will be able to benefit from certain categories contemplated by Colombian immigration regulations.
Visitor Visa (V) intracorporate transfer
Visitor visas are issued to a foreigner who wants to visit Colombia once or multiple times, or temporarily remain within the country without establishing in it. In those cases where foreigners want to work in a headquarters in Colombia of a foreign company, under corporate transfer of personnel, may issue this type of visa as long as they are nationals of countries with which the Colombian State has signed specific agreements as such as those outlined above.
This type of visa is very useful in those cases where a foreign worker requires to enter Colombia to provide their services without signing a contract, labor or commercial, directly with a local entity, as a rule, for the issuance of a work visa in Colombia it is mandatory to formalize a local contract.
Migrant Mercosur Visa (M)
The foreigner who wishes to enter and/or remain in the national territory with the intention of establishing and also is national of one of the states’ parties to the Agreement on residency for nationals of the States Party of Mercosur, will be able to apply for this type of visa that allows them to carry out any activity within the national territory to its holder, this is: business, study, work, investments, among others.
It is worthwhile pointing out that this type of visa is issued under the principle of reciprocity which is not currently respected by Venezuela and Chile, parties to this agreement, to Colombian nationals, which is why the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has suspended the issuance of this type of visa to nationals of these countries.
In consequence, we see how several agreements signed by Colombia and other countries, despite being based on commercial issues, have not only brought benefits for the exchange of goods but also of services, which in turn has brought implications and migratory benefits for the mobility of people, with a view to developing different corporate activities with great benefits for the countries.