Colombia Expat & Visa Newsletter
Colombia Expat Visa &
Immigration News
by James Shotwell Lindzey III

The laws effecting expats in Colombia are always changing so I created a quick summary of some important changes which are effecting most of us or at least you or someone you know. In 2013 we had huge immigration reform pass in Colombia, of which many are still getting accustomed to. Besides this Colombia is growing quickly, and changing rules and regulations on a monthly basis. To top it off the United States has implemented many new rules as well. Hopefully this bulletin will help answer some of the questions you may have..

#1 COLOMBIA TOURIST VISAS - The best thing about the New Year for most foreigners is another 6 months eligibility on your time as a tourist! You must remember that you have to exit the country when your current trip reaches 180 days. There are always 2 limits to think about with the tourist visa. The first is you cannot have more than 180 days in 1 trip. The second is that you have 180 days max in one year. You also must remember to pay attention to the days you received upon entry. The airport immigration people are very picky and they will stop you from leaving if your one day over your stay. Don’t plan on paying fines at the airport, as the airport Migracion Colombia agents cannot always let you pay fines there. migracion colombia
colombia tourist visa #2 Canadian Tourist in Colombia: are now being charged a new tax when entering Colombia. Apparently the Colombian government feels that the Canadian government is not treating Colombians fairly. Canadians must pay a 160,000 pesos fee when entering Colombia, and they must hold on to this special certified 160.000 coupon while in Colombia. This is the new coupon all Canadians must purchase who are entering the country as tourist. You must keep this tourist coupon your entire trip. They will stamp the back with your date of entry. This is what the coupon looks like. http://colombiareports.co/colombia-begins-charging-canadian-visitors-80-entry/
#3 The FBI was reported to have been working in Medellin, Colombia helping locals clean up American sex tourism activities - Law Enforcement is targeting sex tourists in on going operations. In addition to monitoring local brothels law enforcement uses and monitors dating, and escort websites. Migracion Colombia and the Ministry of Foreign Relations now checks sex offender databases before issuign visas. This is also something that just went online a few years ago. Colombia is working hand in hand with agencies like the United States department of Homeland Security. You will not be issued a residency visa if you have any convictions for sex crimes. Local police will inform and work with Migracion Colombia, and internacional law agencies on these cases. Once a person has violated these laws they will never be allowed to enter Colombia again. colombia sex tourist
colombia residency visa #4 Colombia Residency Visa Renewals now Required when Cedula Reaches 5 Years All persons with the older Indefinite residency visas (permanent residency visas) must now transfer their visas into 5 year residency visas when the cedula reaches its expiration at the 5 year mark. The Colombian immigration reform of 2013 was not nice to residency visa holders. At least the ransfer fee is just 50 dollars plus the 50 dollar visa application fee. You do not need to go to Bogota for this process. This type of visa application is called a TRASPASO. If you do not do a traspaso then they will charge you the full amount of a residency visa which is close to 500 US dollars.
#5 – Corporation Creations for Foreigners At All time high In Colombia – Colombia is still promoting new corporate growth and investments by foreign corporations. Visas for owners of SAS corporations are almost always granted. Of course creating this type of company and getting the related visa costs between 1,500 and 2,000 dollars on most cases. New corporations do enjoy reduced income and payroll taxes. http://www.colombiabusinessvisa.com … Colombia Legal & Accounting SAS offers corporate setup and accounting services in all of Colombia. CL&A has partnered with Visas y Tramites Internacionales to assist foreigners in legal and accounting matters. They have a full range of bilingual legal and investigative services with special emphasis on services expats require to open bank accounts and make investments in Colombia. This is a great option if you want to work in Colombia but have found it hard to get a work visa. Creating your own company can get you persmission to work in Colombia very easily. setup colombian company
open a colombian bank account #6 Opening Bank accounts in Colombia This is still difficult for persons who do not have a cedula in Colombia. Investment accounts do exist to allow foreign investors to move money into Colombia for investments and to cover living expenses. Most commonly these accounts are used to purchase shares in Companies, fund corporate expenses, purchase vehicles or invest in properties while only having a passport. Of course in Colombia one must always be ready to show proof of where your money came from. Colombia by no means is an offshore tax haven. However, Colombia is one of the strongest emerging markets in the world. Recently many international investment firms have set their eyes on Colombia, as other parts of the world are falling apart. Colombia has been given a chance to shine. Important to remember investments have to be correctly classified when moving money to Colombia.
#7 Outsourcing in Colombia exponential growth in technology now continues. Many foreign companies are setting up programming shops for outsourcing from Medellin and other cities. Most notable is the technology startup and incubator RUTA N. Ruta N and other businesses in Colombia are offering furnished office spaces to allow foreign companies to setup shop without the hassle of local rental laws getting in the way. Why ? Young talented people with sufficient programming knowledge are eager to work for multinationals, and last but not least, Colombia is found in the same time zone as parts of the United States. When compared to Russia, India and other popular countries for programmers Colombia is very convenient, economic and just a bit over 3 hours from the United States. Ruta N has very modern work spaces available. outsourcing in colombia
IRS FATCA and colombia legal accounting #8 –Colombia Legal & Accounting –

Colombia Legal & Accounting SAS Opened in Medellín, Colombia last month. James S Lindzey, original owner and operator of Visas y Tramites Internacionales founded Colombia Legal & Accounting SAS (CL&A). 

CL&A was created to help the expat community have easier access to bilingual legal and accounting services. CL&A is dedicated to serving specialized needs of multinational companies, and foreign nationals living in Colombia. CL&A offers a wide variety of professional services including legal, accounting and private investigation services.

After concerns of Colombian Fiscal Tax law modifications , and the implementation of FATCA many foreigners have had to deal with new headaches living abroad. We have accountants from the United States which work with us if you need help with the FBAR FATCA filings.

With FATCA expats are now studying and engaging in tax planning much more seriously. All banks outside of the United States are taking FATCA very seriously. They are now required to report United States Citizens account number(s) and realted financial data to the United States government. Banks have been closed down for not compling with new banking laws. For more information please see these websites:
Click here to see Wikipedia on FATCA, FORBES article, IRS income abroad

If your worried about Colombian taxes our accountants know how to handle Colombian taxes for foreigners. The good news through it all is that Colombia will not tax you on money  earned in your home country, unless you were working for a Colombian corporation overseas.

As the managing partner and associate James bought together a team of attorneys, accountants and private investigators to cover needs of clients both in Colombia and the Unites States primarily. His experience with the Colombian legal system dates back to 2007, when he founded the number 1 and most recognized visa service in Colombia, Visas y Tramites Internacionales (www.ColombiaVisas.com).

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