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Regularizing their stay in Colombia and obtaining the appropriate visa is one of the first issues that a foreigner wishing to invest in our country must solve. 
A subject of great ignorance in our country is the one that from the world of law we call migratory matters, a science that seeks to regulate mainly the international transit of people (nationals and foreigners). Therefore, when a foreigner wishes to invest in Colombia or carry out some type of business activity, one of the first obstacles he/she will have to overcome will be the regularization of his/her stay in the country.
It is for this reason that CUADRO LEGAL has prepared this article, with the intention of clarifying a little the panorama regarding the regularization of the stay in the country for foreigners and additionally to leave for your consideration the options that in our opinion could be the most appropriate.


The first relevant aspect is the one that tells us about the reasons why the foreigner wishes to be in the country, whether it is to study the Colombian market, incorporate a company, carry out commercial negotiations, sign contracts or agreements with Colombian companies, work for a Colombian company or establish a branch of a foreign company in Colombia.
It is essential to decide this in order to determine how long the businessman will have to stay in the country and whether or not he needs to establish his domicile in Colombia.


The second point to take into account is related to the permissions that each type of visa gives you, since not all Colombian visas allow you to work, study or establish your domicile in the country. Visitor visas do not allow foreigners to reside in Colombia and for this reason they cannot stay more than 180 days a year; in addition, as a general rule, these visas have a slightly shorter validity than others. The visas issued as migrants have a longer term, generally allowing the foreigner to study and settle in the country for the duration of the visa and even to opt for residency after 5 or 2 years, according to very specific legal circumstances.


Finally, the foreigner must take into account the validity of the visa for which he/she is applying, as this will imply the need or not to apply again for a visa and incur in the respective expenses. Visitor visas have a transitory vocation, since their main purpose is to allow the foreigner to carry out his business activities, and for this reason, their validity may be for a few months or a maximum of 24 months. On the other hand, migrant visas are valid for a longer period of time, since their purpose is for the foreigner to remain in the country and establish his/her domicile in Colombia, and for this reason this visa is valid for a maximum of 3 years.
The above aspects are not the only ones that the foreigner who wishes to apply for a Colombian visa should consider, since everything will depend on the specific circumstances and needs that must be satisfied, since in some cases the solution does not lie in obtaining a temporary visa but in a more lasting and permanent solution such as obtaining a residence or Colombian nationality, procedures that can also be carried out in our firm.
By: Katherine Alvarez G.

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