VisaChallenges for visa issuance

By: Rodrigo Tannus Serrano

By virtue of the State of Emergency decreed by the Colombian governments and other nations in the world, a significant number of provisions have been implemented in different areas, where migratory aspects continue to play a leading role in each jurisdiction. Countries belonging to the European Union and others such as the United Kingdom, the Dominican Republic, Tunisia and Turkey, for example, have already opened their borders in recent weeks but with different restrictions and controls, such as:

Mandatory quarantines upon arrival, testing at ports of entry or the presentation of negative results for Covid-19 with an issue no longer than 72 hours, temperature taking, presentation of health insurance, completion of online forms, among others; for their nationals and foreign citizens who wish to visit the different countries for any reason.

Far from following this path, countries such as South Africa and Australia, have communicated that for the moment they do not plan to open their borders and on the contrary, they will possibly wait until the end of 2020 or even the beginning of 2021, to withdraw these restrictions.

In the case of Colombia, the borders remain closed, as well as restrictions on air traffic, which is expected to reopen as of September 1 of this year. As a result, Colombians and foreign residents are still unable to enter the national territory unless they have been accepted under repatriation plans coordinated by the consulates abroad, for humanitarian reasons or in cases of force majeure. However, it is important to bear in mind that non-resident foreigners, i.e. those who do not have migrant or resident visas, are still unable to enter the national territory.

A few days ago, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the resumption of the visa application processing for those foreigners who are outside Colombia. It indicated that in addition to compliance with the requirements of immigration regulations for visa applications, documents must be provided to support that the activities to be carried out are part of one of the 44 activities exempted from the mandatory preventive isolation of Decree 990 of 2020. Also, the isolation or prevention measures that apply in the countries in which it is intended to apply for the visa must be taken into account, since processes can only be carried out considering and under strict compliance with the health and mobility conditions established.

Although the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through its office in Bogotá, has continued processing visas, the requirements in the applications have been up to date, in some cases requesting more than the usual requirements such as: reports of affiliations and contributions to the social security system of the foreigner in the single registry of affiliates, apostilled or legalized diplomas, labor certifications, health insurance with coverage of more than $70,000 US dollars, etc.  While this is permitted by virtue of the power of discretion, we invite you to make an even more thorough review of each application, as well as to consider the special and difficult circumstances that we are currently experiencing, without this meaning that you fail to comply with the established minimum requirements or evade the law.

Colombian boutique firm of legal services, specialized in the labor and immigration practices. The team of Tannus & Asociados stands out for its dynamism and ability to react in complex scenarios, by offering customized solutions and comprehensive, focused on the satisfaction of their customers.

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