Country Guide: Colombia

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Updated: June 21, 2018

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Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

Foreign and Colombian Citizens

  • Notarized passport copy at a Colombian notary (must include blank pages) please don’t use the biometric because we need the immigration stamp for customs process
  • Typewritten packing list, without values, with brands, serial number, model and reference of the electronic items (no “packed by owner” / PBO)
  • Working visa of the owner of the shipment, valid for at least 12 months
  • Residence certificate issued by Colombian consulate overseas declaring residence abroad for more than 2 years (returning citizens)
  • “Registro unico de Retornados” for Colombian returning citizens that lived abroad for a minimum three years (It is optional if the customer wants to apply the duties /taxes exception) (Colombian returning citizens) https://tramitesmre.cancilleria.gov.co/tramites/enlinea/solicitarRetornado.xhtml
  • 530 form “Declaracion de Viajeros O De Equipajes No Acompanados” (for shipments of unaccompanied baggage) (foreigners, returning citizens) shipper must complete this form upon this arrival at the airport and stamp the same by the customs authorities at that moment, not the next day. This form must be completed and sent a stamped copy to clearance agent together with the other documents, if this document is not completed the clearance can be delayed or denied
  • Powers of attorney provided by the local agent. (notarized in Colombia)

Diplomats

  • Copy of the passport with seal of the diplomat entity (must include blank pages) please don’t use the biometric because we need the immigration stamp for customs process
  • Typewritten packing list, without values, with brands, serial number, model and reference of the electronic items (no “packed by owner” / PBO)
  • Diplomatic accreditation (foreign)
  • Colombian Returning Diplomats, have to obtain a permit issued by Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • 530 form “Declaracion de Viajeros O De Equipajes No Acompanados” (for shipments of unaccompanied baggage) (foreigners, returning citizens) shipper must complete this form upon this arrival at the airport and stamp the same by the customs authorities at that moment, not the next day. This form must be completed and sent a stamped copy to clearance agent together with the other documents, if this document is not completed the clearance can be delayed or denied
  • Powers of attorney provided by the local agent. (notarized in Colombia or printed in paper of the diplomatic entity)

 

Specific Information

  • An owner of the goods must be at least 18 years old to import a household goods shipment and present for Customs clearance.
  • The shipment must arrive to the designated Colombian port within 120 calendar days after arrival of owner.
  • The shipment must to pay duties /taxes of 15% on the CIF value
  • Partial customs clearance is not permitted and it must be done at airport or port of arrival.
  • Customs clearance takes approximately 10-12 days plus 2 days of transit to an owner of the goods’ residence under normal conditions.
  • All shipments are subject to physical inspection, except diplomatic shipments
  • Only one shipment of household goods can be imported per family each five (5) years.
  • Time limit for arrival of hhgds is 30 calendar days before or 120 calendar days after arrival of owner.
  • Time limit for arrival of unaccompanied baggage is 30 calendar days before or 90 calendar days after arrival of owner.
  • During any visit to Columbia during the 2-year period, the owner of the goods must not have exceeded 15 days temporary stay. (Colombian returning citizens)
  • The owner of the goods cannot have imported a household goods shipment in the last 5 years.
  • The owner of the goods must obtain a certificate issued by the Colombian consulate at origin, which may serve as proof of time abroad.
  • The owner of the goods as a Colombian returning citizen can apply to the duties and taxes exemption for the importation of their HHGDS to Colombia, if they have been living abroad for 3 years or more. In this case the owner of the goods must complete the registration online through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs webpage and send the “Certificado de Beneficiarios de la Ley 1565 de 2012” to the moving company.
  • Diplomatic shipments are cleared without a physical inspection at the airport or port of arrival.
  • Returning Colombian diplomats must use the diplomatic permit within the next 6 months of completion of an employment contract (with an embassy, consulate and authorized organization) at origin to use the diplomatic permit and qualify for duty- and tax-free entry of the shipment.
  • For unaccompanied baggage, foreigners and returning citizens must prove time abroad for at least 5 calendar days.
  • Diplomats must be duly registered at the ministry of Foreign Affairs prior to shipment arrival. Confirm registration by contacting the destination agent prior to import.
  • Foreign diplomats must obtain a franchise through an embassy, consulate, or diplomatic organization in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • The approval of the franchise by the ministry takes 2-3 weeks approx.
  • Household goods shipments are subject to duties and taxes of approximately 15% cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) value, except diplomatic shipments.
  • Consular notarized inventories do not exempt the payment of duties.
  • The value of the household goods on which the duties and taxes are charged is calculated after the Customs inspection.
  • If citizens did not live two years abroad should make “re-importation” attaching export household documents.
  • “Re-importation” process: the items to import must be the same items exported from Colombia, the weight, volume and packages number must match.
  • The pre-alert must state the actual weights, and/or volumes, delivery details, etc.
  • Wooden crates must show an ISPM-15 stamp proving certification.
  • Customs will confiscate goods in the following cases:
  • Excess of the allowance authorized (e.g., more than one electric appliance)
  • Destined for different purposes to those for which goods were imported
  • Arrival outside the established period of time (30 days after or 30 days before)
  • No commercial quantities are permitted for import.

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required


Foreign and Colombian Citizens

  • Copy of the diplomatic passport (it is available)
  • Colombian ID.CARD, Diplomatic acreditation
  • OBL (3) / AWB (2)
  • Original commercial invoice with full vehicle description, including accessories, in USD (preferred)
  • Powers of attorney provided by the local agent. (should be printed the paper of the diplomatic entity)

Diplomats

  • Owner of the goods’ passport
  • Identification card (returning citizens)
  • OBL (3) / AWB (2)
  • Import license approved by Customs at Destination (for diplomats returning citizens and new vehicles)
  • Original commercial invoice with full vehicle description, including accessories, in USD (preferred)
  • Antipollution control certificate (emissions certificate) from the manufacturer or vehicle assembly company
  • Valid visa for at least 12 months (diplomats, foreigners)
  • List of vehicle specifications
  • Conformity certificates for safety belts, glazing, braking systems
  • RUT like temporary importer

Specific Information

  • Customs clearance takes approximately 3-4 weeks from the date of arrival at the airport or port.
  • Non-diplomats are subject to duties and taxes of approximately 15%-85% on the cost, insurance, and freight (CIF) value. 
  • Returning Colombian diplomats must personally obtain a diplomatic permit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 
    • It takes approximately 15-20 business days to obtain approval by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • The antipollution control certificate must state that all parts and accessories are functional and do not adversely affect the environment. 
    • It must be legalized by the Colombian embassy or consulate at origin. 
    • The certificate must be obtained from the vehicle assembler at origin for vehicles manufactured in 1997 or later (returning Columbian diplomats).
  • Only diplomats who are duly registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs may import new or used motor vehicles in Columbia with a valid diplomatic permit.
  • The diplomatic permit must be obtained prior to vehicle arrival in Colombia as it is required to get approval for the import license. 
    • Once the license is approved, the Department of Environment will issue a quality certificate granting permission to import the vehicle (approximately 5 days).
  • Diplomats must pay an IVA tax, which ranges between 15%-45% on the CIF value, depending on the cylinder capacity of the automobile.
  • Foreign diplomats are exempt from duty and tax payments on motor vehicle imports.
  • Foreign diplomats are not required to obtain approval of the import license prior to import.
    • However, foreigners and returning citizens must obtain approval prior to import.
  • Returning Colombian diplomats must use the diplomatic permit with 6 months of completion of an employment contract (with an embassy, consulate, or authorized organization) at origin to use the diplomatic permit and qualify for duty- and tax-free entry of a motor vehicle.
  • Non-diplomats may only import new vehicles manufactured in the current year with 000 kilometers / mileage. 
  • The emission certificate must be processed directly to the automobile’s owner. 
    • It is requested by the Ministry of Industry and Trade as support to issue the import license.
  • Do not import a motor vehicle with a household goods shipment prior to consulting with the destination agent.
  • A list of vehicle specifications must include the details of the vehicle, including: make, model, year of manufacture, engine power, etc.
  • It is recommended that all documents be received by the destination agent prior to import to ensure that all requirements have been met.
  • Do not use the biometric because the immigration stamp is needed for customs process

Pets

Documents Required

  • Authenticate Copy of pet Passport
  • Authenticated copy of the sheet where is the last stamp of departure and entry to Colombia (Minimum stay of 5 days)
  • Copy of the ticket`s client and / or pasabordo`s client
  • Original AWB (pets arriving as unaccompanied baggage)
  • Pro forma invoice
  • 530 form “Declaracion de Viajeros O De Equipajes No Acompanados” (for shipments of unaccompanied baggage) (foreigners, returning citizens) shipper must complete this form upon this arrival at the airport and stamp the same by the customs authorities at that moment, not the next day. This form must be completed and sent a stamped copy to clearance agent together with the other documents, if this document is not completed the clearance can be delayed
  • health certificate issued or endorsed by the official sanitary entity of the country of origin with its corresponding signature, issued with a maximum validity of 10 calendar days before the entry of the pet to Colombia; In which it is certified that the animal was subjected to a clinical examination by a veterinarian, and that the animal is free of infectious and parasitic diseases, without the presence of fresh wounds or in the process of cicatrization, has a vaccination plan In force, it received an internal and external antiparasitic treatment with products whose use is duly authorized in the exporting country and is apt to be transported. The sanitary certificate issued or endorsed must specify the following information: pet identification, species, breed, sex, age, color and date of antiparasitic treatment.
  • Vaccination Certificate: Vaccination plan in force, according to age and species, specifying the product number, lot number, date of administration and validity of the vaccination.
  • Zoosanitary permit of export from the official entity in origin

 

Specific Information

  • The vaccination record must contain updated rabies information at least 30 days prior to arrival.
  • A pre-alert should be sent 2 days prior to the pet’s arrival.
  • To import dogs and cats, the owner of the goods must purchase a special permit (Permiso Zoosantiario) at the airport of the pet’s arrival. 
    • The permit costs between USD 30-35 and must be paid in Colombian pesos.
  • If a pet travels as accompanied baggage (with the owner), the owner of the goods must personally meet all conditions and requirements upon entry.
  • When sending a pet as unaccompanied baggage, the owner of the goods must send all documents with the AWB.
  • For pets traveling as unaccompanied baggage, the AWB must read:  “Live Animal: Descargue Directo.”
    • Upon arrival, a Customs agent will initial the import license and clearance will commence the following business day.
  • Contact the destination prior to import for information regarding the import of animals other than dogs and cats.
  • Notarized passport copy at a Colombian notary (must include blank pages) please don’t use the biometric because we need the immigration stamp for customs process

Restricted/Dutiable Items

  • Firearms and collection weapons (authorization from the Colombian Ministry of Defense is required and must be obtained prior to import)
  • Bedroom sets (only one bedroom set per family member)
  • Only one type of major appliance can be imported, excluding televisions (3 maximum)

 

IAM Note:  The detailed inventory must identify the product serial number for each item in the shipment.


Prohibited Items

  • Liquor / spirits
  • Food items
  • Autos, motorcycles, boats, jet skis, golf carts, etc.
  • Construction materials
  • Jewelry
  • Cash
  • Compressors
  • Security cameras
  • Tires, spare parts
  • Chemicals

Consignment Instructions

Recommended: Contact the destination agent to ensure all requirements have been met prior to import, especially for differences regarding air / sea shipments.

 

 


Cultural and Other Information

CIA World Factbook Entry for Colombia

Wikipedia Entry for Colombia





IAM Note: Customs regulations can change at any time with or without notice. This document is provided as a guide and for information only. While IAM has exercised reasonable care in publishing this document, IAM makes no representation, either expressed or implied, as to its accuracy or applicability.