Country Guide: Colombia

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Updated: November 22, 2016

Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Notarized passport at a Colombian notary (must include blank pages)
  • Working visa for each family member, valid for at least 12 months (non-diplomats) (6-month minimum for unaccompanied baggage for foreign and returning citizens)
  • Residence certificate issued by Colombian Consulate overseas declaring residence abroad for more than 2 years (returning citizens)
  • Original bill of lading (OBL) (2 copies) / air waybill (AWB)
  • Comprehensive packing list (no “packed by owner” / PBO)
  • Detailed inventory in Spanish and typewritten, without values
  • Declaracion de Viajeros O De Equipajes No Acompanados (foreigners, returning citizens)
  • Diplomatic permit (diplomats)
  • Import declaration form (diplomats)

 

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 days from owner of the goods’ last date of entry to Colombia.
  • The following conditions apply to import shipments for returning citizens:
    • The owner of the goods must prove time abroad for a period of at least 2 years.
    • During any visit to Columbia during the 2-year period, the owner of the goods must not have exceeded 15 days temporary stay.
    • 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 three 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.
  • 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.
  • The time limit for arrival of a household goods shipment by a non-diplomat is 30 calendar days prior to or after arrival of the shipment.
    • Upon arrival, Customs initiates a 30-calendar day limit to clear the shipment beginning the day of arrival at the airport or port.
  • Diplomatic shipments are cleared without a physical inspection at the airport or port of arrival.
  • Returning Colombian diplomats must use the diplomatic permit with 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.
  • The Declaracion de Viajeros O De Equipajes No Acompanados must be completed at the airport and stamped by Customs authorities upon arrival.
    • The cost of the shipment will be approximately USD 1,500.00 if the owner of the goods has been outside the country for a period of 7 days and USD 2,500.00 if out of the country at least 7 days.
  • For unaccompanied baggage, foreigners and returning citizens must prove time abroad for at least 7 calendar days. 
  • Only one shipment of unaccompanied baggage can be imported per family during a 12 months period. 
    • Contact the destination agent for import restrictions.
  • 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 diplomatic permit for clearance through an embassy, Consulate or diplomatic organization from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 
    • The diplomatic permit takes approximately 18-20 business days to approve by the Ministry.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • Owner’s passport
  • Identification card (returning citizens)
  • Purchase invoice in USD (preferred)
  • OBL (2) / AWB (2)
  • Import license approved by Customs at origin
  • Original commercial invoice with full vehicle description, including accessories
  • Diplomatic permit (diplomats)
  • 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

 

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. 
    • The cost is determined using several factors.
  • 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 from the Incomex Institute. 
    • 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.

Pets

Documents Required

  • Vaccination record
  • Original veterinary health certificate
  • Copy of pet passport
  • Import license (pets arriving as unaccompanied baggage)
  • Original AWB (pets arriving as unaccompanied baggage)

 

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.

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
  • Televisions (2 maximum) 

 

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

Consignment Instructions

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

 

Helpful Website(s):

https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/colombia.html

http://www.colombiaemb.org

 

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.