Colombia suspends Mercosur visa for Venezuelans

13 Nov 14

COLOMBIA

IMPACT – HIGH

What is the change? Colombian officials have indefinitely suspended issuance of Mercosur visas to Venezuelan nationals, saying Venezuela has failed to develop a Mercosur visa option for Colombian nationals.

What does the change mean? Venezuelan nationals will have to go through regular processes to obtain visas to work or emigrate to Colombia.

  • Implementation timeframe:Mercosur visa applications from Venezuelan nationals that were not approved by Nov. 10 will be denied.
  • Visas/permits affected:Mercosur visas for Venezuelan nationals.
  • Who is affected:Venezuelan nationals who are seeking visas to work or emigrate to Colombia.
  • Impact on processing times: Venezuelan nationals will have to go through the regular process of obtaining a visa to work or emigrate to Colombia, which takes longer than the process for obtaining a Mercosur visa.
  • Business impact:The suspension makes it more difficult for Venezuelan nationals to conduct business in Colombia.
  • Next steps:For now, Venezuelan nationals who want to work in Colombia must resort to traditional visa options such as the TP-4 work visa.

Background: Mercosur (Mercado Común del Sur) is a South American trading bloc comprising Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. Colombia, along with Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru, is an associate member.

There are many advantages to Mercosur visas. They allow nationals of Mercosur nations (including associate nations) up to two years’ residence for work or study without employer sponsorship. The visa requires less documentation than TP-4 work visas and is therefore easier to obtain. Finally, holders of Mercosur visas are allowed to apply for residency after two years in Colombia, whereas it takes five years before TP-4 work visa holders can apply for residency.

BAL Analysis: The suspension is indefinite. If Colombia’s move prompts Venezuela to put in place a Mercosur option for Colombian nationals, it may be lifted. It remains to be seen whether other Mercosur countries will follow Colombia by suspending Mercosur visas for Venezuelan nationals.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Colombia. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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