Migratory Situation of Foreigners in Colombia
Any person wishing to enter a country other than his or her own must comply with the entry and/or stay requirements of the authorities in order to obtain authorization from them and, in this sense, regularize the immigration situation.
Depending on the purpose of entry to each country, there are different documents that authorize the foreigner to stay in the territory.
In the case of Colombia, these documents are:
- Permit to Enter and Stay (PIP)
- Special Permit to Stay (PEP)
- Border Mobility Card (TMF)
- Temporary Entry and Stay Temporary Transit Permit (PIP-TT)
- Safe conduct
Article 4 of the Political Constitution states that, “It is the duty of nationals and foreigners in Colombia to abide by the Constitution and the laws, and to respect and obey the authorities.”
Regarding migration, the Special Administrative Unit for Migration Colombia is the entity in charge of monitoring and controlling migration in Colombian territory, and as such, has the power to impose sanctions.
According to Decree 1067 of 205, these sanctions may be economic, deportation and expulsion, which will be applied according to the seriousness of the conduct and in accordance with the principles of legality, typicality, favorability, proportionality, effectiveness and due process.
There is no specific case of “being undocumented” among the behaviors that may be sanctioned.
However, the assumptions that can be equated with this conduct are:
- Incurring in irregular stay
- Failure to process the corresponding laissez-passer when required
- Failure to apply for a foreigner’s identification card within 15 calendar days of reaching the age of majority.
- Failure to renew the foreigner identification card within 15 calendar days of its expiration date
Conduct subject to financial penalties is considered minor or moderate.
For the former, the fine can be between 1 and 8 SMMLV; for the latter, between 4 and 100 SMMLV.
- To be in irregular stay as long as there are no special circumstances that merit the economic sanction.
This sanction consists of the State ordering the foreigner to leave Colombia and prohibiting his/her entry for a determined period of time, which can be between 6 months and 10 years.
- Being fraudulently documented as a Colombian national or as a national of another country.
This sanction consists of an order issued by the state to a foreigner forcing him to leave the territory because his presence is contrary to the interests of the state.
A foreigner who is expelled from Colombia may only return to the country at least 5 years later.
All sanctions are established by means of resolutions which allow for the filing of administrative appeals, namely, reconsideration, appeal and complaint (Article 74 CPACA).
In conclusion, having the required permits and documentation to enter and stay in Colombia and any other country is very important because the authorities have the power to impose fines and sanctions.
In addition, complying with immigration regulations is a sign of respect and commitment to the laws and competent authorities.