Doing Business in Colombia


Over the past decade, Colombia has prospered, and is now ranked as one of the most reliable and stable places to do business in Latin America. Incoming foreign direct investment has more than quintupled, and foreign trade between Colombia and the U.S. has nearly quadrupled. Thanks to its rapid technological expansion, our home base of Medellín was coined the “Silicon Valley of South America” by CNN, and voted the “World’s Most Innovative City,” beating runners-up New York and Tel-Aviv. Our progressive urban initiatives have fueled the city’s economic growth, attracting international attention—and along with it, international investment. Colombia has seen similar growth and opportunity in many other cities, including Bogota, Cartagena, and Cali.

Successfully navigating Colombia’s business environment demands due diligence as well as deep experience from local legal experts. Within the seven critical success factors of business (Capital, Product/Service, People, Facilities, Distribution, Intellectual Property, and Relationship with Government), there are numerous critical differences between Colombian law and the laws of other countries. Here are just a few examples where it is imperative for you to understand the differences between Colombian and U.S. law:

Capital – Private Equity

Purchase agreements relating to listed companies are particular in that the transfer of shares requires a public tender offer through the stock exchange.

People – Employment

Employers must obtain authorization from the Colombian Ministry of Labor in order for employees to work overtime. Overtime pay for work between 6 am and 10 pm is compensated at a rate of 25%, while overtime pay for work performed between 10 pm and 6 am is compensated at a rate of 75%.

IP – Patents

Colombian authorities don’t offer patent protection for all types of “inventions.” Business methods are not considered inventions. Medical procedures are expressly excluded from obtaining patents. In that light, software is not considered an invention, however, there are exceptions where software is potentially patentable.

As you can see, whether you’re working in Colombia, starting a company, or pondering an investment, our team can meet your legal needs, alert you to critical variations in the law, and help you navigate those variations.


Legal Services for Businesses

Our bilingual team of legal experts offers a range of services for those conducting, or seeking to conduct business in Colombia:

  • Corporation Registration
  • Corporate Law
  • Purchase & Sales Agreements
  • Labor and Employment Contracts
  • Intellectual Property & Patents
  • Foreign Investment
  • Import and Export

Business Visas in Colombia

Depending on the nature of your business or investment, the Colombian government will likely require you to possess a Visa. The most relevant Visas for persons include:

NE1: Foreigners who wish to carry out business in Colombia. This includes creating a company, making an investment, and/or encouraging economic activity.

TP4: Employee Visa – Foreigners looking to work in Colombia, either for a foreign or Colombia-based organization.

TP7 for Investors: Owners of property in Colombia.

TP7 for Business Owners: Full or partial owners of Colombian businesses.

– For more general Visa information, please see our Colombia Visa page.

At Colombia Legal Partners, our guiding principal is ensuring that your self-interest dictates our actions. There is no law firm that is the master of every discipline, and any firm that claims to be, is acting neither ethically, nor in their clients’ best interests. There are some complex areas of law where our clients need the expertise of a specialist. We have relationships with specialists in these areas – attorneys whom we trust implicitly. Should such a scenario arise, we will either partner with, or refer you to, the right specialty lawyer for you.

That’s the only way we do business.

Please contact us using the form below to see how we can help you.

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