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Colombia’s national infrastructure agency (Agency Nacional de Infraestructura, ANI) announced October 26 that expansions and upgrades to Medellin’s Jose Maria Cordova (JMC) international airport will debut in December 2017.

The US$116 million project adds five more aircraft boarding tunnels, another 9,000 square meters of terminal space and additional independent power systems (IPS’s) that bring electric power to planes  parked at gates.

As a result, JMC will have 17 boarding slots with passenger tunnels, plus an additional 16 remote positions. The national-flights terminal area expands to 49,894 square meters (up 5,119 square meters) while the international-flights terminal area rises to 57,932 square meters (up 4,375 square meters).

In addition, five new electric escalators and elevators have been added. Passengers in transit from one flight to another now will be able to move through two new connection modules, both equipped with electric elevators and a fixed metal staircase.

Passengers also now will be able to board two electric elevators and electric escalators connecting terminal areas to the main parking lot adjacent to the terminals.

Last year, JMC served 7.56 million passengers and 81,846 flights.

Besides offering non-stop flights to Bogotá, Cali, Cartagena, San Andrés, Barranquilla, Cúcuta, Santa Marta, Montería, Bucaramanga, Pereira and Leticia, JMC also offers non-stop flights to Lima, Mexico City, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, New York, Panama City, Madrid, San Salvador, Aruba and Valencia (Venezuela).


Toronto, Canada-based PharmaCielo announced October 24 that it has become Colombia’s first medical-marijuana producer to win a license to cultivate cannabis with “unrestricted” percentages of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) alike.

As a result, PharmaCielo becomes “the world’s largest licensed producer,” according to the company, which has its marijuana nursery, propagation and processing center in the Medellin suburb of Rionegro. The company first won a Colombian manufacturing license in 2016.

“To say that we are excited is an understatement, as to date the Colombian government has issued licenses only for the cultivation of non-psychoactive cannabis containing little-to-no THC,” said Federico Cock-Correa, CEO of PharmaCielo Colombia Holdings.

“Receipt of the dual licenses for psychoactive and non-psychoactive cannabis containing THC and CBD, combined with the fact that we have Colombia’s only fully functional cultivation and processing facility inspected and approved by the government, allows PharmaCielo the opportunity to become Colombia’s first and leading producer of medicinal-grade oil extracts.”

The cultivation licenses that enable the propagation of the full range of cannabis varietals “enables the company to develop a complete vertical offering of standardized, medicinal-grade formulations containing all active elements, including levels of THC greater than +1.0%,” according to PharmaCielo.

“PharmaCielo is now positioned as Colombia’s first unrestricted producer of medicinal-grade oil extracts and related products and is capable of providing reliable, standardized relief and wellness formulas for patients in need, including those requiring higher levels of THC.”

The Rionegro facility includes 12.1 hectares (1.3 million square feet) of open-air greenhouses ready for cultivation. “The facility has been independently reviewed and certified by the government as part of overall licensing, and in the future, will supply plant seedlings to over 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of contract growers’ open-air greenhouses for final cultivation,” according to the company.

“Over the past year, since we were granted our initial license, we have invested considerable effort and resources into building the infrastructure required for cultivation and processing of cannabis oils as well as working together with rural communities to help build a new Colombian agricultural sector to join coffee and flowers,” added PharmaCielo president Patricio Stocker.

“We intend to immediately begin cultivation, processing and scientific testing of highly standardized, premium-quality cannabis oil extracts and related products demanded by the international marketplace. We expect to initiate sales and distribution of finished products to the global marketplace in 2018, to the benefit of all stakeholders,” Stocker added.

Earlier this year, the company announced a partnership agreement with Cooperativa Caucannabis (comprised of 63 indigenous farmers), based in the department of Cauca, which separately applied for a cultivation license for a new greenhouse facility to be jointly operated with PharmaCielo.

“The members of Cooperativa Caucannabis have since been certified by the government as independent small growers and expect the government’s response to their application in the coming days,” according to PharmaCielo.


The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced October 18 that it’s teaming-up with European-based gold buyers to promote environmentally, economically and socially responsible gold mining in Antioquia specifically and Colombia generally.

Noting that gold production in Colombia is up year-on-year -- and development projects underway are expected to triple output -- USAID nevertheless cited discouraging statistics indicating that only 12% of Colombian gold currently is produced safely and legally.

But new projects such as the European “Better Gold Initiative” (BGI) spearheaded by the Swiss Better Gold Association (SBGA) and the Swiss Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (SECO) could help boost safe and legal production – while also bringing greater benefits to more miners, according to USAID.

Switzerland hosts Europe’s four biggest gold refineries, which produce an estimated two-thirds of global finished gold, the agency noted.

The BGI would complement the USAID-sponsored “Oro Legal” (Legal Gold) program, which aims to convert many small, artisanal, illegal miners to legal mining, according to the agency.

“We establish contacts between small producers of legal gold and the gold refiners,” explains BGI director Thomas Hentschel. “Once they agree on a price, we move to the export phase, and with partners in the supply chain we seek companies that pay a special price and offer an additional incentive of up-to-US$1,000 per kilo, which [miners] can invest in social infrastructure, technical assistance and technology to substitute for the use of [toxic] mercury,” Hentschel added.

BGI already works with certification organizations including Fairtrade, Fairmined and the Responsible Jewelry Council.

However, SBGA is developing a parallel gold-buying strategy that includes 16 criteria for mining responsibility -- including environmental protection, labor rights, social responsibility and community relations.

Miners that comply with these criteria are considered “responsible gold producers” via a certification scheme that’s “less demanding and more flexible than existing certification systems,” Hentschel added.

In Colombia, the BGI scheme is already advancing toward certification with two companies in the department of Caldas, while BGI officials expect to see more miners in the Bajo Cauca region of Antioquia joining soon.

The goal is to achieve BGI certification and export of at least one tonne per year of qualified gold over the next four years, according to USAID.

Legal Gold More Profitable: USAID Study

Meanwhile, USAID noted that while Colombia has exported an annual average of 60 tonnes of gold in recent years, only 12.5 tonnes/year (20%) have been produced by legal miners. The other 80% of production by illegal miners fails to pay required royalties, taxes or obey environmental and labor-protection laws, USAID noted.

What’s more -- contrary to popular belief -- illegal miners lose between COP$18 million (US$6,000) to COP$30 million (US$10,000) per kilo of gold produced, compared to what they would earn via legal mining, according to a new USAID study.

The study examined a more-or-less typical illegal underground mining operation with seven employees working 25 days per month, extracting one kilogram of gold per 300 tonnes of rock mined each month.

That study employed baseline data including current international gold prices, the relative inefficiency of artisanal mining, the price paid by illegal versus legal gold buyers, and the relatively high price of mining explosives in the black market. Eliminating the high cost of illegal explosives would by itself cover much of the cost of converting to legal mining, the study found.

In the legal market, a package of “Indugel Plus” mining explosives including 154 sticks, 100 initiators and 200 meters of cord today costs about COP$700,000 (US$235), whereas the black-market cost oscillates between COP$2.5 million (US$830) to COP$5 million (US$1,600), the study found.

“With the money saved by buying legal explosives, miners could pay social security to their workers and make advances in environmentally responsible and safe mining,” explained Beatriz Duque Montoya, USAID’s “Oro Legal” coordinator.

Buyers of legal gold today pay miners 97.5% of the London gold reference price. But miners lacking certificates-of-origin get only 82% of the London reference price, the study found.

“If we assume that a small legal miner produces one kilogram of gold per month and the international reference price is COP$120,000 [US$40] per gram, then this miner would receive COP$117,000 [US$39] per gram or 97.5% of the reference price,” Duque said.

“On the other hand, the illegal miner would get, optimistically, COP$98 milllion [US$32,000] per kilo or 82% of the reference price. In a more realistic scenario, the illegal miner would obtain only 70% of the reference price, or COP$84 million [US$28,000] per kilo, which means that in the process of commercialization, the illegal miner would lose between COP$18 million [US$6,000] and COP$33 million [US$11,000] per month,” she concluded.

Besides losing money from illegal commercialization, the illegal miner also cuts net gold yield by using toxic mercury, the study found.

“It is proven that by using [mercury], losses of 40% to 50% of gold are realized,” according to the study. In contrast, when mercury-free processing is employed, then gold losses are only 8% to 15%, according to the study.

What’s more, if miners can achieve BGI certification, then they could earn a bonus up-to-COP$3 million (US$1,000) per kilo of gold -- and if they further achieve Fairtrade, Fairmined or Responsible Jewelry Council certifications, then bonuses could rise to as much-as-COP$12 million (US$4,000) per kilo, the study added.


In a keynote speech to the fourth annual Medellin Bird Festival (Festival de las Aves Medellin 2017), World Wildlife Fund (WWF-Colombia) strategic alliances director John Myers revealed that Colombia generally and Medellin/Antioquia specifically have tremendous potential for expanding profitable, socially beneficial birdwatching tours.

 Citing two recent scientific studies – one in Tropical Conservation Science (see: Economic and Conservation Potential for Bird-Watching Tourism in Post-Conflict Colombia, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1940082917733862) and Elsevier (Peace is Much More than Doves: The Economic Benefits of Bird-Based Tourism as a Result of the Peace Treaty in Colombia, https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2973980) -- Myers revealed that the average North American international bird-watching tourist would be willing to pay about US$310 per day to join a 10-days-long group birding tour in Colombia.

That’s about US$60 per day more than North American bird-watchers typically would pay for birding tours in Costa Rica -- the world’s most-popular international destination for bird tourism, Myers explained here.

 

 


American jazz aficionados instinctively know that a satisfying performance of a signature classic – as (for example) by the ever-elegant Ella Fitzgerald – must combine clarity, pitch, purity, control, range, richness, understatement and sincerity.

However: Nobody will ever sing like Ella again (she died in 1996 at age 79). Even some contemporaries -- such as Frank Sinatra -- wisely refused to tread on her American-Songbook-themed albums, as that would be like trampling on orchids.

So, no comparisons possible. Or maybe yes, but in a different way?

Which brings us to Medellin (the ornithological Birdland). But also to Ella Fitzgerald, to the 1940s-1950s Manhattan dreamland, to the Savoy, to Charlie Parker’s Birdland.

Incongruous. Hard to imagine.

Unless you close your eyes, and lend your ears to a troubadour who doesn’t sound anything like Ella, and of course can’t get all the way to her heaven, but still can get you to climb aboard the A Train -- with clarity, pitch, purity, scat, whisper-trailed vibrato, softly suggestive of Brazilian jazz vocalist Gal Costa, and eyes-closed, heaven-seeking sincerity.

Hear those rails-a-thrummin’?

Somewhere over the rainbow, it’s Medellin-born jazz vocalist Claudia Gomez (see: http://www.claudiagomez.com/), a globe-trotting paisa who has performed at some of the world’s top jazz venues (including the Monterey Jazz Festival), composed numerous songs in various genres (inspired by numerous lands), and at long last has found her way – backward and forward in time-- to Ella, and to Medellin.

An attentive, appreciative, Ella-Fitzgerald-loving audience in the times-past paraninfo of Medellin’s Edificio San Ignacio -- in appropriately run-down downtown -- heard Claudia’s time-traveling, dream-inspiring salute to Ella in an October 10 concert, flawlessly accompanied by Medellin jazz pianist Juan David Lopera.

But don’t worry if you missed that show. Gomez will reprise her tribute to Ella Fitzgerald – this time accompanied by Medellin’s Philharmonic Orchestra -- at 5:30 pm Saturday, October 21 at the Uva stage in Medellin’s El Poblado neighborhood. (See: https://www.facebook.com/events/1868732660123131/. For directions to Uva stage, see: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Uva-El-Poblado/936652403150864).

Eyes closed, snapping fingers, Gomez takes a sentimental journey to Harlem, the Savoy, Birdland, lush-life, Ellington, Gershwin, Dizzy, Cole Porter, Rogers & Hart.

Asked about her musical roots and related world travels, Gomez told Medellin Herald: “I lived in San Francisco for 15 years, and while I made my living playing music there, I did not sing jazz, because I was surrounded by the best singers and players in that genre -- and also my compositions were my main work and projection in those years.

"I also sang rock in London in the mid-seventies, and I researched Colombian folk music. So my musical taste is all over the planet.

“I left the Bay Area 19 years ago, went to Spain for four years, and it was there that I timidly started singing jazz, blues.

“I finally am at the point in life where I can sing whatever I like -- and I like a lot of different kinds of music. 

“I play guitar and piano. My music heroes are so many! My influences go from Brazilian music, to jazz, to African folkloric music, and all kinds of folk music from Colombia and elsewhere in Latin America.

“My heroes: guitarists Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Toninho Horta, Joao Bosco, Guinga. My favorite singers: Ella Fitzgerald, Elis Regina, Leila Pinheiro, Mercedes Sosa, the 'cantaoras' of the coasts of Colombia have been a great inspiration to me also. And composers: Joao Bosco, Brazilians, Marta Valdes, Cubans.”


A new report from the World Bank finds that Medellin is fourth-best among Colombia’s 32 departmental-capital cities in four key business categories: relative ease in starting a business, getting construction permits, registering properties and ease of paying taxes.

According to the Doing Business in Colombia report (see: http://www.doingbusiness.org/~/media/WBG/DoingBusiness/Documents/Subnational-Reports/DB17Sub-Colombia.pdf), Manizales took the top spot for ease of doing business, followed by Pereira, Bogota and Medellin.

“In general, the smaller the city, the greater the number of permits required, partly because regulatory reforms still haven’t reached all [Colombia] cities,” according to the report.

“Between 2013 and 2016, all cities except Ibagué and Santa Marta advanced toward meeting global best-practices standards, with Valledupar, Cúcuta, Leticia and Pereira making the most progress. Among those four cities, Valledupar was the city that made the most progress, realizing reforms in the three of the four categories.”

On a scale of 0 (worst) to 100 (best) for best-practices, Medellin scored 85.67 for opening a new business. However, Medellin came-in at only 68.26 for registering a property; 67.23 for getting construction permits; and 61.05 for ease of paying taxes (see chart, above).

Starting a Business

To analyze this factor, the report “registers all formalities required officially, or which are needed in practice, for an employer to be able to open and formally operate an industrial or commercial enterprise. In addition, the time and cost associated with completing the procedures and capital requirements are considered.”

Paying Taxes

To analyze this factor, the report “records the taxes and contributions that a medium-sized company must pay in its second year of activity. The number of payments, the method and the frequency of payment, the time associated with the preparation and filing of the tax returns and the total tax rate (proportion of taxes and contributions on the commercial benefit of the company) are considered. It also evaluates post-tax return processes such as tax refunds and audits.”

Property Registration

To analyze this factor, the report “records all the procedures required for a company to transfer title to a property to another purchasing company and [how] it can use the property to expand its business, [use it] as collateral for new loans or, if necessary, to sell it. The quality of the land management system is also evaluated.”

Obtaining Building Permits

For this factor, the report “records all the procedures, time and cost necessary for a company in the construction sector to complete the construction of a warehouse on the outskirts of the city.”

 


Avianca – Colombia’s biggest airline – hailed an October 6 decision by a District Court Tribunal in Bogota declaring a strike by some 700 pilots belonging to the Asociacion Colombiana de Aviadores Civiles (ACDAC) labor-union as illegal.

ACDAC-- the smaller of two unions representing Avianca pilots -- represents a tiny fraction of the more than 22,000 Avianca employees that work in 26 countries. The ACDAC union said it would appeal the Tribunal decision to Colombia's Supreme Court.

About half of Avianca’s daily flights have had to be cancelled because of the ACDAC strike -- stranding thousands of travelers and hurting many businesses in Colombia that depend upon business-and-pleasure tourism.

In its lawsuit against the strike, Avianca contended that airlines are a “public service,” which under Colombia’s constitution forbids “public” union strikes.

However, Avianca also pointed out that even if such strikes conceivably could be allowed under the constitution, the 700 members of ACDAC shouldn’t be allowed to dictate labor terms to the 21,000 other employees of the company.

“After 17 days of illegal cessation of activities by the ACDAC pilots, which has gravely affected travelers, the economy, competitiveness and connectivity of our country, the Tribunal recognized the illegality of the strike pushed by this union,” according to Avianca. “Avianca hopes that given this court decision, the ACDAC pilots will now return to work at the earliest moment.”

In parallel to the court action, an arbitration panel organized by Colombia’s Labor Ministry would require ACDAC pilots to return to work while negotiations over contract terms would continue, Avianca pointed out. However, ACDAC has rejected this contention.

“As pilots return to work, we will continue to operate under contingency plans, aiming to serve our passengers without delays and with the security that has always characterized our operations,” added Avianca CEO Hernán Rincón.

Avianca pilots are already among the best-paid employees in all of Colombia and enjoy numerous perks. The ACDAC union, however, is pushing for a wage-and-benefits package equivalent to a 60% hike in pay – wildly in excess of the wage increases realized by all other workers’ unions in Colombia, and vastly in excess of the national 4% annual inflation rate.

One contract change proposed by Avianca but opposed by the union is usage of cell-phone messages to notify pilots of flight delays or cancellations. Today, pilots get such notices via motorized couriers, an archaic and costly system.

In response, the ACDAC pilots are demanding that Avianca buy them new iPads or laptops -- just to receive company messages and do telecommuting work.

The ACDAC pilots also are demanding a 40 hours/month cutback in work hours – meaning they’d work 160 hours/month instead of 200.

They’re also demanding a COP$2 million (US$680) payment for upgrading personal office spaces, a COP$300,000 (US$100) per month subsidy for internet and phone connections, and extra pay for telecommuting work -- equivalent to 300% of what they’re paid while flying.

The pilots also are demanding unlimited free vacation flights for themselves and their families, free medical insurance for family members, lifetime free medical care upon retirement, a 70% reduction in income tax payments, and a COP$500,000 (US$170) monthly bonus if planes occasionally transport “dangerous” materials.

Finally, the pilots are demanding a COP$6 million (US$2,000) contract signing bonus.

Entry-level copilots at Avianca start out with salaries of COP$9.4 million (US$3,200) per month but can reach COP$17 million (US$5,790) per month after several years of seniority. Avianca pilot captains start out at COP$18 million (US$6,000) per month but salaries can go as high as COP$28 million (US$9,540) per month with more seniority.


Medellin-based FCM Global announced October 3 that it has become the first Colombian medical-marijuana producer to win all four required licenses for cultivation, processing, manufacture and export of “low-THC” cannabis-oil extracts.

“Recently issued by the Colombian Ministry of Justice, this export license complements FCM’s existing regulatory approvals, granted to the organization in August 2017, to legally cultivate, process, and manufacture low-THC medical cannabis oil extracts,” according to FCM.

FCM is “well-positioned to create CBD [cannabidiol hemp oil] extracts at a low cost of production and to distribute finished oils for domestic and international markets with legalized medical/research frameworks,” according to the company.

“Our purpose is to serve as a collaborative partner to pharmaceutical firms, research organizations, and other wellness-focused companies, and to help develop new scientific formulations and extracts that meet our clients’ specific needs within these critical sectors,” added FCM CEO Carlos Velasquez.

Colombia’s regulatory framework, “ideal equatorial growing location, and deep talent pool of medical cannabis experience makes it the best place on Earth to produce scalable volumes of terpene-rich cannabinoid extracts in an environmentally-friendly way,” according to the company, which has offices in Medellin and operations in the nearby suburb of La Ceja, Antioquia.

FCM’s “co-sourced Colombia” model “enables finished goods manufacturers globally to benefit from Colombia’s comparative advantages in medical cannabis (accelerated and lower-cost research, cultivation, and oil extraction) without sacrificing levels of control, efficiency, or quality,” according to the company.

PharmaCielo Update

Another Medellin-based medical-marijuana company that’s well-along in obtaining all required licenses is PharmaCielo (see "PharmaCielo Buys Marijuana Farm, Nursery in Rionegro," Medellin Herald, July 25, 2016.)

Aside from PharmaCielo and FCM Global, other Colombian companies obtaining some (but not all four) licenses include Cannavida, Ecomedics, Cannalivio, Econnabis and Pideka, while 22 other companies have petitioned for licenses, according to a recent report from Colombian business newspaper Portafolio.

The proposed licenses are for operations in Antioquia, Cauca, Casanare, Magdalena, Meta, Santander, Cundinamarca, Tolima and Valle del Cauca, according to that report.


Some 250 executives of some of the world’s top gold-mining companies are forecast to attend the second annual Colombia Gold Symposium November 14-15 at Hotel San Fernando Plaza in Medellin.

According to symposium organizer Paul Harris, delegates will hear presentations from more than 15 exploration and development companies including Minesa, Continental Gold, Red Eagle Mining and Antioquia Gold.

This year’s edition of the symposium also features a session on the copper potential of this region, “which is attracting increasing interest from large producers as well as explorers, particularly given the increasing copper price environment,” according to Harris.

On that front, Gloria Prieto of the Colombian Geological Survey (CGS) will provide an overview of Colombia’s copper potential and explain an upcoming auction of copper-exploration concessions.

“In terms of Colombia’s gold potential, Orosur will provide an update about the Anza project where it recently restarted drilling, Gran Colombia Gold will discuss the high-grade mineralization it is finding at its Marmato project and Tim Coughlin of Royal Road Minerals will talk about exploration in Nariño, one of Colombia’s most promising areas now that the civil conflict with the FARC is ending,” Harris added.

Meanwhile, Silvana Habib, president of Colombia’s National Mining Agency, and Santiago Angel of the Colombian Mining Association, will discuss “efforts to improve [mining] sector administration,” while a regulatory session will include a roundtable discussion by natural-resource lawyers discussing “strategies for companies to adopt to deal with particular aspects of bureaucracy,” he said.

On a related front, Birsa International will head a session on optimizing community relations; Intera will talk about responsible water management and communication; Brigitte Baptiste of the Humboldt Institute will discuss whether and how mining can be compatible with the environment; and Control Risks will talk through the issues and opportunities arising from Colombia’s peace process with guerilla groups.

Field trips following the conference include visits to San Matias (Cordoba Minerals), San Ramon (Red Eagle Mining), El Roble (Atico Mining), Buritica (Continental Gold) and Anza (Orosur).

On the finance front, the symposium will include expert speakers from Canadian bank CIBC, Peru’s Kallpa Securities, EY, Oreninc and NortonRose Fulbright, Harris added.


Colombia Visa Changes Take Effect November 2

Friday, 29 September 2017 14:49 Written by

Colombia’s foreign ministry (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriorores) has announced that changes to its visa regulations will take effect November 2.

In the announcement (see complete text in Spanish here: http://legal.legis.com.co/document?obra=legcol&document=legcol_74fa455ce7e44df19296af36ef78d8e8), the Ministry clarifies that it’s regrouping many different existing visa categories into three main categories: visitor (V), migrant (M) and resident (R).

While some changes are superficial -- changes of words or categories, but not meaning -- some clarifications are worth noting.

For example: “Visitors” for tourism, for investigating business opportunities, for contract negotiations and for sales representations are allowed stays of up-to-180 days, but such visitors cannot do local contract "work."

However, “visitors” attending trade shows, conferences, sporting events, artistic events, doing film productions, executing journalism assignments, occupying temporary corporate assignments (for a non-Colombia-headquartered company) and performing certain volunteer projects are allowed to “work” at those assignments or events, according to the Ministry.

Those obtaining “migrant” visas (that is, those intending to become permanent residents) who are married to a Colombian national -- or parents of a Colombian-born adopted child -- likewise can “work” in Colombia for up-to-three-years, and also can apply to become a “resident” after two years.

In addition, “migrants” that obtain a local work contract or become a partner in a commercial enterprise here can obtain a “resident” visa after five years.

For real-estate investors, “migrant” visas can be obtained by investing at least 350 minimum Colombian monthly salaries. The current Colombian minimum monthly salary -- COP$738,000 – multiplied by 350 equals COP$258 million, or about US$88,000 at current COP/USD exchange rates and current Colombian legal salary minimums.

To obtain the "migrant" visa, the real-estate investment must be accompanied by proof of free title (“certificado de libertad y tradicion del inmueble adquirido que pruebe titularidad”) as well as proof of registry of the foreign funds used for the purchase (“communicacion expedida por el Departamento de Cambios Internacionales del Banco de la Republica”).

For those seeking a “migrant” visa as a retiree, the applicant must show that a pension (such as Social Security or a private-sector pension) is at least three times the Colombian minimum monthly salary (COP$2,214,000 or about US$753). Alternatively, an applicant could get a “migrant” visa if receiving at least 10 times the minimum monthly salary (COP$7,380,000 or about US$2,510) from investments with regular payouts (such as annuities).

For “empresarios” seeking a “migrant” visa, you must show a capital investment of at least 100 minimum monthly salaries (COP$73.8 million or about US$25,000). For “independent” professionals, a “migrant” visa can be obtained  if your bank records indicate earnings of at least 10 minimum monthly salaries over the prior six months.

Real-estate investors, commercial partners, contracted workers and pensioners with “migrant” visas also can apply for “resident” visas after five years.

In addition, registered foreign direct investors (FDIs) investing at least 650 minimum monthly salaries (COP$480 million, or about US$163,000) can apply for a “resident” visa.

Foreigners married to Colombian nationals also will continue to qualify for “resident” visas, as in prior visa regulations. “Resident” visas are good for five years and are renewable.

Visa applications are now processed on-line through the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores web-site (see: http://www.cancilleria.gov.co/en/procedures_services/visas).

After expats submit their applications, they typically make a subsequent trip to Ministry offices in Bogota to obtain their visa, although some specialist agencies and lawyers here in Medellin offer to handle that process for you.


Page 10 of 34

NEW GUIDE "Avifauna de Colombia" (link by clicking on book)

SILLETEROS PARADE 2016 by JOHN AND DONNA STORMZAND (click to enlarge)

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About Medellin Herald

Medellin Herald is a locally produced, English-language news and advisory service uniquely focused upon a more-mature audience of visitors, investors, conference and trade-show attendees, property buyers, expats, retirees, volunteers and nature lovers.

U.S. native Roberto Peckham, who founded Medellin Herald in 2015, has been residing in metro Medellin since 2005 and has traveled regularly and extensively throughout Colombia since 1981.

Medellin Herald welcomes your editorial contributions, comments and story-idea suggestions. Send us a message using the "contact" section.

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