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Colombia Customs Information

Duties and Tax Exemption

For contact information regarding government custom authorities, please follow the link below: 

DIAN - The Direction of national taxes and customs, ensure the fiscal security of the Colombian State and the protection of national economic order, by the administration and control of compliance with tax, customs, foreign exchange obligations, operating rights and administrative expenses, and the facilitation of foreign trade operations in terms of fairness, transparency and legality.

For contact information regarding government custom authorities, please follow the link below: 

4.1 Colombia Government Contact List

Emergency Response:

[Note: This section contains information which is related and applicable to 'crisis' times. These instruments can be applied when an emergency is officially declared by the Government.  When this occurs, there is usually a streamlined process to import goods duty and tax free.]

The Congress of Colombia by Act 1523 of 2012, adopts the policy of disaster risk management and establishes the National System for Risk Management, which directs and organizes all entities involved and determinates the kind of disaster: may be local, regional or national, and may be natural or public disaster. And it is the duty of the President of the Republic, to decree the emergency. Depending on the necessity, the government request international assistance, the National System for Risk Management, active crisis room and this at the same time the International Operating Committee, which directs the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Colombian Red Cross, in this committee the sectors related to foreign trade are involved.

The customs procedure related to urgent and emergency deliveries, and direct action with the customs authorities, is regulated by Decree 2685 of 1999, Article 11 literally 12 Article 204 and Article 391 and its amendments.

 

Agreements / Conventions Description

Ratified by Country?

(Yes / No)

WCO (World Customs Organization) member

Yes, 11/07/1993

Annex J-5 Revised Kyoto Convention

Accession, 30/11/2001 

OCHA Model Agreement

n/a 

Tampere Convention (on the Provision of Telecommunication Resources for Disaster Mitigation and Relief Operations)

Accession, 12/06/2008

Regional Agreements (on emergency/disaster response, but also customs unions, regional integration)

Yes; Link related to trade agreements: http://www.sice.oas.org/ctyindex/col/colagreements_s.asp

Exemption Regular Regime (Non-Emergency Response)

[Note: This section should contain information on the usual duties & taxes exemption regime during non-emergency times, when there is no declared state of emergency and no streamlines process (e.g. regular importations/development/etc.).]

Customs legislation is governed by the rules established in the customs status, Decree 2685 of December 1999, which is regulated by Resolution 4240, June 2000.

Regarding the importation of donated goods, Any person or entity may make donations to public entities, ONGs, Legal entities or Natural Persons, these donations will have the procedure according to the customs legislation, without prejudice to accredit and where applicable, the certifications required by other authorities as a precondition for importation.

Depending on their use or destination, donations can be exempted from customs duties for which they must comply with the indicated conditions:

Exemption from customs duties: Decree 255 of 1992, Article 7, Letter a) the goods donated by individuals or corporations, national or foreign, to the Nation or entities referred in the Article 2 of Decree 2184 of 1990.

It is important to note that in the Article 9 Decree 255 of 1992, other donated commodities are listed but they are not exempted from customs duties for this concept, but by, the kind of beneficiaries or their destination.

Exemption from Added Value Tax – IVA: Tax Code, Article 480: Are excluded from IVA, imports of goods and equipment for: Destined for sport, used for health, to the scientific and technological investigation, goods donated for government agencies or nonprofit organizations by individuals or corporations, national or foreign, if they obtain favorable rating in the Committee on Non-Profit Entities.

Also, be excluded from IVA the imports of goods and equipment, for national security bound for the security forces; the importation of goods and equipment that are made in development agreements, treated, International and interagency agreements, or cooperation projects, donated to the National Government or public entities at the national level by natural or legal persons, multilateral agencies and foreign governments.

Exemption from taxes, fees or contributions: Law 788 of 2002, Article 96: Exemption for donations from governments or foreign entities, regulated by Decree 540 of 2004.

Organizational Requirements to obtain Duty Free Status

United Nations Agencies

Legal basis: Law 62 of 1973, approving the privileges and immunities of the United Nations.

Customs Taxation: Decree 255 of 1992, Article 7, Letter a; Tax Code, Article 480; Law 788 of 2002, Article 96.

Non-Governmental Organizations

Customs duty: Resolution on whether or not IVA exemption for imported donated goods, Regulatory Decree 4400 of 2004, article 13. Once obtained the register: Decree 255 of 1992, Article 7, and Letter a; Tax Code, Article 480; Law 788 of 2002, Article 96.

Exemption Certificate Application Procedure

Duties and Taxes Exemption Application Procedure

Generalities (include a list of necessary documentation)

  1. License Prior Import under Resolution 001 of 1995 of the Higher Council for Foreign Trade.
  2. Certificate of existence and legal representation of the donor institution, issued not earlier than three (3) months and a copy of the statutes.
  3. Certificate of donation of the person, entity or foreign government, stamped by the Consul of Colombia in the country of origin, whose signature must be accredited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or equivalent document duly apostilled, in accordance with Act 455 of 1998; Or certification of the person or entity national donor, notary authenticated document.
  4. Description of programs or activities, to which the donated goods are appointed.
  5. Certificate signed by the public accountant or auditor of the donor organization, compliance with legal requirements for the exemption. (Quantity and value).
  6. Certificate of existence of importer; company name, tax identification number - NIT, address and principal place of Importer. Issued not earlier than three (3) months and a copy of the statutes.

Process to be followed (step by step or flowchart)

 1. Any person or entity may make donations to public entities, UN, ONGs, Legal entities or Natural Persons.

2. The receiver of donation must be legally registered with the national government.

3. Imports of goods donated, requires License Prior Import, by law (Resolution 001 of 1995 of the Higher Council for Foreign Trade) because it is non-refundable operations. This license is also required for the application for exemption from customs duties.

4. Exemption for Customs tariff under Decree 255 of 1992, article 7. It is important to note that in the Article 9 of this decree, other donated commodities are listed but they are not exempted from customs duties for this concept, but by, the kind of beneficiaries or their destination.

5. Exemption for IVA tax, under Decree 4400 of 2004 regulates the special tax regime: With regard Article 13 of this decree.

Exemption Certificate Document Requirements

Duties and Taxes Exemption Certificate Document Requirements (by commodity)

 

Food

NFI (Shelter, WASH, Education)

Medicines

Vehicle & Spare Parts

Staff & Office Supplies

Telecoms Equipment

Invoice

No.

No.

No.

No.

No.

No.

AWB/BL/Other Transport Documents

Yes, AWB / BL 2 copies, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, AWB / BL 2 copies, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, AWB / BL 2 copies, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, AWB / BL 2 copies, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, AWB / BL 2 copies, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, AWB / BL 2 copies, applies to UN and NGOs

Donation/Non-Commercial Certificates

Yes, Donate Certificate of the person, entity or government, foreign donor must indicate the quantity and value of the donation, 1 copy, applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Yes, Donate Certificate of the person, entity or government, foreign donor must indicate the quantity and value of the donation, 1 copy, applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Yes, Donate Certificate of the person, entity or government, foreign donor must indicate the quantity and value of the donation, 1 copy, applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Yes, Donate Certificate of the person, entity or government, foreign donor must indicate the quantity and value of the donation, 1 copy, applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Yes, Donate Certificate of the person, entity or government, foreign donor must indicate the quantity and value of the donation, 1 copy, applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Yes, Donate Certificate of the person, entity or government, foreign donor must indicate the quantity and value of the donation, 1 copy, applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Packing Lists

Yes, 1 copy, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy, applies to UN and NGOs

Other Documents

Import License, Mandate or certificates. 1 copy, applies to UN(Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973)  and NGOs

Import License, Mandate or certificates. 1 copy, applies to UN(Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973)  and NGOs

Import License, Mandate or certificates. 1 copy, applies to UN(Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973)  and NGOs

Import License, Mandate or certificates. 1 copy, applies to UN(Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973)  and NGOs

Import License, Mandate or certificates. 1 copy, applies to UN(Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973)  and NGOs

Import License, Mandate or certificates. 1 copy, applies to UN(Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973)  and NGOs

Additional Notes:

Import Prior License: Required for all donations, should be requested to the committee for Imports Industry and Tourism; and must be attached the Donate Certificate of the person, entity or government, foreign donor have to indicate the quantity and value of the donation.

Mandate: Written authorization to the importer gives a Customs Agent, to represent with the DIAN.

Certificates: Special rules are required when there be place to it.

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

The customs mode that is used to import donated goods with taxes exemption is: Import in Franchise, regulated under Article 135 of Decree 2685 of 1999. Under this arrangement the property will NOT be sold.

Customs Clearance

General Information 

Customs Information

Document Requirements

According to the rules on the urgent delivery mode (Art. 204 and following, of Decree 2685 of 1999) DIAN may authorize without any processing, the direct delivery to the importer of certain goods that require, either if arrived as a relief to victims of disasters or accidents, or for their special nature, or for a pressing need. In the last two cases if customs taxes incurred, and DIAN so determines, may require a guarantee that assure the completion of the procedures of the respective import.

Embargoes

None.

Prohibited Items

Prohibited Items by Article 81 of the National Constitution (Weapons: Chemical, biological and nuclear, Waste: nuclear and toxic) or by international conventions, laws, or special regulations, Also, the state regulates entry into the country of genetic resources and their use, according to the national interest.

General Restrictions

Goods that do not meet the requirements for legal entry into the country or going abroad, can go through the following legal situations: apprehension, confiscation or abandonment. Decree 2685 of 1999.

Another important restriction, are the Technical barriers to trade, example: Rice.

Customs Clearance Document Requirements

Customs Clearance Document Requirements (by commodity)

 

Food

NFI (Shelter, WASH, Education)

Medicines

Vehicles & Spare Parts

Staff & Office Supplies

Telecoms Equipment

D&T Exemption Certificate

Yes, 1 copy, applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy, applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy, applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy, applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy, applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy, applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Invoice

Yes, or if is a Donation the certificate must include Quantity and Value. 1 copy applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Yes, or if is a Donation the certificate must include Quantity and Value. 1 copy applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Yes, or if is a Donation the certificate must include Quantity and Value. 1 copy applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Yes, or if is a Donation the certificate must include Quantity and Value. 1 copy applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Yes, or if is a Donation the certificate must include Quantity and Value. 1 copy applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Yes, or if is a Donation the certificate must include Quantity and Value. 1 copy applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

AWB/BL/Other Transport Documents

Yes, AWB / BL 2 copies, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, AWB / BL 2 copies, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, AWB / BL 2 copies, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, AWB / BL 2 copies, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, AWB / BL 2 copies, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, AWB / BL 2 copies, applies to UN and NGOs

Donation/Non-Commercial Certificates

Yes, Donate Certificate of the person, entity or government, foreign donor must indicate the quantity and value of the donation, 1 copy, applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Yes, Donate Certificate of the person, entity or government, foreign donor must indicate the quantity and value of the donation, 1 copy, applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Yes, Donate Certificate of the person, entity or government, foreign donor must indicate the quantity and value of the donation, 1 copy, applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Yes, Donate Certificate of the person, entity or government, foreign donor must indicate the quantity and value of the donation, 1 copy, applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Yes, Donate Certificate of the person, entity or government, foreign donor must indicate the quantity and value of the donation, 1 copy, applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Yes, Donate Certificate of the person, entity or government, foreign donor must indicate the quantity and value of the donation, 1 copy, applies to UN (Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973) and NGOs

Packing Lists

Yes, 1 copy, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy, applies to UN and NGOs

Yes, 1 copy, applies to UN and NGOs

Phytosanitary Certificate

Yes, Is necessary to review with customs broker the nature of the commodity, to determine the certificate.

Yes, Is necessary to review with customs broker the nature of the commodity, to determine the certificate.

Yes, Is necessary to review with customs broker the nature of the commodity, to determine the certificate.

Yes, Is necessary to review with customs broker the nature of the commodity, to determine the certificate.

Yes, Is necessary to review with customs broker the nature of the commodity, to determine the certificate.

Yes, Is necessary to review with customs broker the nature of the commodity, to determine the certificate.

Other Documents

Import License, Mandate or certificates. 1 copy, applies to UN(Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973)  and NGOs

Import License, Mandate or certificates. 1 copy, applies to UN(Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973)  and NGOs

Import License, Mandate or certificates. 1 copy, applies to UN(Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973)  and NGOs

Import License, Mandate or certificates. 1 copy, applies to UN(Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973)  and NGOs

Import License, Mandate or certificates. 1 copy, applies to UN(Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973)  and NGOs

Import License, Mandate or certificates. 1 copy, applies to UN(Except the stipulate under Law 62 of 1973)  and NGOs

Additional Notes:

Import Prior License: Required for all donations, should be requested to the committee for Imports Industry and Tourism; and must be attached the Donate Certificate of the person, entity or government, foreign donor have to indicate the quantity and value of the donation.

Mandate: Written authorization to the importer gives a Customs Agent, to represent with the DIAN.

Certificates: Special rules are required when there be place to it.

No additional notes.

Transit Regime

The customs transit is governed by Decree 2685 of 1999, Title VIII, Chapter I; it is the regime that allows the inland transport of domestic goods or foreign origin under customs control, from one customs office to another located in the national customs territory.

May only be authorized for goods which are entered or endorse to the nation, territorial entities, and decentralized entities, to a user of free zone, to a holder of a private warehouse or to a permanent customs user. In accordance with the Article 113 of Decree 2685 of 1999, once the goods be discharged and without having entered to the deposit, it shall request and authorize the customs transit mode where appropriate.

In this regime can be given transit modalities, cabotage and transshipment; Cabotage: It is the mode of the transit system that regulates the transportation of goods under customs control, whose circulation is restricted by water or air between two (2) ports or airports authorized within the national customs territory. And transshipment: It is the mode of transit, which regulates the transfer of goods from the mode of transport used for arrival in the national customs territory, to another that departure to foreign country, within a Customs and under its control without customs duties are caused.

It is permitted the transit for goods to be subjected to: Import for processing and assembly, Temporary admission for active perfecting capital goods, Temporary importation developing Special Systems of Import – Export or Temporary import for industrial processing.

Transit operations are carried only, on vehicles of registered companies and previously authorized by Customs. Escort the goods are not mandatory but depending on the areas where are going to travel is recommended. All transit operation should be covered with the warranty by the declarant to support the payment of customs duties and penalties, and the warranty for completion of the modality this one by the carrier.

Customs transit mode ends with:

  1. The delivery of cargo to the deposit or to the Free Zone Operator, accordingly, who receives from the carrier the Customs Transit Declaration shall order the discharge and confront the quantity, weight and condition of the packages with the document.
  2. The order of completion of the modality issued by the Customs Office, for finding an irregular situation or serious indications which could undermine the fiscal interest or evading compliance with customs requirements.
  3. The destruction or total loss of cargo, according to Article 367 of Decree 2685 of 1999.
  4. When for reasons of force majeure, Customs authorize the finalization of the modality, in accordance with the regulations for the purpose by the DIAN.

The DIAN may prohibit or restrict the customs transit of goods, for public, health, zoo sanitary and phytosanitary or environmental safety. According to the request given by the competent authorities, or when for control reasons is required.