Ecuador - 2.3.1 Land Border Crossing of Rumichaca (Colombia)


There are several official border crossings between Ecuador and its neighbors Peru and Colombia. The main ones are Rumichaca Tulcán-Ipiales International Bridge, San Miguel International Bridge, Huaquillas and Macará.

The Puente Internacional de Rumichaca is the main border crossing between Ecuador and Colombia; It was originally the obligatory ancestral step, from the time of the conquest to the present day. Above the natural bridge rise the customs houses of Ecuador and Colombia, built around 1936 and 1932 respectively.

Development plans for the Ecuador-Colombia Border Zone

As a result of the regular and extraordinary activity in recent years, which is recorded at the historic Tulcán-Ipiales border crossing, there are binational development agreements stipulated in:

PBIFEC: Ecuador-Colombia Binational Border Integration Plan. PBIFEC. The Binational Border Integration Plan Ecuador Colombia –PBIFEC is the effort to establish a common plan that articulates the national plans of both countries for the good of the border areas. Identifying what their social conditions are and how to improve them. Generating productive activities and sources of work.

ZIF: Border Integration Zone. "Border Integration Zone" (ZIF) the adjacent border territorial areas of Member Countries of the Andean Community for which policies will be adopted and plans, programs and projects will be implemented to promote sustainable development and integration

ZIFEC: Ecuador-Colombia Border Integration Zone (ZIF-Ecuador: includes the provinces of Carchi, Esmeraldas, Imbabura and Sucumbíos; ZIF-Colombia: includes the Departments of Nariño and Putumayo).

Esmeraldas Treaty: It is the one granted by the competent national authority, which states that the transporter and the vehicle are authorized to carry out cross-border transportation of cargo.

MERCOSUR Ecuador is a state belonging to MERCOSUR and in terms of Border Integration it applies the benefits stipulated in the Mercosur Border Integration agreement.

To enter and leave Colombia to Ecuador and vice versa, it is the obligation of citizens, without exception, to present themselves at the corresponding immigration control posts at the CENAF (on the Rumichaca bridge) and provide the required documentation to the migration authorities to carry out the controls and authorizations of the case as determined by law.

Travelers must present a valid passport for stamping and proof of financial independence which may be in the form of return airfare, cash ($20 daily minimum), traveler's checks and/or credit card to access Peru and Colombia from Ecuador.

The authorities will only accept original identification documents. Very few nationalities require consular visas to enter Peru or Colombia from Ecuador, but it is recommended to consult first with diplomatic offices or specialized agencies.

Cargo movement

In 2022, the largest volume of cargo moved by Ecuador's border customs with its neighbouring countries, Tulcán was registered by customs with a cargo movement of 1,080 thousand tons, 12.5% ​​higher compared to the cargo moved during the former year.


According to percentage structure, in 2022, the largest cargo movement recorded by the border customs was through the Tulcán customs and represented 51.5% of the movement of merchandise that crosses Ecuador borders.

Control to the Transportation of International Cargo and Free Border Transit

For light and heavy cargo vehicles, tank trucks, tankers and similar those circulate between borders, they must carry the corresponding authorizations established by Ecuadorian regulations, especially the referral guide indicating the country of origin and destination, which will constitute  “laissez-passer”. sufficient for circulation within the country.

The toll is free on the Ecuadorian side.

Irregular Migration

The northern border that borders Colombia is porous. It is 586 km long; It extends between the mouth of the Mataje River, in the Ancón de Sardinas Bay (Esmeraldas), to the mouth of the Güepí River, in the Putumayo River (Sucumbíos).

Through the E-35 (Panamericana Norte), between 100 and 200 Venezuelan citizens enter daily from Ipiales to Tulcán, trying to reach Peru and Chile. Ecuador has become the obligatory corridor for the commission of immigration crimes.

Likewise, the Venezuelan exodus continues and it is also confirmed not only that they enter from north to south, but also that they return to their country of origin. In addition, the irregular border crossings called  trochas are still active, they are ideal routes to circumvent immigration controls carried out by the state in Rumichaca.

It is estimated that irregular border crossings amount to more than one hundred crossing points.



Border Crossing Location and Contact

Name of Border Crossing

Puente Internacional Rumichaca


Ecuador: Tulcán


Colombia: Ipiales

Province or District

Provincia de Carchi

Nearest Town or City with Distance from Border Crossing

Quito (240 km)





Managing Authority / Agency

Centro Nacional Fronterizo (CENAF),CENAF Rumichaca

Contact Person

Centro Nacional de Atención Fronteriza Rumichaca -  (Puente Internacional Rumichaca, Panamericana Norte Km. 0). Tel: (062) 245-251


Travel Times

Nearest International Airport

Quito, 240 km

Truck Travel Time: 6 hrs

Car Travel time: 4:30 hrs

Nearest Port

Esmeraldas (375 km)

Truck Travel Time: 8 hrs

Car Travel time: 06:15 hrs

Nearest location with functioning wholesale markets, or with significant manufacturing or production capacity

Quito, 240 km

Truck Travel Time: 6 hrs

Car Travel time: 4:30 hrs

Other Information


Carr. Panamericana / Troncal de la Sierra / E35


Hours of Operation


06h00 a 14h00

14h00 a 22h00

22h00 a 06h00


06h00 a 14h00

14h00 a 22h00

22h00 a 06h00


06h00 a 14h00

14h00 a 22h00

22h00 a 06h00


06h00 a 14h00

14h00 a 22h00

22h00 a 06h00


06h00 a 14h00

14h00 a 22h00

22h00 a 06h00


06h00 a 14h00

14h00 a 22h00

22h00 a 06h00


06h00 a 14h00

14h00 a 22h00

22h00 a 06h00

National Holidays



Seasonal Constraints



Daily Capacity

The Rumichaca Bridge has a total average daily traffic of 12,629 vehicles, with a distribution of 52% (6,513 vehicles) in the Colombia-Ecuador direction and 48% (6,117 vehicles) in the Ecuador-Colombia direction. Regarding the vehicle composition on the Rumichaca Bridge, total capacity (3-day period counting), the result is that 88% are cars, 3% buses and 9% trucks.

All procedures before the immigration authorities of Colombia and Ecuador are in person, free and generally fast, so they do not require intermediaries.

In Quito, Guayaquil, Rumichaca, Huaquillas and San Miguel, 406 professionals trained in documentary control Migration Law and immigration documents, treaties and international agreements; In addition to serving the public, they serve thousands of users who enter and leave Ecuadorian territory daily. At the Centro Nacional de Atención en Frontera (CENAF) in Rumichaca, 40% of its officials speak English and 10% another language.

To cross the border between Ipiales (Colombia) and Ecuador, which is divided by a river in the Rumichaca area, you need a valid passport. The procedure has no cost and you have to be patient, depending on the volume of pedestrians and vehicles. Waiting times could eventually be long.

Customs Clearance

Resolution No. SENAE-DGN-2013-0361-RE regulates customs activities that take place on the land borders of the Ecuadorian customs territory. Foreign trade activities between the border between Ecuador and Colombia have historically been characterized by problems of smuggling, illegal trafficking of goods that the government and the customs surveillance unit try to stop.

Although the border customs control procedure is the same as in a port or airport, the time is longer due to the dangers posed by smuggling and drug trafficking at the borders.

If the goods do not require control documents for their dispatch, the border importer may declare their goods taxed in Chapter 98, in the specific subheading that corresponds to taxed passenger goods. On the contrary, if the imported merchandise requires control documents, it will be declared in the specific subheading between chapters 1 to 97. *


Vehicle Entry

Passenger vehicle (local transport or taxis): present Unique Passenger Transport Documentation.

Tourist Transport Vehicle: present the Single Tourist Transport Document and the list of the tourist group.

Vehicle in Community Customs Transit: Present a copy of the service provision permit and Certificate of Suitability, granted by the National Commission for Land Transport, Traffic and Road Safety.

Private or rented vehicles for tourist purposes: You must present to the corresponding Ecuadorian Customs officials the enabling documents for this purpose: identity document (passport) duly stamped by immigration, driver's license and vehicle registration, through which the entering vehicle constitutes a special and preferential pledge in favor of the Customs of Ecuador. The permanence of the vehicle for private use by tourists will be equal to the maximum time granted to the tourist, according to immigration registration.

Goods Entry

Any traveler who enters through the country's land borders goods subject to payment of taxes, whose value is less than or equal to USD $2,000.00 (or its equivalent in another currency); You must present the Simplified Customs Declaration (DAS), and attach the documents requested by Customs. If the value of the merchandise subject to payment of taxes exceeds USD $2,000.00 (or its equivalent in another currency); You must register as an Importer, hire the services of a Customs Agent authorized by Ecuadorian Customs, obtain import permits and licenses, depending on the product, and present the Customs Import Declaration (DAI). For more information on HOW TO IMPORT, see  Regardless of the type of merchandise being imported, Ecuadorian Customs may require:

  • Private or rented vehicles for tourist purposes
  • Certificates of Origin from the countries with which Ecuador maintains trade agreements (to benefit from the corresponding tax exemption)
  • Prior Control Documents required by COMEXI regulations.


Colombians who enter Ecuador with a private vehicle must obtain an entry permit from the Customs of this country, bring: driving license, property card, identification document, DJT form (Sworn Tourist Declaration, download on the page; if the vehicle is in the name of another person, carry authorization authenticated by power of attorney, deliver the above to the National Customs Service (Senae), or Customs in Rumichaca, these procedures are free. With international transport vehicles of passengers or public service, the same documents mentioned above, add an insurance contract in which a civil liability policy is expressed, and a list of passengers.

For Ecuadorians with a car, who visit the city of Ipiales, Colombia, and its surroundings, the traffic and police authorities will not require Mandatory Traffic Accident Insurance SOAT, this to facilitate tourism and border commerce; This requirement is mandatory starting at km 21 via Panamericana towards Pasto, Nariño, or traveling beyond this site; They must acquire it at the Rumichaca bridge, customs house. Failure to possess the SOAT is subject to onerous fines.

For those who do not have their own transportation, they should keep in mind that the public taxi service from Tulcán to the Rumichaca bridge is available until 5:30 p.m. m.; From this time onwards you have to pay express taxi. From the bridge to Ipiales, there are public vehicles until 7 at night; They return to work at 6 a.m. m. of the next day. The distance from Tulcán to Rumichaca is 10 km, two hours on foot. And from this place to Ipiales, it is 3 km, walking 40 minutes without suitcases.

Currency Exchange  

The Rumichaca international bridge is open 24 hours a day and money exchange (pesos to dollars or vice versa) can be done at this place. During business (working) hours there is currency exchange in the two border cities.

Customs Director Rumichaca: Christian Iván Villarreal Chuca

Address: Av. 24 de Mayo y Alfonso Mena .Sector El Capulí

Postal code: 040101

Ph:  (593-6) 2980-391

Open from-to: 08h00 – 17h00

For more information about customs in Ecuador, please consult: :  and 1.3 Customs Information.

Other Relevant Information


Public entities that operate in Centros de Atención en Frontera:


• National Police: Provide support in border control of people and vehicles, additionally control the access doors to the Centers directly to people.

• National Customs Service: Carry out control of customs processes and redirect people with symptoms to the MSP.

• Agrocalidad: Fumigation and exterior disinfection of all vehicles entering the centers; control and compliance with phytosanitary processes.

• Armed Forces: In coordination with the National Police, control the entry of users to the Border Attention Centers.

• Ecuadorian Traffic Commission: Review of the qualifications to carry out international transportation, additionally registering vehicles entering and leaving the country.

• Ministry of Transportation and Public Works: Carry out weight and dimension control of cargo vehicles. The MTOP is in charge of the administration of the Border Attention Center, they have an official audience for this activity.

• Migration: Registration and immigration control of users entering and leaving the country, additional users are registered to issue the Andean Card.


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