starting a business in colombia

According to the World Bank, Colombia’s economy grew 0,6% in 2023. Even though economic instability is something recurrent in the news nowadays, the economy has been able to grow steadily thanks to solid macroeconomic policies that have allowed the country to correct the imbalances that surfaced during the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

In addition, as reported by Trading economics, the production sectors that mostly contributed to growth were: Finance and insurance, communications, artistic activities, and real estate 

Colombia is a tempting prospect and a hot spot for investment due to its attractive business environment, talented human resources, and ideal platform for exports, investment incentives, geographic position, and even the government exemption from income tax for tourism projects late-yield crops.

For those interested in starting their own business and asking — ‘Do I need a business visa in Colombia?’ — the answer is yes. And the best way to ensure getting the Visa type M Business is through an experienced visa services agency that has already guided hundreds of people through the same process.

As an initial guide, we have explained the basics of how to get a business visa in Colombia.

What are the requirements to apply for a Colombian Business Visa?

Foreigners can apply for the visa type M Business if they are entreprenuers Fan investment of more than  USD 32,500 Aprox  in a Colombian organization. 

The documentation that you need to present to the Colombian Government is the following:


With a validity of more than 6 months.

Recent photograph

3 x 4 cm white background without accessories. Physical/printed photos are not accepted.

Application letter

The letter has to be signed by the Foreign Citizen.

Chamber of Commerce Certificate

Certificate that proves the foreigner has invested more than 32,500 USD in a Colombian organization, along with the foreign investment certificate issued by Banco de la República.

Supporting documents

Bank statements, Income tax returns, and other supporting documentation that proves the organization is running.

Certificate of shareholding composition signed by accountant

The accountant must present relevant information that certifies its professional background in Colombia and their disciplinary records.

The Business visa allows foreigners to accumulate time to be eligible to apply for the Visa type R: Residence, after 5 years of of being a holder of this visa, without interruption. The holder of this visa will have the benefit of accessing a Colombian Foreigners ID. 

It is important to mention that the Government can grant this visa with a validity of up to 3 years and for the visa to remain valid, the foreigner cannot stay more than 180 continuous days outside Colombia nor can downgrade the shares they own from the Colombian organization with which they apply for the visa.

Download the OFFICIAL guide to make business in Colombia

Colombian Accountant: What’s Needed?

As mentioned, to get a Colombian business visa, applicants with a new business idea need a certified accountant based in Colombia. 

When applying for the Visa type M Business, applicants need their accountants to set up a shareholders composition certificate, detailing the company address, company name, and company NIT (Número de Identificación Tributaria) number. This must be completed before applying for the visa.

As well as this, the accountant will have to submit their own professional and personal ID, including a professional background check confirming their competency as a financial administrator. 

Use a well-skilled accounting service agency that is knowledgeable in the shareholder composition certificate process. 

Shareholder Composition Certificate
Shareholder Composition Certificate

What do you need to start a business in Colombia?

As a Foreigner, to start a business in Colombia you need to define a couple of this: 

Select the Legal Structure or company type for the organization

Draft the company bylaws

Obtain the N.I.T. (Numero de Identification Tributaria

Taxpayer's Identification Number (TIN)

Register the organization at the Chamber of Commerce

Chamber of Commerce Certificate
Chamber of Commerce Certificate

Open a bank account

Register the Foreign investment at Banco de la República

What are the different legal structures in Colombia?

Starting a business in Colombia requires certain actions. We highly recommend this guide we have created on How to do Business in Colombia. 

As any other country, there are different corporate types or different company types in Colombia. The most common company types are: 


It’s the most common company type, in Spanish called Sociedad por Acciones Simplificadas, its exact translation would be: Society by Stock Simplified. (Simplified Shares Company). It is a simple and flexible form of organisation
for small and large companies. The required number of partners is 
one or more natural or legal persons.


In Spanish, Sociedad Anónima, is a type of limited company in which a minimum 5 shareholders is required for it to exist. This business structure is ideal for structuring
large-scale business.


this type of business is one in which there is only on owner. The exact translation from the Spanish: Empresa Unipersonal would be: Sole Proprietorship. The liability of the employer is limited to
of the goods it contributes unless the enterprise is used to
defraud the law or harm third parties, where liability
falls on the personal assets of the business owner.

Although other company types might also adjust to other business types, they are rather uncommon. We suggest to get the help of an organization that can guide you appropriately on the matter to avoid roadblocks. 

Why should I use services? visa service

$ 350.00 USD
  • Includes immigration advice.
  • Document preparation and visa application.
  • Visa Registration / Application for "Cédula de Extranjería". (Appointment)

Create a Colombian company

$ 750.00 USD
  • Incorporation of a company in COLOMBIA
  • NIT Presentation
  • Initial accounting documents
  • Opening balance
  • RUT
  • Shareholder structure
  • *Prices do not include: VAT, Colombian state filing fees

Do you want to know how to do business and how the tax regime works in Colombia?

At we understand how important it is to have reliable information. Therefore, we invite you to fill out our form to receive the free official guide to your email.

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