Basic Information

 

Currency and exchange rates

The Colombian peso is the country’s sole currency.

Entering the country with foreign currency

Persons entering or leaving the country may carry up to $10,000 USD or the equivalent in other currencies.  This amount, which is personal and non-transferable, is not subject to declaration or taxes.

To bring more than $10,000 into the country, you must use a transport company or an exchange market intermediary (bank or currency exchange agency, among others), who will declare the corresponding exchanges.  These transactions are not subject to taxes but transportation expenses and/or intermediation is.  The exchange market intermediary are capable of buying international currencies and convert them to Colombian pesos

If you bring in assets valued at over $10,000 (ex. traveler’s checks or bonds) they must be declared with the Internal Revenue Office and National Customs-DIAN. The traveler is responsible for filing this declaration, not the airline or other transporter.

Non-residents of Colombia can open checking or savings accounts in the country.

Entering funds in this way is not considered a foreign investment.

Foreign investment

The following is considered foreign investment:

Contribution to company capital through purchase of shares, stock, premiums, convertible bonds or other income representative of company capital.

The purchase of autonomous patrimonial rights as a means of developing a company (ex: investing in Colombian films)

The purchase of real estate, stock in real estate, securitization or through real estate funds.

Investment in branches founded in Colombia by foreign legal entities.

Portfolio investments (foreign capital investment funds in stock, convertible bonds in stock and other assets)

Foreign investment enjoys the following rights:

Transfer of net utilities from the investment outside the country – amounts received from disposal of investment in the country or by liquidation of the company or portfolio

Reinvestment of utilities or capitalization of funds and permission to transfer outside country

Foreign investment must be registered with the Central Bank, which in some cases may be done by an exchange intermediary (ex: banks)

Banks in Colombia

There is an extensive banking network in Colombia including national banks and foreign capitaol institutions (Banco de Bogotá, Banco Popular, Bancolombia, Banco de Occidente, Banco Caja Social, Banco Davivienda, Banco Colpatria, Banagrario, AV Villas, Banco Santander, Helm Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland, CITIBANK, HSBC, GNB Sudameris, BBVA) with branches throughout the country.

Branch banking and ATM machines are available in all Colombian cities and many small towns and municipalities.

Banks operate between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday and certain offices in large cities offer extended office hours from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and on Saturday mornings.

Credit cards

All major international credit cards (Visa, Master Card, American Express, etc.) are accepted in Colombia when purchasing goods and services.  However, this service is often unavailable in provincial businesses far from major cities where you may have to pay in cash.

Currency exchanges

Major cities have currency exchanges where international currency can be bought and sold. These currency exchanges fix purchase and sales prices of foreign currency based on market tendencies, which may be higher or lower than the official exchange rate.

Consular offices and embassies

Colombia has embassies in forty seven countries and consular offices and sections in ninety two cities around the world:

Colombian Embassies and Consular Offices abroad

Cancilleria de Colombia – Link to Colombian Embassies and Consular Offices abroad

Directory of Consular Offices and Embassies in Colombia

Cancilleria de Colombia – Directory

Video format

  • Colombia uses the NTSC system.
  • PAL-standard decks are uncommon.

Electricity

The national energy grid distributes electricity to most of the country including its remotest corners. Colombia exports electricity to other countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador and certain parts of Central America.  Voltage is 110-120 v/60hz, as in the United States.

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Security

Colombia’s National Police and Army are responsible for security including citizen protection and the guarding of private and public property.  The Film Commission recommends certain parts of the country for audiovisual production.  If you are interested in producing in Colombia, the Film Commission will provide detailed information on security conditions at chosen locations.

National Police

Police are present in all departments, regions, cities and municipalities and work together with Mayors’ Offices.  We recommend contacting local authorities anywhere audiovisual production is taking place to request information regarding necessary protection and security for each project.

Firefighters

All cities and most villages have fire stations.  We recommend notifying fire prevention authorities of security requirements for any national or foreign audiovisual project anywhere in Colombia.

Private security companies

There are several private security companies in Colombia.  Some of them provide national coverage but most operate within their own regions.  Each company offers a portfolio of services including personal and company security services such as logistics, body guards, security systems, equipment, bullet-proofing of cars and bullet-proof car rental, etc.

Health

A network of hospitals around the country provides general and emergency health services to millions of people.

Clinics and hospitals

Clinics and hospitals: Besides departmental, municipal and university clinics and hospitals, there are many private clinics and hospitals offering a variety of medical services.

Major cities boast internationally prestigious clinics and there is great demand from foreign clients for medical services related to heart conditions (University of Antioquia Hospital in Medellín); optometry and ophthalmology (Barraquer Clinic Bogotá); orthodontia; and plastic surgery in cities such as Bogotá, Medellín y Cali.

Telecommunications

The country, and its regions, cities and villages in general, feature complete telecommunications services including corporate satellite communications, broadband Internet services for all needs, mobile phones, radio-telephones, internal local, regional, national and international telephone circuits.

Telephones / mobile phones

Several companies offer mobile phone services with national and international coverage: Comcel, Movistar and Tigo.  Avantel (radiotelephone and mobile) service is also available.

Internet

Several companies provide a variety of subscription Internet services (cable, wireless, etc).  Some cities such as Bucaramanga enjoy free citywide Internet service.  In smaller cities and villages Internet services are available in Internet cafes.