In Colombia, all merchandise coming from outside the country is subject to customs obligations upon entry. Obligations include presentation of an import declaration, payment of customs tariffs and any applicable sanctions as well as the obligation to obtain and preserve documentation supporting the transaction and presentation of these documents should customs authorities so require.

Colombian legislation recognizes several forms of import transactions resulting in free exploitation of the merchandise in question.

To facilitate film and audiovisual work in Colombia, legislation has established the following preferential treatment in customs houses:

  • With authorization to make a foreign film from the Ministry of Culture (Link to Permits), necessary film equipment and materials may be imported for periods of 6 months, renewable for an additional 6 moths.
  • Consumable goods such as film, lights or batteries can be imported with the same obligation to re-export them.
  • This type of temporary import generates no customs duties (tariffs, taxes or other duties), as long as property is re-exported to its country of origin before the allotted authorization expires. In all cases, transportation, storage and cargo expenses must be paid.
  • With authorization from the Ministry of Culture, no guarantee is required for temporary imports.

Likewise, non-residents arriving to the country (maximum 6 months, renewable) to participate in cinematographic productions may bring in articles for personal or professional use without payment of customs duties; as long as they are declared at the time they are brought in and re-exported.

Film may be temporarily imported (prints and developing established in Tax Memo 3706), with no duties, taxes or customs tariffs with all the incentives of the “short-term temporary import” regulations for a period of 6 months, renewable one time only. In this manner, for example, films for exhibition at festivals or temporary events can be imported, as well as all those coming into the country to be re-exported to their country of origin, including foreign films.

All professional materials and equipment for film production and blank film or film printed with image and sound are qualified as “special delivery” by customs.

Although other “special delivery” cases are subject to a guarantee, this is not true for film authorized by the Ministry of Culture.

Import and export processes must be carried out by a customs agents (there are some 100 authorized agencies), except when merchandise is valued at less than $1,000 USD.

The National Tax and Customs Office (DIAN) is responsible for authorizing airports and ports for imports and exports.