From: Argentina
To: Anywhere
From: Argentina
To: Colombia
From: Anywhere
To: Colombia

Important: Be sure to check both general and product-based categories for relevant information. Product-based categories include parts and accessories unless otherwise specified. See disclaimer below and use independent care before relying on this information.

Colombia: Import (general)

General import regulations and requirements

Minimum Descriptions (MD) requirement:

Effective June 13, 2012, specific or technical descriptions (in Spanish) will be required for goods imported into Colombia.

Customs requires specific/technical information on imported goods as follows:

(Last updated on 2015-01-07)

Samples, low value and non-commercial importations

(Last updated on 2015-01-08)

Import customs tariff

Colombia is a signatory to a number of trade agreements resulting in a complex tariff system with applicable duties based on the different treaties in force. An import may be subject to more than 10 different import duty rates depending on its country of origin, the trade agreement in place between Columbia and that country or from a country with which Colombia has no trade agreement.

Most imports are subject to ad valorem duties on the CIF value of the goods.

Columbia is a member of several trade agreements, including:

For trade with countries outside these trade agreements, Colombia uses a tariff system based on the Harmonized Tariff System (HTS). Under this Common External Tariff (CET) there are four tariff levels: 5%, 10%, 15%, and 20% with exceptions for motor vehicles and certain agricultural products, which may be assessed at a higher rate. Certain goods are subject to the Andean Price Band System.

There are additional taxes and surcharges that may apply:

Hard-copies of the Columbian tariff schedule book, which includes all duties that may apply, can be ordered from:

(Last updated on 2015-06-17)

Customs valuation basis

Certain products are subject to specific duty rates. These products include cinematographic products as well as certain products from other LAIA countries.

For items subject to ad valorem duties, the WTO Customs Valuation Agreement applies. According to this agreement, there are six acceptable methods of determining customs value. Typically the first method is used (unless the buyer and seller are related parties). When the value cannot be obtained this way, or is rejected by customs, one of the other methods is to be used, in descending order:

  1. Transaction value (the price actually paid or payable by the importer, plus certain costs and expenses)
  2. Transaction value of identical goods
  3. Transaction value of similar goods
  4. Deductive value (the sale or resale value, reduced by certain costs such as customs duties, taxes, and commissions)
  5. Computed value (calculated by adding together certain costs/values for production, materials, profit and other expenses)
  6. Fall-back method

See additional information on the WTO website under WTO Customs Valuation.

(Last updated on 2015-06-17)

General import license/permit requirements

For certain commodities, including agricultural products, processed retail foodstuffs, pharmaceuticals, certain chemicals, weapons and other defense articles, tires, and used items an Import license is required. It is issued by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Calle 28, no. 13A - 15, Bogota; phone: +571 606 7676; fax: +571 606 7522

The following items may also require an import license: goods imported by government entities, goods exempted from duty, imports under grants or part of a direct investment.

Certain goods requiring an import license must be approved by the relevant ministry before the license will be issued.

Licenses are routinely denied for used cars, tires, and clothing; poultry products; and powdered milk, used bags and sacks, sacks of vegetable fibers, rags, and other items of textile material wastes.

Important: An import license contains the name of the authorized port of entry. Considerable expense and delay may result if the port of entry is not in accordance with the port shown on the import license.

(Last updated on 2015-06-17)

Prohibited or highly restricted imports

Prohibited articles include used clothing, used bags and sacks of vegetable fibers. The following may also be prohibited: narcotics and chemicals used to make narcotics, leaded gasoline, and toys that resemble weapons.

Colombia prohibits the import of hazardous wastes pursuant to the Basel Convention. For additional information see: Basel Convention Prohibitions (select country for details).

(Last updated on 2015-06-17)

Official customs/import information

Rules of origin are important in implementing such trade policy instruments as anti-dumping and countervailing duties, origin marking, and safeguard measures. Follow rules issued by WTO.

Check Member and Observer countries of World Trade Organization, Centre William Rappard, Rue de Lausanne, 154, CH-1211 Geneva 21, Switzerland; phone: +41 22 739 5111; fax: +41 22 731 4206; email:

(Last updated on 2015-04-02)

Foreign exchange controls and letters of credit

Foreign exchange is controlled by the central bank, the Banco de la República Colombia, Carrera 7, no. 14-78, POB 3551, Bogotá D.C.; phone: +571 220 3700; fax: +571 286 1686, +571 286 1731 and +571 334 7128

Some commercial banks, financial corporations, as well as some savings and loan corporations are authorized to administer foreign exchange.

The unit of currency is the COP = Colombian peso [₱] (subdivided into 100 centavos).

(Last updated on 2015-03-05)

Pre-shipment requirements

Certain goods are subject to standards and verification of conformity. For more information see: Verification of Conformity, and additional information under "Standards" in this guide.

(Last updated on 2015-06-19)

Commercial invoice

One original and three copies of the commercial invoice are required, typed and in Spanish. If the invoice is English, it must include a Spanish translation. Additional copies may be required by the importer for exchange purposes.

The invoice must conform to the information requirements described in this definition of commercial invoice.

The information stated on the commercial invoice must agree with information on the import registration and other documents.

The following declaration should be included on the commercial invoice in Spanish and signed by the shipper: "Declaramos bajo juramento que los precios de esta factura son FOB en el puerto de embarque, que son los mismos que cargamos al cliente y que la mercanica a que ella se refiere es originaria de __________ (country of origin). Y en fe de lo expuesto firmamos la presente declaracion en ________ (city, state) el ________ (date) de ________ (month) de ________ (year)." [Translation: "We declare under oath that these invoice prices are FOB port of shipment, which are the same as charged to the customer and the merchandise to which it refers is originally from __________ (country of origin). And in testimony of the above we signed this statement in ________ (city, state) on ________ (date) of ________ (month) of ________ (year)."]

For more information on preparing and distributing commercial invoices, see GISTnet headings: Commercial Invoice and Shipping Document Distribution Based on Specific Functional Needs.

For airfreight shipments, documents in most cases should accompany the cargo AWB.

For non-commercial shipments, prepare a pro-forma invoice, typed and in Spanish or in English with a Spanish translation.

The importer may require a pro-forma invoice from the manufacturer, signed and stamped by an authorized agent in Colombia, for import registration purposes.

(Last updated on 2015-06-17)

Packing list

A packing list is recommended to facilitate customs clearance.

In general, even when it is not required regulation, it is recommended that a packing list be used with all shipments containing more than one shipping unit of packaged cargo. Most countries require a packing list be provided together with the commercial invoice. The required information must be consistent with all information shown on the commercial invoice.

At least three (3) copies of the packing list should be included as part of the shipping documents sent to the consignee or the agent thereof. The exact contents of each package should be clearly identified. This should include each item's gross weight and net weight and each package's marks and numbers.

(Last updated on 2015-05-19)

Transport document

A properly prepared transport document is required for transportation purposes and as a source document for Customs clearance.

Three (3) originals and one copy of the bill of lading (B/L) are required. An additional copy B/L showing the FOB value in USD (United States Dollar) and COL (Colombian Peso) should be marked "For Colombian Customs Purposes Only." The exporter should confirm with the Colombian importer if additional non-negotiable copies of the B/L are needed.

The information on a bill of lading must include the following:

Note: For detailed information on completing a bill of lading see interactive bill of lading exhibit. (Scroll down to see the form, and click on any field for details on the information that goes in that box.)

For air cargo, an airwaybill (AWB) replaces the bill of lading used for ocean freight. For airwaybills, nine (9) copies on a standard IATA form are required.

(Last updated on 2015-04-13)

Certificate of Origin (general)

In general, a certificate of origin (CO, C/O) is not required.

Should C/O be required by import license, by commercial agreements or by stipulation of a letter of credit (L/C), the original and three copies (all notarized) must be provided. Notarized documents must be certified by a recognized chamber of commerce. Consular legalization is strongly recommended.

The importer may require additional copies of the certificate of origin for exchange purposes.

(Last updated on 2015-01-07)

Official cargo insurance requirements

Shipments must be insured in Colombia (except for U.S. Agency for International Development (US AID) shipments).

(Last updated on 2015-06-17)

Wood packing materials

The International Standards for Phytosanitary Measures No. 15 (ISPM 15) have been adopted by this country. All Wood Packing Material (WPM) must be made from debarked wood, which needs be treated and certified according to ISPM-15. The wood is to be stamped with the internationally standard ISPM-15 mark.

Review Guidelines for Regulating Wood Packaging Material in International Trade, issued by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), Plant Protection Service, U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, I-00100 Rome, Italy; fax: +39 6 570 56347; email:

Contact: Proteccion Vegetal (Plant Protection), Colombian Ministry of Agriculture, Carraro 41 N 17-81, Zona Industrial Puente Arancla, Bogota; phone: +571 332 3700 (ext 1301); fax: +571 332 3700 (ext. 1302); email:; also check information provided by Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario (Columbian Agricultural Institute).

General Information:

For a listing of countries that have adopted ISPM-15 requirements see:

For IPPC contact information by country see: International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC), and select "Countries".

(Last updated on 2015-04-30)

Product packaging/labeling requirements

Specific product marks or labels are not required, except for food products (meat and poultry), pharmaceuticals, insecticides, and textiles.

There are special labeling requirements for food, pharmaceuticals, insecticides, cleaning products, toxic products, textiles, cigarettes, and acetic acid. Food labels must include country of origin, in addition to other product details.

Additional product packaging and/or labeling requirements may apply to particular types of products. Refer to the product-based information herein for the product you are considering to import or export. An exporter should also verify with its prospective importer in the destination country as to requirements for a specific product to be shipped.

(Last updated on 2013-11-30)


Product standards are regulated by the Instituto Colombiano de Normas Tecnicas y Certificacion [ICONTEC] (Colombia Standards Institute), Carrera 37, no. 52-95, Edificio ICONTEC, POB 14237, CO-Bogotá, DC; phone: +57 1 607 8888; fax: +57 1 222 1435; email: direccion@icontec.orgWeb: (web-site in Spanish only)

Also see Colombia (ICONTEC) ISO membership.

Note: Goods subject to mandatory standards are determined and listed by the National Council on Standards and Quality. Goods subject to mandatory standards must be in compliance with Colombian technical standards, and require a Certificate of Conformity and Manufacturers. Such goods must be tested by and importers must be registered with the Superintendencia SIC (Industry and Commerce Superintendency), 1st, 3rd through 7th + 10th floors, Carrera 13, no. 27 - 00, Bogota, DC; phone: +57 1 587 0000; fax: +57 1 587 0284 (web-site in Spanish only)

Also see Verification of Conformity (Cotecna).

(Last updated on 2015-06-19)

ATA carnets

The ATA Carnet currently is not accepted in this country.

An ATA Carnet is obtained in the country from which the goods are to be first exported (see list of participating countries). Initiating and governing authority for ATA Carnets is the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), 38, Cours Albert 1er, F-75008 Paris, France; phone: +33 149 532828; fax: +33 149 532859

Note: An ATA Carnet is typically accepted for Commercial Samples, Exhibitions and Fairs, and/or Professional Equipment. An ATA Carnet does not cover perishable or consumable items, nor goods for processing or repair. Some countries are more restrictive in the scope of allowances for temporary imports covered by ATA Carnet. It is recommended that prior verification be made with the issuing agency.

(Last updated on 2014-12-29)

Temporary imports

Temporary imports: Products can be imported into Colombia on a temporary basis provided they are specifically marked not to be sold.

They are to be re-exported by the end of the pre-authorized period without having been altered.

Short-term temporary imports may remain in Colombia free of duty for six months (with one 3-month extension).

Prior authorization must be obtained and a guarantee must be presented for 10 percent of the applicable duties.

Long-term temporary imports are permitted for up to five years for machinery, equipment, and parts used for public works projects or other projects intended for national economic and social development, and equipment imported under leasing contracts.

Duties must be calculated for the entire period, but may be divided into equal amounts to be paid semi-annually. These duties are non-refundable. A guarantee for 100 % of the duties may be required.

(Last updated on 2015-01-07)

Important: Exercise independent care before relying on information contained herein. Although we strive to ensure all information is correct and current, GISTnet assumes no liability for detrimental reliance on this information. Trade requirements may change with little or no prior notification, de-facto requirements in certain countries vary from official regulations, and particular shipments and/or importers may have special destination customs arrangements. We encourage you to check with the importer or its customs agent in the destination country for specific importation requirements for specific products and circumstances. We ask your help with feedback ( concerning information which may be outdated or incomplete.