The Colombian government issued the customs regime in Decree 1165 of 2019. This rule was published in the Official Gazette No. 51.002 of July 2, 2019, consequently, under article 775, it enter into force on August 1 of the same year.
The rules governing the transport of merchandise by travelers entering Colombia from abroad are articles 266 to 287 of the new decree. These rules are enforced by Customs officials (DIAN), and state:
Travelers can enter unlimited and without declaring their personal effects. These are defined in Article 3 as follows:
“They are all new or used items that a traveler or a crew member may need for their personal use in the course of the trip, taking into account the circumstances of the trip, that are in their accompanied or unaccompanied baggage, or carry them on themselves or in their hand luggage, excluding any merchandise that constitutes commercial delivery”.
On the other hand, there is merchandise different of personal effects, which can be entered with a limitation it can not exceed ten (10) units of the same class because after that number it is considered commercial delivery and this is not allowed in this type of goods importation.
For cell phones, Decree 2025 of 2015 establishes:
“Smart mobile phones and mobile cell phones may be imported when the traveler takes them with him at the time of entry into the national customs territory and which are part of his personal effects, in quantity not exceeding three (3) units”.
There are two types of quotas of merchandise different from personal effects that a traveler can bring to Colombia:
a) Import without duty (no taxes, no declaration required): This means that you can enter any merchandise other than personal effects, that does not exceed 10 items of the same class and with a value limit of USD 2000 in total for all the goods to bring.
b) With the payment of the single tax: The traveler who meets certain conditions, can enter USD 3000 more in goods, paying a single tax of 15% on the value of this, conditions:
i. Have stayed abroad for at least five (5) days.
ii. Cannot exceed three (3) additional units of each of the following goods: articles for domestic use whether or not electric, sporting goods, items necessary for the profession, art, or craft.
iii. Othe types of items up to ten (10) units of the same class of other articles for personal or family use.
iv. Have declared these products correctly in the form provided for it by Customs.
v. Be performed by the same person, only once each year.
The quotas are individual and non-transferable. For minors, they are reduced by 50%.
The customs authority (DIAN) prepared a declaration format that would be one per family group traveling together, but the quotas indicated are still individual.
It is not mandatory to declare the merchandise with no duty (quota a), but declaring the merchandise with payment of the single tax (quota b) is mandatory to be entitled to this benefit.
The payment of the single tax of 15% has to be made in the financial institutions authorized by the DIAN in the ports, airports, or border crossings.
4. Goods not allowed:
The entry of transport material described in Chapters 86, 87, 88, and 89 of the Colombian Customs Tariff is forbidden, except:
8712.00.00.00 Bicycles and other velocipedes (including delivery tricycles), without an engine.
8713.10.00.00 Wheelchairs and other vehicles for disabled people, without propulsion mechanism
8713.90.00.00 Other wheel seats and other vehicles for disabled people, whether or not having an engine or other propulsion mechanism
8715. 00.10.00 Cars, chairs, and similar vehicles for the transport of children
5. Non-compliance consequences:
If merchandise subject to the single tax is not declared it will be confiscated.
If the merchandise subject to the single tax is declared but does not meet the established conditions, customs (DIAN) will transfer the merchandise to a warehouse to its ordinary importation with all the duties and requirements applicable in Colombia, for which the traveler needs to have all the necessary documentation otherwise, he must leave it in abandonment.
6. Additional Aspects.
The products purchased in the Duty-Free, are part of the indicated quotas.
Pets cannot exceed the established product numbers and must take into account the requirements of the animal health authority in Colombia: ICA.
Money and securities must follow the rules established by the Bank of the Republic.
7. Final notes.
It is very important that the traveler entering Colombia is informed of these rules and meets the conditions to avoid problems and delays in case of a random check of luggage.
The customs have the power to demand the invoices of the products to be able to determine their value, so we recommend keeping them to facilitate the processes.
Text in Spanish in: https://www.decconsultores.com/mercanciaviajeros/