(May 13, 2021) On May 5, 2021, the Colombian government began the first phase of registering Venezuelan citizens under the Temporary Statute of Protection for Venezuelan Migrants (TSPVM), which was adopted under Decreto 216/2021 of March 1, 2021.
According to Migración Colombia, the Colombian government agency in charge of immigration, about 54% of Venezuelans in Colombia, almost 800,000, do not have legal immigration status.
The TSPVM is the new regulatory framework applicable to the regularization of the immigration status of all Venezuelans who arrived in the country before January 31, 2021, allowing them an easier integration into Colombian society. According to the Colombian government, the TSPVM is a complementary mechanism to the international refugee protection regime that offers protection to people fleeing their country of origin and who are in a highly vulnerable situation.
TSPVM Three-Phase Registration Process
To register for the program, the applicant must first access the Migración Colombia website at www.migracioncolombia.gov.co/visibles, where they use a link to create a user name; fill out personal data, including country, city, and state of birth; and upload a document-type photograph. At this phase of the registration, the applicant must provide his or her contact information, address, and cell phone number in Colombia.
Once the application is processed, the Venezuelan migrant has 10 years to obtain a resident visa. (Decreto 216/2021, art. 2.) Additionally, as a measure to discourage irregularity of immigration status, the TSPVM applies to Venezuelan migrants who wish to remain temporarily in the national territory and who “[enter] Colombian territory in a regular manner through the respective legally authorized Immigration Control Post, complying with the requirements established in the immigration regulations, during the first two (2) years of validity of this Statute.” (Decreto 216/2021, art. 4.4.)
The director of Migration Colombia, Juan Francisco Espinosa, noted that the registration process is completely free and does not require advice or agents to complete. Moreover, the first phase of registration may be processed remotely throughout the country using electronic terminals, such as smart phones.
The second phase, which will begin in September 2021, will require the presence of the applicants in order to take their photographs and fingerprints and get an iris scan to verify and record the migrants’ identity.
The third and last phase, which will begin in October 2021, involves the delivery of the identity and immigration documents.
Once the process is completed, the applicant will be issued a Temporary Protection Permit (Permiso de Protección Temporal (PPT)), which will give its holder a special legal immigration status and allow him or her to work in the country. (Decreto 216/2021, art. 11.)