Colombia company registration


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Since 2003, Healy Consultants Group has assisted our Clients with business registration in Colombia. Our services include i) Colombia business registration ii) government license registration iii) Colombia corporate bank account opening services iv) employee recruitment v) visa strategies for foreign employees and vi) Colombia office rental solutions.

Summary LLC Fast solution LLC SLC Free zone LLC Representative office Branch office
Also known as Ltda. Fast solution LLC SAS FTZ Oficina de representacion Sucursal
Best use of company? All products and services Close a customer deal now All products and services Manufacturing and export trading Marketing & research Specific projects
How soon can you invoice Clients/sign sales contracts? 6 weeks 3 weeks 2 months 4 weeks 6 weeks 7 weeks
How soon can you hire staff? 6 weeks 3 weeks 2 months 4 weeks 6 weeks 7 weeks
How soon can you sign a lease agreement? 6 weeks 3 weeks 2 months 4 weeks 6 weeks 7 weeks
How long to supply corporate bank account numbers? 3 months 2 months 3 months 2 months 3 months 3 months
How long to supply company registration/tax numbers? 6 weeks 3 weeks 2 months 4 weeks 6 weeks 7 weeks
Corporate tax rate on annual net profits? 35% 35% 35% 20% 0% 35%
Limited liability entity? Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Government incentives available? Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Government approval required for foreign owners? No No No No No No
Resident legal representative required? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Minimum paid up share capital? US$1 US$1 US$1 US$1 none none
Can bid for government contracts? Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Corporate bank account location? Standard Chartered Banco de Bogota BBVA Santander Bank Banco AV Villas Davivienda
Can secure trade finance? Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
VAT payable on sales to local customers? 19% 19% 19% 0% None 19%
Average total business set up engagement costs? US$14,390 US$27,740 US$13,772 US$17,740 US$16,200 US$17,200
Average total engagement period? 4 months 6 months 5 months 4 months 4 months 4 months

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Accounting and tax considerations LLC Fast solution LLC SLC Free zone LLC Representative office Branch office
Statutory corporate tax payable? 35% 35% 35% 20% 0% 35%
Legally tax exempt if properly structured? No No No No N/A No
Group HQ tax incentives? Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Must file an annual tax return? Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Must file annual financial statements? Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Must appoint an auditor? No No No No No Yes
Access to double taxation treaties? Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Withholding tax on payments to foreign shareholders? 5% 5% 5% 5% None 5%
Company Registration LLC Fast solution LLC SLC Free zone LLC Representative office Branch office
Resident legal representative required? Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Minimum number of shareholders/partners? 2 1 1 1 Parent company Parent company
Maximum shareholding for foreigners? 100% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
Minimum statutory paid up share capital? US$1 US$1 US$1 US$1 none none
Legal reserve to be kept with government? Yes Yes No No Yes Yes
Shelf companies available? Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Time to incorporate a new entity? 6 weeks 3 weeks 2 months 4 weeks 6 weeks 7 weeks
Can easily convert to a PLC? Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Public register of shareholders and directors? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Can have preference shareholders? Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Business Considerations LLC Fast solution LLC SLC Free zone LLC Representative office Branch office
Good entity for trademark registration? Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Can secure an import and export license? Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes

Sponsorship by a local citizen required? No
Our Client needs to travel to Colombia for business set up? No
Temporary physical office solutions available? Yes
You need a local resident as bank signatory? No
Can be wholly foreign owned? Yes
The entity will likely be regulated by? Chamber of Commerce
Minimum number of directors/managers? 1
Bi-monthly/quarterly VAT reporting to the government? Yes
Must sign an office lease agreement during incorporation? No
Shareholders & directors documents to be attested/translated? Yes
Each foreign director needs a personal income tax number? No
Foreign director needs a residence visa? No
Maximum number of staff allowed? No maximum number for any entity
Expatriate to local staff ratio? None
Can secure residence visa for business owner? Yes
Other useful information
What will be included in my customer sales invoice? Click link
This country has signed free trade agreements? Yes
This country is a member of WIPO/TRIPS? Yes
This country is a member of the ICSID? Yes
Average custom duties suffered? 4.5%
Government foreign investment approval required? No
Average monthly office rental? (US$ per sq m) 13-21
Minimum statutory monthly salary? US$246
Average monthly US$ salary for local skilled employees? 1,400
US$ deposit interest rate? (1 year average) 6.8%
Overseas remittance currency controls? Yes
Banking considerations
Multi-currency bank accounts available? Yes
Corporate visa debit cards available? Yes
Quality of e-banking platform? Good
Crowd funding available in this country? Yes

Colombia business setup summary

Press the link headings below to read detailed, relevant, up to date information.

  • Advantages of Colombia company registration

    Business registration services in Colombia

    1. It is possible to register a Colombia simplified limited company (SAS) with only one shareholder and one director. Both can be of any nationality and do not need to be resident of Colombia. The minimum paid-up capital required is only US$1 and our Clients do not need to travel to complete the engagement;
    2. Entrepreneurs starting a company in Colombia will benefit from a large domestic markets and opportunities to sell their products abroad because:
      • With approximately 47 million inhabitants, the republic of Colombia has the 3rd largest population and the 4th largest economy in Latin America after Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. Colombia also offers entrepreneurs access to 5 major commercial hubs: Bogota, Cali, Barranquilla, Cartagena and Medellin;
      • Entrepreneurs starting a new business in Colombia will find an increased amount of opportunities, as the country experienced strong and encouraging economic growth in recent years. For instance, the annual GDP growth rate in 2014 was 4.6%. Learn more about the growth opportunity in Colombia on Healy Consultants’ blog;
      • The republic of Colombia has signed several Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with different countries including Canada, USA, Mexico and the EU;
      • Colombia has the advantage of having two coastlines, in Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. This is greatly beneficial to the shipping industry and businesses engaged in import/export activities;
    3. Due to improvements in trade, tax and investment freedom, Colombia now ranks as the 3rd freest economy out of 29 South and Central American economies;
    4. Colombia currently boasts over 100 Free Trade Zones (FTZs), the most competitive FTZs in Latin America with a reduced corporate tax rate of 20%;
    5. Colombia has an extensive financial system consisting of highly sophisticated institutions including the commercial banks, dominating the economy. In 2009-2011, the Colombian government carried out a Financial market resilience and capital market development which i) changed the traditional banking structure of the economy, ii) enabled its economy to recover financially and iii) alleviated poverty.
  • Disadvantages of Colombia company registration

    1. Our Clients forming a company in Colombia will face the following difficulties during start-up phase:
      • In order to incorporate a Colombia business entity, foreigners are required to appoint at least one Colombia permanent resident as the legal representative of the company in the country. If required, Healy Consultants will provide nominee services for this position;
      • Incorporating a company in Colombia is complex and time consuming, marred with government corruption and bureaucracy and can take up to four months to successfully complete;
      • Getting electricity for a new establishment in Colombia is quite expensive and time consuming. Entrepreneurs should expect to pay at least US$35,000 and wait for up to 4 months for a new electric connection;
    2. Our Clients running a Colombian business will pay a high level of tax because:
      • Colombia companies are subject to i) a corporate tax at the rate of up to 35% ii) a 20% withholding tax on dividends distributed abroad (branch office only) and iii) VAT of 16% on sales in the country;
      • Even companies established in the Colombia Free Trade Zones are subject to a 20% corporate tax;
    3. Trading across borders in Colombia can be very costly to entrepreneurs. Exporting a single container can cost an average of US$2,355 while importing costs US$2,470. Additionally it takes an average 14 days to successfully import or export a container;
    4. The legal system in Colombia is quite inefficient and weak. Enforcing a legal contract may take more than 3 years in the courts;
    5. Colombia has a very low proficiency in English, placed at position 77 out of 111 jurisdictions according to the English proficiency index 2022. This means that entrepreneurs will find it difficult interacting with potential Clients or business partners;
    6. Colombia has been poorly ranked in the 91th position (out of 180 countries) in the Corruption Perceptions Index 2022. This is largely due to a fall in its government efficiency along with numerous cases of corruption that are currently under investigation;
    7. Any foreign national who wishes to be appointed as bank signatory must travel to Colombia to a i) secure Colombian visa (cedula) and tax ID (RUT) and ii) be appointed as legal representative;
    8. Due to stringent anti-money laundering policies, initially Colombian banks will only open a Colombian Pesos (COP) account for our Client’s local company. A USD corporate bank account opening application will only be considered after reviewing the first 6-month transactions through the local pesos account. If our Client is required to have a USD account and cannot wait for 6 months, Healy Consultants Group will assist secure USD corporate account numbers with a Payment Service Provider or Exchange House;
    9. The foreign bank signatory to a Colombian corporate bank account must have a Colombian ID or work or residency visa (cedula) before being appointed as bank signatory to the bank account. If required, our fee to assist secure a Colombian ID will be US$3,950 and the estimated timeframe to obtain the same is 8 weeks. Alternatively, Healy Consultants can supply a passive nominee bank signatory for an additional monthly fee of US$550/month. If our Client requires active nominee bank signatory services additional, our fees will depend on the number and value of monthly transactions. Refer to this webpage for guidance (click link).

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For additional information on our company registration services in Colombia, please contact our in-house country expert, Ms. Chrissi Zamora, directly:
client relationship officer - Chrissi
Guide to invest in Colombia free trade zone