Relocating to Colombia

Relocating to Colombia
Updated 2017-09-18 12:02

Moving is stressful and requires good planning. A shipping company will greatly reduce the stress of moving your belongings internationally as they will coordinate both the removal of your things as well as all documents needed to clear customs. If moving to Colombia, this is especially important if you do not speak an intermediate level of Spanish.

International Shipping Companies

Choosing an international moving company is an important decision, as they will oversee the packing and shipment of your belongs, all necessary paperwork, and storage or delivery to the new destination. Therefore, it's recommended that expats use carriers affiliated with the International Federation of International Movers (FIDI).

Once chosen, the shipping company will come to your home for an estimate. To ensure an accurate estimate, it's important to go through your belongings and separate what you'll be bringing with you before they arrive. Be prepared to point out items which may require special care. Before removal, you'll also need to provide a comprehensive list of items and their value. This is a requirement for insurance as well as for customs forms. On a scheduled date, your things will be packaged for transport and removed from your home.

Take time to consider what to bring with you to Colombia. Appliances and electronics can be expensive, as well as certain home goods such as linens. Wood and leather furniture is relatively less expensive. Exito, Tugo (similar to IKEA), and HomeCenter are large stores which sell different furnishings. In addition, mid-sized and large cities will offer a wide variety of smaller artisanal shops selling handmade dishes, decor, and furniture.

Transporting Belongings

Personal goods are shipped to Colombia in two ways, either via air shipment or sea. In order to import household goods, you must have lived outside of Colombia for a minimum of two years prior to arrival and not imported household goods in the past seven years. A Certificate of Residence issued by the Colombian Consulate is needed to prove foreign residency.

Shipping method is usually determined by size (measured in cubic meters), with larger shipments arriving by sea.à Shipments may arrive 30 days before your scheduled arrival or up to 120 days after. However, the owner must be present in the country at the time of customs clearance.à All shipments will be thoroughly inspected andà are subject to duties, taxes, and sales tax.

Be sure to check with a Colombian Embassy or your relocation company for a list of prohibited and restricted items. For instance, items like tobacco and alcohol have import restrictions and the importing of used cars in prohibited.


Any household goods imported may not be sold for up to one year after importation.

Moving with Pets

Pets are an important part of the family and the good news is that most cats and dogs can travel to Colombia without issue. Pets can be transported by plane in-cabin, in the cargo hold or via a licensed commercial shipper. Generally, the size and breed of the pet will determine the method of shipping.

Each pet must have a rabies vaccine and a health certificate from a licensed veterinarian. The health certificate must be dated within ten days of travel. Pets other than dogs and cats must have an import permit issued by the Colombian Ministry of Agriculture.

While there is no quarantine for dogs and cats, birds require a 21-day quarantine supervised by a Ministry of Agriculture veterinarian.


Colombia strictly prohibits the importation of the Staffordshire Terrier, Pit Bull Terrier, and the American Pit Bull Terrier breeds. This includes any crosses or hybrids.

Useful Links:

Colombian Ministry of Agriculture - Pet Import Requirements (English)
Colombian embassies abroad
International Federation of International Removers (FIDI)
IATA - Colombia's customs regulations

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