How To Import Machinery


According to customs rules imports are defined as the entry of goods into the “national customs territory” from the rest of the world, or from a Free Trade Zone, permanently or temporarily for a specific task or purpose.

Principal Types of Imports in Colombia:


Ordinary Imports:

  • The majority of imports into Colombia are ordinary imports. Once the importer has completed all customs procedures, under this type of importation, the importer in Colombia receives the goods cleared for their use.
  • Import returns may be subject to revisions three years after the filing and acceptance date, and constitute the document that evidences the legal entry of goods to the national customs territory.

Temporary imports

  • Temporary imports for subsequent re-exportation in the same condition: 
    Corresponds to the import of certain goods that must be exported in the same conditions as they entered the national customs territory within a specific period of time, that is, without having undergone any modifications, except for the normal depreciation originated in their use. Under this type of import, applicable customs duties (tariffs and VAT) are suspended. Taking into account that under this regime, goods are in a restrictive disposition, their sale can only be fulfilled as long as the goods are nationalized, and therefore, change their import regime.
    The temporary imports to be re-exported in the same condition may be of two subtypes:
    • Short-Term: Applicable when goods are imported to meet specific needs. The maximum import term will be six months, extendable for up to three additional months, and in exceptional situations for up to three additional months with prior authorization from DIAN. VAT or customs duties are not payable on this type of temporary imports.
    • Long-term: Applies to the imports of capital goods and any accessory or spare parts, as long as they constitute one single shipment. The maximum term for these imports is five years. Customs duties will be deferred in biannual installments which must be paid only while the goods are within the national customs territory.
  • Temporary imports for inward processing:
    Pursuant to the Customs Statute, the permitted types of temporary imports for inward processing are the following:
    • Temporary import for active perfecting of capital goods: Customs duties will be suspended to allow the temporary imports of capital goods, their spare and repair parts, for repair and reconditioning for a term of no more than six months, which can be extended for an additional six-month term, after which, the goods must be re-exported. The local sale of such goods is restricted according to the customs provisions in force. 
    • Temporary import for inward processing: Allows the temporary imports of raw materials and supplies that will be subject to transformation, processing or industrial manufacture by industries recognized as “Highly Exporting Users” (ALTEX in Spanish) and “Permanent Customs Users” (UAP in Spanish). Under this type of importation, it is allowed not to pay custom taxes on such raw materials and supplies provided they are used as added value in goods for exportation. The local sale of such goods will be restricted according to the customs provisions in force.


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Proexport Colombia  is the bureau in charge of tourism, foreign investment and export promotion in Colombia.

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