Legal Procedure

Find out about the legal procedures involved when setting up a business in Colombia...

The legal procedure for creating a business varies slightly from city to city, since the main authority in this matter is the local Chamber of Commerce, but standardization of the process country-wide allows for a generic step by step guide:

  • Name Check: The first step is an online check that shows if the selected name of the company exists and is already registered. This can be done online on the RUES website (in Spanish). When registering a brand, the brand check is also required and can be done on the SIC website (in Spanish)
  • Company Byelaws: Write and prepare the company byelaws, which regulate the relationship between the business partners and the company. These byelaws are best written by a lawyer or accountant with expertise in the field
  • Chamber of Commerce Registration: To register with the Chamber of Commerce, it is necessary to go to a local Chamber of Commerce office with a copy of the company byelaws, filled out registration forms that can be found at the office, and the ID of the legal representative and substitute. The process takes three days to complete and involves costs depending on the type of business structure and starting capital; the result of this process is a pre-taxpayer ID known as Pre RUT
  • Bank Account: The legal representative of the company must approach the office of a bank of their choosing and open a bank account. A savings account is the fastest and easiest one to open. Once this is done, the company receives the bank account certificate
  • DIAN Registration: Having obtained the bank account certificate, the next step in the procedure is to go to the local tax offices (DIAN) and obtain the final Taxpayer ID or RUT
  • Chamber of Commerce formalisation: Consists of bringing the final RUT to the Chamber of Commerce, in order to transform the certificate of existence of the company from temporary to permanent, and to register the company’s books
  • Invoice Resolution: Request at the DIAN offices for a resolution that will allow the company to generate invoices
  • Social Security Registration (when hiring employees): Employees must be registered in the public health system, for pensions with Colpensiones for a private pension fund, with a severance fund, and the company must be registered with the Administration of Professional Risks (ARL), Family Compensation Fund, Governmental Learning Service (SENA), and the Colombian Family Institute (ICBF).

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Information provided by Jose Ignacio Rojas of JL CONSULTING SAS Address: Calle 168 Nº. 9-71. Zona Norte Tel: 320 4911688 e-mail Copyright © 2014 JL CONSULTING SAS All Rights Reserved