Colombia to grant legal status to some Venezuelans

Venezuelans arriving legally to Colombia before Feb. 2 qualify for legal status

By Cody Weddle, Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer
Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia

CUCUTA, Colombia - After a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos was set to announce Wednesday a change in Colombia's immigration policy toward Venezuelan refugees.

Venezuelans who entered Colombia legally before Feb. 2 will be able to request a special permit online that will allow them to work, study and access the health system. The process is free until June 7. 

Applicants must not have a criminal record or have an deportation order. The permit is valid for 90 days and can be extended for a maximum of two years.

Colombian immigration authorities recently estimated that in the last year, some 150,000 Venezuelans were in the country illegally, about 263,000 were on transit to another country and some 632,000 traveled back and forth to buy food, hygiene products and medications. 

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