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How To Import LED Lights To Colombia
How To Import LED Lights To Colombia

Importing LED lights to Colombia is a multi-step process that’s governed by a number of regulations. If you intend to start importing LED lights into Columbia, it’s critical that you do your research so you can begin on the right foot. 

You will need to know what the Colombian government requires of you as a lighting product importer. You will then need to decide where to import the lights from and figure out how to bring them into the country.

In this guide, we break down the importation process and shed light on everything you need to know in order to import LED lights to Colombia successfully. From the various regulations to abide by, finding a lighting supplier, bringing your products into the country, to clearing your products at customs. Let’s get right into it.

Guide to Importing LED Lights to Colombia

1. Researching the Market and Determining What LED Lighting Products to Import

As you’ve probably noticed, there is a wide variety of LED lighting products that you can import. This is why it’s important to identify exactly what LED lighting products to bring to the Colombian market. By researching the local lighting market, you can find out the kind of LED lights customers want.

First, you have to determine what type of LED lights to import. There are Surface Mounted Diode (SMD), dual In-Line Package (DIP), and Chip on Board (COB) LEDs.

Depending on the application, you can import LED strip lights, wall lights, spot lights, downlights, flood lights, bay lights, ceiling lights, panel lights, cabinet lighting, stage lights, stadium lights, garden lights, tube lights, bulbs, or luminaires. 

In addition, each LED product comes with a long list of specifications. This requires that you determine the exact specifications the light should bear. For example, what voltage, wattage, brightness? What types of drivers and components? Note down all the details.

This information comes in handy when determining the regulations to abide by, looking for a manufacturer or supplier, and also when making your order for LED lights.

2. Understanding the LED Lights Import Requirements in Colombia 

Now that you’re clear on what types of products to import, it’s time to find out what the Colombian government requires of you as an importer of LED lights.

Understanding Colombia’s import regulations and documentation processes is crucial to successfully importing LED lights. It ensures that you can remain compliant from the get-go and avoid any problems when bringing the lights in the country and selling them.

  • The ‘Registro’ procedure requires importers to register their imports with the Ministry of commerce, industry, and tourism. You do this by completing a ‘Registro de Importacion’ form.
  • However, some products have more stringent requirements. Some are subject to the ‘Licencia’ procedure where you have to obtain an import permit from the ministry of commerce. Thanks to the Unified Portal for Foreign Trade – VUCE (Ventanilla Única de Comercio Exterior), you can obtain these permits via the internet.
  • In addition, LED lights imported to Colombia are subject to regulations by various government ministries and state agencies. These specify the quality, performance, safety, energy efficiency, and labeling requirements you should meet. An example of a compulsory certification is the Energy Efficiency (EE) certification.
  • As for customs, imports are subject to both custom duties and VAT (“Impuesto sobre las ventas”(IVA)) tax. The customs duty ranges from 0-20% while the general VAT rate is 19%.

For more information, you can study the Harmonized System (HS) and consult the Dirección de Impuestos y Aduanas Nacionales (DIAN) – National Directorate of Taxes and Customs. You can also engage a certified customs broker in Colombia to find out what regulations, permits, authorizations, licenses, certifications, restrictions, and customs may apply to you.

3. Deciding Which Country to Import From and Finding a Reliable LED light factory

Colombia’s top import partners are the United States, China, Mexico, Brazil, and Germany. Out of these five countries, China is the largest producer and exporter of LED lights.

They have invested in advanced LED lights manufacturing technology and their international shipping network is well-established. It’s no wonder most lighting importers choose China as their sourcing destination.

No matter which country you decide to import from, finding a reliable LED light manufacturer or supplier is vital.

To identify potential companies, you can ask for references from other importers, search for LED lights manufacturers and suppliers on Google, attend lighting exhibitions and trade shows, or use the services of a sourcing agent for lighting products.

Once you identify potential LED lighting companies you can work with, take the following measures to narrow down your options and identify the best supplier to work with:

  • Evaluate their website and social media pages. Do they give you a professional impression?
  • Compare their facilities and manufacturing capabilities. Can they fulfill bulk orders? Do they offer custom ODM and OEM manufacturing solutions?
  • Check what factory certifications they have and investigate their reputation on third party business portals and review websites such as Trust Pilot.
  • Ask for price quotes from different manufacturers and compare them. Keep in mind that the best supplier is not necessarily the cheapest one. You want to get quality lighting products at reasonable pricing. 

When you’ve found your trading partner, take the following steps to ascertain their credibility:

  • Visit the country to see their factory, aging room, and showroom in person. As an alternative, you can hire a third party sourcing agent to evaluate the manufacturer on your behalf. You can also ask for a virtual tour of the manufacturing facilities via video. 
  • Order samples of the products you are importing. This gives you a chance to evaluate the quality and performance of the bulbs or luminaires. You can then ascertain whether the supplier can really meet your quality and performance standards.

4. Negotiating with Your Supplier and Making the Order for LED Lights 

Now that you know what lighting products to import, the regulations to abide by and have found a trustworthy supplier, it’s time to make your order.

The first step is to negotiate the important terms with your chosen manufacturer. Below are the issues to cover when negotiating and also to include in the contract.

  • The price per unit and the discount for bulk orders.
  • Any ODM or OEM requirements you have
  • The manufacturing lead time and shipping duration
  • The shipping method and terms and conditions, also referred to as international commerce terms (incoterms)
  • The payment method and terms
  • The warranty duration, terms and conditions

Before you place the order, prepare a budget to allocate the money you have to the various import expenses. Your chosen manufacturer will provide you with a pro forma invoice that details the costs of the trade.

In addition, include other expenses such as unloading and loading, transportation, and storage fees. You should also account for custom duty charges, payment to professionals such as sourcing and customs agents, currency conversion fees, and miscellaneous expenses.

When it comes to placing your order, make a precise yet thorough order that details all the requirements and specifications. These include types, materials, components, brightness, voltage, wattage, color temperature, beam angle, and other specs. Don’t leave any room for misunderstanding. 

Make a deposit payment as agreed and the production can begin. Note that any changes you make once the production process is in place might require you to pay more money.

5. Shipping Imported LED Lights to Colombia

When your products are ready, you can inspect them via photos and video or hire a third party inspection agent. When you’re satisfied, make the final payment and the goods will be dispatched to Colombia. 

You have two shipping methods to choose from: air freight and sea freight. Air cargo shipping is fast with 3 to 7 days delivery time, but expensive especially when transporting bulky luminaires. Air cargo lands at Bogota (BOG), Cali (CLO), or Medellin (MDE) airports. 

Ocean cargo transportation is the cost efficient option for bulky LED lights but it has long transit times. The main cargo sea ports in Colombia are Cartagena, Buenaventura, Barranquilla, Santa Marta, and Tumaco ports. 

We recommend using the services of a reliable freight forwarder who understands Colombian shipping requirements. They will take care of your consignment and ensure quick and safe transportation.

6. Clearing LED Lights Imports at Colombia Customs 

The National Directorate of Taxes and Customs (DIAN) is the customs authority in Colombia. It can be quite strict and failure to comply with the requirements can cause your products to be refused entry into Colombia and even fined. 

On the positive side, the customs clearance process can be easy if you’ve followed all the regulations for importing LED lights to Colombia and have all the necessary documents. 

Navigating Customs is also easier with the help of a freight forwarder or customs broker who is familiar with the Colombian customs regime. 

The customs clearance process for imports to Colombia is as follows:

1. Completing the Import Declaration Form

First, you have to fill and submit a Declaración de Importación form to the customs officials. You can obtain this from the DIAN.

2. Evaluation of Customs Documentation

The importer has to submit the following documents to the custom officials:

  • Manifest
  • Declaration of dutiable value
  • Commercial invoice
  • Pro forma invoice
  • Packing list
  • Certificate of Origin
  • Bill of lading/Air waybill
  • Single Tax Register (RUT) of importer
  • Any mandatory product certifications 
3. Payment of Import Duties and Taxes

If the documents are in order, proceed to pay the applicable customs duties and taxes. You can pay directly to the customs body or your shipping company can pay on your behalf. 

4. Release of Goods From Customs 

After payment of duty and other charges your consignment will clear customs and be released from the warehouse. You can then transport your cargo to your home or storage facility.
When you receive the products, it’s important to perform an inspection of all the products immediately.

Submit a shipment confirmation to the supplier if all products have shipped and are in good condition.

If there are missing, faulty or damaged products, inform the supplier immediately and make a claim in accordance with the sales contract.


Venturing into LED lights importation in Colombia can seem complicated when you’re starting out. However, the process becomes easier when you know what’s required of you as an importer.

By following the above steps and adhering to the various regulations and documentation requirements, the importation process can go smoothly for you.

Please feel free to contact us once you need any more information or are looking for an LED light manufacturer in China.

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