• Crisis Severity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 2,818,000 People affected [?]
  • 2,758,000 People displaced [?]
  • 3,371,000 People in Need [?]



The Venezuelan migrant population in Colombia rose from less than 39,000 people in 2015 to 1.82 million in March 2020. As of March 2020, some 800,000 Venezuelans have legalised their status in Colombia, and more than 1 million are in an irregular situation (undocumented). In 2019, nearly 500,000 refugees and migrants transited through Colombia towards other Latin American countries. An estimated 1.77 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants will need humanitarian assistance in 2020. An additional 4.94 million Venezuelan people hold a Border Mobility Card (TMF), allowing them to stay in Colombia for up to one week, especially to acquire food and medicines. ?

Venezuelan migrants in Norte de Santander, Valle del Cauca and Nariño are exposed to a double impact owing to the high level of armed violence causing mass displacement and protection issues in these departments. Those in an irregular situation are particularly exposed to protection issues related to sexual and gender-based violence, forced recruitment, and forced labor in border and rural areas. Many refugees and migrants in urban areas are homeless or housed in informal or overcrowded shelters without proper access to basic sanitation and conducive to the spread of diseases, also creating protection risks. Discrimination and xenophobia towards Venezuelan refugees and migrants hinders access to social and economic services. 

The main needs reported for newly arrived Venezuelans are food, shelter and healthcare, while refugees and migrants with intention to stay in Colombia report access to the labour market, education, and social services as following priorities.

Latest Developments


No significant recent humanitarian developments. This crisis is being monitored by our analysis team.

ACAPS' team is daily monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information related to the outbreak in the Venezuelan refugee crisis, see content below.



Health: As of June 2019, only 158,829 Venezuelans were affiliated to the Colombian national healthcare system. There are enormous challenges in public health and humanitarian assistance, required to strengthen the response especially for the refugees and migrants in irregular situations.

Food security: In 2020 around 1.81 million refugees and migrants will need food assistance and nutritional interventions. The most affected departments are La Guajira, Norte de Santander, Arauca and Nariño, followed by Atlántico, Magdalena, Bolívar, Cesar, Antioquia and Valle del Cauca

Protection: Labour exploitation, sexual and gender-based violence, forced recruitment, theft, physical assault, and intimidation were the main incidents reported in 2019.?



The COVID-19 crisis has led to significant regional population movements in Latin America, both inside countries and across borders. There are currently around 1 million refugees and asylum-seekers (mostly Venezuelans), 8.3 million IDPs, and 4.2 million people displaced and in transit throughout the region. Many Venezuelan refugees and migrants working in the informal economy in Colombia, Brazil and Peru have lost their livelihoods and face poverty, eviction, food insecurity, and increased protection risks. As a result there is a growing number of Venezuelans that are returning to Venezuela. For the first time since 2015 the number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Colombia has decreased, with 81,000 Venezuelans returning to their country.?

On 13 March the Colombian government announced the immediate closure of all borders to limit the spread of COVID-19 but kept open a humanitarian corridor for returnees.?

As of 27 July, the situation at the border remains complex. Venezuelan authorities announced the partial closure of the humanitarian corridor in Norte de Santander and in Arauca, now open three times a week with a total quota of 300 people per day.

This could lead to the overcrowding of different points along the border and higher number of migrants crossing irregularly, putting them at greater exposure to armed groups and natural and health hazards. Estimations suggest that there are around 30,000 Venezuelans in Colombia waiting to return to their country.?

Find more information about the global impact of COVID-19 here.