Quick facts about Colombia
Colombia has exploded in popularity over the past few years as digital nomads flock to experience fantastic year-round weather and a low cost of living. The country has significantly improved safety in the last decade, making it an enticing and easily accessible place for those from North America and Europe. Starting (hopefully) October 22, 2022, digital nomads will be able to get a visa to stay in this beautiful country.
Quick Visa Facts
Living in Colombia as a digital nomad
Colombia is one of the best places in South America for digital nomads. There is a sizeable nomadic population in Medellín. You can find events like Gringo Tuesday every Tuesday at Vintrash in the center of Poblado. There are several Whatsapp group messages that you can join to connect with like-minded travelers that share your interests.
Attractions and best places to visit
There is no shortage of attractions and fantastic places to visit throughout Colombia. It all depends on what you are interested in and what kind of experience you want. For instance, if you’re going to lounge on the beach and do nothing but relax, head over to the islands off the coast of Cartagena or Santa Marta. If you want to experience a colorful city and explore nature, go to Guatape, about two hours from Medellín.
Of course, you must try all the Colombian coffee you can handle while visiting. Take a tour of a coffee farm so you can see how the coffee is grown throughout the country. There are different seasonal events throughout the year, so check the calendar before you arrive to see what you can participate in. There are a lot of hikes you can do in the mountainous areas of the country. To get a whole experience of the various cultures within the country, we recommend visiting Bogota, Medellín, and the coast if possible. Each destination has something unique to offer that you cannot find elsewhere.
Digital Nomad Hotspots
Arguably the most prominent digital nomad hotspot in Colombia is in Medellín. Along the hilly streets, you will find no shortage of cafes and coworking spaces with people from all over the world conducting business. The biggest draw to Medellín is the weather, so the city is aptly nicknamed “The City of Eternal Spring.”
Another big spot for digital nomads is in Cartagena. If you love the beaches, Cartagena is for you. However, be prepared for warmer weather and more humidity than in Medellín.
Bogota is the capital of Colombia and is more dangerous than both Medellín and Cartagena. However, you can still find many fantastic experiences here, with many travelers saying it has the best nightlife in Latin America. There are over 11 million people in Bogota, so something is always happening.
Cost of Living
Colombia has a low cost of living compared to many other destinations in South America, at the time of writing, $1 = 4451.61 COP.
You can expect to pay around $285/month for a one-bedroom apartment in the city center of Medellín. Living outside the city, you can find apartments at $220 a month or lower.
When it comes to market prices, here are the following averages:
1ltr of milk: $0.77
12 eggs: $1.51
1kg chicken filets: $3.39
You can expect to spend $3.24 on a meal at an inexpensive restaurant or up to $17.90 on a two-course dinner. Internet, cable, and mobile plan prices will run you about $22.58 per month.
Colombia, on average, has a cost of living 64% lower than the United States, and rent costs 84% less than the United States. So, if a US company employs you, you can live well for much less than back home.
Digital Nomad Essentials
Reliable and fast internet used to be hard to come by in Colombia, but the country has been going digital in recent years. So you can expect to find fast wi-fi in big cities and decent wi-fi elsewhere. Many cafes throughout Medellin and Bogota will have free wi-fi available for patrons, and blackouts are not very common.
It is straightforward to get a SIM card in Colombia. You have a few different providers, but we generally recommend Claro. We paid $10.36 for a SIM card and one month of data with Claro, which proved to be fast and reliable. Claro is a typical South American provider, so you might have used them if you were traveling to Chile or Argentina.
There is an abundance of coworking spaces throughout Colombia. Finding them in bigger cities like Medellín and Bogota is certainly easier. Many hostels will have coworking spaces as part of the hostel from which anyone is allowed to work if they pay for a membership. For example, the Selina Hostel in Medellín provided day passes to their coworking space for 40,000COP or a weekly pass for 172,000COP. Not only are coworking spaces great for working, but they are a great way to meet other digital nomads in the area.
Is Colombia safe?
Just like any country, Colombia has its dangerous neighborhoods. However, long gone are the days of drug cartels and danger. Colombia has worked hard to make it a safe and wonderful place for tourists.
There are a few common sense tips that you should use no matter where you are in the world:
Avoid walking around at night, especially if you are alone. Take a taxi (a short trip home will likely cost you around $2.)
Look around before taking your phone out. Avoid taking it out on busy streets, as cyclists can ride past and grab it out of your hands.
Avoid wearing lots of jewelry and smart watches, as these can make you a target.
Check ATMs for skimmers or devices that might steal your card/card number.
Stay alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.
Check the news and digital nomad groups to be up to date on important information and neighborhoods.
You can have an excellent experience in Colombia by following just a few safety tips.
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Although there is currently no specific visa for digital nomads, one is underway. The visa will likely be unveiled on October 22, 2022. This visa is expected to offer an immigration pathway for remote workers. Other information is still unknown at this time. Until then, if you are from the United States, the EU, Great Britain, Canada, or a few other countries, you can stay in Colombia visa-free for 90 days. You can then extend that stay for another 90 days online, making it a total of 180 per calendar year.
Current travel restrictions
At the time of writing, Colombian travel restrictions are very basic—travelers 18 and older need to provide proof of a completed vaccine schedule or a negative COVID-19 test. Travelers must also complete the online Check-mig form before entering the country. There are no curfews or quarantines in place for travelers. Those returning to the United States that are vaccinated no longer need to complete a COVID-19 test before their flight.
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Who Can Apply for the Digital Nomad Visa for Colombia
At the moment, it is not clear who will be eligible for the digital nomad visa, but we expect it to be similar to the countries that do not need a visa to stay for less than 90 days (US, EU, GB, Canada).
How to Apply for the Colombia Digital Nomad Visa
Currently, we do not have an application page to share, but this article will be updated as we get more information.
Documents required to apply for the digital nomad visa in Colombia
You do not need any documentation for the tourist visa if you come from the listed countries. You just need a passport valid for more than 180 days after arrival. You might be asked to show a departure ticket leaving Colombia, but this is typically on a case-by-case basis and up to the immigration officer on whether they ask.
Although this is not certain, the draft resolution from the Colombian government has stated that the following are requirements for obtaining the new digital nomad visa:
Employed by a foreign company
Bank statements proving a monthly income of at least 3 million pesos (around $670)
A letter from the foreign company
Health insurance with coverage for Colombia
How much does it cost?
For most travelers, obtaining a tourist visa for 180 days is free. However, it is unknown exactly how much the upcoming digital nomad visa will cost.
Timeline for Applying
Currently, there is no determined timeline for applying for the digital nomad visa. However, if you are a tourist staying for less than 90 days, you do not need a visa and can arrive at customs with your passport.
In our experience, Colombia is one of the most welcoming and friendly places we have ever been to. Everyone you meet is friendly and happy to help you at any point. The weather could not be any better, staying a comfortable 22-25 degrees Celsius (71-77 Fahrenheit) for most of the year. The cost of living is very low compared to places in the United States and Europe, and you have no shortage of community events for digital nomads. So there is little more that you could ask for when booking your next stay.
As the digital nomad visa for Colombia gets approved and planned, we will be sure to update you with information on how to apply.
FAQs for the Colombia Digital Nomad Visa
Does Colombia have a digital nomad visa?
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a brand new digital nomad visa for Colombia that took effect on October 22, 2022. This visa allows nomads that work for a company outside of Colombia to stay in the country for up to two years. To qualify, applicants need to have a minimum income of three minimum monthly legal salaries in Colombia, which is set at 1,000,000 COP or around $206. So, applicants must have a minimum income of about $604 per month (at the time of writing) to qualify for the visa. It would be best to prove that you make a few hundred dollars more than that, as the conversion rate is continuously changing.
The visa will also offer a pathway to immigration and citizenship, which was previously unavailable. It is considered a Visa V for visitors, specific to digital nomads, as outlined here:
“To provide remote work or telecommuting services, from Colombia, through digital media and the Internet, exclusively for foreign companies, as independent or labor-related, or to start a digital content or information technology venture of interest to the country.”
What Is the difference between a Colombia digital nomad visa and a tourist visa?
A digital nomad visa is necessary for remote workers or self-employed individuals who want to stay in Colombia longer than a traditional visa will allow. For citizens of the United States, you can travel to Colombia with a tourist visa on arrival that permits you to stay for 90 days or less, which can generally be extended for another 90 days. However, it is not allowed for non-residents to stay for longer than 180 days in a 365-day period.
Digital nomad visas let you stay for up to two years.
|Visa V for Digital Nomads||Tourist Visa|
|Application fee of $52, followed by up to $230 for the visa fee||Free|
|Permits stay up to 2 years||Stays up to 90 days, the possibility of a 90-day extension|
|Allows you to set up bank accounts in the country|
|Provides a path to citizenship|
What is the length of the Colombia digital nomad visa?
A Colombia digital nomad visa is for a length of two years.
Is it possible to extend the Colombia digital nomad visa? (Yes/No)
It is not clear as of now if extending the visa for an additional year or two years is possible. We will update you as this information becomes available.
How long does it take to complete the entire application process?
The whole application process is forecasted to take around 30 minutes. You can find the application here.
The application is straightforward, but if you need help, refer to this document. Fill out all fields of the application, which will ask you for demographic information, proof of employment, and supporting documents. These documents will automatically be requested based on the information you supply, but you can expect to provide the following:
- A photo size 3x4cm, in color, with white background, recent, head-on, without accessories, clear visage, in JPG format with a maximum weight of 300 KB.
- Photocopy of passport – must be valid for at least six months from date of application
- Bank statements for the past three months
- Proof of employment/remote work
- Proof of health insurance coverage in Colombia
- Proof of relationship to dependents, if applicable
NOTE: The maximum weight allowed for the total of documents attached to an application is 5MB. Individual documents in PDF format, readable, in black and white presentation, is advised. Some documents might require translation into Spanish.
Expect to wait around 30 days to hear a decision regarding your visa. If you want to check on the status of your application, you can visit this website.
Can you apply for a Colombia digital nomad visa while abroad?
Yes, you can apply for the digital nomad visa abroad online or while staying in Colombia legally.
What currency should you pay for a Colombia digital nomad visa?
You can pay the fee in your home currency or select to convert it to Colombian pesos. When submitting your application, you can see which option saves you money.
How can you pay the visa fee?
You can pay the application fee, around $52, online with a credit card. If you are having trouble, refer to this document.
If your visa application is approved, you can pay the visa fee at a bank branch or ATM Servibanca in Colombia, at a foreign bank of the consulate, or online with a credit card. The fee for your visa will range between $170 and $230. Once you have successfully paid this fee, you will receive your visa within ten days.
Will you get a refund for your visa application if you are denied?
If your visa application is denied, you will not receive a refund of the application fee. If it is requested that you provide additional information or documentation, you will have ten calendar days to do so. After that, your application is considered abandoned.
Appeals for denied applications are not permitted. If you apply for the digital nomad visa while in Colombia, you will have 30 days to leave. You may not reapply for six months after your denial. The migration office will have on file the reason your application was denied.
Can U.S. citizens travel to Colombia without a visa?
Yes, U.S. citizens are permitted to travel to Colombia without a visa.
If you have further questions, consult the visa page on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.