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Colombia Digital Nomad Visa Requirements: How to Apply, Work Remote, And Live Cheap

Looking to work remotely in Colombia? This guide will teach you everything you need to know about the digital nomad visa requirements and how to apply. Plus, we provide insider tips on how to make the most of your expat life in this beautiful country while working remotely. minutes

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Published On: September 22, 2023

Latest Update: April 12, 2024

Colombia Digital Nomad Visa Requirements

About the author

Hi, I'm Marco Sison. I worked in finance for Fortune 50 companies before retiring early at 41 years old. I have been an expat for over 10 years, living in over 50 countries to show you the best ways to save, invest, and live in amazing countries outside the USA. I am a trusted resource on personal finance and overseas retirement for US News & World Reports, HuffPost, MSN Money, USA Today, ABC Network, Yahoo Finance, Association of MBAs, the iTunes documentary Seeking FIRE, and the Amazon Best-Seller- Abroad: Expats That Thrive.

QUICK SUMMARY- COLOMBIA DIGITAL NOMAD VISA REQUIREMENTS

  • The digital nomad Visa allows foreigners to live and work in Colombia legally.
  • Local employment is not allowed. Income must come from outside the country.
  • The visa grants legal residency in Colombia for up to 2 years, with the possibility of renewal.
  • Visa holders can access Colombia EPS Health Insurance.
  • To be eligible for the visa, applicants must prove a minimum income equivalent to 3 times the minimum average income in Colombia (~$825 USD in 2023).
  • Applicants must have international health insurance coverage for the duration of their stay.

When I arrived in Colombia in 2018, I still felt like one of the cool kids who knew about a hidden South American gem. Well, the secret’s out. This beautiful country with affordable costs, an automatic 90-day tourist permit for American Country, and rich Colombian culture has gone mainstream!

Colombia has taken the world by storm post-pandemic, with over 4.6 million foreigners venturing into this Latin American country in 2022.

Colombia’s progressive permit policies and the unveiling of the digital nomad permit are bolstering this momentum, sparking an explosion of remote workers looking to live in Colombia’s major cities.

This post may contain affiliate links. I may get a commission if you purchase something using my link. Please note, there is NO ADDITIONAL COST to you. For more information, please see my disclosure.

6 Quick Tips To Prepare For A Move To Colombia

TIP 1. Understand Colombia’s visa policy- A decade of experience living abroad taught me that a country’s resident visa and permit situation can make or break a plan to move overseas. Chat with a Colombian visa attorney.

TIP 2. Know your health insurance requirements- Starting July 2022, the government requires all expats living in Colombia to purchase specific medical coverage that includes accidents, illness, hospitalization, disability, repatriation, maternity, and death. 

TIP 3. Save On Moving Costs– International moves can get expensive. Save hundreds of dollars by getting accredited moving companies to compete for your business. Fill out a quick form, sit back and let our moving partners get you five free moving quotes from trusted and reliable international moving companies.

TIP 4. Set up a Traveling Mailbox- Change all your critical mailing addresses to a traveling mailbox. Don’t lose an important tax return, bank statement, credit card, or government document in the mail. Sign up for a virtual mailbox, and you can keep a permanent US mailing address and check your mail via your phone or PC.

TIP 5. Prove your onward ticket- If you only have a tourist visa Colombia requires a mandatory departure ticket. You need a onward travel with a date leaving the country before your visa expires. Save money by using  an onward plane ticket for just $16

TIP 6. Pick up some Spanish Skills- The most common difficulty experienced by expats in Colombia is English being less common than expected. Only 4% of the country speaks English. You can get a free 7-day Spanish language crash course to make your move to Colombia easier.

With Colombia’s doors wide open for remote workers and the spotlight on its brand-new digital nomad visa, it’s raining Macbooks and passports. Medellin alone anticipates 9,500 laptop warriors calling Medellin their new stomping grounds every month. 

Finding an Airbnb apartment owner who isn’t trying to rent a bedroom that doesn’t feel like a cramped college dorm room is hard.

Colombia’s soaring tourism figures are due to several factors. The historic 2016 peace accord with FARC cast the country’s safety in a positive new light.

However, the Colombian government’s proactive measures to boost foreign visitors, including enhanced infrastructure, availability of the Internet, streamlined visitor permit procedures, and a new Colombia Nomad Visa, have provided an enormous boost.

Colombia Digital Nomad Visa Requirements: How to Apply, Work Remote, And Live Cheap [Table of Contents – Click To Expand]

Colombian Digital Nomad Visa for expats working abroad while residing in Colombia.
Colombia Identification Card: How Expats Get A Cedula De Extranjería
How To Rent Apartments In Medellin Without Getting Scammed
How To Get Health Insurance In Colombia As A Foreigner
Expat Guide To Medellin Nightlife: Best Clubs, Party Areas, Bars, and Dancing
The Best Medellin Salsa Clubs [2023]
The Complete Expat Guide On How To Buy A Car in Colombia
How To Apply For A Colombia Tourist Visa [2023]
The Top 26 Reasons Why You Must Visit Colombia [2023]
The 5 Best Neighborhoods to Live in Medellin Colombia As An Expat [2023]

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Overview of Colombia’s Digital Nomad Visa

Visa Validity: Up To 2 Years

Income Requirement: ~$825 USD (3 times minimum Colombian monthly salary / 3 x $275 USD)

Deposit: None Required

Employment: Yes, but income must come from outside the national territory

Foreign Exchange Rate At The Time Of Article: 1 US Dollar = 4206.40 Colombian Peso

In response to the growing trend of digital nomads, countries worldwide are adapting immigration policies to attract these globe-trotting workers or, more specifically, drawing wealthy US, UK, and EU citizens with cash to spend.

Unveiled in 2022 under the administration of previous President Ivan Duque, the Colombian Digital Nomad Permit or Visa has swiftly captured the attention of the expat and digital nomad community, many of whom were already illegally working remotely under a Colombia tourist visa.

With the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Spanish: Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores) passing Resolution No. 5477, as of July 22, 2022, remote professionals now have the opportunity to work for foreign companies while legally enjoying Colombia’s higher quality of life at significantly reduced costs compared to their home countries. 

Colombia Digiital Nomad Visa Requirements Guide For Expats Cover Image
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THIS GUIDE

This strategic move reflects Colombia’s commitment to fostering economic growth through extended foreign stays.

Like every bureaucracy, the government organization (Spanish: Migración Colombia) responsible for issuing the new digital nomad visas doesn’t always clearly spell out the rules. 

While some criteria for obtaining this permit follow the standard pattern set in many countries, requiring a valid passport, evidence of ample funds, and a clean criminal record, there are some requirements like health insurance and the calculation of “sufficient funds” that many digital nomads get wrong.

Plus, the internet is littered with Facebook groups and AI-generated websites that give contradictory, misleading, and flat-out wrong information about visa or permit requirements, how long you can stay, and even what kind of remote work is allowed.

I pulled together this guide to help expats and foreign nomads looking to make the move to Colombia gain a comprehensive understanding of Colombia’s Digital Nomad Visa, how to apply, real-life experiences of recent permit applications, how to apply, and some insider tips to help smooth your application process.

Tired of endless hours spent researching complicated visa requirements?

Knowing how frustrating it is to navigate a foreign country’s immigration process, I started a new visa service to make life easier for expats who want to live and retire abroad,

I pre-screened and carefully selected Colombian lawyers with decades of expertise helping expats like you cut through the government red tape, clarify the visa options, and ease your worries about moving to a new country.

Colombia Digital Nomad Visa Requirements

The basic eligibility consists of five requirements:

1) Exempt From A Short-Term Stay Visa Only foreign nationals from the 107 countries who do NOT need a short-term entry visa to arrive in Colombia. Hint: Citizens from the US, UK, and EU are fine.

2a) Employment Contract– If you are an employee on a foreign company’s payroll (think W-2 employee if you are from the United States), or

2b) Proof of Business Ownership If you own a company registered outside the country, that business provides your income, or

2c) Freelance Contact If you work as an independent contractor for a foreign company (1099 employee if you are from the USA), or

2d) Motivational Letter– For technology start-up founders and entrepreneurs, a letter detailing your project, team, and available financial resources

3) Comprehensive Health Insurance Coverage: It is mandatory to have health insurance coverage for the entire duration of your stay in Colombia. This ensures that you have access to medical services and can take care of any unforeseen health issues. The insurance must specifically include coverage for accidents, emergencies, illness, disability, hospitalization, maternity, death, and repatriation.

INSIDER TIP: Don’t Buy Travel Insurance- Most “travel insurance” plans will not qualify, as simple travel insurance policies rarely cover maternity or outpatient hospitalization. Additionally, many travel insurance policies are only for short-term trips of less than 365 days. You need an insurance policy valid for your entire stay in the country (up to two years for Colombia’s digital nomad visa).

Did You Know Most Expats In Colombia Need 3 Types of Health Insurance?

Starting in July 2022, the government passed a law requiring specific medical coverage for foreigners staying in Colombia. Click the button below to ensure you are legally staying in Colombia.

4) Required Documentation: PDF copies of required documents and digitized passport photos. See the required documents checklist below.

5) Additional Documentation: Colombian Immigration can request additional documents or information, such as a certificate of criminal background, travel itinerary, or other financial records to support your income records, such as tax returns, pay stubs, invoices, and sales records. Requests for apostilled documents are rare but not unheard of.
Be prepared with supplemental information to ensure a smooth application process.

INSIDER TIP: Physical Documents- You will need to make PDF copies (See Insider Tip Below), but I recommend keeping all your originals handy. It is not uncommon for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ask to verify physical documents during the approval process.

Nomad Income Requirement

Demostrar mediante extractos bancarios contar con ingresos minimos
equivalentes a tres ( 3 ) Salarios Mínimos Legales Mensuales Vigentes
( SMLMV ) durante los últimos 3 meses – In Accordance with 46 Article of the 5477 Resolution of 2022

Translated from Spanish: Demonstrate through bank statements that you have a minimum income equivalent to three (3) Current Legal Monthly Minimum Wages (SMLMV) during the last 3 months.

2023 Colombian Monthly Minimum Salary =  1,160,000 COP

 1,160,000 x 3 Months = 3,480,000 COP

3,480,000 COP = ~$827.38 USD

Required Documents For Digital Nomad Visa Approval Process

  • A valid passport with at least six months of validity.
  • A copy of your valid passport’s first page displaying personal information.
  • A passport-sized photo of yourself with a white background (3 cm x 4 cm, max 300 kb in JPG format).
  • Proof of legal entry, like a visitor visa or recent entry/departure stamp for Colombia.
  • Proof of a health insurance policy covering you during your entire stay in Colombia.

In addition, you will need to provide documented proof that you work remotely or have an online business that generates income outside of Colombia.

  • A letter from a foreign company explaining your work relationship and compensation.
  • For entrepreneurs, a letter detailing your project and available resources.
  • Bank statements showing income ≥ 3x the Current Minimum Legal Monthly Wages (approx. $825 in 2023) over the last 3 months.

The processing time for a Digital Nomad visa application can take 30 to 45 Business Days.

INSIDER TIP: Avoid any rejections due to contradictions or unintentional errors- It is crucial to stay consistent throughout your application. For freelancers or independent workers, your documents should clearly demonstrate sufficient self-employment income and that you will not seek work in Colombia.

If you are a business owner or digital entrepreneur, you should provide adequate documentation showing your business activity outside the country. This may include customer invoices, sales reports, and any collections or payments you have received from non-Colombian clients.

These documents will be carefully analyzed by the officials at the Colombian Foreign Ministry.

Colombia digital nomad visa application rejection letter

Digital Nomad Visa Application Rejection For Not Having The Right Documents: DOES NOT HAVE THE BACKING OF AN EMPLOYER AND DOES NOT PRESENT A DIGITAL CONTENT OR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY VENTURE OF INTEREST TO THE COUNTRY.
Translation

Colombia Digital Nomad Visa Costs

Acquiring a Colombia Digital Nomad Visa involves an application fee and a visa fee.

  • Visa Application Fee- $54 USD for most applications or if you are from Europe or Cuba, 42 EUR. Also called a “Study Fee,” you need to pay this fee when you apply, and is non-refundable.
  • Visa Issuance Fee- Varies depending on your country of citizenship. Americans and most of the world pay $270 USD, while EU nationalities pay 149 EUR / $160 USD. This fee is paid only if your visa is approved and issued.
Colombia Visa FeesRest Of The World(USD)EU and Cuba(EUR)
Study/Application Fee$54Є42
Visa Issuance Fee$270Є149
Total Visa Cost$324 USDЄ191

Visa costs are accurate from this article’s publish date. The latest visa prices can be found on the Cancilleria website.

INSIDER TIP: Colombian Cedula de Extranjeria Costs- A Colombian ID card for foreigners. While not required, foreigners with an approved digital nomad visa can apply for an ID card for 246,000 Colombian Pesos or roughly $60 USD.

A Cedula makes expat life easier in Colombia. A Cedula de Extranjeria allows you to open a bank account, sign a legal rental contract for housing, and access EPS public health insurance in Colombia.

What to learn the best and cheapest way to legally stay in Colombia? Tired of conflicting information and endless researching on the visa requirements?

Colombia offers more than 30 different types of visas available, each with a different purpose, duration, and eligibility. Don’t navigate the complexities alone- My Colombian legal partners have decades of experience helping expats

 

Click now to access expert support and quick answers to your visa questions. Save time, avoid complications, and take the hassle out of moving to Colombia.

Do I qualify for the digital nomad visa in Colombia?

The digital nomad visa in Colombia is designed specifically for individuals who want to work remotely in a country with beautiful landscapes, a rich culture, and a low cost of living.

If you’re a freelancer or remote worker with a passport from the US, UK, EU, or any of the other 107 eligible countries exempt from a short-stay visa requirement, and you earn income from outside Colombia, this visa could be a great opportunity for you.

The visa requirements are similar to other residency and retirement visas in Colombia, but with the added benefit of being able to work remotely. 

Unlike a tourist visa, which only allows you to stay short-term, the digital nomad visa gives you the flexibility to stay longer and work legally.

Ready to apply? Schedule a Visa Consultation with a Colombian Lawyer to answer all your immigration and visa questions.

Approved Colombian digital nomad visa stamp on a passport.

How to apply for a Colombia digital nomad visa?

Step 1: Gather the required documents before you leave.

Many documents are easier to get in your home country, so try to gather all the required documents for your digital nomad visa application before you leave for Colombia.

Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your intended stay in Colombia. 

Additionally, gather documents that demonstrate your ability to work remotely, such as contracts or letters from clients or employers, proof of sufficient funds to support yourself during your stay, and proof of health insurance coverage.

Download A Required Documents Checklist

Step 2: Visit the Colombia digital nomad visa application website.

Now that you have gathered all the required documents, head to the official Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs online portal (SITAC Sistema Integral de Trámites al Ciudadano) and begin the process.

You will find all the necessary information about the visa requirements and the application process on the website. It is important to thoroughly read and understand all the instructions provided on the website to ensure a smooth application process.

Step 3: Fill out the visa application form.

Fill out the Digital Nomad Visa application form; you’ll need to provide personal information and answer questions about your background and travel plans.

The application form will ask for details such as your full name, date of birth, nationality, and contact information. You must also provide information about your occupation, including your employer or business details.

Step 4: Submit required documents in PDF file format.

Spanish to English Translation Of The Image: Carefully review the requirements for your visa application and attach each document in the online form individually and in the established box. Their documents must be in PDF format, in black and white, legible, and with a combined maximum size of 5MB.

INSIDER TIP: Visa Application File Size- All your documents must be submitted in black and white PDF format. The Migracion Colombia website also has a 5 MB total file size limit. You must compress the PDFs above to keep them under 5 MB in total. Here is a PDF tool that can convert and reduce the file size of your documents to meet the Colombian visa requirements.

Step 5: Pay Study Fees and Wait for Approval

After completing the visa application form, you’ll need to pay the visa application/study fee.

See the section below for the different options to make a payment.

Waiting for approval can be an anxious time, but remain patient. Current processing times are roughly 30 days. However, every time Migracion Colombia needs any additional documentation, errors corrected, or requests clarification, the application time gets pushed.

You have 10 days to respond to any immigration authority requests. If you do not respond within 10 days, they will classify you as abandoning your application, and you will have to start the process all over.

Approval time can also drag if depending on the volume of visa applications and extensions. Given Medellin is currently a retirement and digital nomad hotspot, be prepared for a potentially lengthy wait.

INSIDER TIP: Extending Your Tourist Visa- Migration Colombia will not approve your digital nomad visa if you are here past your visa expiration date.

I recommend applying for your digital nomad visa immediately after you arrive in Colombia. US citizens and most foreigners get 90 days in Colombia visa-free.

If your digital nomad application drags and you are approaching your 90-day expiration date, you will need to either extend your visa or apply for a Salvoconducto SC-2 (Special Stay Permit) from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Step 6: Get Approved, Pay The Visa Fees, Celebrate!

There are 4 stages to the applications in the process:

  • Required: Your application is missing information or needs additional documentation. You have 10 days to respond to any requests.
  • Inadmissible: You skipped one of the required visa documents. The good news is you have not been rejected. The bad news is you need to apply again.
  • Rejected: This sucks. If your application is not approved, THERE IS NO APPEALS PROCESS. You have to leave the country and try again in six months.
  • Approved: Woohoo. Your digital nomad visa application is approved. Now pay up.

To receive your valid visa, you need to pay the application fee of ~$160 and $270, depending on your nationality.

You have 5 options to pay for your visa fees:

  1. Local bank transfer using Pagos Seguros en Línea (PSE)
  2. Online using a Mastercard or Visa credit card
  3. In-person at a Colombian Embassy or Consulate-General
  4. In cash at Banco GNB Sudameris
  5. Use a Servibanca ATM if you are in Colombia at the time of payment.

Save Time and Money and Skip The Visa Trip To Bogota

Want to avoid making a trip to Bogota?

Don’t Want To Deal With Painful Government Bureaucracy and Paperwork?

Aren’t Confident Your Spanish Skills Are Up For Dealing With Government Officials?

Nomadic FIRE has a legal team of Visa and Immigration Attorneys ready to help. 

If traveling to Bogota and waiting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office does not sound like the ideal way to spend your day, Nomadic FIRE has a visa assistance program to help. My experienced visa agency partners help cut through the government red tape, simplify your immigration process, and make obtaining your visa easier.

We even have a passport delivery service so you can avoid making the trip to Bogota. Depending on your immigration situation and visa needs, our service can save you money vs. taking a trip to Bogota.

What happens if my Colombian digital nomad visa application is rejected?

If you took my advice and applied when you arrived in the country, then you have time to figure out your options.

  1. If Colombian Immigration deems your application INADMISSABLE, you can schedule a Visa Consultation with a Colombia Immigration Attorney to see what went wrong with your application and your options to fix it.
  2. The nomad visa may not be the only type of visa you can qualify for. You can look at other Colombian visa options, like the Rentista, Retirement, or even a Study or Student Visa.
  3. You can extend your 90-day tourist visa online for another as long as you haven’t stayed in Colombia for more than 180 days in a calendar year.

INSIDER TIP: Rejected Visa Applications- If you are in Colombia on an expiring tourist visa and your digital nomad visa is rejected, Migracion Colombia may grant you up to 30 days to leave the country. Additionally, you will be prohibited from submitting a new application for six months.

Why risk getting denied for 6 months? Don’t waste your time and money on a failed application. Sign up for a Colombia Visa Consultation and get a personalized plan to get your visa application approved.

Pros and Cons Of Colombia Digital Nomad Visa

Pros and Cons of Colombian digital nomad visa.

Biggest Advantages of the Digital Nomad Visa in Colombia

  • Affordability: The visa can cost as low as $191 and requires a monthly income of less than $850 USD per month, making it budget-friendly for most digital nomads. The visa is valid for 2 years and is renewable, offering a more flexible option compared to the Colombian short-stay visa.
  • Legal Employment: Remote work is allowed, so you can continue your online business or work online from anywhere in Colombia legally, without needing to consult a visa agent for work permissions.
  • Vibrant Cities: Whether you prefer the picturesque beaches of Cartagena, the international dining in Bogota, or the famed Medellin nightlife, your digital nomad visa application allows you long-term access to Colombia’s exciting cities.
  • Low Prices: Enjoy a low cost of living compared to many Western countries; prices in Colombia for domestic goods and services are cheap. The cost of living in Colombia’s most expensive cities is still over 50% less than a medium-cost city in the United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom.
  • Warm Climate: Most regions of Colombia enjoy a pleasant tropical climate, making it an appealing destination for expats who want to escape the frigid winters in the US and Europe.
  • Access To High-Quality Healthcare: With a proper visa, you’ll have access to the Colombian public health insurance system. Enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that one of the best healthcare systems in the world takes care of your basic needs, a benefit that even extends to those on a short-term stay visa.
  • Fast Download Speed- Slow internet is the curse of digital nomading. But this incredible destination has the 38th ranked speeds globally. Download speeds average over 100 Mbps and upload speeds hit nearly 40 Mbps. However, the availability of internet drops significantly in rural areas. 

Disadvantages of the Colombian digital nomad visa

  • Safety Concerns: Tremendous strides have been made, but some areas of Colombia still have safety issues. Especially post-pandemic, people have been getting desperate, and theft and violent crimes against foreigners are increasing. Stay vigilant, ‘No Dar Papaya,’ and research the best places for expats to live before choosing your destination.
  • Permanent Residency: The nomad visa is a Type-V or Visitor Visa, not a permanent resident visa. This expatriate visa only allows you to live in the country for up to two years before requiring renewal.
  • Employment Restrictions: You cannot work locally during your stay. The visa only allows you to generate foreign-sourced income. This restriction on employment is put in place to ensure that you aren’t taking work that should go to a Colombian citizen.
  • Language Barrier: Only 4% of Colombians speak English. Getting a working knowledge of Spanish can enhance your experience and interactions.

Get Past ‘Hola’ and ‘Gracias’ With A Revolutionary Way To Learn Spanish

Making friends, finding an apartment, and acclimating in a new country is always easier when you learn the local language. You don’t need to be fluent in Spanish. If you learn a few phrases, locals will appreciate the effort.

I understand more than anyone that learning a new language when you are older isn’t easy. Here is the “Secret” method that the US State Department, FBI, and overseas military uses to learn new languages quickly and effectively- The Pimsleur Method

Avoid hours doing mindless repetitive vocabulary. Pimsleur focuses on quick, easy-to-digest organic learning to get you conversational as fast as possible.

Comparing the Colombian Tourist, Retirement, and Business Investor Visas vs. Digital Nomad Visa

Type of VisaHow Long Can I Stay In The CountryIncome RequirementInvestment RequirementEmployment Possibility
Tourist Visa90 days + extension of 90 days for 28 USD. Total of 180 days. The 180-day limit resets every calendar yearNo set income requirement but, you may need to show proof that you can support your expenses, like bank statements or a return ticket.No specific investment requirement.Not permitted to engage in any form of employment
Retirement Visa3 years and renewable. After 5 years, a Colombian Retirement Visa Holder can apply for a Permanent Resident Visa.Minimum income of 800 USD per monthCertified and Legalized monthly pension of $701Not permitted to engage in any form of employment
Business Investor3 years and renewable. This allows holders with significant investment in a Colombian company to continue their ventures.No specified monthly or annual income. But needs to provide proof of investments.Investment in a Company: 23,400 USD Real Estate Investment: 81,900 USD.Allowed to work and if possible take up roles in the management and operations of the business they have invested in
Digital Nomad VisaUp to 2 years and are renewable. Designed to facilitate remote work and digital entrepreneurship in Colombia.Minimum monthly income of 701 USD.No specific investment requirement.Allowed to work remotely for non-Colombian entities
Marriage3 years initially, after which, holders can apply for permanent residency.No set income requirement.No specific investment requirement.Permitted to work in the country.

Colombia Digital Nomad Essentials

Best Digital Nomad Hotspots in Colombia

Medellín is a top spot for digital nomads in Colombia. It’s known for its vibrant culture and low cost of living. If you want to work remotely, save money, and enjoy Colombia’s beauty, Medellín is perfect, especially for those holding an automatic tourist visa.

After getting your visa, you’ll find many co-working spaces and cafes in Medellín to work from. The pleasant weather, stunning views, and bustling city life make it a favorite choice for digital nomads in Colombia, attracting many to apply through a visa agent for a hassle-free process.

Other Colombian cities popular with digital nomads are Bogotá, Cartagena, and Cali, each offering unique experiences for those on a Colombian visa type that supports remote working.

INSIDER TIP: Real Estate Inflation- Medellin’s popularity as a digital nomad destination has caused rental prices to rise tremendously in the last two years. Stay away from rentals in El Poblado to avoid Gringo Prices.

Try Laureles, a safe neighborhood ideal for first-time expats, where one-bedroom apartments average $800 USD / ~3,500,000 COP. You should also check out my guide on tips to rent an apartment in Colombia without getting ripped off, especially for those unfamiliar with the companies in question.

Internet Services, Speeds, And Reliability

It’s not a shocker that there is a massive difference in internet availability between Colombian cities and rural areas in Central and South America.

If you stick to any major city, you’ll find reliable high-speed internet services. If you insist on living in a beach city, especially on the Pacific coast, the availability of internet services and cell phone data is spotty.

The infrastructure of a modern city has its advantages. Most cafes, co-working spaces, and apartments offer fiber internet connections that are more than sufficient for Zoom calls and video downloads. Reliability is also not a significant concern, as the infrastructure is well-maintained, and downtime is rare, a relief for those on an expatriate visa.

SIM Cards and Cell Phone Data Plans

You’ll find three major cell service providers dominating the scene. Claro takes the lead with around 50%, followed by Movistar and Tigo, each holding about 20%. Coverage is solid across the board, but don’t expect 5G data speeds yet.

At the time of writing, the Colombian Authorities still need to start auctioning off their 5g spectrum, a development eagerly awaited by the companies in question.

Getting a phone SIM card requires a valid ID and proof of address (your Airbnb or hotel is accepted). However, stick to official retail outlets and avoid street vendors.

A copy of your passport is required, and there have been reports of identity theft, a concern for those on short-term visas less than 30 days.

INSIDER TIP: Cell Phone IMEI Registration- In 2016, Colombian authorities required local cell service providers to block unregistered IMEI registration for all cell phones.

If you bring a cell phone into Colombia, you must register your phone or your service will be cut off after 30 days.

Nomads on short-term entry visas for less than 30 days are in the clear, a relief for those utilizing the automatic tourist visa.

The actual process to register varies depending on the carrier, but the relevant documents are the same. You will need:

  1. Check your phone’s compatibility on the “Approved Equipment Guide” (Spanish: Guia Consulta Equipos Homologados).
  2. Record your 15-digit IMEI number. Note most cell phones show this in the settings, or you can dial *#06#
  3. Prove you own the phone. Proof of ownership can be a sales receipt or copy of a purchase invoice.

Top Coworking Spaces

While there are cafes all around Colombia (Colombian coffee is kind of famous) you can work at, if you need to take up a chair and table for an extended time, head to one of the many fantastic coworking spaces.

The advantage of a coworking space is speed, as most coffee shops don’t invest in fiber, while I get ~90 Mpbs in most co-working offices.

The average cost of coworking spaces for a hot desk is $143 monthly.

  1. Selina Medellin Cowork (Medellin)- A creative haven nestled in Medellin’s beating heart, offering a dynamic workspace enriched by vibrant events and a collaborative community.
  2. AtomHouse (Bogota)- Located in Bogota’s bustling center, AtomHouse presents a sleek and modern co-working environment with versatile spaces, fostering innovation and networking.
  3. The 4th Room (Cartagena)- In the historical charm of Cartagena, The 4th Room is a serene co-working oasis, providing a blend of productivity and relaxation against the backdrop of a picturesque city.

Colombian Digital Nomad Taxes

The general guideline is if you stay in the country for 183 days or more in a twelve-month period, you must pay and file taxes in Colombia.

However, Colombia uses a multi-prong test to determine if you are a tax resident. Similar to other countries, if your “Center of Life” or “Center of Vital Interest” is in Colombia, then how long you spend in the country is irrelevant.

Some things that could trigger Center of Life:

  • If 50% or more of your income or assets are generated, located, or managed in Colombia.
  • If your spouse or dependent children live in Colombia for over 183 days in 12 consecutive months.

INSIDER TIP: Tax Residency In Another Country- If you claim tax residency in another country, DIAN (the Colombian IRS) can request additional documents for proof of fiscal residency. If no evidence is provided, you are classed as a tax resident of Colombia.

To manage taxes effectively and avoid paying undue taxes and fines, digital nomads in Colombia should consider consulting with a reliable expat tax accountant.

Key Takeaways: Colombia Nomad Visa

Colombia has a well-earned reputation as Latin America’s hotspot destination for foreigners looking for an affordable country to legally work remotely as a digital nomad.

With its newly-introduced expatriate visa targeting remote workers and digital nomads, now is an ideal time to check out Colombia’s affordable cost of living, where a single person can live comfortably on less than $1500 per month.

The digital nomad visa procedures have been streamlined, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has created an online platform to begin your application. 

One of the biggest advantages is most expats don’t even need to apply for a short-term stay visa before arriving in Colombia. Foreign nationals from countries in North America (United States, Canada, Mexico) get an automatic 90-day tourist visa to enter the country. Once in the country, you can start your nomad visa application. 

With your application in process, you have the freedom to work remotely from anywhere in the country, from the towering Andes to the Amazonian national parks to the sun-kissed Caribbean beaches.

Schedule a Visa Service Consultation with a specialized lawyer if you have any additional questions about the digital nomad visa procedures.

FAQs- Colombia Nomad Visa

Do American digital nomads have to pay US taxes living in Colombia?

Maybe. International taxes, especially US expat taxes, are complicated. To complicate matters, there is NO CURRENT TAX TREATY between the US and Colombia, meaning an American 

Digital Nomad from North America working in Colombia for more than 183 days may be subject to income tax in both countries (double taxation). Ensure you meet additional income requirements to avoid issues.

IRS options like FEIE (Foreign Earned Income Exclusion) or Foreign Tax Credits can offset your US expat taxes, but I recommend speaking with an expat tax specialist for specifics. Don’t forget to prepare your passport photos and other necessary documents.

Compliance is crucial, and consulting an expat tax professional ensures proper adherence when filing taxes as a US digital nomad in Colombia.

Is Colombia safe for digital nomads?

The short answer? Yes, it is! Colombia, located in South America’s vibrant heart, has made remarkable strides in safety over the past decade. Medellin, once known for violence, now has a reputation as a retirement hotspot, while Colombia is included on several Coolest Places to Visit lists. 

2022 statistics show this former Spanish colony still isn’t the safest country. Robberies and personal theft are up 20% from 2021. Digital nomads and other expats continue to be the likely targets.

All foreigners are perceived to be rich by the average Colombian. In Medellin, 31% of all personal robberies occur in neighborhoods most frequented by foreigners: El Poblado, Belen, and Laureles. Stay vigilant and enjoy the hiking trails and national parks with caution.

How long can I stay in Colombia on the Digital Nomad Visa?

Many digital nomads get confused by this question. To clarify, the Colombian digital nomad visa (permit) is valid for up to two years. However, whether you get a permit for one year or two years depends on the Colombian Foreign Ministry Immigration Officer managing your permit application.

Getting a one or two-year permit has been random, with no explanation on why some applications get one year and other nearly identical applications get two years.

What type of work can I do with the Colombia Digital Nomad Permit?

With the Colombia Digital Nomad Permit, you can work as a digital content creator, YouTuber, graphic designer, programmer, SEO consultant, or any other remote job that must be done online. 

These jobs include freelance projects, remote work for foreign companies, or entrepreneurship projects. Use this online platform for your digital nomad journey.

The official requirement for proof is the income comes from outside of Colombia and the work is done online. No income can be generated from Colombia companies.

Can I extend my Colombian digital nomad permit?

Yes! You can extend your Colombian digital nomad permit if you meet the necessary employment criteria and minimum financial requirements. Just make sure to renew with Migracion Colombia before your current permit expires.

This type of Colombian visa is valid for up to 2 years. After 5 years of renewing your temporary residence in Colombia, you can apply for permanent residence. With permanent residence, you can enjoy this affordable country’s Caribbean beach cities, Latin American natural beauties, and tasty Colombian dishes for as long as you want. 


We moved the comments to the New Expat Forums

  • LeeAnder Ingram says:

    I have been corresponding with a phone number +57 302 xxxxxxx to start my process. Is this correct.
    If not who do I get in contact with

  • I read here that visitor visa can be for up to 180 days and resets every calendar year. So technically I could go to colombia from the US without a visa in July, and stay legally for a year? 180 days, then in Jan resets so can stay another 180 days until end of June? OR would we have to leave the country halfway thru (thinking Peru or Argentina for vacation around jan) to reset and restart our next 180 days? We only want to live in colombia for 1 year (with our 2 kids). Thx for all this great info!!

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    About the author

    Hi, That's me. I'm Marco Sison. I am a survivor of the corporate rat race. I started Nomad FIRE to show you an alternative to the stress and grind of 70-hour weeks to pay off a mortgage, student loans, and countless bills. After getting laid off in 2015, I said screw it all and retired early at 41 years old. I have traveled the last eight years to over 50 countries to show you the best ways to save, invest, and live in amazing countries for 70% less cost than the US. I have been featured in: US News & World Reports, HuffPost, MSN Money, USA Today, ABC Network, Yahoo Finance, the iTunes documentary Seeking FIRE, and the Amazon Best-Seller, Abroad: Expats That Thrive. [view press...]