Colombia Digital Nomad Visa: 6 Essential Steps for an Extended Stay
Are you thinking of blending work and adventure in Colombia? The Colombia Digital Nomad Visa offers a unique opportunity for remote workers, freelancers, and digital nomads to stay in Colombia beyond the 90-day tourist visa.
In this guide, I’ll explain what the Colombia Digital Nomad Visa is all about and I’ll walk you through the steps you need to secure your visa. I researched what makes an application successful, and how to increase your chances of getting approved.
Whether you’re drawn to the beauty of remote beaches, the breathtaking landscapes of tropical rainforests, or the vibrant energy of bustling cities, this visa is your ticket to a dynamic nomadic lifestyle.
Let’s dive into it!
Overview of Program
Colombia’s digital nomad visa called Visa V Nómadas digitales or Visa V for Digital Nomads is like a golden ticket for professionals who want to work from Colombia. It’s a special type of visa that says, “Hey, remote workers, come live and work here for a while!” This visa let you legally set up shop in Colombia for a few months or even longer, all while soaking in the local culture and scenery. They’re perfect for those who crave the thrill of travel and the freedom to work from anywhere without worrying about breaking any rules.
The Colombian government officially opened up this program in April 2023. The Colombia Digital Nomad Visa still among the cheapest digital nomad visas out there, just costing USD 177 for the application and an income requirement of roughly USD 900.
What are the types of Colombia Digital Nomad Visa?
In Colombia, there’s just one special visa for digital nomads, and it’s called the “Visa V for Digital Nomads.”
But there are three big types of visas in Colombia:
- Type V for visitors
- Type M for migrants
- Type R for residents.
The digital nomad visa belongs to Type V, but there are other Type V visas like the tourist visa, rentista visa, business visa, and business visa.
There’s also a similar visa called the Freelancer visa, but that one is a Type M visa. It’s a bit different from the digital nomad visa, and you can learn more about on the FAQ section
So, in short, there’s one special visa just for digital nomads, but there’s also a similar one called the Freelancer visa, and they each belong to different visa types.
Who Can Apply for the Digital Nomad Visa in Colombia.
Colombia’s Digital Nomad Visa is open to individuals from all around the world. However, you must meet the visa’s financial requirements, demonstrate your ability to support yourself during your stay, and provide the required documents. This visa is designed for remote workers, entrepreneurs, and anyone with a clear plan and sufficient income to live and work in Colombia while enjoying the benefits of this unique visa program.
Why apply for the Colombia digital nomad visa?
Colombia’s digital nomad visa opens the door to an exciting extended stay in one of the world’s most biodiverse countries. Unlike the typical 90-day tourist visa, this special visa offers an impressive two-year residency allowance. The best part? You won’t need to worry about visa runs or border-hopping for those first two years. You’re free to stay as long as you wish during this period. After reaching the two-year mark, a border run will be necessary, but as long as that requirement is met, you can keep on coming back to stay in Colombia.
Additionally, this visa grants access to the ‘Cedula de Extranjeria,’ a state ID that simplifies property rental and mobile phone contracts. Families are welcome too – your spouse and kids can also reap the rewards.
Beyond its immediate advantages, it’s essential to note that the Colombia digital nomad visa can be your stepping stone to permanent residency and citizenship.
So, why wait? Dive into Colombia’s vibrant culture and work scene with confidence!
Requirements to apply for the Colombia Digital Nomad Visa
To increase your chance of getting approved for the Colombia digital nomad visa, you need to make sure your documents meet some important rules:
- All papers, except your ID or passport, should be not older than three months from the time you apply.
- If your documents come from another country, they should have something called an “apostille” or “legalization.” And if they are not in Spanish, you’ll need a proper translation into Spanish. The translation should also have the apostille or legalization thing, depending on what’s needed.
- Sometimes, you may need to show your bank statements. If these are easy to understand without the apostille, legalization, or translation, that’s fine, but it depends on what the visa officer thinks.
Here’s what documents you’ll need:
- You should have a passport, and your 3×4 cm passport photo must be recent, clear, and have a white background. Also, make sure your passport has space for new visas.
- You’ll need a letter from a foreign company that shows you work for them, also disclosing your salary. If you have a contract with this company, show it. Sometimes, you might need a telework contract and proof that the foreign company exists.
- If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll need to put together a motivational letter that tells the story of your entrepreneurial project. In this letter, make sure to share your plans and talk about the money and people you have on board or hope to have for your exciting venture. It’s your chance to show your passion and vision for your business!
- You’ll have to prove your income with bank statements. Your income should be at least three times the minimum monthly wage in Colombia for the last three months.
- You need health insurance that covers you in Colombia for things like accidents, sickness, and more while you’re there.
- If you plan to bring family members, you’ll need to prove your relationship with them.
How to Apply for the Colombia Digital Nomad Visa
Applying for the Colombia Digital Nomad Visa is a straightforward process.
Step 1: Collect Your Papers
First, gather all the papers you’ll need for your visa. It’s essential to have them scanned because you’ll apply online.
Step 2: Go to the Website
Next, visit the Visa Application Website. There, you’ll find a video tutorial to help you start your application.
Step 3: Fill in the Form
Now, it’s time to fill out the application form. It will ask for your personal details, so be sure to enter them correctly. If it’s your first time, leave the “Application Registration Number” blank. The system will give you one after you submit the form. This usually takes about 30 minutes.
Step 4: Send Your Papers
After you’ve filled out the form, you can send in your scanned documents. Make sure they’re scanned well and have clear titles so they’re easy to read.
At this step, you also need to pay the application fee that costs USD 54 at the time of this writing.
Step 5: Wait for Updates
Keep an eye on your email. They’ll send you updates about your application to the email address you provided. You can also check their website for the latest news.
Step 6: Pay the Visa Fee
Once they approve your Colombia Digital Nomad Visa, you’ll need to pay the visa fee. Depending on your situation, it could be between $170 and $230 USD. After you pay, they’ll send your visa electronically within ten days. Your visa starts from the day you get it.
That’s it! Follow these steps, and you’ll be on your way to enjoying your digital nomad adventure in Colombia.
What are the restrictions of the Colombia Digital Nomad Visa?
With the Colombia Digital Nomad Visa, you can’t do a job or any paid work for a person or a company that’s based in Colombia. You can work for people or companies from other countries, but not in Colombia.
Processing Time for Colombia Digital Nomad Visa Application
It usually takes about 30 days to get your visa ready, but it’s a good idea to start at least two months before you plan to arrive in Colombia. That way, you have some extra time just in case.
It’s also a good idea to make sure all your documents are up to date, signed, and if they’re not in Spanish, translated. Even though they don’t ask for the translation at the beginning, sometimes the government might need it, and having everything ready can make the process go smoothly.
So, plan ahead to avoid any problems and make sure you don’t overstay your visa.
Costs of Applying for the Colombia Digital Nomad Visa Application
To get a Colombia Digital Nomad Visa, you’ll need to pay some fees. There’s an application fee, which is $54 USD. Then, there’s the visa fee, which can be between $170 and $230 USD.
If you want help from a lawyer to make the process easier, that might cost you around $600 to $800 USD. So, it’s a good idea to budget for these expenses when you’re planning to apply for the visa.
Why remote workers and expats choose Colombia?
First, Colombia boasts diverse landscapes, from stunning beaches to lush jungles and vibrant cities, providing a variety of environments to explore.
The pleasant climate is another draw, with regions offering different weather patterns to suit individual preferences. Medellín would not have been known as the “City of Eternal Spring” if it was not for its mild climate year-round.
Colombians are known for their warmth and hospitality, making it easier for travelers to feel welcome and make connections. In fact, Colombia consistently ranks high in global surveys for hospitality and friendliness, making it a welcoming place for travelers.
Additionally, Colombia has become increasingly connected, offering reliable internet access in many areas, a crucial factor for remote work. The infrastructure has gotten better in the past decades. Its capital city, Bogotá, has median download speeds exceeding 120 Mbps making it suitable for remote work.
Moreover, the cost of living is relatively low, allowing digital nomads to stretch their budgets and enjoy a high quality of life. It can be at least 70% cheaper to live in Colombia compared to the United States.
Lastly, the government’s introduction of the Colombia Digital Nomad Visa has simplified the process of working and living in the country legally, making it an appealing choice for those seeking both adventure and professional opportunities.
Downsides of staying in Colombia
Living in Colombia has its benefits, but there are also some challenges to consider.
Safety concerns can be a downside, as Colombia has had higher crime rates compared to some other countries. In 2020, for example, Colombia had a homicide rate of 24.6 per 100,000 people, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Additionally, cities like Bogotá face traffic congestion, which is ranked among the worst in the world, leading to air pollution issues. In 2022, Bogotá ranks 10th in Tomtom’s list of cities with the worst traffic.
Noise pollution can also be a problem in urban areas, affecting the overall quality of life.
Furthermore, there can be disparities in living conditions and services between regions, with urban areas often having better infrastructure than rural areas.
Lastly, while the cost of living is generally lower, imported goods can be expensive due to import taxes, impacting the overall affordability of certain items.
So, while Colombia offers many advantages, it’s essential to be aware of these challenges too.
Cities to stay in Colombia as a digital nomad?
There is a handful of places I’d recommend for you to stay at in Colombia, but these are the top ones you should seriously consider,
Medellin is a dynamic city known for its transformation from a troubled past to a vibrant present. It offers modern art, great food, and a unique transportation system called the “Metrocable.” You can explore the city’s history and see how it has become a symbol of innovation and progress in Colombia. If Medellin is among your stops, we’ve listed the best neighborhoods to stay in and the best hostels in Medellin.
San Gil is an exciting city known for thrilling adventures like river rafting, paragliding, and rock climbing. It’s a place where you can have loads of fun doing outdoor activities in the beautiful mountains and rivers while enjoying the friendly atmosphere of the town.
Santa Marta is a coastal gem with stunning beaches and warm, clear waters. It’s a fantastic place to relax, swim, and enjoy the sun. Plus, it’s near Tayrona National Park, where you can explore jungles, see wildlife, and even discover ancient ruins.
Guatapé is famous for its colorful buildings and the giant rock called “El Peñol.” You can climb to the top of the rock for breathtaking views and explore the charming town with its unique, vividly painted houses.
Minca is a peaceful mountain town surrounded by lush forests and waterfalls. It’s a perfect escape to connect with nature, relax by the beaches, go hiking, see exotic birds, and sip on delicious coffee from local plantations.
Cartagena is like stepping into a storybook with its ancient, well-preserved city walls and beautiful architecture. You can stroll through colorful streets, learn about history, and enjoy the vibrant culture and delicious Caribbean cuisine. If this is on your shortlist of places to settle down in, we narrowed down the best places to stay in Cartagena.
Salento is a picturesque village in the coffee region of Colombia, known for its stunning landscapes, coffee farms, and the Cocora Valley, home to the tallest palm trees in the world. It’s a great place to hike, explore coffee culture, and enjoy fresh mountain air.
La Guajira is an exotic region with vast deserts, sandy beaches, and unique indigenous communities. You can experience a different side of Colombia, learn about native traditions, and witness breathtaking desert landscapes.
Colombia is a popular country for travelers for a reason. It offers a variety of experiences, from adventure and natural beauty to culture and hospitality. Its diverse landscapes, including vibrant cities, scenic beaches, and charming towns, make it a place worth exploring.
So, consider a visit and maybe you’ll find it worthwhile to stay longer. If that ever happens, you know that you can always get a Colombia Digital Nomad Visa.
Should I apply for a digital nomad visa or a tourist?
If you work online and come from a country that doesn’t need a tourist visa in Colombia, you have choices. You can visit Colombia without a visa, but there are rules.
You can stay up to 90 days, and if you want more time, you can extend it to 180 days in a year. But if you stay over 183 days, you might have to pay taxes in Colombia. Just be careful not to earn money from Colombian companies during your visit.
If you want to go beyond the 180 day mark, it may be best to get a digital nomad visa.
Does Colombia have a digital nomad visa?
Yes, Colombia has a special visa just for digital nomads, known as the Visa V for digital nomads. It’s pretty affordable at USD 177 to apply
How much money do they expect to be in your bank account?
To secure a Colombia digital nomad visa, the financial requirement is to have approximately USD 900 in your bank account, which is equivalent to Colombia’s three (3) Current Monthly Legal Minimum Wages (SMLMV) during the last 3 months.
How long can I stay in Colombia with a digital nomad visa?
With the digital nomad visa, you can stay in Colombia for up to two (2) years, which is fantastic for those who want to truly explore the country
Do digital nomads pay taxes in Colombia ?
Colombia introduced the digital nomad visa to encourage digital nomads and expats to contribute to the economy. So yes, you’ll pay taxes if you’re a resident. You’ll be considered a resent if you spend more than 183 consecutive or non-consecutive days in Colombia. Colombia taxes worldwide income for residents, with rates ranging from 19% to 39%. There’s also the value-added tax (VAT) at 19%, with some exceptions.
Is it possible to extend the Colombia digital nomad visa?
You can extend your stay with this digital nomad visa, but you might need to do a “visa run” to make it happen. Colombia does not have any stay restrictions.
How long does it take to complete the visa application process?
Filling out the application online takes around 30 minutes to an hour. Expect to wait about 30 days for a response. They’ll keep you in the loop through the email you provide during your application.
Can you apply for the Colombia digital nomad visa while abroad?
Yes, you can apply for the Colombia digital nomad visa from any country outside of Colombia through the official website.
Is it possible to bring a partner or children with the approved visa in Colombia?
Your visa application can include your family members as beneficiaries.
What is the difference from the freelance visa?
Here’s the difference: The Type V Digital Nomad Visa is for remote work with foreign companies, so no Colombian job offers allowed. The Type M Freelance Visa, on the other hand, is for practicing your profession independently in Colombia, so it’s limited to that specific profession or activity, and you can’t work directly with Colombian companies. Choose wisely!