The Digital Nomad Visa in Colombia
A guide to applying for and obtaining the new Digital Nomad Visa in Colombia
Colombia has long been a top destination for the Macbook wielding Digital Nomads of the world. With a low cost of living, beautiful natural landscapes, vibrant culture and endless variety of fun to be had, Colombia is a huge draw for the perpetually remote-working employees, freelancers, contractors and entrepreneurs of the world.
Ever more aware of the growing community of Digital Nomads on its shores and the economic opportunities that they bring to the country. The Colombian government has made the wise decision to offer a dedicated visa for Digital Nomads, allowing Digital Nomads in Colombia to legally stay and work online in Colombia for up to two years.
Up until now, remote-working Digital Nomads in Colombia usually entered using the standard Tourist visa permit that allows for a 90 day stay, extendable to a 180 day maximum per calendar year. This always meant however that for the Digital Nomads in Colombia who wanted to spend more than 6 months a year in the country, they had to find all manner of workarounds and loopholes to these visa limits. Enrolling in a cheap Spanish language course and obtaining the Student visa for example, has long been a common way for Digital Nomads in Colombia to prolong their stay in the country.
But these visa workarounds have always had inherent problems. Tourist and student visas do not actually permit the visa-holder to do any work at all during their stay in Colombia. Working online for foreign entities has always been a bit of a gray area in this regard, and most Digital Nomads have simply carried on their remote-work activities regardless and without problems. But now, Colombia's new Digital Nomad Visa will eliminate this gray area and give Digital Nomads fully regular visa status and the opportunity to stay here and work legally online for up to 2 years.
The Colombian government has made the wise decision to offer a dedicated visa for Digital Nomads, allowing Digital Nomads in Colombia to legally stay and work online in Colombia for up to two years.
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Colombian Digital Nomad Visa Requirements
The requirements for the Digital Nomad Visa in Colombia are straightforward and easy to comply with, making the Colombian Digital Nomad Visa one of the easiest to obtain in the world. According to Resolution 5477 published July 22 2022 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, applicants for the Digital Nomad Visa in Colombia must meet the following requirements:
- Be the holder of a valid passport issued by any of the countries or territories with short-stay visa exemption. You can check the visa requirements for your nationality here.
- Present a letter in English or Spanish, issued by one or more foreign companies for which you provide services, indicating the type of business relationship you maintain and the remuneration received. Provide any contracts you have with said company, or demonstrate that you are a partner or co-owner of a foreign company and include a letter indicating that your work for the company is carried out remotely.
- In the case of entrepreneurs, submit a letter explaining your business idea, motivation and the financial and human resources you have, or aspire to have, for your business.
- Demonstrate through bank statements that during the last 3 months you have earned monthly income equivalent to three Current Minimum Legal Monthly Salaries. This is equivalent to an income of approx. $684 USD per month, far lower than the limit set for Digital Nomad Visas in many other countries.
- Be the holder of a valid health insurance policy with coverage in Colombia against risk of accident, illness, maternity, disability, hospitalization, death or repatriation, for the entire duration of your stay in the country.
More information on the Digital Nomad Visa in Colombia
The Digital Nomad Visa in Colombia allows the visa-holder to legally stay and work in Colombia for up to 2 years, provided they do not receive income or carry out any work for individuals or entities resident in Colombia during their stay.
The new rules also expressly allow those foreigners who intend to stay less than 180 days to enter with a regular Tourist Visa permit and continue to work remotely online legally during their stay, provided that their work is exclusively with foreign resident entities or individuals.
This is an important factor of the new rules, because if you do not plan on staying more than 6 months, you don’t need to go through the process of applying for the Digital Nomad Visa, you can simply come and work online in Colombia using a standard Tourist Visa permit. It also opens up the possibility for Digital Nomads to come to Colombia and work remotely with the Tourist Visa for 6 months, and then apply for the Digital Nomad Visa once their 90 or 180 days are about to expire. In theory this would mean a Digital Nomad could potentially stay legally in Colombia for up to 2.5 years.
How to apply for a Digital Nomad Visa in Colombia
The digital nomad visa is set to become available in late October 2022. It is likely that further guidance on specific requirements and process will be forthcoming between now and October, but currently the standard visa application process in Colombia is a follows:
- All visa applications must be made online through the digital visa platform here.
- If you're applying from outside of Colombia, you must use the local Consular Office of your country of birth or legal residence.
- The digital visa platform will only accept applications from those with a regular visa status, meaning that if your current tourist visa has expired then you will need a Permit to Stay (Salvoconducto) in order to make your new visa application. For this reason it is important to apply for your new visa in good time before your current visa expires.
- All documentation required for the visa application must be attached in PDF format and submitted through the digital platform. Many foreigners have had an issue with the maximum file size limit of their PDF documentation attachments. The digital platform has a very small max filesize limit so it is highly recommended to optimize and compress your PDF attachment as much as possible using Adobe Acrobat and/or an online PDF file compression platform such as: https://www.ilovepdf.com/compress_pdf
- Ensure there are no errors, mistakes or typos in the documentary evidence that you provide with your visa application, as mistakes are likely to be a cause for your visa application to be rejected.
- Remember to keep original, physical copies of all documents that you upload to your application as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reserve the right to request the original documents during the application process.
Remember to keep original, physical copies of all documents that you upload to your application as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reserve the right to request the original documents during the application process.
Make sure to check your email inbox Spam folders and Promotions tabs regularly while awaiting updates of your application, as it is common for emails from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to end up there.You can also check the status of your visa application by visiting this link.
The bottom line on the Digital Nomad Visa in Colombia
The Colombian Digital Nomad Visa is a significant step forward for Colombia to further its reputation as an international hub for digital tech startups and fully remote companies.
As with all immigration and legal related issues, it is highly recommended to seek the advice and guidance from a reputable and experienced immigration law firm or visa agency before making your application. Using a visa agency or law firm can significantly reduce the time and stress involved in making your visa application, and can often increase your chances of your application being accepted.
Many foreigners experience frustration with the visa application process here in Colombia, because the digital platforms are badly designed and full of bugs, and the response times are often slow. Notwithstanding however it is important to point out the importance of maintaining your patience during this process. If you meet the requirements and follow the specified process closely, you should have no problem obtaining your visa and being able to enjoy the wonderful lifestyle that is available for foreigners, expats and Digital Nomads here in Colombia.