Looking for your next destination as a digital nomad? Check out Colombia! This gorgeous country should definitely be on your list. Not only does it offer amazing food and a lively culture, but it also has a thriving digital nomad scene. Digital nomads love Colombia for its jungles, the Caribbean coast, and more. Couple that with its numerous coworking spaces and fast wifi, and you’ve got a perfect destination for adventurous nomads like you!
If you want to move to Colombia, this guide is for you! Here, we’ll go over everything you need to know about the Colombia digital nomad visa and all about life as a digital nomad in this beautiful country. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Does Colombia Have a Digital Nomad Visa?
Yes, Colombia has a digital nomad visa! In October 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced a visa for digital nomads. You can now apply for the Colombia digital nomad visa, also called the Visa V Nómadas Digitales, as of 2023. Here is a brief snapshot of everything you know about the Colombia digital nomad visa.
- You must earn at least three times the national minimum wage to apply for the Colombia digital nomad visa, which, as of 2023, is 3,901,818 COP or around 965.70 USD.
- If you stay in Colombia for more than 183 days, you are subject to paying Colombian taxes.
- The cost of the Colombian digital nomad visa is 52 USD for the application and anywhere between 170 to 230 USD for the issuance of the visa.
- The Colombian digital nomad visa is valid for six months to two years, depending on the officer.
Colombia Digital Nomad Visa
Colombia has been a popular destination for digital nomads for years. The culture, the food, the beautiful towns and cities, and more… What’s not to love about this country? As of 2023, you can now apply for the Colombia digital nomad visa. Prior to the release of this visa, most digital nomads simply entered Colombia on a tourist visa and stayed for fewer than 6 months. You no longer have to limit yourself to this, as the digital nomad visa is valid for up to 2 years and can be renewed!
Colombia Digital Nomad Visa Requirements
- You must have a valid passport with at least 6 months of validity from a country that is exempt from the short-stay visa.
- You must have a minimum salary of three times the minimum wage, which, as of 2023, is 3,901,818 COP or 965.70 USD.
- You must work for a foreign company or be a freelancer/self-employed of a non-Colombian company.
- You must have travel health insurance that covers your stay in Colombia.
- You must pay the visa application fee.
- You may be required to pass a criminal background check.
Who Can Apply for the Colombia Digital Nomad Visa?
Anyone who has a passport from a country that is exempt from the short-stay or tourist visa may apply for the Colombia digital nomad visa. This long list of countries includes the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Italy, Türkiye, Singapore, Sweden, France, and Brazil. The digital nomad visa applicant must also be an employee, freelancer, or self-employed for a company located outside of the country and earn at least three times the national minimum wage. As of 2023, three times the minimum wage is 3,901,818 COP or 965.70 USD per month.
Documents Needed to Apply for the Colombia Digital Nomad Visa
So, now that you’re ready to apply, what documents should you have ready?
- Photocopy of passport
- Passport style photo size 3x4cm, JPG, maximum size of 300 kb
- Letter from a foreign company or companies (that you work for/provide services to) in Spanish or English to prove employment outside of Colombia
- If an entrepreneur, a motivational letter in Spanish or English to explain the project and the financial and human resources
- Bank statements proving your wage for the past three months
- Proof of health insurance for your stay
How to Apply for the Colombia Digital Nomad Visa: Step-by-Step Guide
Step One: Make Sure You Meet the Requirements and Have the Required Documents
Of course, the first step is to make sure you are eligible for the visa in the first place. The last thing you want is to be denied your application after paying the non-refundable application fee. Make sure you have all the necessary documents ready as well.
Step Two: Fill Out the Application
Fill out the application on the online portal. The application is incredibly straightforward. To apply for the digital nomad visa, make sure to apply for the Class V Nomada Digital visa. While it’s easy to figure out how to apply for this visa by yourself, you can use this handy guide if you’re stuck at any point. Filling everything out shouldn’t take too much time; set aside 30 minutes to an hour to do this.
Step Three: Submit Your Application and Pay the Application Fee
After filling out the application, you will need to attach all the required documents and pay the fee of $52 USD. You can pay by credit card.
Step Four: Get Approved
The final step for applying for the Colombia digital nomad visa is to get approved! You will receive updates on the email address that you provide on the application. It may take around 30 working days to hear back. But in periods of high volume, you may need to wait even longer.
Step Five: Pay the Visa Fee
Now that you have been approved, you will need to pay the visa fee, which can range from $170 to $230 USD. Once you pay the fee, you will receive your Colombia digital nomad visa electronically within 10 days.
Cost of Colombia Digital Nomad Visa
The initial cost of applying for a Colombia digital nomad visa is $52 USD. After you are approved, you will need to pay an additional $170 to $230, depending on the application and applicant.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Digital Nomad Visa in Colombia?
The wait for the Colombia digital nomad visa is not too bad. The application process itself is pretty streamlined and straightforward, so as long as you have all the required documents ready, you should be able to apply within an hour. After applying and paying the application fee, expect to wait around 30 business days to hear back about your decision. And finally, after you are approved, you will need to pay the visa fee, after which you will receive your Colombia digital nomad visa within 10 business days.
All in all, from application to receiving the digital nomad visa, the process will take around 40 business days. Keep in mind that during periods of high volume, the application process may take longer.
Alternatives to the Digital Nomad Visa in Colombia
Colombia M-11 Retirement Visa
The Colombia Retirement visa is an M-type visa, also called a migrant visa. This visa allows the visa holder to stay in Colombia for up to three years, but if the visa holder leaves Colombia for any period over 6 months. As the name may suggest, this visa is intended for retirees only. The applicant must be at least 65 years old and have a minimum wage of at least three times the national minimum wage, which, as of 2023, is 3,901,818 COP or 965.70 USD per month. Retirees must be able to provide proof of pension that proves this amount. This visa is renewable. After 5 years, the visa holder may apply for a Colombia resident visa.
Colombia M-10 Real Estate Investment Visa
If you’re not quite 65 yet, another option is to apply for the M-10 Real Estate Investment visa. The visa applicant must invest at least 350 times the minimum wage in a Colombian estate. As of 2023, this is 455,212,100 COP or around 112,000 USD. This visa has a validity of up to 3 years and can be renewed. After 5 years, the visa holder will be eligible to apply for residency.
Can You Work in Colombia as a Digital Nomad on a Tourist Visa?
No, you cannot technically work in Colombia as a digital nomad – if tourist visa refers to the 90 days granted to foreigners for travel. As a general rule, in most countries, unless otherwise specified, it is technically illegal to work as a digital nomad on a tourist visa. This is applicable to Colombia as well. However, since the digital nomad life is relatively new, this is a bit of a gray area. And many digital nomads do live and work in Colombia on a tourist visa without any issues. The police aren’t exactly cracking down on digital nomads that do. If digital nomads want to stay in Colombia for more than the initial 90 days, it is possible to extend the visa for another 90 days, for a total of 180 days.
However, with that all said, the digital nomad visa is technically a type of tourist visa (or visitor visa). So, in a sense, one could answer this question with a resounding: Yes!
If you want to stay in the country as legally as possible, the best option would be to apply for a digital nomad visa, which can easily be done online!
Tax Requirements for Digital Nomads in Colombia
Most digital nomads don’t pay taxes in Colombia. This is because, although the digital nomad visa is valid for up to two years, the majority of digital nomads don’t stay in the country long enough to be considered tax residents. To be a tax resident, you must stay in the country for at least 183 days. Non-tax residents have absolutely no obligation to pay any taxes or declare any income to the country as long as the income is sourced abroad, which is the case for digital nomads. Phew!
But what happens if you stay more than 183 days? Well, in that case, you’d need to declare the income – all income, including all domestic and foreign-sourced income. In case you are confused about what counts as domestic income – that is all money that you are paid while on Colombian soil, even if this money comes from the United States. And why is this distinction important?
While there is a tax discount for foreign nationals to recognize taxes paid on foreign-sourced income, this is not the case for domestic income. So, for example, if you are from the United States, you’ll likely be paying double taxes. Yikes. And FYI, Colombia’s tax rates are progressive up to 39%. In order to avoid this situation, the best thing to do would be to avoid staying in Colombia for more than 183 days in a year.
Is Colombia a Good Place for Digital Nomads?
Colombia is one of the most popular digital nomad destinations for a reason! It boasts a lively culture, gorgeous scenery, proximity to other South American countries, and more! To decide whether or not Colombia is for you, here are some pros and cons to consider.
|Culture and food. It’s no secret that Colombia is an amazingly lively country to visit – filled with gorgeous towns, plenty to do, and amazing food to eat.
|May not be female-friendly. Unfortunately, female digital nomads who look obviously foreign may find themselves the target of catcalling and other unwanted attention.
|Digital nomad community. Colombia is one of the most popular places in the world for digital nomads, so you can easily find fellow nomads, make friends, and network.
|Saturated in certain parts. While having a strong digital nomad community can be a pro, unfortunately, it means some areas are overrun with tourists and digital nomads and are not as authentic.
|Good weather. While not perfect, Colombia has very decent weather all around. Medellin, in particular, is known for being the City of Eternal Spring.
|English is not commonly spoken. Of course, Colombia is a Spanish-speaking country, so you’ll need to learn the language to get by.
|Accessibility. Colombia is a haven for digital nomads with plenty of coworking spaces and cafes to work at, especially in digital nomad hotspots.
|Safety concerns. Crime rates are relatively high, with muggings and assaults occurring even in safer cities and areas.
Is Colombia Safe for Digital Nomads?
Colombia may have a reputation for being dangerous, but the country has worked hard to make it a safer place to visit. Just follow some key safety rules, and you’ll be golden! Make sure you use your common sense and avoid sketchy and dangerous neighborhoods.
Colombia safety tips:
- Avoid walking around at night alone. Instead, take an Uber.
- Avoid taking out your phone on busy streets.
- Avoid looking flashy with a lot of jewelry or fancy watches.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times
- Keep up to date with local news for important information about neighborhoods in your area.
- Don’t buy drugs.
Best Places to Live in Colombia for Digital Nomads
Now that you have your visa, it’s time to figure out where to go! While many digital nomads simply pick a starting location and journey around the country, finding that perfect fit for them, others might want to know where to go from the get-go. So, what are some of the best places in Colombia for digital nomads?
No list of digital nomad hotspots in Colombia is complete without a mention of Medellin. Medellin is the digital nomad capital of Colombia for a good reason – it has amazing public transportation, perfect weather, plenty of coworking spaces, and is overall a thriving metropolis. This is the perfect city for art and culture lovers and is well-equipped for digital nomads. In this city, you don’t have to sacrifice most of your home comforts, including shopping, international food, and more.
Disclaimer: Medellin is one of the most popular cities in the world for digital nomads. Unfortunately, this popularity has led to some unfortunate consequences. Certain areas of Medellin, such as El Poblado, are full of digital nomads and tourists, forcing locals to move out of these areas, which are quickly rising in price. So, if you plan to move to Medellin, please keep this in mind and do your best to lessen your impact.
The capital city, Bogota, is the biggest city in Colombia, so you definitely won’t be in want of anything. It’s a sprawling and diverse city of almost 11 million people, so it’s a great fit for digital nomads looking for a big-city feel. Bogota is also a great place to base yourself, as you can easily explore other areas of Colombia, but there’s also plenty to do within the city! Explore museums, go visit some sights, shop for emeralds, and enjoy a great nightlife scene in Bogota! Plus, thanks to the higher elevation, this city enjoys a much cooler and milder temperature than cities like Cartagena.
Cartagena is a tourist hotspot and a great city for digital nomads. Although smaller than Medellin, this city still has plenty to offer in the area with the beach at your doorstep! Most digital nomads based in Cartagena live in Bocagrande, Getsemani, or the Old City. These three neighborhoods are safe and easy to get around, so you’ll definitely have your pick! If you need to be by a beach and surrounded by history, Cartagena should be the best place for you. However, with that said, unfortunately, this city is HOT. So, make sure you can handle the heat and humidity before you settle here.
Another city that is perfect for digital nomads that don’t mind heat is Barranquilla, the largest city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Although not as well-known, this city is developing quickly and is becoming a hotspot for digital nomads and tourists alike. Barranquilla hosts many cultural festivals and events, so you can be emersed in the culture here. Plus, the location is hard to beat – one or two hours from both Santa Marta and Cartagena!
Cost of Living in Colombia for Digital Nomads
There is no real one-size-fits-all answer in regards to the cost of living in Colombia. You can live as cheaply or as bougie as you want in this country, so it’s ultimately up to you and what you seek out of your experience. But with that said, one of the biggest draws for expats moving to Colombia is the relatively lower cost of living compared to other countries around the world. So, what can you expect to pay to live here?
Of course, your biggest expense in Colombia is going to be your rent. There is a wide range when it comes to accommodation, but many digital nomads pay between 1,000,000 to 3,000,000 COP per month, which is around $240 to $725 USD for a one-bedroom apartment. However, in more expensive neighborhoods like Medellin’s Laureles or El Poblado, you can even find apartments for as much as $800 and $1,200 USD per month.
Another big expense in Colombia is food. In terms of groceries, budget between 500,000 and 1,250,000 COP ($120 and $300 USD). Keep in mind that if you do your grocery shopping in expensive neighborhoods like El Poblado, you may end up paying much higher prices than you would anywhere else! And when you eat out, a budget lunch (menú del día) will cost between 10,000 to 25,000 COP ($2.42 to $6 USD), and dinner may cost between 20,000 and 50,000 COP ($4.85 and $12) on average.
Healthcare in Colombia for Digital Nomads
As a digital nomad in Colombia, you must provide proof that you have health insurance covering your stay period. The health insurance you pick must cover accidents, illnesses, maternity, hospitalization, disabilities, death, and repatriation. Check out our list of the 10 best insurance options for digital nomads!
While Colombia does have a universal healthcare system that covers almost 100% of the population, most digital nomads would not be eligible. So, who does it cover? It covers all legal residents that are signed on with the Entidades Promotoras de Salud or EPS. Expats are able to opt-out, but they do need to provide proof of coverage with a private healthcare plan. Those that do opt-in must pay a percentage of their gross monthly income to the EPS.
Don’t expect the same quality of care in hospitals in Colombia as you would in the United States, for example! Colombia’s healthcare doesn’t get nearly the same level of funding, but the quality of care is not lackluster either! But one thing you will need to keep in mind is that hospitals in Colombia don’t tend to use pillows, soaps, shampoos, towels, or diapers. So, make sure you pack everything you need for a hospital stay.
Best Coworking Spaces in Colombia
If you find it difficult to concentrate at home when working, why not try out a coworking space? Thankfully, there are plenty of coworking spaces in Colombia that you can check out.
- Quokka Coworking (Medellin) – 55k COP ($13 USD) per day or 270k COP ($65 USD) per week for shared spaces and 690k COP ($167 USD) per month for a permanent desk. Located in the El Poblado area, this coworking space is close to everything and has an indoor/outdoor space.
- Cowo Quinta (Bogota) – 260k COP ($63 USD) for 80 hours, 365k COP ($89 USD) per month for hot desking, or 650k COP ($158 USD) per month for a fixed desk. Space includes fast wifi, free coffee, fruits, and access to networking events.
- Cowork Cartagena (Cartagena) – 700k COP ($175 USD) per month for shared spaces or 932,400 COP ($227 USD) per month for a fixed desk. Includes free parking, personal lockers, printing, free coffee and water, and unlimited beer for Happy Hour every Thursday and Friday!
- LYD House (Barranquilla) – 35k COP per day, 300k COP for 10 days, 500k COP for 20 days, or 450k COP per month for a shared working space. Includes fast wifi, free coffee and beer, and the monthly pass includes access to networking events.
How to Find a Place to Live in Colombia
Now that you’ve got almost everything set up, an important consideration is finding a place to live! Finding accommodation in a new country can be scary and intimidating, but with this guide, you should be able to find a place to live in no time! There are plenty of options for accommodation in Colombia for digital nomads, and you’ll definitely be able to find your dream home for your stint here!
Now, before we dive into where to find accommodation, it’s important to know what to look for. As a digital nomad, there are going to be some things you’ll need to keep in mind, namely:
- Good and fast internet: You can’t be a digital nomad without wifi! So, one of the main things you should ask about is the wifi speed (if internet is included in rent). You can also run a quick speed test when you’re viewing the home as well. Of course, the ideal speed depends on what kind of work you do, but aim for at least 10 to 20 Mbps if you do light internet work, 50 to 100 Mbps if you need to be in Zoom meetings and stream videos in HD, and above 100 Mbps for video editing work.
- Workspace: For digital nomads that prefer working at home, this is particularly important! However, even for those digital nomads who prefer working in cafes or coworking spaces, it’s still important to ensure you have a good working space at home too.
- Utility prices: When moving to a new country, figuring out how to pay bills can be a pain. So, ask whether utilities are included in the rent. If not, ask how much you can expect to pay for gas, electricity, water, and internet. If nothing’s included at all, you’ll need to set it all up yourself.
- Good location: While safety in Colombia has gotten better, it is not safe to walk around every location alone! For this reason, make sure you pick the right area. But besides that, you’ll also want to make sure your new place is close enough to restaurants, supermarkets, shopping, your coworking space, and public transport.
Where to Find Apartments in Colombia?
Well, there’s a few different options for finding housing in Colombia. Try to utilize all your options so you can land the place of your dreams, which will only elevate your experience here!
Word of Mouth
If you already have some friends or family in the country, ask them for help! They will be able to help you get set up in Colombia and help you look for a place to stay. If they live in the area you want to move to, they’ll have the most up-to-date information and insider knowledge on how to find accommodation.
Agencies and Websites
Another resource you should definitely tap into is using a real estate agency. Here are some of the agencies you should check out:
Another option is to check out a rental listing website. The best one in Colombia is Fincaraiz, but keep in mind that it might be a little bit outdated. So, always contact the property manager and check out the apartment beforehand!
Another thing worth mentioning is that in order to rent using one of these methods, you will need a cosigner and the ability to speak Spanish. It’s also likely that they won’t rent the apartments for less than 6 months, so it’s perfect if you’re looking for a more long-term accommodation.
Join Facebook Groups
Yes, Facebook! Surprisingly, this is one of the best ways to look for accommodation in Colombia. There are many different groups you can join on Facebook to look for rentals and ask for help. Here are some of the Facebook groups to join:
- Medellin Rooms, Apartments and Expat Info
- Apartamentos casa en arriendo Medellín
- Apartamentos En Arriendo Bogotá
- Busco casa o arriendo en cartagena
- Arriendos Barranquilla
Travel Accommodation Sites
While we don’t typically endorse travel accommodation sites for digital nomads, they can still be a great choice for some – especially if you’re looking for something a bit more short-term or if you’re looking to stay at one while you are on the hunt for something more permanent. Why don’t we typically endorse these sites? Check out our digital nomad ethics guide for more info!
Now that we’ve got that disclaimer out of the way, check out these travel accommodation sites if you’re looking for someplace to start.
Ready to Start Your Digital Nomad Life in Colorful Colombia?
As your journey as a digital nomad takes off, definitely put Colombia on your map! The Colombia digital nomad visa isn’t just paperwork; it’s your golden ticket to a life of work and play under the beautiful Colombian sun. From the emerald jungles of the Amazon to the vibrant rhythms of Cartagena’s streets, Colombia offers more than a backdrop for your remote work—it’s a symphony of culture, nature, and so much more! So, what are you waiting for?
Looking for some more countries with digital nomad visas? Check out our digital nomad visa hub!