Thinking about an immersive living experience in colorful Colombia? A new law, coming into effect on October 22, will create a new visa specifically for Digital Nomads. Let’s get into the details below…
Being a digital nomad in Colombia is about to get a lot easier
Bordered by Brazil, Peru, Ecuador and the Caribbean Sea, Colombia is a country of diverse experiences and contrasting landscapes. Having largely shed its Pablo Escobar associations in recent years, the country is increasingly a go-to destination for adventure travelers and digital nomads.
And combined with an exceptionally low cost of living – it scores a “2 out 7 – Very Cheap” – in the Sovereign Cost of Living Index – the country should tick a lot of boxes for remote workers.
You can also get our more holistic perspective on the country in our recently launched Global Explorer tool.
Yet whereas previously you would have had to do cumbersome border runs or apply for residency to stay there for longer than 90 days at a time, the newly created Colombian Digital Nomad Visa (see page 26) should now make things substantially easier.
Here’s what we know about the new visa program thus far…
The Colombian Digital Nomad Visa (DNV) at a glance
The new DNV program will allow foreign nationals with remote employment outside of the country to reside in and work from Colombia. But… While the visa is valid for 24 months (2 years), you can only spend a maximum of 6 months per year in the country.
Moreover, the visa won’t be available for all foreign nationals. In order to apply for this visa, you’ll have to be a citizen of a country that is exempt from the need for short-stay visas in Colombia.
(Around 100 countries, including the US, UK, Russia, Australia, New Zealand and most of the EU countries are on the list).
The key requirements for the program include:
- A letter issued by one (or several) foreign companies for whom you provide your services, indicating your type of business relationship, and indicating the remuneration you receive from them. If you have contracts with said companies, provide these, or demonstrate that you are a partner or co-owner of a company abroad. Make mention of the fact that your work for the company is carried out remotely.
- A medical insurance policy with coverage in Colombia.
- Three months worth of bank statements proving that you receive more than three times the minimum national salary in Colombia, known as the Salarios Minimos Legales Mensuales Vigentes (SMLMV), which is $221.84 in 2022.(The Colombian program’s income requirement is therefore calculated as 3 x $221.84 = $665.52 per month – which is even cheaper than Portugal’s already ultra-low D7 and Digital Nomad Visa requirement of just €705 per month!)
Another excellent benefit of Colombia’s DNV is that you won’t be required to obtain a police clearance certificate from your country of origin. This, depending on where you live, can be a major headache.
The Colombian Digital Nomad Visa will also be available to foreigners seeking to establish a new digital or technology focused business in Colombia. Visa holders will, however, not be allowed to seek local employment in the country.
You will also be able to bring your spouse and dependent minor children along – and the law, as it stands, does not indicate that you’d need to earn more in order to do so.
In addition, the law does not mention anything about taxation for nomads, given the 6-month cap on stays for digital nomads. (You will, however, most likely become a tax resident in Colombia if you live there for more than 183 days per year.)
Be sure to consult with a Colombian tax attorney in this regard. Sovereign Confidential members, reach out to us if you’d like a reference for our vetted provider on the ground.
And while some media publications have mentioned that you won’t be able to apply for this visa if your company has a presence in Colombia, this has not been confirmed officially.
But the program faces stiff – and growing – competition
The list of massively popular tourism destinations now offering (or launching) digital nomad visas just keeps on growing. While this Colombian visa’s absurdly low income requirement is really generous, its 6-months-per-year validity is not.
Also, it must be noted that neighboring Brazil, too, has an excellent DNV program. The Brazilian Digital Nomad Visa is issued with a 12-month validity, and can be renewed for another year – for a total of two years.
And Brazil’s minimum income requirement, while more than double that of Colombia, is still seriously low.
To qualify there, you need to show a monthly income of only $1,500, OR a bank balance of just $18,000 to apply on the basis of savings.
The ability to apply with savings only will count in Brazil’s favor, and the country itself, too, has a LOT to offer.
(Sovereign Confidential members recently received a deep-dive report on both the Brazilian DNV and the country’s retirement visa program.) You can learn more about the benefits of joining this market-leading international diversification service here.
The bottom line
The emergence of an ever-increasing number of Digital Nomad Visas is forcing new programs to really roll out the red carpet for prospective applicants. And as this competition increases, you can look forward to lower income thresholds and simpler program requirements in even more exciting locations.
We’ll keep an eye on the Colombian program and new entrants to the market, and keep you posted on how you can benefit.