Blog Post : On Being a Digital Nomad in Colombia
There is a lot of conversation recently from people interested in living and migrating to Colombia about the Colombian Digital Nomad Visa.
Now although this type of chatter is not new to the Colombian Expat, and Expat-Hopeful community, could this finally be it? Could this finally be the answer to a prayer that many of us had had for years… well, since becoming a “digital nomad” became a thing?
According to our legal concierge, who secured the information for us, although it might be time to grab the champagne bottle, it might not be time to pop it. Here’s why:
Article 46. Visa V Digital Nomads Scope: To provide remote work or telecommuting services, from Colombia, through digital media and the Internet, exclusively for foreign companies, as independent or labor-related, or to start a digital content or information technology venture of interest to the country.
Be the holder of a passport issued by any of the countries or territories exempt from short-stay visas, according to the Resolution.
Letter in Spanish or English, issued by one or several foreign companies for which the foreigner provides his services, indicating the type of relationship and the type of remuneration received by the applicant. If you have a contract with said company, provide it, or demonstrate that you are a partner or co-owner of a company abroad and a letter indicating that your work for the company is carried out remotely;
In the case of entrepreneurs, submit a motivational letter explaining their entrepreneurial project and the financial and human resources they have or hope to have for their business;
Demonstrate through bank statements having minimum income equivalent to three (3) Current Minimum Legal Monthly Wages (SMLMV) during the last 3 months;
Health policy with coverage in the national territory against all risks in case of accident, illness, maternity, disability, hospitalization, death or repatriation, for the time foreseen for their stay in the country.
Validity: Up to two (2) years. Beneficiaries: Your request is allowed for beneficiaries of the main owner which means that you can bring your dependents with you.
Restrictions: This visa does not allow you to work or carry out paid activity with a legal or natural person domiciled in the national territory. Paragraph: Digital nomads, remote workers and digital entrepreneurs of nationalities that do not require a short-stay visa, established by Resolution, may enter without a visa and remain in Colombia with an Entry Permit granted by the immigration authority, in accordance with current regulations; provided that their stay in the country does not generate payments from Colombian companies and their period of stay does not exceed 90 days, which may be extended up to a maximum of 180 continuous or discontinuous calendar days
HERE’S THE CAVEAT:
The Digital Nomad Visa, as it has come to be called, was brought in by the current political party, and as they are exiting, there is no credible information as to whether the incoming government will maintain this order or repeal it in light of some expected changes which are to come into place.
BUT SHOULD I NOMAD IN COLOMBIA?
There are many reasons why Colombia is emerging as the go-to travel destination for people in search of an opportunity to work remotely. To be honest, even before the dreaded C-Word Pandemic, people have been flying, driving, and even boating across to, what’s now beginning to feel like the ‘Promised Land’ for Digital Nomads and Online Entreprepreneurs.
When you get here from where you were coming from however, you would start to realize that this Mecca is not quite the hidden secret as you might have thought it was.
In fact, according to Migración Colombia, the agency that oversees these statistics, Colombia is experiencing large waves of immigration from other Latin American countries, Europe, East Asia, and North America over the past 5 years. due to improvements in quality of life, security, and economic opportunities available, along with clear paths to securing a long-term visa.
Added to the fact that the international airports in all the major cities like Medellin, Bogota, Cartagena and Cali all have direct flights from major U.S cities making access in and out of Colombia super facil, you may even start to feel - not like you’re discovering a Mecca, but more like you're the last one to find out about that secret your older siblings have been keeping from you.
It’s human nature to want to dissect and analyze how Colombia transformed from the conflict-ridden zone to the heartbeat of Latin America that it is now. After a decades-long war, the dedication of an entire country to rebrand the image and attract more wholesome visitors has started to turn things around.
But what makes Colombia, especially Medellin so special for Digital Nomads?
In this post, we will be touching on three key elements, and one bonus element to explain why cities like Medellin are exceptional cities for Digital Nomads. Although each Colombian city has it’s selling features, generally speaking:
Cost of Living
Easy access to International and domestic flights
The Opportunity to explore the second-most biodiverse country in the world
COST OF LIVING
It is no secret that Digital Nomads want to save in certain areas of life so they can traverse the globe more often.
One of the best parts of Colombia is that you, even in the metropolitan cities like Medellin or Bogota, can live great on a lower budget than other cities like New York, and definitely London.
Although you would be surprised by some of the prices for a 3-bedroom penthouse duplex in El Poblado, for example… and don’t get me wrong, you can definitely find someone to rent you a place above market value, but for the most part, you can grab a steal of a deal in Laureles, very close to the nightlife and restaurant zone of La 70 for $600.00
Save on Food
Although some people enjoy cooking their meals themselves, we highly recommend the menu del dia. On your first day, take a walk around the Barrio in search of restaurants catering to locals. You’ll find that they all offer a menu of the day that consists of Rice, some soup of the day (usually frijoles) and your choice of meat, like beef, pork, or chicken. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting Cartagena, you may even see fish on the menu, which is always a nice treat.
Inexpensive drinks with friends…
The farther you go from the expat/tourist centers, the cheaper things will be. Imagine having 2x1 beers with your amigos when beers are only .50 cents. In Colombia, that is an actual possibility. The nightlife in cities like Medellin, for example, are second to none. There are 5 principal zones to party in Medellín for example: Lleras, Barrio Colombia, La 33, La 70 and Las Palmas. The most popular, by far, is Lleras.
Each zone corresponds to a different budget, so whatever the state of your bank account, you’ll find somewhere to party If you want American style music, for example, Lleras. For the best reggaeton, try Barrio Colombia and for Salsa… head directly to La 70.
Easy access to International Flights
If you are a Digital Nomad launching off from Miami, for example, you might be thrilled to know that you can fly DIRECT from home to the Jose Maria Cordova International Airport in under 4 hours. If you book your flight in advance you'll be surprised at how much you save on your airfare as well.
If it’s your first time in Colombia, we suggest stopping into Cartagena first and passing through the Walled City for some coastal excitement or you can go directly to your final destination and save the trip to Cartagenta for a weekend getaway… which leads us to the next point.
Inexpensive Domestic Flights
With over 20 airlines like Viva, Avianca, and Latam operating in Colombia, it’s easy to understand why flights around the country are so reasonably priced. In fact, you can get from Medellin to San Andres for less than $100.00 on ViVa Air
EXPLORE THE BIODIVERSITY
Colombia’s location is unique.
One thing that Digital Nomads in Medellin like is to explore all that this region has to offer. Since the country is located in the middle of South America, the Antilles, and part of Central America, it is characterized by a wide distribution of groups of animals and plants due to the varying environmental conditions of each region and the development of the continents over time.
Additionally, Colombia is surrounded by three huge mountains which split the country into five natural regions: Andes, Pacific, Caribbean, Amazon, and the Llanos (plains). These regions offer an impressive range of climates and beautiful landscapes at varying altitudes. If you’re a bird watcher for example, you’d be thrilled to know that there are more than 1,920 bird species, in addition to the 528 types of mammals, and 1,521 species of fish that exist in the country.
Transportation and Getting Around
When you think of another of the benefits of being a digital nomad in Medellin and the lifestyle, you have to mention the ease of public transportation. Although most nomads and expats here, like locals, tend to rely on transportation apps like Didi, InDriver and even Uber, which are all fairly easy to use even with beginner-level Spanish skills, taking the Metro from Envigado or Estacion Itagui, where the Mayorca Mall to Estacion Berrio where Parque Botera and the world famous statues are is super easy. If all else fails, you can always ask one of the Bilingual support transit guides for support.
Although this only touches on some of the benefits of living in Colombia as a digital nomad, the beautiful thing is that if you decide to take that lead, you will discover a whole host of other advantages as well.
For more, connect with one of our lifestyle executive concierges to determine whether Colombia could be the best Nomading location for you!
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