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How to Be a Digital Nomad in Colombia

Clock 15 min read
Howdy Expert

By Howdy.com

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Content

    Once infamous for violence, drugs, and militant FARC Guerillas, la puerta a Sud América (the door to South America) has shed its narco reputation. It is now firmly established as one of the world's best locations for digital nomads. Its capital city of Medellín — nicknamed La Ciudad de Eterna Primavera (the City of Eternal Spring) is consistently crowned as a top place to work remotely, drawing adventurers with its pleasant climate, famously attractive locals, and superior infrastructure for remote working.

    Eager to experience Colombia's mesmerizing medley of dreamy coastal cities, incredible biodiversity, and modern infrastructure firsthand? Read on to learn everything you need to know about digital nomading in Colombia, from getting a remote workers' visa to the benefits of choosing the colorful country as your next international home.

  1. An overview of Colombia's digital nomad visa
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    Colombia launched a digital nomad visa — Visa V Nómadas Digitales — in October 2022, joining Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and Uruguay as a LatAm country eager to welcome remote workers.

    "Colombia is thrilled to share with digital nomads the privilege of working from the second most biodiverse country in the world," said Carmen Caballero, President of ProColombia, a branch of the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism department, in a press release. "Bogotá, Medellín, Cartagena, Cali, the Coffee Landscape, and other destinations offer a variety of coworking spaces and accommodations with specific programs developed for more extended stays where remote workers will have unforgettable experiences."

    Compared to other nations’ digital nomad visas, Colombia's is relatively affordable thanks to a low income requirement. The visa costs around 177 USD, and the minimum earnings requirement is around 680 USD monthly. The visa program allows approved applicants to live and work in the country for up to two years, open a local bank account, register for a local phone plan, and apply for the state ID needed to rent property.

  3. Do you need a digital nomad visa?
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    Keep in mind: You only need to apply for a digital nomad visa if you plan on staying in Colombia for more than 180 days per year. If you plan on a shorter stay, and you are a citizen of a country that can enter the country without a tourist visa — such as the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia — you can live and work in Colombia without a visa for up to 90 days. Before your 90-day stay expires, you can request an extension of up to 90 days from Colombian immigration.

  5. Colombia's digital nomad visa eligibility requirements
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    If you do decide to apply for Colombia's digital nomad visa, you should check that you meet the eligibility requirements. Here's a quick summary of what you need to qualify:

    • Passport. You must have a valid passport with at least six months of validity and two blank pages. The passport should be a country that doesn't require a tourist visa to enter Colombia.
    • Remote work. You must be a remote worker, such as an employee, freelancer, or business owner, who earns money outside of Colombia (working with Howdy qualifies).
    • Income. For the past three months, you must have earned a minimum monthly income of at least three times Colombia's legal minimum wage (around 684 USD a month).
    • Health insurance. You must have health insurance covering accidents, maternity, sickness, death, repatriation, and disabilities in Colombia.
  7. Application process for Colombia's digital nomad visa
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    Below, we walk you through Colombia's digital nomad application process step by step:

    1. Gather the required documents.

    The required documents to apply for a Colombian digital nomad visa are as follows:

    • A valid passport with at least six months validity and two blank pages
    • A copy of the passport's first page
    • Two passport-sized photos
    • Proof of remote income — employment contract, pay stubs, or bank statements for the last three months
    • Proof of health insurance covering the entirety of your stay in Colombia for accidents, illness, maternity, and disability
    • A letter from your non-Colombian employer confirming your remote work status
    • A detailed business plan if you are an entrepreneur

    2. Apply for Colombia's nomad visa online.

    You can apply for the digital nomad online through the Colombian immigration portal. The application process takes about 30 minutes from start to finish. Follow the instructions to complete the application, submit the required documents electronically, and pay the application fee. The fee is around 52 USD.

    3. Wait for approval.

    The typical processing time for a Colombian nomad visa is 30 days. You should receive updates on your application status and final approval via email.

    4. Pay for your visa.

    Once you are notified your visa application has been accepted, the next step is to pay for your visa. The Colombian digital nomad visa costs around 177 USD for solo travelers.

  9. Why Colombia?
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    With the logistics and red tape out of the way, let's move on to the fun part: why you should consider Colombia as the next stop on your digital nomad journey. Here are seven compelling reasons to work remotely in Colombia:

    Remote work-friendly infrastructure. You'll find fast, reliable, widespread WiFi and sleek, modern coworking spaces in major Colombian cities — especially in popular nomadic destinations like Medellín, Bogotá, and Cartagena. In addition to coworking hubs, the storied coffee-exporting country is home to ultra-hip, WiFi-equipped cafes.

    A huge digital nomad community. Particularly in Medellín, Bogotá, and Cartagena, you'll never have to look far to find a fellow digital nomad tapping away at a laptop. In these cities, you can join the thriving community of expats at language exchanges, meetups, entrepreneurship events, and happy hours.

    Time zone alignment. Colombia is aligned with the US Eastern Standard Time (EST) most of the year, and one hour behind EST during daylight savings time. The time zone overlap makes the country ideal for collaborating with clients in the US and Europe.

    Safety. Once ravaged by civil war, Colombia has made a remarkable transformation, dramatically decreasing violent crime rates in the last two decades and investing in innovation and public projects. As in all urban areas, petty crime remains a problem, but you're unlikely to run into issues with a little caution and common sense.

    Local tip: Colombians often use the phrase "no dar papaya" as a general rule of thumb for staying safe. This phrase, which translates to "don't give papaya," means don't make yourself vulnerable to pickpockets by flashing around your iPhone or wads of cash.

    Friendly, beautiful, English-speaking locals. Colombians are arguably best known for two qualities: friendliness and hypnotically beautiful women. Most locals speak fluent English in major cities — though it's worth brushing up on your Spanish, particularly if you plan on traveling to remote regions and off-the-beaten-track cities like Cali.

    Low cost of living. Colombia is one of the most affordable countries in Latin America. Food, public transportation, housing, and entertainment are relatively inexpensive, allowing nomads to live comfortably for less than 1,000 USD a month — even in major cities.

    Unparalleled biodiversity. You'll never lack places to explore when taking a break from your laptop. Each Colombian city has a distinct flavor, from chic, sophisticated Bogotá to dramatic Meddelin to the sleepy beach town of Santa Marta. Outside of the cities, you can venture through emerald-green coffee regions, Amazon rainforests, and Andean mountains. Snorkel off the shore of the untouched island of Providencia, explore the deep jungles of Nuquí on the Pacific coast, and lounge on soft white sand beaches in the protected Tayrona National Park.

Once infamous for violence, drugs, and militant FARC Guerillas, la puerta a Sud América (the door to South America) has shed its narco reputation. It is now firmly established as one of the world's best locations for digital nomads. Its capital city of Medellín — nicknamed La Ciudad de Eterna Primavera (the City of Eternal Spring) is consistently crowned as a top place to work remotely, drawing adventurers with its pleasant climate, famously attractive locals, and superior infrastructure for remote working.

Eager to experience Colombia's mesmerizing medley of dreamy coastal cities, incredible biodiversity, and modern infrastructure firsthand? Read on to learn everything you need to know about digital nomading in Colombia, from getting a remote workers' visa to the benefits of choosing the colorful country as your next international home.

An overview of Colombia's digital nomad visa

Colombia launched a digital nomad visa — Visa V Nómadas Digitales — in October 2022, joining Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and Uruguay as a LatAm country eager to welcome remote workers.

"Colombia is thrilled to share with digital nomads the privilege of working from the second most biodiverse country in the world," said Carmen Caballero, President of ProColombia, a branch of the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Tourism department, in a press release. "Bogotá, Medellín, Cartagena, Cali, the Coffee Landscape, and other destinations offer a variety of coworking spaces and accommodations with specific programs developed for more extended stays where remote workers will have unforgettable experiences."

Compared to other nations’ digital nomad visas, Colombia's is relatively affordable thanks to a low income requirement. The visa costs around 177 USD, and the minimum earnings requirement is around 680 USD monthly. The visa program allows approved applicants to live and work in the country for up to two years, open a local bank account, register for a local phone plan, and apply for the state ID needed to rent property.

Do you need a digital nomad visa?

Keep in mind: You only need to apply for a digital nomad visa if you plan on staying in Colombia for more than 180 days per year. If you plan on a shorter stay, and you are a citizen of a country that can enter the country without a tourist visa — such as the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia — you can live and work in Colombia without a visa for up to 90 days. Before your 90-day stay expires, you can request an extension of up to 90 days from Colombian immigration.

Colombia's digital nomad visa eligibility requirements

If you do decide to apply for Colombia's digital nomad visa, you should check that you meet the eligibility requirements. Here's a quick summary of what you need to qualify:

  • Passport. You must have a valid passport with at least six months of validity and two blank pages. The passport should be a country that doesn't require a tourist visa to enter Colombia.
  • Remote work. You must be a remote worker, such as an employee, freelancer, or business owner, who earns money outside of Colombia (working with Howdy qualifies).
  • Income. For the past three months, you must have earned a minimum monthly income of at least three times Colombia's legal minimum wage (around 684 USD a month).
  • Health insurance. You must have health insurance covering accidents, maternity, sickness, death, repatriation, and disabilities in Colombia.

Application process for Colombia's digital nomad visa

Below, we walk you through Colombia's digital nomad application process step by step:

1. Gather the required documents.

The required documents to apply for a Colombian digital nomad visa are as follows:

  • A valid passport with at least six months validity and two blank pages
  • A copy of the passport's first page
  • Two passport-sized photos
  • Proof of remote income — employment contract, pay stubs, or bank statements for the last three months
  • Proof of health insurance covering the entirety of your stay in Colombia for accidents, illness, maternity, and disability
  • A letter from your non-Colombian employer confirming your remote work status
  • A detailed business plan if you are an entrepreneur

2. Apply for Colombia's nomad visa online.

You can apply for the digital nomad online through the Colombian immigration portal. The application process takes about 30 minutes from start to finish. Follow the instructions to complete the application, submit the required documents electronically, and pay the application fee. The fee is around 52 USD.

3. Wait for approval.

The typical processing time for a Colombian nomad visa is 30 days. You should receive updates on your application status and final approval via email.

4. Pay for your visa.

Once you are notified your visa application has been accepted, the next step is to pay for your visa. The Colombian digital nomad visa costs around 177 USD for solo travelers.

Why Colombia?

With the logistics and red tape out of the way, let's move on to the fun part: why you should consider Colombia as the next stop on your digital nomad journey. Here are seven compelling reasons to work remotely in Colombia:

Remote work-friendly infrastructure. You'll find fast, reliable, widespread WiFi and sleek, modern coworking spaces in major Colombian cities — especially in popular nomadic destinations like Medellín, Bogotá, and Cartagena. In addition to coworking hubs, the storied coffee-exporting country is home to ultra-hip, WiFi-equipped cafes.

A huge digital nomad community. Particularly in Medellín, Bogotá, and Cartagena, you'll never have to look far to find a fellow digital nomad tapping away at a laptop. In these cities, you can join the thriving community of expats at language exchanges, meetups, entrepreneurship events, and happy hours.

Time zone alignment. Colombia is aligned with the US Eastern Standard Time (EST) most of the year, and one hour behind EST during daylight savings time. The time zone overlap makes the country ideal for collaborating with clients in the US and Europe.

Safety. Once ravaged by civil war, Colombia has made a remarkable transformation, dramatically decreasing violent crime rates in the last two decades and investing in innovation and public projects. As in all urban areas, petty crime remains a problem, but you're unlikely to run into issues with a little caution and common sense.

Local tip: Colombians often use the phrase "no dar papaya" as a general rule of thumb for staying safe. This phrase, which translates to "don't give papaya," means don't make yourself vulnerable to pickpockets by flashing around your iPhone or wads of cash.

Friendly, beautiful, English-speaking locals. Colombians are arguably best known for two qualities: friendliness and hypnotically beautiful women. Most locals speak fluent English in major cities — though it's worth brushing up on your Spanish, particularly if you plan on traveling to remote regions and off-the-beaten-track cities like Cali.

Low cost of living. Colombia is one of the most affordable countries in Latin America. Food, public transportation, housing, and entertainment are relatively inexpensive, allowing nomads to live comfortably for less than 1,000 USD a month — even in major cities.

Unparalleled biodiversity. You'll never lack places to explore when taking a break from your laptop. Each Colombian city has a distinct flavor, from chic, sophisticated Bogotá to dramatic Meddelin to the sleepy beach town of Santa Marta. Outside of the cities, you can venture through emerald-green coffee regions, Amazon rainforests, and Andean mountains. Snorkel off the shore of the untouched island of Providencia, explore the deep jungles of Nuquí on the Pacific coast, and lounge on soft white sand beaches in the protected Tayrona National Park.