Colombia is an incredible country. The people are very friendly and hard-working, and the country is rich with mountains, tropical rainforests, coastal regions, and generally rugged topography.
Colombian cuisine is an interesting mix of Spanish and native influences. Dishes are generally quite hearty and flavourful, with an excellent blend of quality ingredients and spices.
The cost of living in Colombia is incredibly inexpensive, and almost everything is significantly cheaper than in Europe or North America. Hotels, taxis, and restaurants all cost a fraction of what you would normally pay, especially in working-class barrios or outside of tourist areas. Flights within Colombia are also very inexpensive, so it is very easy to explore different regions and cities.
Map of Colombia
In order to obtain temporary residency in Colombia beyond the three months allowed with a tourist visa, you need to apply for a migrant visa. A migrant visa permits a stay in Colombia of up to three years and can be renewed when it expires. There are different types of migrant visas depending on why you want to move to Colombia. They are:
- M1. This visa is for if you have a Colombian partner and wish to live with them.
- M3. This “Mercosur” Visa is for citizens from other countries in Latin America and refugees.
- M5. This is for foreigners that have employment in Colombia.
- M6. If you invest at least 100 times the monthly minimum wage in a business, you can qualify for this business investor’s visa. Currently, the minimum wage in Colombia is 1 million pesos, so you would have to invest 100,000,000 pesos or around $25,000 USD.
- M7. The so-called “expertise” visa is for professionals or skilled workers whose high level of technical competence is needed in Colombia.
- M8. The religious visa. This is for priests, nuns, or other people coming to Colombia to practice religion or help out at a church or other religious facility.
- M9. The student visa. This visa is for anyone who is pursuing post-secondary studies at a Colombian University.
- M10. Property investment visa. Anyone who invests 350 times the minimum wage or 350,000,000 pesos in real estate can qualify for this type of temporary residence visa which is around $72,000 USD.
- M11. Pensionista visa. In order to qualify for this visa, you need either a pension which is 3x the monthly minimum wage or 3 million pesos, or you need monthly income from investments that is at least 10x the minimum wage, or 10 million pesos.
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There are a number of different ways you can qualify for permanent residence in Colombia. If you were previously a Colombian citizen but had to renounce your citizenship to live in another country, then that is one option. Another is if you have been a holder of a temporary resident visa for two years, in the case of the M1 or M3 category, or five years, for the M4 to M11 visas.
Or another way to qualify is to invest 650 times the monthly minimum wage in either a business or real estate. Finally, if you are the parents of a child with Colombian nationality, then you can also qualify for permanent residency on that basis.
Once you have the permanent residence visa, it is valid for life. You do not have to renew it, but after five years, you will have to renew your ID card. That being said, if you spend more than two years consecutively away from Colombia, your permanent residence visa will expire.
HOW TO APPLY
One of the great things about applying for a Colombian visa is you can do the application online here. Simply fill out that application and attach any required documents, pay your fee, and you are good to go. The process could not be any easier. Please note that you can apply for a migrant visa either from within Colombia or from another country with a Colombian consulate. Then, once your visa is approved, you can enter Colombia with it, and you will have to visit the Migracion Colombia office (the Colombian ministry of foreign affairs) and register your stay.
BENEFITS OF COLOMBIAN RESIDENCY
The most obvious benefit of Colombian residency is that you can reside there year-round. So if you want to put down roots, own property, lease an apartment, find employment (assuming that your migrant or permanent residency visa permits that), start a business, or otherwise have a life in Colombia, you will need either a migrant or permanent resident visa. Another advantage to the migrant visa specifically is that it is a pathway to permanent residency if you are looking to spend the rest of your life in Colombia. And after five years of permanent residency, you can apply for Colombian citizenship. Having Colombian residency is also helpful if you want to open a bank account, or sign up for services like high-speed internet that require long-term contracts.
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View of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia
TAX IMPLICATIONS OF COLOMBIAN RESIDENCY
If you become a tax resident of Colombia by living there for more than half the calendar year, you then owe taxes to the Colombian authorities on all worldwide income. Non-tax residents are only taxed on Colombian-sourced income. Colombia has a progressive income tax with a top rate of 39% and a corporate tax with a top rate of 31%. The exact income tax brackets are as follows:
- 41,424,460 or below 0%
- 41,424,460 to 64,606,800 19%
- 64,606,800 to 155,816,400 28%
- 155,816,400 to 329,494,680 33%
- 329,494,680 to 720,935,880 35%
- 720,935,880 to 1,178,124,000 37%
- 1,178,124,000 or more, 39%
Because Colombia taxes worldwide income, you will definitely want to consider seriously whether you want to become a tax resident of Colombia. Aside from the 183-day requirement, several other criteria may get you recognized as a tax resident of Colombia. Those are:
- If your spouse and/or dependents reside in Colombia for 183 days or more out of any 365-day period.
- If over half of your income is sourced from within Colombia.
- If over half of your assets are located in Colombia.
- If your tax residence is considered a “tax haven” by Colombian authorities.
- If you have no proof that you have tax residency in another country.
You can click here for more information on other types of taxes in Colombia, such as property tax.
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Colombia has a very rich natural scenario to explore and relax in, with a lot of diversity for nature lovers. Today the best program to go for is real estate and property investment migrant visas for those who wish to obtain permanent residency in Colombia. The requirements are pretty much documents as proof of who you are, certificates for dependents and spouses, an investment as low as $25,000 USD, a background check as proof of being a good citizen, and a clean bill of health.
Colombia is a country with the ease of entry, even though the government has started being more selective. Many of Colombia's citizenship and residency laws were changed in 2022. For more information, contact us at expat money.