Immigration to Colombia

Living and Working in Colombia

Bogotá Cathedral ColombiaColombia (officially Republic of Colombia) is a country of northwestern South America. To the north it has 1,000 miles (1,600 km) coast bathed by the waters of the Caribbean Sea, and to the west it has 800 miles (1,300 km) coast washed by the Pacific Ocean. It includes the San Andrés y Providencia archipelago, located near the Nicaraguan coast in the Caribbean, some 400 miles (650 km) northwest of the Colombian mainland. On the northwest is Colombia bordered by Panama, on the east  by Venezuela and Brazil, and on the south by Peru and Ecuador. The population of Colombia is largely concentrated in the mountainous interior. The national capital Bogotá is situated on a high plateau in the northern Andes Mountains.

The attitude towards expats in Colombia is generally friendly. An American expat says that they “feel happier due to the food, weather, and local joy”. Settling down in Colombia is more easy then in many other countries. Columbia offers a range of residence permit options for expats in 2024. Once you have a residency status, it will provide stability where you can live and work legally for extended period without the need for frequent visa renewal. If you have a residence status than there is no need for additional work permit either to work for someone or start your own business. The average cost of living in Columbia is 72% less than in USA.  It is one of the most affordable countries in South America. Low tax rates and world class amenities are a part of Colombia; as a result many foreigners plan to move to this country. Colombia owns some of the popular tourist places. Other reasons are its favorable climate, landscapes, cuisines, coffee, job opportunities, etc. It is the most bio diverse country in the world. Its contemporary culture displays a good blend of the Spanish, indigenous and African influences that have mend together over the period of time, especially since European Colonization. Here you will experience the amazing wildlife and if you are an adventure loving person then this is the best place as you can do kayaking, river rafting, paragliding, rock climbing, diving, surfing, etc.

The Following Factors Speak For An Immigration To Colombia

  • Good for Adventure
  • Ease of Settling In
  • Fast Feeling at Home
  • Very Friendly People
  • Easy to Find Friends
  • Low Cost of Living

Traveling information

Flag of Colombia
Flag of Colombia

Travel to Colombia is open to tourists and immigrants and no vaccines are currently required. However some tourist places like the Tayrona and Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Parks and some Amazon reserves etc. requires trourist to be vaccinated against “Yellow Fever”, which must taken just 10 days prior to your visits at such places. Check other requirements from the embassy office before you plan your travels. 

Coumbia has 6 international airports in major cities  like Bogota, Medellin, Cauca, Valledupar, Chachagui, Cartagena and Barranquilla. The airlines serve here are TAM airlines, Avianca Colombia, LAN Airlines and GOL Transports Aereos. VivaColombia is the new started airline which is getting popular because of its cheap rates among tourists. But due to the increasing crime rates in Colombia, it is suggested by the government to reconsider your travel. Some areas have increased crime like kidnapping, terrorism, civil unrest, etc. Reaching Colombia is possible by flight, bus, road or ship is possible. Some airlines have direct flight from all over the Europe, North, Central and South America. To enter Columbia, visa is required depending on your purpose such as private, work, tourist or business.

By Air: All the main cities as well as tourist spots have airports connecting Colombia to everywhere in the world.

By Bus: Buses are available from the South American Countries like Venezuela and Ecuador.

By Water: Boats, motorboats or ships come to Colombia from Peru, Panama and Brazil, etc.

By Road: Entering through road is possible in this country from Venezuela and Ecuador by car.

For more travel advice please visit:

How to immigrate to Columbia – Immigration Regulations 

To move to Colombia you need a ‘Cédula de Extranjeria’ as it is known in Colombia also known as Foreign ID Card. This card is issued by the government department of Migración Colombia to the foreigners in this country. Also you need visa depending on your purpose of entering in this country. This ID card ‘Cédula de Extranjeria’ is issued to an expat after getting a Colombian Visa and the duration must be more than three months.

You can get work or residency visa if you are a long term holder of the temporary visa. Also some temporary visa you can turn into permanent visas if you are a temporary visa holder for continuous five year.  Expats who have migrant visa of the category M-4 to M-11 for continuous five years must apply for Colombian resident Visa. These visa types include study, work and retirement visa. Colombian resident visa is for foreigners who are willing to come and get settled here in Coumbia to either start a business, study,  or work on a permanent basis. 

Earlier this visa was known as RE visa and was valid for only one year and had to be renewed every year but now it is known as Colombian resident visa and you need to renew this visa after five years or you can apply for Colombian Citizenship. This visa gives some perks like it allows you to re-enter this country multiple times. One thing you must note is although the visa is valid for five years but if you stay out of this country for more than two years continuously, it will lose its validity. 

Documents required are mentioned below: 

  • Passport Photocopy
  • Passport of legal entry
  • Previously issued visa photocopy
  • Proof of income
  • Accreditation of Occupation
  • Passport photo
  • Copy of Cedula
  • Migratory movement certificate, etc.

For more detailed information on the various types of visas for Columbia, please visit:


Legal citizens of the Colombia are called Colombians. Colombians are also considered as Latinos as they are a part of Latin American Country, also considered as Hispanic people. People here have seen so much of violence since the past many years but still they are filled with hope and positivity. Colombians never lost their resilience and innocence. Their happiness is maintained due to their unshakable spirit, warmth, and fellowship and helping nature of the people. They are tough and optimistic as well as friendly and joyful and a spirit of living to the fullest ensures as they are quick to smile. 

Colombians are famous for their Coffee, Carnivals, Salsa dance, Cheese, orchids, etc. Celebrities like pop singer Shakira and the actress Sofia Vergara are from Colombia. Pablo Escobar was also born in this country.

This country is a multiethnic society as this population is made up of old world means immigrants from Asia, Africa Europe and their descendants. The ethnic diversity is because the connection between people of indigenous communities, Spanish Colonizers and African slaves. A majority of Colombians are of partial Spanish descent and their culture is also derived from Spain as a result they are identified as Spanish Colombians.

There are different ethnic groups in Colombians such as Mestizo Colombians, European Colombians, Indigenous Colombians, Asian Colombians, West Asian Colombians, Afro Colombians, etc.

Job offers in Colombia

Many multinational companies like AON, IBM, KPMG, Google, Ernst & Young are investing in Colombia as they are setting up their South American headquarters here. As a result, big cities like Bogota, Madellin and Cali have plenty of job offers. These companies provide employment to both the locals and expats. Colombia is known as a home to many startup companies as many people decide to start their business in this country. English tutors are highly in demand as English language is mandatory in schools. You will see many company’s advertisement for teachers. Foreign Embassies and travel companies also require foreign workers and local people in the capital city Bogota.

There are different ways to apply for a job in Colombia, for instance big multinational companies give advertisement on the websites like or, while other companies recruit direct from their own website. LinkedIn or other social networks are most popular ways to applying for jobs in major cities. In small towns or cities advertisement is given in the local newspaper or on their own website or the news is spread through mouth publicity.

To get a job in Colombia, speaking and understand Columbian Spanish and English is necessary. Especially multinational companies are tending to hire fluent English speakers as most interviews are done in English. English teachers need a certificate from TEFL and CELTA to get a job. 

How to get a job offer: 

  • Search online or on the street for the places.
  • Give interview online or in person.
  • Sign a contract offered by the School or Company.
  • Submit your documents in order to get a job.

 For more information please visit:

Unemployment rate

The unemployment rate in the Colombia is 12.10% in the month of March 2022. The rate has decreased from 12.90% in February 2022. The jobless rate refers to the share of working force that is unemployed but is available for work and seeking for it. The jobless rate fell 12.90 % in February 2022 from 15.5% in last year. Unemployed people decreased as employment rate got increased. This rate increased from 52.8% to 55.9%. The rate is so low because of the absence of a system of unemployment benefits, like many other countries. This is the lowest unemployment rate since the pandemic has started in the year 2020 as the employed population increased and the number of unemployed decreased. At the same time the number of economically active population has risen.

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Colombia’s economy is the fourth largest in the Latin America, measured by GDP. Freedom score of this country’s economy is 65.1 and has become the freest economy in 2022 index. Petroleum is the main export item of Colombia. Manufacturing and agricultural items are also exported from this country to outside of Colombia which is contributing to the economy. Colombia is one of the five largest producers of coffee in the world along with Avocados and palm oil. It is one of the ten largest producers in the world of sugarcane, banana, cocoa and pineapple. Its diverse climate allows it to grow variety of crops. Also all the regions yield forest products, ranging from tropical hardwoods in the hot country to pine and eucalyptus in the colder areas. This nation has four major industrial centers, Bogota, Medellin, Cali and Barranquilla. Industries here manufactures textile and clothing (lingerie), leather products, food and beverages (processed), paper and paper products, chemicals and petrochemicals, cement, construction, iron and steel products. Information Technology is the faster growing industry in this country than the world. This nation also has one of the largest ship building industries.

For more information please visit:

Renting and buying of real estates for foreigners


For foreigners and locals, renting a property is affordable than buying a place as the prices of the properties have plumped in recent years. According to a study more than one third population are renters, higher than sixteen Latin American Countries. In the capital city Bogota, more than half of the population is renters. Renting an apartment or a house is cheaper in Colombia than many other countries in North America and Europe. The amount of rent may vary from city to city as it depends on the neighborhood, market, size of the property, main city. Prices in the major cities are comparatively higher than the rural areas. Major cities like Bogota, Cartagena, Medellin, Santa Marta etc are expensive. Some of the cheaper cities are Cali, Bucaramanga, Barranquilla and Manizales, etc. 

You can search for an accommodation online or hire a broker. This will save your time and energy. They will help you to find a reliable and comfortable accommodation. Agent’s fees and commission is paid by the landlord, so you need not to worry about it. Both the furnished and unfurnished flats are available. The process is to give the deposit prior moving to the apartment and someone to sign the lease other than you called a ‘Fiador’. AT least two fiadors are needed to sign the rental agreement. One solution for this is to ask your employer to represent you, if they can.

Documents required :
Passport Photocopy
Visa documents
Financial documents
A Colombian Guarantor


Buying a place to live gives a sense of responsibility and happiness. Owning a property in the cities Bogota, Medellin, Cali or Cartagena is a bit expensive but most expats or locals choose these places as there are no restrictions on foreigners to buy a property. Foreigners choose to buy here are from Venezuela, United States, Mexico, Chile. Caribbean coastal properties are in demand, as many Americans and Europeans wish to enjoy their after retirement life near the sea. Many think or buying a property in Colombia due to the attractive property prices, as prices are cheaper than the North American and European countries. 

Here also, while buying a property, prices may vary due to various aspects. For instance, the property is in the city centre or is in outskirts, its size, near the coastline or in the middle of the country, etc. Apart from the house price you will also need to pay the agency fees, notary and lawyer’s fee, acquisition fee, registration fee, etc. It is suggested to hire a lawyer and a translator if your Spanish is not fluent.

Documents required: 

  • Passport
  • Certificado de Tradicion from registry office
  • Paz y Salvo Predial and Paz y Salvo de Valorizacion
  • Preliminary deed or Minuta
  • Public deed
  • Mortgage papers

For more information please visit:


The climate in Colombia stays same all around the year hot, cold and temperate, as this is located on the equator. Due to its geography, this country comes in one of the highest level bio-diverse climate in the world. Here you will not experience the four seasons like other countries. Due to rain fluctuations, seasons are characterized by rainy season and dry season.

Warm Climate regions are where temperature is above 24˚C such as Pacific regions – Cali, Chocó, Nuquí, Pasto, Buga, popayán, San Andres Island; Caribbean regions – Barranquilla, Cartagena, Palomino, Mompox. Temperate Climate regions are where temperature is between 17˚C to 24˚C, such as Medellin, Cali. Cold Climate regions are where temperature is between 12˚C to 17˚C, Such as Bogotá, etc. 

Rainy Season: This season starts from the month of April or May till the month of October or first week of November.

Dry Season: This season starts from the month of December or January till the month of August.

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The official language of Colombia is Spanish. There is a little difference between the Spanish language spoken in the European countries and the Spanish spoken in this country. Approx 99.5% of the population of this nation speak in Spanish. Many Colombians are able to speak both the language Spanish and English. English has the official language status in the San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina Islands. There are plenty of people who can converse in English in the capital city Bogota, Cartagena and Medellin. In addition to Spanish several other languages are spoken in Colombia like 65 Amerindian languages, 2 Creole languages, Portuguese language, and Romani language in this country. Colombian Spanish is different; however, it varies from traditional Spanish in other Spanish-Speaking countries with clear pronunciation.

When you greet someone in Colombia, you can say “HOLA” which means ‘hello’ in Spanish and other words like “Buenos dias” ‘Good Morning’; Buenas Noches” ‘Good evening/Night’; “Como estas” ‘How are you’ will help you to start a conversation or to ask for help. 

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To drive in this country, a driving license is must. As well as wearing the seat belts are compulsory for both the driver and the passenger. Traffic runs on the right side of the road. Most of the big cities in Colombia suffer from traffic congestion, such as Bogota city. Driving can be frustrating here because of the extremely long, difficult and dangerous routes, almost no GPS signals and unavoidable traffic jams. Speed limit for urban areas is upto 60 km/h, while for rural areas it is up to 80 km/h. To get a driving license in Colombia requirement is that minimum age must be sixteen years. Passing the Practical and theoretical test is compulsory in the driving school permitted by the Ministry of Transport. If you don’t want to experience the jam then it’s a friendly advice to be more attentive while driving as not all the people follow the driving rules. You can roam in this country by bus or by Uber taxi. Rent a car is also an option to roam around the city, which is not popular among the locals but a best thing if you use it correctly. The rush hour starts from 5.30 am in the morning as some of Colombians are early birds. 


  • Passport photo
  • Document with license detail
  • Paz y Salvo Certificate
  • Valid ID’s Photocopy

For more information visit:


Colombia’s official currency is Colombian Peso ($, COP). The official peso symbol is $, along COL$, which is used to show it different from other peso and dollar denominated currencies. The peso is divided into 100 centavos (¢). The paper currency is in seven denominations, which are $2,000, $5,000, $10,000, $20,000, $50,000, $1,00,000, $1,000 (rarely used) and coins in $50, $100, $200, $500, $1,000. There are $5, $10 and $20 coins, which nowadays are rarely used but are still legal and are in circulation. Central bank has stopped coining of 5, 10 and 20 peso coins in the month of February 2009, but these coins are still legal and are in circulation. All centavo coins minting was stopped in the year 1984. 

Payment Transaction

Colombians accept cash, cards or online payment. Like other South American Countries payments with MasterCards, American Express, Diners Club, Visa credit or debit card. Bank transfers and digital wallets are least popular amongst Colombians. This country does not accept US Dollar and pound sterling is not accepted widely as payment, unlike other countries in South America. Exchange your currency to peso ATM’s in Colombia. Avoid exchanging money on the airport. Credit cards are also accepted in all the supermarkets, hotels and restaurants in Bogota, Cartagena and Medellin. Expats should show identity card to verify the card transaction. 

  • Cash
  • American Express
  • VISA
  • MasterCard
  • PayPal
  • Nequi
  • Apple pay

Cost of living in Columbia

Colombia is the second cheapest country in the Latin America and cost of living is cheaper than 90% of countries in the world. An average cost of living along with house is between $1,700 and $2200 for a couple. Major cities like Medellin, Cartagena, Bogota, Santa Marta are expensive than rural areas. Average living cost in Colombia depends upon your lifestyle, family size and the accommodation you choose to live in. Columbia is one of the best destination for retirees, offering a laid-back sophisticated life-style, good weather, polite people around all within a remarkable low cost. For retirees, some of the best places are Santa Maria, Cartagena and Medellín where an average cost of living could be between $733 to $1050. 

Here are the list of some products, which will give you some idea of the cost of living in Columbia.  



Amount in (COL$)


Whole Fat Milk

1 lit



12 (a dozen)



1 Kg (2 lb.)



500 grams (1 lb)


Dining (Lunch)

Full meal


Fast food meal




2 loaf



8 mbps (1 month)


Cleaning help



Public transport ticket




Short visit


Movie Tickets

For 2


For a detailed list of products costs in Columbia, visit:

Apartment Rent 

Renting a house is affected mainly by the location in Columbia. Cities like Bogota and Medellin the rentals are high. Rentals in areas which are centrally located, trendy compared to suburban areas tend to higher is rental. Some of the best affordable places to live in Colombia are Barranquilla, Armenia, Villa de Leyva, to name a few.  If you are planning to stay for short-term then there are many sites on the internet to help you find your accommodation. Find a Spanish speaking friend or a colleague, to converse with the landlord or agent as not many Colombians are fluent in English. It is important to note that, to end a rental lease or agreement the normal notice period is three months, so an early termination brings penalty to both tenants and landlords. Leases are renewed automatically unless a notice is given beforehand. 

Just to give you a fair idea a fully furnished one-bedroom apartment in the city centre will cost approximately COL$2,022,950 and apartment, outside city will cost approximately COL$1,078,850. A furnished studio apartment of 2 or 3 bedrooms in the city centre will cost you approximately COL$3,436,650 and outside the city it will cost approximately COL$1,775,840.   

However, these rates are just an approximation and we recommend you to check the latest cost on some of the following portals: 

Health Insurance  

Healthcare system in Colombia is one of the best health care systems in the world. World Health Organization (WHO) ranked Columbia on the 22nd  position among 191 countries. Clinics and Hospitals have the best facilities with doctors speaking Spanish and English. Columbia’s constitution gives healthcare as a basic right for all the citizens and expats. There are three major types of medical health insurance coverage available in Columbia, which the expats can choose from:  

  • SISBEN: It is a free government subsidized healthcare system and is only for very poor or homeless people of Colombia.
  • Entidades Promotoras de Salud (EPS): EPS is a public healthcare system and is mandatory for all the residents. The monthly premium is 12.5% of your monthly gross income.
  • Medicina Prepagada: Private health insurance available through different private companies.

For more information on the Health Insurance in Columbia, please visit:

Important addresses

El Dorado International Airport:   
Av. El Dorado #103-9,
Ph: +57 601 2662000

Palonegro International Airport:
25, Lebrija,
Ph: +57 607 6910140

Rafael Núñez International Airport:
Crespo Calle 70,
Provincia de Cartagena
Ph: +57 5 6931351

La Estrella Station:
Autopista Regional #78d Sur-1 a 78d Sur-217,

Aguacatala Station:
El Poblado, 

Industrial Metro Station:
El Poblado, 
Ph: +57 316 3227415

Nutibara Bus Stop: 

Embassy of India:
Av. Pepe Sierra #7-15,
Ph: +52 55 5080 2000

Embassy of United States of America: 
Carrera 45 No. 24B-27,
Ph: +57 1 2752000

Embassy of Mexico:
Cl. 113 #7-21,
Ph: +57 1 7477160

Embassy of Japan:      
Carrera 7. No. 71-21,
Torre B Piso 11,
Edificio Avenida Chile, (Apartado Aereo 7407)
Ph: +57 1 317 5001


Columbia is the 5th largest country in Latin America and home to world’s largest Spanish-speaking people. Its a unique country with natural resources like the snow-covered volcanoes and mountains of the Andes. It is the second most bio-diverse country in the world and home to 20% of bird species on earth. The river of five colours, Caño Cristales, the river dubbed a “liquid rainbow” one of Colombia’s many natural gems.

The government has taken many measures to make Colombia peaceful with revolutions to minimize crime and boast its growing economy. People are friendly with foreigners, happy, and trendy. Colombia provides affordable world-class healthcare system to locals as well as foreigners. Cost of living in columbia is relatively cheap than the countries in the North America. In many places you can live comfortably for $2000 or less per month. Getting a retirement visa is easy in Colombia. There are many jobs available for immigrants and expats in the tourism industry. English in demand, so easier to get jobs. Colombia is being recognized by most expats & immigrants as an affordable retirement haven.

Moving to Columbia

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Translation Of The Documents

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