Moving abroad can be an exciting, yet challenging task. If you are considering or planning to move to Colombia, there are several things that you should keep in mind before doing so.
Therefore we have compiled a list of useful tips that will assist you in your upcoming move.
Visa and Registration
One of the first things that you will need to do, before arriving in Colombia, is to apply for a Visa in order to register your relocation. There are several types of visas that you can apply for, like the TP-7 visa, which requires a minimum legal salary, or a residence visa.
The temporary TP-11 visa is a tourist visa, which will allow you stay in Colombia for up to 180 days. You can apply for this visa online, on the official government website. Additionally, there is a permanent resident visa based on your pension income (TP-7), which will allow you to conduct local business, buy real estate, and make use of medical services.
The visa application can also be found online will grant you a one year stay in Colombia. As well as a visa, you will need to get a Colombian identification card (cedula de extranjeria) in order to register and open up a bank account.
Be sure to find out which visa you will require, before moving, to avoid any administrative issues upon arrival.
Colombia has seen much positive, economic development in recent times. If you are looking to move to Colombia, you should consider renting, since 38 percent of all households currently rent.
Renting would also allow you to get settled and figure out where you want to stay more permanently. Once you have found your way and feel at home, you could also consider purchasing a more permanent home.
Popular cities in Colombia include: Bogotá, Santo Domingo, Cali, Medellin, and Quito, depending on what kind of climate and lifestyle you prefer.
Bogotá is located high in the Andes at 8,646 ft. and has many contrasting features, such as modern high-rise buildings and old colonial churches.
Medellin on the other hand enjoys temperate weather and is more commonly known as the city of eternal spring. The average rental price for a three-bedroom apartment in the city center is around 1,380,293.67 Colombian Pesos per month, which equals approximately USD 668. Apartments outside the city center are slightly less expensive, amounting to about 1,264,051.70 Colombian Pesos or USD 612 per month.
Bank Accounts and Currency
Once you have moved, you will need to open up a local bank account. In order to do so, you will need to bring your passport, visa, and Colombian identification card (cedula de extranjeria).
If you do not speak Spanish, we would recommend that you go to a larger, more international banking institution, to ensure that you can work with someone who speaks English. Some popular banks include: HSBC, Bancolombia, Banco de Bogotá, and Banco Davivienda.
The currency is the Colombian Peso and currently has an exchange rate of approximately 2065.70 COP to USD 1.
If you are moving with your children, you will also need to consider where they will be going to school.
The public schools will predominantly be taught in Spanish, there are however several international schools, which can accommodate English speaking expats.
Some of the most popular international schools include: Knightsbridge International School in Bogota, British International School in Barranquilla, Colegio Nueva Granada, and Altamira International School. Be sure to contact these schools well in advance to ensure that your children will be granted admission on time.
Working in Colombia
Unless you are moving to Colombia for a specific job, you will most likely need to find a new occupation while living there. Colombia is currently the fourth largest economy in Latin America and has continued to experience positive economic growth, even during times of difficulty.
Significant foreign direct investment has also led to positive developments in the Colombian economy and has also positively impacted the local job market. The most predominant industries, supporting the economy, are the textile and clothing industry, as well as a strong chemical and pharmaceutical industry.
Additionally, Colombia is a large exporter of coal, oil, gold, emeralds, and Ferroalloys. Therefore, we suggest searching for an occupation in any of these industries, as these will most likely be fruitful and rewarding.
Colombian Culture and Language
As mentioned before, the local language in Colombia is Spanish. Although Spanish is one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world, each country’s Spanish slightly differs from the next.
Colombian Spanish is known to be the most simple and most easily understandable for anyone trying to learn the language. Therefore Colombia offers a great opportunity to polish up your Spanish and learn it fluently.
With regard to the local culture, Colombians are known to be extremely warm hearted, hardworking, and polite. Their focus is always on finding the positive aspects in life and enjoying themselves to the fullest. One thing that may come as a slight culture shock to expats is their take on privacy.
Privacy in Colombia, is a foreign term to most, but should be taken with a pinch of salt and solely indicates that the communities are closely knit and caring.
Since Colombia is located close to the equator, there is not much variation in temperature throughout the year. There are however different climate zones in the country, since there are mountainous regions, the Andes, which are generally colder and are known to be snowy.
Other parts of the country are referred to as hot lowlands and have a hotter climate. This also means that Colombia only experiences two real seasons each year, a hot and dry season and a wet season.