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Colombia Tweaks Immigration Law to Attract Digital Nomads

Colombia has joined the long list of Latin American countries issuing a special visa for digital nomads, as the Andean country sees its tourism industry recoup most of the losses incurred at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The new immigration law will not clash with the three types of visas it has been offering for long (visitor visa, migrant visa and resident visa). Officials said the new law will come into force in October 22, 2022.

Persons working for a foreign company without a presence in Colombia are preferred under the program. Those who plan to launch a digital startup are also eligible to obtain the digital nomad visa.

While the visa is only valid for two years, recipients can extend it for two more.

Digital nomads must be warned, however. They will have to pay income taxes if they stay in Colombia for more than 183 days.

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“Foreign nationals who stay more than 183 days in Colombia are considered to have a tax residence. Being a tax resident in Colombia means the foreign national must declare all income (domestic and foreign-source income),” Carlos Neira, Director of KPMG in Colombia, wrote in a blogpost.

Colombia and Tourism

Thanks to its scenic landscapes and Caribbean flair, Colombia has grown into one of Latin America’s popular tourist destinations. The country saw a staggering 200% increase in tourist arrivals between 2010 and 2019.

The first three months of 2022 were extremely positive for its tourism industry, according to ProColumbia, the government’s investment promotion agency.

As many as 1.25 million foreign tourists visited Colombia between January and May this year, an 76% increase compared to the same period of 2019, according to the country’s Tourism Ministry.

How to Apply

1) Foreign citizens cannot apply for the digital nomad visa if the company they are working for has a presence in Colombia.

2) The visa is not limited to digital workers. Digital business owners can seek it too if they have any plans to relocate their operations to Colombia.

3) Once you get the visa, you cannot switch employers. In addition, digital nomads are not allowed to work for any Colombian company.

4) Every applicant needs to submit documents proving that he/she is earning a montly salary of more than US$685.

5) Every application should carry a letter of consent from the employer.

6) Every digital nomad must carry health insurance that covers accidents, sickness, maternity, disabilities, hospitalization, death or repatriation during the time they plan to stay in the country.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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