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Things to consider when moving to Colombia: a complete guide

19 Aug 2021 - Category: Blog /
colombia guide

Moving overseas can be a complicated and stressful time. The best way to ensure your experience is as hassle-free as possible is to know what you’re doing.

Colombia is a beautiful country that has attracted many expats from around the world in recent years. So, why is Colombia a great country to live in? How easy is it to move there? And what should you expect when you eventually land on Colombian soil?

In this blog you’ll find everything you need to consider before moving to Colombia. So, let’s get started!

Things to consider when moving to Colombia:

  • What to expect when moving to Colombia?
  • How many people are moving to Colombia?
  • Is moving to Colombia easy?
  • How can I immigrate to Colombia?

What to expect when moving to Colombia?

If you are already thinking about moving to Colombia then you probably already have your own ideas of what Colombia is like. You may have family and friends who live there or you may have just found Colombia on a map and said, “That’s the place for me!”. Either way there are so many interesting things to learn about Colombia before packing your bags.

Colombia is a Spanish-speaking country. You should expect most of your interactions to be in Spanish when you arrive. So it’s a good idea to learn some Spanish before you get there. As you spend time in Colombia you will eventually pick up on the nuances of Colombian Spanish compared to the Spanish you might hear in California or Spain. The soft, lilting tones of the dialect is just one of the many things you can look forward to when moving to Colombia.

Colombia is a big country. It is nearly five times bigger than the United Kingdom and nearly twice the size of Texas. The 1.143 million sq km of land in Colombia is varied and fascinating, encompassing sprawling cities like Bogotá and parts of the formidable Amazon Rainforest.

In general, you can expect to find friendly and accommodating people in Colombia. They have a rich cultural history of art, food and music that can be found in the busiest cities and the remotest villages. Colombia is a country that can take years to explore and a lifetime to truly understand. The more time you spend there the easier life will become as you pick up on cultural cues and learn to go with the flow.

How many people are moving to Colombia?

In the twentieth-century extensive immigration to Colombia from countries all around the world made it one of the most diverse populations in South America. Whether it’s the world-class healthcare, the leisurely pace of life or the ease with which you can get a retirement visa, many foreigners have chosen to call Colombia home.

According to the most recent studies, there are now almost 40,000 United States citizens living in Colombia. In 2015 there were approximately 133,000 immigrants living in Colombia, which was over a 7% increase from 2010. One-third of the foreign born population in Colombia come from their neighbours Venezuela.

Evidently many people from countries around the world have decided to make Colombia their new home. This diversity contributes to the thriving cultural experience travellers can enjoy, especially in the major cities like Cartagena, Bogotá, Cali, and Medellín.

Is moving to Colombia easy?

Everyone’s immigrant experience will be different. Moving to Colombia will be easier if you already speak Spanish, if you already have family and friends in Colombia and if you’ve already visited Colombia before. If you know what to expect and you already have a community base, then the experience will be simpler.

Nevertheless, even if you have no ties to Colombia there are still things you can do to make your moving experience easier. Firstly, your life will be a lot easier if you do plenty of research before you pack your bags. Try to sort out your health insurance, accommodation and employment before you move. Having these essential tasks done before you land in Colombia will make you feel more secure and allow you to enjoy your moving experience.

How can I immigrate to Colombia?

Let’s take a look at the procedure for moving to Colombia. If you want to live and work in Colombia for an extended period you will need to acquire a cedula extranjera (Foreign ID).

There are several visas you can obtain to immigrate to Colombia. You can receive a temporary visa that can turn into a permanent visa if you have held temporary visas for a continuous period of five years. You can also receive an Immigrant visa for three years if you have useful skills or expertise in a particular industry.

On the other hand, you can get a Resident Investor visa if you invest a minimum of $100,000 with money registered in the Colombian Bank of the Republic. If you are retired you can also qualify for a Retirement (pension) visa, that lasts one year and must be renewed each year.

If you want to immigrate to Colombia for work, it is best to have secured employment before applying for a work visa. As with the Retirement visa, a work visa lasts for a year and must be renewed each year. Once you’ve held this type of visa for 5 consecutive years you can start your application for permanent residency. To learn more about the visa process you can visit the website of the Colombian Foreign Ministry.

Getting started

Now you know a bit more about Colombia, it’s time to get started. You can use this blog as a checklist for moving to Colombia. Whether you are moving to Colombia from the US or Italy, from Pakistan or Canada, there is so much to explore.

Small World knows how difficult it can be to start a new life in a new country. Which is why we’re here to help.

Once you are settled in Colombia you can use Small World to send money back to family and friends. We offer a variety of services in Colombia including bank deposit, cash pickup, mobile wallet and airtime top-up. So, if you’ve decided to begin a new life in Colombia you can rest assured that Small World will be there to help you.

Your first transfer online is always fee-free!

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