Colombia is quickly becoming one of the most popular countries in Latin America in which to retire. Thanks to a booming economy, GDP growth and the low cost of living, it makes sense. Toss that into the mix with the beautiful biodiversity Colombia has to offer and you’ve got yourself an expat’s paradise. Consider some of these points when thinking about moving abroad to Colombia:
Known as the world’s second most biodiverse country, Colombia has something for everyone. It’s made up of tropical rainforests, mountains, glaciers, rivers, plains, deserts, and beaches. Whether you’re someone who prefers the cool, crisp mountain climate or the warm beach climate, Colombia has a place for you. It’s even more of an attractive retirement option if you’re crazy about wildlife and the great outdoors.
Thanks to its diverse geographical climate, Colombia houses about 10 percent of the earth’s species. That includes 1,800 species of birds, over 450 species of mammals, 4,000 species of orchids (the largest collection of them in the world), and so much more. Take a trip through the rainforest and get a glimpse into the nature scenes Colombia has to offer. You will truly be inspired.
Cost of Living in Colombia
Like many Latin American countries, Colombia offers a low cost of living compared to that of the United States and many other countries. The exchange rate works in your favor if you’re using U.S. currency, trading at 3,237.61 Colombian Pesos to $1 U.S. Dollar. That translates to a comfortable living for $1,200 per month or less. That’s pretty cheap for American or Canadian expats looking to live abroad! You can purchase most of your groceries for under $4, and meals for $5 or $6. This makes life in Colombia very affordable, and it means you can probably live a life of luxury that you may not have expected otherwise.
Healthcare in Colombia
It’s usually one of those drawbacks you tend to worry about when considering a move to Latin America, but healthcare in Colombia is top notch. The hospitals and clinics in the Colombian cities are equipped with all of the latest technology and equipment, which is what makes it possible for this healthcare system to rank highly when compared to all other health systems in the world. According to the World Health Organization, Colombia comes in at number 22 in terms of best healthcare, and that means it beats Canada (30) and the United States (27)! No need to worry about healthcare if you choose to move to Colombia.
Colombia Visa Options
As well as offering all of the amenities listed above, Colombia also offers a few different visa options for those looking to live abroad as well. It’s likely that no matter your specific needs, Colombia offers a visa that fits your scenario. Consider the retirement visa, for example.
When you apply for the retirement visa, you’ll have to meet some minimum requirements. You’ll need to prove that your retirement salary is at least three times Colombia’s minimum monthly salary. That salary, as of 2017, is 717,717 Colombian pesos per month. When transferred over, the exchange rate shows that amount to be $749 in U.S. currency. The minimum salary increases in Colombia each year, but you can renew your visa based on the terms that it was granted to you originally, so no need to worry about that.
You’ll also need to complete the online application by providing such documents as: the first page of your passport, the page of your passport with the stamp from your last Colombia trip on it, proof of your pension, and a passport-like photo of yourself in front of a white background.
Of course, there are also residency options for those who wish to move to Colombia but who aren’t yet ready to retire. You can opt for the investment visa, for example, or for the annuity visa. The investment visa is intended for those who wish to invest in a business in Colombia or by buying real estate on Colombia, and the stipulations differ slightly based on which type of investment you’re making. A popular place for investing in Colombia is Medellin real estate. If you’re looking to invest in property, you’ll need to be making at least an $88,546 investment. If you’re looking to invest in business, your investment should be at least $25,299. The investment visa lasts one to two years, and will need to be renewed past that point. The good news is, if you want to stay in Colombia permanently, you can keep renewing this visa for five years and gain permanent residency automatically. That’s a pretty good deal.
Then again, you could skip straight to the resident visa, or resident investor visa, if you’d rather go right for the permanent resident status. Just remember that your permanent residency will be cancelled if you leave the country for 2 or more consecutive years.
Colombia Investment Opportunities
Speaking of investment visas, what are your investment options? Colombia is currently a solid place to invest abroad in. Its economy has grown to be the 32nd largest in the world with a GDP of $385 billion. Its industries are growing and infrastructure is thriving. In addition to all of that, the influx of expats coming into Colombia is also driving up the price of real estate. If that’s the type of investing you want to do, now’s the time!
The stock market might be hard to reach without making use of ETFs, of which there are two in Colombia. There’s the Global X MSCI and the iShares MSCI Colombia Capped ETF. The first is the bigger of the two, but both have their perks.
Working in Colombia
If investment isn’t your forte and you’d prefer to work abroad in Colombia, you can do that with a work visa. Apply for that through a Colombian consulate and make sure you have all the right paperwork. There’s quite a bit, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to acquire, and you can complete the process online.
Colombia is currently known to be one of the most pro-business countries in the world, so you can start your own business there as well. Thanks to a series of policy reforms implemented in 2013, the bureaucratic hurdles have been reduced for business owners.
If after considering all of these positive points about moving abroad to Colombia you feel you could make this place your home, then you won’t have a problem joining the ever-growing expat community there. Just make sure you study up on the city that will best suit you!