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Live as a tourist in Colombia all year around

Hello,

I am a belgian with belgian passport who lives in barcelona.
I am considering to move to colombia and apply for a residency in panama nextdoor.
I am allowed to be in colombia 6 months/year... and will live elsewhere the other time of the year.
After five years, Panama will give me a passport so i will have two passports.

My questions are:
- can i spend 12 months per year in colombia with my two passports (after six months i leave the country and re enter with the second passports).
- and  is this legal?

Yours in freedom,

:-)

unleashedsoul99 :

- can i spend 12 months per year in colombia with my two passports (after six months i leave the country and re enter with the second passports)?

Dear Soul 99,

Welcome to the Colombia forum

180 days in Colombia is the maximum in a calendar year if you do not have residency or a visa such as a TP-7 one-year visa.  Having two passports does not inoculate you against that rule.

You would be in violation a.k.a. "overstaying" and due for a stiff fine and restrictions on returning to Colombia .. if you were caught doing an overstay.

cccmedia in Medellín

If your objective is to stay in Colombia for 12 consecutive months, the most common way for a European or North American is via a one-year visa.  This could be based on income -- with either a pensioner visa based on proof of income of about $750 US a month .. or a 'rentista' visa which is based on non-pension income and has a much higher minimum income. 

Other available visas are based on employment in Colombia if you can get it .. a large real-estate investment .. or an investment of about $25,000 US (varies based on currency exchange rate) in certain investment products including a pre-packaged investment-real-estate program.

Visit www.medellinliving.com for a more complete write-up on obtaining a visa.

www.farinternational.com has some relevant investment opportunities.

cccmedia

The Medellin Living website demonstrates a method by which you could theoretically spend 360 out of 361 consecutive days in Colombia if entering on a tourist stamp with no visa.

This would involve spending up to 180 days in Colombia in the latter months of one calendar year .. flying to Panama for a day over New Year's .. and then returning to Colombia to re-set your time at zero for the ensuing / new calendar year.  You could then be in Colombia for another 180 days before being legally required to exit the country for the rest of the second calendar year.

This method involves the usual extension of tourist permit that is easily obtained in cities around Colombia.  In other words, you get 90 days upon entry and a 90-day renewal for a modest fee and near-minimal paperwork.

To read about this strategy in detail, google:  medellinliving how to extend tourist permit.

cccmedia in Medellín

A couple of additional thoughts....

1.  Regardless of your passport or residency status, spending 183 days or more in any year in Colombia classifies you as a tax resident of Colombia .. and subjects your worldwide income to Colombia taxation.  Most Expats should get a tax opinion from a professional if making a decision to be in the country for 183-plus days.

2.  Whereas Colombia has cities and departments with moderate temperatures year-round -- including Medellín and the Juan Valdez coffee-country departments -- almost all of Panama is hot, hot, hot.

The exceptions are a few mountain towns.  The most developed of these, in terms of Expat friendliness, is Boquete in Chiriquí province, Panama.    It's at a higher elevation than the steamy lowlands that dominate the country.

cccmedia

WOW thanks a lot for this great feedback!

- thanks for the heads up for panama weather.

- my destination in Colombia would be Pereira were my girlfriend's family is, or if we find out that we don't want to live there, we might choose Medellin or Cartagena. we are going to  colombia for a three weeks vacation in august before taking a decision, so excited to discover this country :-)

- i am considering to buy a flat in Pereira as well, so maybe i could get one of those Visas you are talking about... but i am an anarchist nomad digital and my goal is not to pay any tax anywhere (other than VAT i dont want to contribute more than that) so i guess i will have to keep traveling 6 months/year in north america and europe which is our plan anyway for the next 5 years.

- In europe if you are a european citizen it s easy to go around the 6 months rules as you can travel within schengen and there is no data about where you are and when, i guess it is the only thing positive about EU. as long as i carry around a valid ID or passport that i can renew every few years in my home country i am ok (checkin/checkout at administration). in colombia seems trickier and dangerous... getting kicked out of the country is not cool. still the idea of the double passport was a funny idea!

so i guess the answer to my question is dont stay more than 6/months per year in the same place and you can be a tourist all your life! LOL

@unleashed..........Well, not sure if its gonna last but you can still do it in Nicaragua year round just leavin for 1 day and comin back the next every 3 months.....NOt sure at the moment but you MIGHT be able to just do a quick spin like you could before in Panama and turn around and go home the same day......Plus residency in Nicaragua is cheap and eazy (more or less) And you dont need a lawyer. But a facilitator could still be useful..........And its up and comin........Full of tourists........and life and ferment everywhere.........and in terms of cost, everywhere from dirt cheap to rediculously expensive..........and it appears to be more of a service oriented country than say for example Panama where its hard to find.........

@dumluk nicaragua has a zero pourcent personal income tax on foreign incomes so in my personal case i could be a resident there all year around and be very happy LOL I am looking to be a resident of a country like panama or nicaragua... but live where i want when i want this is why i was asking about the double passport for colombia. thanks for the feedback i will checkout Nicaragua might be a cool place to be a resident and spend some time of the year there :-)

I don't think OP's question has been answered. Many times on this forum, people are afraid to say I don't know. People don't want to say "Wow! I've never seen a case like this before!". The post presented so far are good posts but fell short of  addressing OP's question.

I for one would like to get a good answer to OP's question. One way to try to answer OP's question is to answer the following question:

How is a tourist identified? Is he identified by his passport number? If yes, then he is a completely another individual when re-enters using the second passport. Is he identified by fingerprint? if yes, then he is the same individual regarding which passport he uses to re-enter, then 183 days-rule applies.

If we can answer the above question, then we can talk about the legal/ethical aspect of the situation.

I am aware of the 90 day rule in Nicaragua then leaving for 72 hrs and the 90 rule applies again. I am thinking of moving to Nicaragua because I have been there many many times. At one time I had my residency card but it expired after having it for 10 years and I never renewed it. I am thinking about returning now. I was considering Colombia but if I can only stay 180 days of the calendar year then I have to think twice about it. What part of Nicaragua do you live in? I would like to get in contact with you.

Rick

If you do stay in Colombia a total of 183 days or more in any 365 day period you are considered a tax resident and may be subject to taxation on your world-wide income, so says DIAN:

http://www.dian.gov.co/contenidos/otros/Residentes.html

It's good to get some idea from a forum but I would not base my plans on what you read in one.   As far as the visa goes, why don't you contact the Colombian Cancillería directly and get the information from the horse's mouth?  Down near the bottom of this page with info about the TP-11 visa, on the left are various ways to contact them:

http://www.cancilleria.gov.co/tramites_ … poral/tp11

More info:

https://www.sivirtual.gov.co/memoficha- … mite/T7402

@OsageArcher,

There is no question regarding the 183 days tax-resident. This issue has been debated to death on this forum.

I really like OP's question. If you were Jason Bourne with multiple passports, would you get a new visa every time you cross the border with a new passport? If Hollywood is to be trusted, the answer is yes.

I "personally" think you will get a fresh new visa when you re-enter with the second passport, thus, resetting the counter to zero.

As far as legality is concerned, it is completely legal, you are a legit citizen of two different countries. From an ethical point of view, it's your call.

Akabo, as I pointed out, if the OP wants to get a definitive answer, contact the Cancillería.  The length of stay for a visa applies to the person, not to their passport(s).  You say it's completely legal - if you are wrong, will you pay the OP's fine?  What you "personally" think may or may not be correct, but you do not actually know, do you?

@OsageArcher,

The "personally" means that OP should double-check other sources before doing it.

In fact, I will definitely be pursuing a similar course.

BTW, the visa and its length applies to the passport not the person for a tourist.

In my previous post, I stated that the counter would be reset to zero. I would like to correct it by saying, when you re-enter with the second passport, you have a fresh new counter.

I would not call Colombia and ask. This question is not country specific. If I were OP I would do more research. For years, people have been taken advantages of holding several passports. Let's just say this is one more perk of having dual citizenship.

unleashedsoul99 :

My questions are:
- can i spend 12 months per year in colombia with my two passports (after six months i leave the country and re enter with the second passports).
- and  is this legal?
:-)

I don't see where you get that the OP's question is not country specific, given that Colombia is explicitly mentioned in the OP's questions above.

You might not call Colombia - don't you think it would be prudent to ask them?  Why would you be afraid to ask them - because you know what you are proposing is not really above-board?  Trying to play games with two passports to try to get around a visa time limit could get you into trouble.  And of course the visa applies to the person!  How could it not?  The intent of a visa, if it is for 6 months or whatever period, is to ensure that the person it is issued to obeys the time limits.  The passport is just evidence the visa was issued.

The Cancillería link I provided makes clear they are talking about persons and not multiple passports a person may have.

OP can do whatever he wants to. I will do whatever I want to.

Don't you think it would be pretty naive to call any country and tell them I intend to use my two passports in order to avoid paying taxes. Dude! that would be one stupid move for the books

Anyway, let's suppose you are American-Panamanian, you would like to go to Brazil, which passport are you going to use? Of course, you are going to use the Panamanian passport  because it will save you $100.00 for the visa. Those are the perks that dual-citizenship give you. There is nothing illegal or unethical by taking advantage of the rules.

When you are a visitor to a country, your passport is your sole ID and the visa on the passport determines your legality. When you become resident then you have other ID numbers that uniquely identify you, e.g., cedula.

OP,
Your plan is a good plan. Thank you for bringing it up.

unleashedsoul99, you would not be wise to try to play games with multiple passports to try to get around a visa time limit for Colombia, as akabo suggests, without even checking, just relying on his opinion for which he has no basis in fact. 

Akabo even admits it would be stupid to call a country and tell them you intend to use two passports in order to avoid paying taxes.  And yet he thinks it'd be smart to do this anyway, just don't tell them...

The safest course is to ask the Colombia Cancillería.  If it is legal, there's no harm in asking.  If it's illegal, then you have been warned.

If he calls Colombia embassy in his country and ask if he can use either passport to enter Colombia the answer will be "Yes". That is all that matters. The intent is irrelevant.

akabo :

If he calls Colombia embassy in his country and ask if he can use either passport to enter Colombia the answer will be "Yes". That is all that matters. The intent is irrelevant.

That's not all that matters, since it doesn't prove whether holders of multiple foreign passports can evade Colombia's 180-day rule or its tax-resident-status rule through loophole overstays.

As is becoming evident on this thread, a consensus on this forum is developing that attempting to do so is ethically inappropriate and a path to potential legal jeopardy.

Do the right thing.

cccmedia in Medellín

There is no need to be fronting here, sitting on a high horse about doing the right thing. The issue here is simple. Can someone visit Colombia twice using two different passports? The answer is yes. Does he owe Colombia taxes even though he spent more than 183 days in Colombia? The answer is no. Is it unethical to do so? The answer is subjective. Is it legal? Definitely legal.

OK. I am done beating this horse. OP, once again thank you for bringing that up.

akabo :

There is no need to be fronting here, sitting on a high horse about doing the right thing.,,,

I am done beating this horse.

The bold assertions that one can legally avoid Colombia tax obligation by hiding behind multiple passports .. don't pass the smell test.

In the digital age, it would be naive to think that a national government could not discern that a tax avoider/evader is attempting to hide tax liability behind multiple passports.

That's why he's stopped horsing around. :cool:

cccmedia in Medellín

@cccmedia,

One last thing. There is a big difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion. In this case, it's a tax avoidance not evasion. You have not earned any income while in Colombia, you don't owe Colombia any money, you are just a tourist, why should you volunteer to pay tax, especially if there is a legal alternative?

All my working life, I've been in the 30%+ tax bracket, I will do my best to avoid paying unnecessary taxes.

You do you, I'll do me. I am out.

akabo :

There is no need to be fronting here, sitting on a high horse about doing the right thing. The issue here is simple. Can someone visit Colombia twice using two different passports? The answer is yes. Does he owe Colombia taxes even though he spent more than 183 days in Colombia? The answer is no. Is it unethical to do so? The answer is subjective. Is it legal? Definitely legal.

OK. I am done beating this horse. OP, once again thank you for bringing that up.

You simply don't know what you're talking about past your first statement, that someone can visit Colombia using two different passports.   As for the rest - that you want to hide from Colombia that you are doing so, and try to stay more than whatever visa length is authorized by using that strategy, shows your intent to break the rules and that you have knowledge that you're doing so.

You didn't even read the link, or if you did you did not understand it, where DIAN clearly states what constitutes being a tax resident.  It makes no difference if you are a tourist or not - 183+ days in any 365 day period makes you a tax resident in DIAN's eyes.

akabo :

In this case, it's a tax avoidance not evasion. You have not earned any income while in Colombia, you don't owe Colombia any money, you are just a tourist, why should you volunteer to pay tax, especially if there is a legal alternative?

All my working life, I've been in the 30%+ tax bracket, I will do my best to avoid paying unnecessary taxes.

A tourist visiting for 180 days or fewer is not obligated to pay income tax on non-Colombia income.

For those staying in Colombia most of the year, calling the multiple-passports loophole (to avoid time in country and tax residency) legal tax avoidance .. is an opinion, not necessarily in line with what Colombia's tax agency would determine.

Re the contention that if "you have not earned any income while in Colombia, you don't owe Colombia any money," that may not be accurate if you are in country 183 days out of 365.  At 183 days, you are not in tourist status any more, you are a tax resident potentially liable for taxes on foreign income. 

--------

If you pay taxes to the IRS (USA), that payment is normally deductible from Colombia tax obligations.

So if you're still paying 30 percent to the IRS, you may be legally able to avoid taxes as a Colombia tax resident.

cccmedia in Medellín

(i was "unleashedsoul99" because i forgot i already created "unleashedsoul" initially and i am going to use "unleashedsoul" now / that is the same person of flesh... legally i dont know if having two accounts on this websites make me a different person LOL)

Hello again,

I am happy i fired a long conversation about this topic. I am really interested in this subject due to my willingness to adopt the "flag theory" strategy.

Is it ethical/unethical?
I think we have two camps here with different world visions. I have personal strong values that leads myself to believe that this is ethical for me :-) (but i would only do it if it was legal, or if it was illegal but i knew i would not be caught).

Is it legal/illegal?
Both camps have good points. To settle this question, i think we need to answer:

- In international law, does using two different passports makes you a different legal entity? (if that is the case, if you enter a country with a passport and commit a crime there, and if later you enter another country with another passport, you cannot be arrested because you are a different person? >> i doubt that would be the case and will investigate now the web).
- In local colombian law, does similar rules applies?
- if the law is in favor of the double passport holder, we still need to know if the autorities in colombia will respect the law (when you say call DIAN and they will tell you... that is not a definitve answer. sometime the administration or the governement doesnt know the law and doesnt respect it. they will say "no it s illegal" because they think it s bad... thinking something is bad doesnt make it illegal... and a lot of legal things are ethically very bad).

:-)

https://www.quora.com/If-I-have-a-dual- … al-90-days

I think here we have a in-the-know answer of Andrew Henderson from Nomad Capitalist.

basically he says in schengen they will check you name first-name and date of birth in their database and you will be stuck... and in other countries maybe they dont have that strictness or control...

i guess this means that re-entering the country with a second passport to extend your legal stay as a tourist is "illegal" and if the country detects it you are in for troubles...

so DONT DO IT lol

another negative feedback. this is definetly illegal!

so colombians.... i will only desever you 6 months per year LOL

http://www.stylehiclub.com/tips-general … passports/

https://www.mikodigital.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/screen-shot-2017-07-14-at-14-54-02.png

No need to comment on the ethicality of trying to use two different passports, but it still begs the question.........does the Colombia Migracion fingerprint you when you enter the country like they do here in Panama?

dumluk :

No need to comment on the ethicality of trying to use two different passports, but it still begs the question.........does the Colombia Migracion fingerprint you when you enter the country like they do here in Panama?

No.

Thats what I like.....straight forward and to the point.....A simple NO will do nicely........gracias......

I used to have 2 passports, and thought I would try this.  I went to DIAN to see about another extension of my tourist visa, and they very quickly identified that I had been using two passports.  They were linked on the system, and the print out gave them the sum total of my time in Colombia under both passports.   They informed me I had about 6 days to leave the country - which I did.   That was in 2006, and I imagine their processes have improved since then!!

Cool...

You have a good question. My un-professional guess would be, "Yeah...you can."

I suspect that when you enter the country they're not really looking at you as a person. It's just your passport as a data item. If your passport meets the criteria, I would bet you're cool to come back.

Art

Doesnt sound like osage or ccc were trying to act like like they were up on a high horse to me. Just trying to be helpful. I dont know what the answer is. But i do know people whove been stuck with fines over visa issues. Id stick to the law. Havent had an issue and no worries...besides the yearly pain of getting my income letter apostillized.

Floridaray :

no worries...besides the yearly pain of getting my income letter apostillized.

For Ray and others who'd prefer not to deal with apostilling or obtaining proof of income each year, there apparently is relief.

The pension and investor visas are issued for a term of three years now, according to the Medellin Living site's analysis of the new "M" class visas authorized since August (2017).  The M's replace the old "TP" or temporary visas, according to the article.

That means the apostille or proof of income or investment is no longer an annual deal. 

The analysis currently appears on the welcome page at www.medellinliving.com under a "Colombia Visa" heading.

cccmedia from Departamento de Nariño

Thats great news. Thanks ccc!!

Last year I recall I had to get some sort of verification of my SSA income via the US Embassy in Bogota.... which I then included in my submitted paperwork to Colombian Cancilleria. I think I accomplished that by sending Cancilleria a copy of the SSA pension verification letter which I had gotten from the US Embassy in Bogota. Does this above comment mean that I will not have to repeat that part of the process in the coming weeks when I initiate my renewal process?

That would be really nice because I don't recall if I still have my copy of that SSA letter

Art

I am doing this but i did not plan to. I have to leave for 25 days so i will likely head back to USA and come back the 1st week or so or whenever I am ready.

What would be cool would be an out of Colombia place for expats to crash at when they need to leave the country.  I looked at Quito Ecuador but since it is holidays I will likely visit family in EU.

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