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Tourist rights in Colombia

Hello,

(warning: very long sentence LOL) If you like Colombia and you want to live a few months in Colombia every year, but less than six month because you dont want to be considered a resident and pay tax there or having to deal with the colombian government other than tourist visa related things, as your main country is elsewhere and you are registered there as a resident so you are not going to register in Colombia, but still you live there a considerable part of the year so you want to be able to do stuff like:

- open a bank account
- rent a flat
- buy real-estate

are you allowed to do any of those things and with which visa and how to do it?


thank you

unleashedsoul99 :

you want to be able to do stuff like:

- open a bank account
- rent a flat
- buy real-estate

are you allowed to do any of those things and with which visa and how to do it?

Once you have a temporary visa such as the popular TP-7, you must register the visa with the correct agency of the government where you simultaneously apply for the national ID card or cédula.

With the cédula you can open a bank account.

Non visa-holders can rent in Colombia, although that does not exempt them from the 180-day tourist permit rule or the 183-day minimum to incur tax-resident status.  In Medellín and possibly other places, a renter may need a local property owner to guarantee the rent in case of default.

cccmedia in Medellín

unleashedsoul99 :

- rent a flat
- buy real-estate

are you allowed to do any of those things and with which visa and how to do it?

New arrivals should not concentrate on buying real-estate.  There's enough to do in terms of visas, finding a first-year rental, learning the neighborhood and acclimatizing to the language and culture.

Don't buy or build on property during your first year in Colombia.  Too many mistakes are made by those who violate this rule.  Having to re-sell real estate after you figure out that the neighborhood or the property or the city or the country is wrong for you .. can create massive headaches.

Far International has some real-estate packages by which you can invest in Colombian income-producing property (not your residence) for $25,000 or more .. specifically to qualify for an investment TP visa.

Resource for such investments:  www.farinternational.com

cccmedia in Medellín

hello again,

My situation:
- i want to remain a tourist at all time in Colombia and never spend more than 6 months a year in Colombia and never pay taxes in colombia. This is why i am asking about the rights for a tourist.

so if i understand well the situation of  a tourist in colombia :
- open a bank account > not allowed :-( thanks for the valuable feedback.
- rent a flat > allowed with guarantee, cool! thanks for the valuable feedback.

i am asking even more feedback LOL:
- buy real estate > not allowed? (except through the a real-estate package but that doesn't interest me because you are not in control of your investment ). so colombia is blocking all investment from foreigners? if a US person residing in US want to buy a house in colombia they are not allowed? I am assuming they would be allowed to buy property in most countries of the world... but colombia is different? ( i am a belgian and i know belgian people that owns flats here in spain by example). if you are a tourist, you are on holiday and you should be allowed to buy a holiday house/flat. and also rent it when you are not on vacation.

- and what about a US company that wants to buy a house or a flat in colombia, i guess they would be allowed to buy real-estate and open a bank account for that purpose? (without opening a branch of course... just investing in real-estate)

Thank you :-)

unleashedsoul :

so colombia is blocking all investment from foreigners? if a US person residing in US want to buy a house in colombia they are not allowed? I am assuming they would be allowed to buy property in most countries of the world... but colombia is different? ( i am a belgian and i know belgian people that owns flats here in spain by example). if you are a tourist, you are on holiday and you should be allowed to buy a holiday house/flat. and also rent it out when you are not on vacation.

You do not understand the rules for a person with tourist status as the situation applies to purchasing property in Colombia, so I applaud you for seeking clarification on the forum. :top:

Purchasing property is allowed for tourists and U.S. residents who live outside Colombia, even if you don't have a Colombia bank account (which typically requires the national ID or cédula based on a visa).

In this regard -- foreigners' rights to buy property -- Colombia is like most countries.  It's totally legal and an attorney can assist you in figuring out how to pay for the property from long distance without a cédula.

However, if you rent it to others when you are not in Colombia -- as you suggested you might -- that could change your tax status, possibly even making you a COL tax resident liable for paying tax on worldwide income in addition to property tax and tax on income received from renting out your property. 

As a property owner in the U.S. and South America, dating back to 2001, I recommend that you not buy property in Colombia unless you plan to live here most of the year.  Property issues are challenging enough when you live in or near a Colombia property.  In your first six or 12 months here, why complicate your life with matters pertaining to acquisition, property protection, acts of God, tax ramifications, maintenance (which is often underestimated), repairs, rent collection/eviction of deadbeats, other landlord obligations .. and finding/satisfying renters when you are outside the country!

Think Rent, Rent, Rent until you have lived in the target area for at least a year.  If it turns out that Colombia -- or the first Colombian community you choose to live in -- is not right for you, you won't be burdened with long-distance re-selling of property. 

If you're still not convinced, consider these factors pertaining to having another party managing your property in Colombia while you are away -- doing the tenanting, supervising or doing the repairs, and addressing emergencies:

1.  If you choose a property company to manage your place, a good one will not like the six months on - six months off situation.  They will find compensating ways to monetize their commitment, a.k.a. inflate your bill.

2.  If you choose an individual to manage, the first time something goes wrong or your renter yells at the manager .. the manager will probably quit.  On the other hand, if the renter leaves after a month or two, don't be surprised if the manager finds it's a "slow rental market" and your place stays vacant until you return five months later.  In such a case, you will have no practical way to collect the remaining four or five months of rent because the manager will not be able to navigate housing court effectively.  A deposit you collected when signing the rental agreement may not even cover damages or excessive "wear and tear."

cccmedia in Medellín

unleashedsoul :

if i understand well the situation of  a tourist in colombia...
- rent a flat > allowed with guarantee, cool! thanks for the valuable feedback.

The fiador or guarantor is not required in all circumstances.

Exceptions to the 'guarantor' rule:

1.  You rent directly from the owner and not an agency .. and the owner allows the rental without a guarantor.

2.  You rent outside the Medellín valley, including certain places where guarantors are not always required.

3.  You pay six months of rent in advance .. and the owner or agency allows it in lieu of a guarantor.

cccmedia

unleashedsoul :

what about a US company that wants to buy a house or a flat in colombia, i guess they would be allowed to buy real-estate and open a bank account for that purpose? (without opening a branch of course... just investing in real-estate).

Using a U.S. entity or setting up a Colombia corporation for the purpose of buying real estate involves real "inside baseball" knowledge and is not for newcomers.

Even if you have extensive experience with property in the U.S., Belgium, Spain or elsewhere .. don't contemplate this move until you have lived in Colombia for a while and gained an understanding from other property owners and an experienced purchase-attorney here. 

cccmedia in Medellín

All very good advice..........and you should take it.......Rent, rent, and rent........Its easy to buy and can be very very difficult to sell.........Best way to enjoy Colombia is to keep it simple.....And buying real estate does not qualify as simple..........

totally agree

OMG  there is a saying in Colombia es Muy COMPLiCADO you can't buy anything that costs a hundred bucks other than groceries or booze without the sales people asking for a cedula number.
Colombians want to do it right and then theres the other side of the coin
The flip side is when you are a tourist you can rent things like apartments, women and cars, motorcycles with a foreign drivers licence but as soon as you get your Colombian ID /cedula you can't  rent a car or moto with out a Colombia drivers licence
So i thought that i wanted to rent a scooter in Medejjin and i have a sedula and no Colombian drivers licence  how do i do this, well i put 50 mil in the entry stamp page in my passport and showed the renters my passport
no problem i showed them my drivers licence and i was good to go
Page 3 in my passport had my work visa and they did not see this  cause to get a work visa requires a sedula or vice versa i don't remember
Any way I have a drivers licence now one million three hundred and eighty thousand + tips for the expeditor talk about expensive but i i ever lose my job i can conduct taxis or small trucks or moto pizza delivery i have the licence with no tests what so ever just 50 or sixty signatures  pay and done, wait 2 weeks wow this is the way time is money in my books thumbs up Colombia
the bad side of this is : nobody nows how to drive because they did not have to pass a test there are no rules known to the general practitioners of manhandling anything on public roads What A Mess the department of transport has

@ccmedia thanks for information

tourist rights in colombia:
- buy real-estate > allowed

Woah! So your drivers liscence cost you approx $500?  Im not the worlds best mathematician, but is that more or less what it comes out to?  *** Another huge factor against even thinkin about getting legal in Colombia.........Jeez.....thats insane............

Moderated by Priscilla 4 months ago
Reason : No foul language please

I agree do not buy here n first months anyways. Neighborhoods can be decieving and as investments go real estate at least in Cali does not have the returns you would expect and I believe it is capped at 1% per month based on value of property or something similar. Low returns.

You can buy property you just can't finance it, same for a car. I would try to see if Miami has any banks that have branches in Colombia such as BanColombia or something. I rented in what I thought was a great neighborhood and it is level 6 status but i wish i dint sign a year lease. Found something I like much better quickly.

Level 6?? Didnt know there was such a level.........You live next door to Santos?

Only if Santos lives in Tequendama, Cali Colombia. Yes it seems when they need more money they raise the levels one more degree, maybe the word is stratus? cant remember but yes the higher the level, they more you pay for everything. There seems to be a higher degree of service and regularity however, so it is not a total wash.

The word is estrato.    The official levels run from 1 (very poor) to 6 (very rich).  You can read all about it here, straight from DANE:

http://www.dane.gov.co/index.php/en/pro … eralidades

The translation to English did not work for my browser.  There are tabs that go into more detail about various aspects of the system, along with an FAQ tab.

Basically the system of estratos was originally created to help the poor pay for basic services and utilities.  The neighborhoods of lower estratos 1, 2 and 3 receive a subsidy for electricity, gas and water;  estrato 4 pays the actual cost; and estratos 5 and 6 pay extra.  Several summaries in English:

http://occasionalplanet.org/2014/09/09/ … ic-system/

http://michaelandgraciela.com/blog/stra … he-basics/

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