- Colombia’s new digital nomad visa allows remote work for two years, enhancing its allure as a remote work-friendly destination.
- Approved in October 2022 despite initial challenges, acknowledging the economic value of digital nomads, notably amidst the pandemic-induced remote work surge.
- Ilana Milkes drove the visa’s approval, emphasizing its advantages for digital nomads.
Bogotá, Colombia–Colombia has stepped towards solidifying its status as a digital nomad destination by introducing a new visa designed specifically for remote workers.
Colombia’s digital nomad visa, which the country’s congress approved in October 2022, and allows foreign nationals to stay in Colombia for up to two years while they work remotely, went live in January 2023 (visit the official website for Spain’s digital nomad visa by clicking here).
In recent years, Colombia has become a leading destination for digital nomads seeking a balance between work and play. The country has become increasingly popular due to its bustling cities, diverse culture, and stunning natural landscapes.
Challenges in Visa Creation
The creation of this new visa was challenging, however. Its proposal was first put forward in March 2020 but was met with resistance from some members of the Colombian government who believed that it would encourage foreigners to take jobs away from locals.
Despite this opposition, the proposal was eventually approved in October 2022. The Colombian government recognized the economic benefits digital nomads could bring the country.
With the COVID-19 pandemic causing many businesses to shift towards remote work, the government saw an opportunity to attract new tourists to Colombia and stimulate economic growth.
Ilana Milkes’ Advocacy and Efforts
Ilana Milkes, the founder of World Tech Coding Bootcamps, spearheaded the visa program. Milkes, who initially spoke to the Mayorship of Medellin about the importance of digital nomads to the city and the entire country, didn’t hide her feelings about the slow approval process.
“You need a lot of patience talking with politicians,” said Milkes in a report.
“We talked to the president’s team, ministers, the chancellor’s team, even the mayorship’s team. It was almost a year and a half of meetings, writing the law, and making many presentations. This was during the pandemic as well,” she added.
Milkes will appear at the Mobile World Congress alongside the government agency, ProColombia, later this month. She will discuss how the visa lets digital nomads stay in the country for up to 24 months.
In contrast, tourists are only allowed a six-month stay. She will also discuss other privileges of the visa, such as the right to register a business in the country and the state ID that gives digital nomads access to banking.
The Digital Nomad Visa is just one of several recent initiatives to promote tourism and remote work in Colombia. The government recently launched a campaign to encourage remote workers to choose Colombia as their base of operations.
The campaign highlights the country’s infrastructure, natural beauty, and low cost of living as key reasons to choose Colombia over other destinations.
The introduction of the digital nomad visa represents an important step forward for Colombia’s economy and its reputation as a destination for remote workers. Despite the challenges, the government’s willingness to embrace new trends and adapt to changing circumstances is a positive sign for the country’s future.
What We Think
Colombia’s initiation of a digital nomad visa underscores its commitment to embracing remote work trends and stimulating tourism.
The visa’s introduction positions Colombia as an attractive destination, fostering economic growth and showcasing the country’s adaptability.
Ilana Milkes’ efforts and the government’s proactive stance depict a promising outlook for Colombia’s economy and its evolution as a preferred hub for remote workers, leveraging its diverse offerings and infrastructure to attract a new demographic of visitors and workers.