Colombia

Premier Areas of Coverage

  • Barranquilla
  • Bogotá
  • Cali
  • Medellin

Country Details

Colombia is known as the gateway to South America.  It is a multicultural society with European, Native American, Middle Eastern and African influences.  It has the second largest Spanish speaking population in the world.  Its industries include gold, emeralds, cement, beverages, clothing and footwear.  The Colombian Peso (COP) is the official currency.

Important things to know when renting a property in Colombia:

Common Expat Areas - The areas where affordable, desirable rentals are most likely to be located within Bogota are:  Rosales, Chico Navarra, Santa Barbara, Carolina, Santa Paula, Antigua, Calleja, Chico Reservado, and Cabrera.

  • All landlords require a guarantor.  If the company doesn’t serve as the guarantor, the landlord may request some rent up front.  In case the transferring corporation is unable to guarantee the lease, they may also be asked to provide an employment letter indicating the position, monthly allowance and years the employee has been working at the company.  It is up to the landlord to accept this letter in lieu of a guarantor.
  • Some Landlords may agree to negotiate the rent in USD.
  • Security Deposits, they are not common in Colombia and in depending on who you speak to, they be considered illegal in the real estate practices.

 Q&A

  • Who pays rental commission? The landlord pays the rental commission
  • How much is the rental commission? The rental commission is one month
  • Is an advance rent required? Only if the company is not serving as guarantor.  Some landlords may request up to six months of rent in advance
  • Who holds the months up front?  The landlord holds the funds
  • Is there a standard lease term? The standard lease is a one year renewal
  • What is the frequency of payments? Rent is due monthly
  • Is there a security deposit? Not applicable
  • The lease written in what language? The lease is written in Spanish
  • The lease is normally prepared by? The lease is prepared by the destination services provider; preference is to use the corporate template if one is available to insure that the legal aspect has been approved
  • Is a business release clause accepted?  Yes, although most landlords are reluctant to accept it during the first year


UTILITIES
Electricity, gas, water and sewer, are already connected under the landlord´s name, but they are not included in the rent.  The tenant must pay the monthly bill.  A Colombian ID is needed to activate services other services such as telephone, cable & internet. 

 

Telephone/Internet/Cable - These are the most common providers:

ETB – www.etb.com.co
DIRECTV – www.directv.com.co
CLARO -  www.claro.com.co – (cable, telephone and internet)

Cellular Phone
There are a variety of cell phone companies that offer good services.  All of them will require a Colombian ID (Cedula) to open accounts, unless you purchase a pre-paid package.  The most common companies are:

CLARO : www.claro.com.co  
MOVISTAR: www.movistar.com.co
TIGO:  www.tigo.com.co

Public schools are not recommended in Colombia.  The most common expats schools are private and are appropriate for children of any country.  All private schools will require an entry test as well as the documentation mentioned below.  Some of them offer the International Baccalaureate Program (www.ibo.org). 

In order to attend bilingual schools, it is necessary that the student has a high understanding of the language according to the school (English, French, German).


Day Care /Pre-school: Day Care Centers and Pre-schools operate either all year round or during the school year.  The most common schools for expatriates are:


Registering your Child/ren
Non-Spanish records need to be officially translated. Some schools will not require translation of these records or may translate them for free.  This requirement will be determined based on the school the child/ren will attend.


Required documentation
Requested certificates have to be legalized by the Ministry of Education from the home country.  Required documentation is generally listed in the web page of each school:

  • Registration form
  • Registration fee
  • School records from home country
  • Recent medical certificate
  • Original birth certificate
  • Letter submitted by the school from home country introducing the family

Colombian ID Alien Card (Cedula de Extranjeria) - In order to qualify for the Colombian ID card you must have a work visa or a temporary resident visa valid for a minimum of three months.  You MUST obtain the ID within a maximum of 15 days of receiving the work visa; otherwise there is a possibility of cancellation of the work visa or penalties incurred. 
Your ID alien card will be ready in about eight days after application.  You must apply in person with the following documents:

  • Original passport with stamped visa
  • Copy of the passport, information page
  • Three copies of the Colombian visa
  • Required Form (deliver in foreign office)
  • Three photos (3x4 on white background)
  • Blood type certificate, or document showing blood type (test taken at local laboratory)


Driver License – You will be required to obtain a Colombian Driver License after the Colombian ID (Cedula de Extranjeria) card has been obtained.  It is necessary to apply in person. The following documentation and process needs to be followed:

  • Original Colombia ID
  • RUNT (Registro Unico Nacional de Tránsito) – this registration is required in order to obtain your Colombian driver license.  You must apply in person at the closest SIM office.  They only required documentation is the original Colombia ID card (Cedula de Extranjeria) 
  • Medical exam including vision, hearing and reflexes performed by a doctor’s office/clinic authorized by the Transportation Ministry (Ministerio de Transito y Transporte)
  • Driving school – they will issue a certificate stipulating that you have driven in the past by showing your home driver license.  The driving school must be approved by the Transportation Ministry (Ministerio de Transito y Transporte)
  • Required Form (provided in the office), attached photocopy of Colombian ID (Cedula de Extranjeria) card
  • Photograph – taken at the SIM office 
  • Pay & pick up original license

According with government regulations, it is necessary to do the process in two steps, first day (# 1–4) and second day about eight days after the first steps (# 5–7).

Hospitals

Malls