If you have in mind moving to Colombia, do not miss how is living in Bogota, the capital of contrasts.
- Moving to Bogota for work
- What have been the procedures to be able to live in Colombia?
- Cultural differences Colombia vs Argentina
- What is work like in Colombia?
- Cost of rentals in Bogota
- Disadvantages of living in Bogota
- Advantages of living in Bogota
- Recommendations on living in Bogota, Colombia
- Finally, what will be your next projects?
Moving to Bogota for work
- Basic information: my name is Victoria, I’m from Argentina and I’m 41 years old. My profession is public accountant.
- Geographical location: In January 2019 I moved to Bogota, capital city of Colombia for work reasons.
What have been the procedures to be able to live in Colombia?
A great advantage over the formalities has been to come directly with an employment contract already established from Argentina.
To be able to rent a flat, an insurer or guarantor studies the lease application and among various requirements, they ask for income certificates (at least equal to twice the lease fee), original labor certification and bank statements.
All contract expenses are borne by the renter.
Visa M to work and live in Bogota, Colombia
I obtained the M Worker visa which is the visa with employment contract, at first you get it for a year and you can renew up to 3 years, but it depends on the conditions of each one.
How the Mercosur visa works
To obtain the Mercosur visa (type M – Mercosur Agreement) the requirement is the certificate of judicial or criminal history of your country of origin or the place where you have resided during the three years prior to the application.
Once the visa is approved you are granted the foreign card (Colombia ID).
The formalities are usually very bureaucratic and they use to take a lot of time, all documentation must always be presented apostilled and with fingerprint.
Cultural differences Colombia vs Argentina
I believe that, being both Latinos, Argentinians and Colombians are very similar, kindness and good predisposition is something that characterizes both of us.
However, social distinction attracts a lot of attention, mainly in the city of Bogotá which is characterized by being quite “elitist”. Being able to join a social group isn’t that easy, it takes time, but once you get it, you have a great time.
What do you miss the most about your country?
As a good Argentine, without a doubt, our habits and the way we conceive friendship and family itself. What I miss the most are the affections, the classic roasts and family meals of Sundays, the mates with friends, the “picadita” with Fernet or beer from Saturday nights. Treating us equally in all areas and being more open to each other is what I miss most about my country.
On the other hand, in Colombia there are many Argentinian restaurants, bakery etc, so we find everything, empanadas, meat, grills, the famous medialunas, dulce de leche, alfajores, etc., . Of course some flavors may vary, but food is not a big problem.
Quality of life in Colombia
About the quality of life, it is still a Latin American country with everything that this implies, however considering the current situation in Argentina, here devaluation and inflation are not a recurring theme, so there is greater economic stability, despite being a city where the cost of life is pretty high.
What is work like in Colombia?
From my point of view, Colombians are much more formals and usually take things slower, compared to the Argentine who live intensely and use to do several things at once.
Where to look for a job in Bogota, Colombia?
Job search works much better with recommendations and contacts, however there are many pages to be able to apply for a job, like Linkedin Colombia; Universia Colombia; OpciónEmpleo; El Tiempo Clasificados; Computrabajo.
Cost of rentals in Bogota
In the city of Bogota prices vary greatly depending on the areas. You can rent an apartment from 300 USD in a normal area of the city, and from 800 USD onwards for more expensive areas. Considering that they can be also cheaper depending a lot on the location.
Where to search for rental apartments in Bogota?
Cost of living in Bogota, Colombia
The cost of living depends on many factors, but on average I can say that a person may need 700 USD in the month.
Disadvantages of living in Bogota
One thing that struck me when I arrived in Colombia is that cities are divided by “social classes” from one to six. In the lowest, one, two and three live the citizens who receive subsidies for services (water, gas, light). At the highest, five and six, they pay these aids with higher bills than their consumption. To decide which stratum a citizen belongs to, the State merely evaluates the facade of its house, the materials with which the roof is built and the conditions of the road where the house is located.
So, depending on the area where you live (“you are the place where you live”), market prices may vary too. Unfortunately there is a lot of social inequality.
Living in Bogota: the weather
Another disadvantage of living in Bogota is the weather, it is quite cold, about 14 degrees on average all year round, it is like living in an eternal autumn, and being a tropical climate you can feel much more the cold with the rains and height (2600 meters above sea level). But when there are sunny days the temperature can reach 23 degrees or even more. As a recommendation, always be prepared for all climates on the same day (dress in layers and always carry umbrellas).
And the worst thing about living away from home is missing family and friends.
Advantages of living in Bogota
An advantage of living in Bogota or Colombia in general, are its landscapes, being able to do a lot of hiking, trekking, (the unique connection with nature a few minutes from the city). In addition to its incredible beaches, I also highlight its economic stability compared to the situation of the other countries of the same region.
Recommendations on living in Bogota, Colombia
- Will you be living in Bogota for a long period? I came for an indeterminate period with a stable job, it all depends on my employment, but at least 2 years more.
- Do you recommend this country to live? It is a country with economic stability and you can live well if you have a good salary. It is ideal for entrepreneurs because there are a lot of opportunities.
- And for anyone who wanted to move to Colombia, what would you tell them? Come with a lot of patience, for the paperworks, etc., and as far as possible coming with a job is a great advantage since the search can take at least 3 to 6 months.
Finally, what will be your next projects?
I’ll continue my work and of course continue to grow with my Instagram’s account @pasaporte.argentino, where in addition to telling a little about my experience of living in Colombia, I take advantage of showing my country and some of the places I had the opportunity to visit, with my Argentinian passport in hand!
Finally, if you are looking for a city of contrasts, at high altitude, with unique landscapes and moving through “social classes”, Bogota is your city.
For more on what it’s like to live in another South American city, I recommend reading “Living in Panama City”.
Interview conducted in April 2021 with @pasaporte.argentino.
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