Bogota is supported by a reliable and diverse economy. The city’s 140 million USD GDP accounts for 25% of the GDP of Colombia. The ever-improving economy of the city is the fastest growing of anywhere in Latin America. The city boasts thriving industries, business and media sectors. Many international corporations are always seeking for qualified expats, most of time with a good level of English.
The city launched a number of tourism campaigns in the early 2000s dedicated to eradicating the negative public image of Colombia and placing Bogota as a popular choice for holiday makers, even if there are a number of other Colombian cities that are still preferred by tourists. The campaign strategies were effective, though, and over the past decade some major hotel chains have opened up in the city, especially in the area of La Candelaria. This is the central hotel district and the main tourist hotspot.
There is ample opportunity for expats with experience in communications and hospitality in the La Candelaria district, as there are plenty of customer service jobs available. Many expats choose to teach English in Bogota; private and international schools are almost always in need of native English speakers to assist with teachers.
Anyone intending on obtaining a working visa for Bogota should make arrangements to meet with their local Colombian embassy to discuss the proposal. The embassy will provide advice and specific requirements to suit every expat’s particular circumstances. The official government website can also provide information and has a detailed list of the necessary documents and evidence.
In order to be granted a work permit, every foreigner will need to provide an official letter of invitation from a company based in Bogota, confirming an offer of employment has been extended to the expat. Alternatively, you can provide a business letter; this letter may be from a company that is based overseas confirming the purpose of sending an employee to Bogota and detailed evidence of the assignment in the city. A valid passport and a four visa photographs will also be required.
All residents of Bogota are eligible to pay tax on their net income; this includes foreign nationals who have lived in Bogota for a minimum of five years. Expats living in the city will not need to declare their income or pay any taxes until the fifth year of working and living in Bogota. The income tax is charged on a progressive scale of five rates.
For incomes not exceeding 29,958,650 COP no taxes are levied; for higher incomes progressive rates are applied: they range from 19% to 33%, which is applied to higer incomes (112,688,500 COP and above). All net income is taxable, including earnings made overseas, investment profits and rent payments. The taxes of Bogota and all of Colombia are administered by the National Tax and Customs Direction.