Preparing for your move to Bogotá


Preparing a move abroad means obtaining important documents, making copies and a lot of planning. It is recommended you make at least 3 copies of your passport, visas and other documents you deem essential. One copy should be kept with you, another in a safe place such a safety deposit box, and the third set of copies should be handed to a trusted friend or relative who can give you information should anything happen to you or the other copies.

Some of the things to take into account are:

  1. Passports: verify the expiry date is not within six months of your arrival and you have sufficient blank pages for future visas. Make at least two copies and keep them in a different place from the original.
  2. Insurance: obtain travel and emergency medical insurance in order to avoid any unusually high medical bills.
  3. Visa: make sure you are informed about any visa requirements and the documentation you need in order to apply for different visa category if you enter the country as a tourist. Apply early, as the process may take a few months.
  4. Savings: Save as much money as you can prior to your move, in order to be able to support yourself and your family during the first few months.
  5. Transition: bring items that will ease your transition, such as medications you take, a universal electric power adaptor or other things to make you comfortable at the beginning.


Before leaving, ensure all bills and debts are being paid or have the means of being paid. If you are retaining residence, find a way to make sure the mortgage or rent are paid during your absence, and utilities and other charges are taken care of.

You should let your bank know about your plans and update your contact information, so that the bank is able to reach you.

You should also find out about fees for overseas transactions, and if you have a credit card you should inform the bank that you will be using it abroad, in order to avoid having the card blocked because of unusual activity on your account. This is an important step, as many financial institutions are suspicious with transactions in Colombia and might prevent you from using your account if not previously notified.


Tax offices should be informed of any change in residency. Colombia has reciprocal tax agreements with a limited number of countries in order to avoid double taxation, but others may require you to pay tax both in your home country and abroad.

Check with your National Tax Administration for the exact steps you need to take before departure, and follow their instructions carefully. For more information, refer to our section on taxes.

UK nationals should refer to the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) for details of managing their taxation payments and National Insurance contributions in the UK from overseas.

US citizens may refer to the IRS guide "U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens Living Abroad" for information about filing tax returns while living abroad.


It is essential to have your vaccinations updated before moving to Colombia. Recommended vaccines include Hepatitis A and B, measels-mumps-rubella (MMR), polio and typhoid fever.

A Yellow Fever vaccine is not required when entering the country, however it is strongly recommended if you plan to visit any areas in the lowlands, such as the Amazon Jungle, the Eastern Plains or the Pacific and Caribbean Coast.

Make sure you have your vaccination certificate ready.

Also keep in mind that, while not encountered in Bogota, malaria is prevalent in some of the more isolated areas of the country. Any medication should be purchased before travel to those areas.

For concerns about your health when abroad, the World Health Organization (WHO) publishes International Travel and Health which is revised annually and is available free online. Another excellent resource is MD Travel Health. It provides free, complete travel-health recommendations for every country and is updated daily.

Update 20/08/2018


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