So, we reckon you should move to Colombia. Now. And it’s not because we’re lonely, and need some new friends. That’s beside the point, OK? We just think that Colombia’s pretty O for Awesome, and if you’re not careful, you might just end up like us.
I mean, finding yourself somehow living in Colombia, when you were initially just passing through. Be warned, though – it’s a slippery slope: next thing you know, you’ll be wearing hats and beards, and thinking everything is totes amazeballs.
1. Be a Wimp, and Just Stay for 6 Months.
As this is the easiest option, it’s also probably the most popular. If you’re reading this, you’re probably a citizen of a country that is allowed to stay for 90 days upon first arriving here. “But that’s just 3 months!” I hear you moan. Settle, petal: I haven’t finished yet.
Once you’ve become infatuated with this country (time for this to occur varies, but in my experience; it’s anything from 2 days to one month), you’ll want to stay a bit longer. Few problems: you will need to experience a bit of bureaucracy, but it shouldn’t be too painful.
Most major cities have a D.A.S. office where the nice lady or man (they just seem gruff at first) will tell you what needs to be done (pay 80,000 pesos – US$40 – at a nearby Occidental bank, have photocopies of your passport details, a forwarding flight ticket, a filled-in form, and a passport photo). It’ll take a day, more or less, but then they’ll probably let you stay for another 3 months. You’re allowed to stay for a maximum period of 6 months in a calendar year with this option. You should listen to us, though: 6 months won’t be enough.
2. 6 Months Wasn’t Enough. What Now (part 1)? Temporary Work Visa.
We told you so.
If you’ve managed to pick up some work here (English teaching is the easiest option, and it’s a ridiculously easy option), convince your boss that you’re a good enough worker to risk a sponsorship. We think this is the easiest option to stay longer than a l-a-a-a-me 6 months, as this work visa will let you stay for a maximum of two years.
After that, it’s not hard to renew again. A couple of things, though: you’ll need to be out of the country to finalize this visa, so a nice little trip to Ecuador or Venezuela is in the offing (not as good as Colombia, but they do try hard, bless them). You’ll need similar paperwork to what you got together for the above wimpy option; but this time you need to fill in two forms – one by yourself, and one with your obliging boss. They may ask for a bank balance as well, to make sure you’re not going to be living on the streets, but probably not.
3. We Told You So Part 2: Student Visa.
Another good option is to learn something over here, damnit! Why not improve your Spanish, you lazy sod? Many universities and institutes offer courses in the language or most anything else that will allow you to get a student visa. This option makes sure you don’t have to leave Colombia even for one second. It is a slightly more costly option, as you will have to enrol in classes for ten hours a week (classes to which you should go) on top of the eighty thou fee, but you will get more edumacated, and also get up to another year living it up here. We’re told that this process with the appropriate paperwork (ask your approved institute for help with this) needs to take place in Bogota, but you can hire a visa agent to do your dirty work for you if you don’t want to visit the big, bad Bog (you should, though).
4. Hook, Line, and Sinker.
The most permanent option is, of course, to marry a beautiful Colombian. This country’s full of them, for some reason. Not only will this option allow you to stay for however long you feel like, but you’ll also find yourself married to a beautiful Colombian. Not the worst outcome for a brief visit to Columbia or however it’s spelt. Gosh.