Colombia/How to become resident citizen of colombia
QUESTION: Cesar,I rescently got an answer from you which I liked much. Now I would like to ask what is te procedure to become a residento of colombia. Also, how do I do wire transfer over the internet once I am in Colombia. Also, how private health insurance works? How much it wuuld cost? And what about the part not covered by the insurance and the insurer must pay all at once. A friend of mine bouth a health insurance for his girl friend in Pereira, It cost $2,000.00 for one year. Now she has been recently hospitalized, transfered to a hospital in Medellin and must pay $7,000.00 for part of the total cost not covered by the health insurance. THe problem is that it must be pait cash or $3,000.00 down and $500 every tow weeks for four month. Here in America you could pay that amount in a couple of year. What must a legal resident of Colombia must now about health insurance, or where it can be found more information. Again, thanks a million for your answeers. GOd bless you.
ANSWER: Dear Mr. Muñoz:
The procedure to become a resident in Colombia is similar to the one in other countries. I am not in the immigration business and therefore I do not know the minute details, but the Colombian consulates list the requirements.
1) Thru marriage with a native or naturalized person (in this case with a Colombian)
2) Thru employment by getting an employment contract from a Colombian company.
3) By investing in Colombia, such as by starting a business. The amount invested is indicated in the website of Colombian consulates. Maybe the investment can also be real estate.
4) By other means listed in the websites of Colombian consulates.
You can look for the website for the nearest Colombian consulate. I found the following webpages:
You can use Google Translate to translate texts or some other program that translates web pages:
Some people come as tourists, renew the visa, and find a way to stay longer such as by getting hired by a company, etc. The person interested in becoming a Colombian resident should look at the different ways listed in the Colombian consulates that explain the requirements. I think that sometimes the person has to leave Colombia to be able to receive the resident visa. I imagine that the person could leave to a nearby country such as Ecuador to save some money in transportation.
There are several ways to do a wire transfer to Colombia while in the US (to see the method for doing it while in Colombia please jump to that information below this section):
1) Use a money transfer company such as Western Union, Moneygram, Ria Envia or www.Xoom.com (Xoom charges pays very little for the dollars and it is very expensive when sending money to Colombia, not as much for sending money to India).
2) Use your bank to send a wire transfer. You can do that online or go to your bank personally. You might not be able to do that over the phone with your bank at first unless you do the paperwork at your bank first so that you could do it over the phone. The person receiving the wire transfer needs to fill out a form in the Colombian bank authorizing the transfer and explain the reason for the wire/wires. It is a one-time event. You can send the money directly to a bank account or simply to a bank and indicate the full name of the person, city and some other details. Then the person shows up at the bank with the ID.
3) ATM withdrawal: you can get a new bank account where you would deposit money and then you send the ATM card to the person. The problem is that if the person does not use the ATM card well then you could pay more in ATM fees or the person could withdraw more than what you tell the person to withdraw. Then you could end up paying a lot of money in ATM fees. If the person does not know how withdraw money with the ATM might be tempted to withdraw in little amounts such as $20 five times instead of $100 once. The person might need to know the balance and do a balance inquiry, but your bank could charge you $2 for it. If it is a credit card then there is a limit on the cash it could be withdrawn and can also issue credit past the limit and then you might need to pay an over the limit fee.
4) You can use Citibank. They have branches in Colombia, but if you have a regular checking then they will charge 3% every time you withdraw money at an ATM and even at a branch. If you use a non-Citibank ATM machine then you might be assessed an ATM fee.
Wells Fargo does international transfers. You can wire money to your Colombian bank account with Wells Fargo, but you need to go to the branch and do the first wire in person, then you can do it online or over the phone in the later times. To send money to somebody else you might need to go to the US branch to set that up for the first time. If you use an ATM card they charge $5 for every international withdrawal. If you use your ATM card for purchases then they charge a percentage in the international transaction that is based on the purchase amount.
You can use PayPal or other similar payment methods.
You should ask your bank how to do wire transfers since the method and fees vary from bank to bank.
TO DO A WIRE TRANSFER WHILE IN COLOMBIA:
You can use the Internet to do wire transfers with some banks. Wells Fargo allows that. You can also withdraw money from ATMs that have the same logo in the bank. Bancolombia has little o no agreements that allow the use of foreign cards in their ATMs. Corpbanca, ATH, and other banks have agreements and will allow you to withdraw money from their ATMs, often at no charge, but your US bank will charge you a foreign ATM fee, which could be higher than the US ATM fees. Wells Fargo charges $5 each time. The ATMs in Colombia let you withdraw up to 400 thousand pesos (at Corpbanca ATMs), sometimes up to 300 thousand (at other ATMs) and sometimes at most 200 thousand. There might be a few that let you withdraw more than 400 thousand, but I do not know which. Therefore you should look for ATM that let you withdraw the most money in the least number of times so that you do not have to withdraw money as many times and end up paying more in ATM fees unless you need to withdraw less that their maximum ATM withdrawal amounts.
You can use Xoom.com to send money from your bank account to a Colombian bank, but they charge a fixed fee (currently about $2.99) and pay very little pesos for your dollars.
You can load money to your PayPal account and withdraw money with a PayPal card or wire the money to a Colombian bank, but that is probably more expensive that withdrawing the money from your bank directly with an ATM card. You could try to create a PayPal account with your Colombian bank, but since PayPal is US based I do not know if you could do that.
In regards to health insurance: Some people (the ones with very low income) can qualify for public health insurance (the one named Sisben). For private health insurance the person would need to contact providers and get quotes. The quotes are based on age and probably based on current health conditions (such as if the person already has some medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, if already had a surgery, etc.). Therefore you would need to contact them and get the quotes. Many people get their medical insurance from their employer. Others do not have any, but can set money aside to pay private medical care, which is not expensive compared to other countries such as the US. Surgeries and some tests such as MRIs of course cost more money, but not exorbitant money like in other countries. Many people come to Colombia since the prices are much higher in their country of origin.
Normally the monthly charge for medical insurance should not be much. I wonder if you meant that the person is paying 2000 dollars per year for insurance, which seems very high by Colombian standards. I do not know the coverage the person got and what limits that insurance had. I do not think that the person had to pay 2000 dollars in premiums. I think that maybe the insurance covered up to 2000 dollars and that the person had to pay the difference if the amount was exceeded. In that person's case it seems like the total amount is 5000 dollars, that the insurance covered 2000 and that the balance is $3000. If that is the case then the person could get a loan in the US and that way pay the $3000 in Colombia in lesser amounts for a longer period of time so that the person could pay the $3000 in Colombia.
What a person should do in regards to health insurance in Colombia is contact different providers (I think they call them IPS) and decide which one is most convenient. The person should ask a lot of questions, read the contracts, what is covered, what is not, read the fine print, etc.
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QUESTION: Thank you for your answers to my questions. NOw, how I can get from here America get in contac with some private insurance company in Colombia? I will highly appreciate the answer to this question. Thanks.
Dear Mr. Muñoz:
I am not familiar with insurance companies in Colombia, but the Internet is a great source for information. You could run searches such as the following:
Search for medical insurance companies in Colombia:
"seguros médicos en Colombia"
"compañías de seguros médicos en Colombia"
Search for insurance companies in Colombia:
"compañías de seguros en Colombia"
You can use yellow pages for Colombia, either the ones on the Internet or the printed ones:
Below you can find a couple of links for yellow pages: