Note: Although the peso’s value changes regularly, in recent months, it reached 5,000 pesos to $1 USD. This may make retiring in Medellin an even more viable option for the future.
Medellin is known as the City of Eternal Spring. This is thanks to its average climate of 22°C year-round.
Not only is this just pleasant to live in, but it works well for individuals who need to be in warmer areas for health reasons.
Medellin has an internationally recognized health system thanks to more than 80 clinics and health centers in the area. Plus, there are also some excellent hospitals around the city, all of which provide low-cost treatment.
Among the most recognized are:
Hospital Pablo Tobón Uribe
Hospital Universitario San Vicente de Paul
Clínica Cardio VID
Also, Colombia is ranked #22 according to the World Health Organization in terms of medical care services, denoting their quality.
Taking out a health insurance plan in Colombia is therefore not only affordable, but it also gets you a good standard of care.
Of course, these aren’t the only reasons why Americans choose to retire in Medellin. A couple of other reasons that are making Medellin a retirement center for Americans include:
As such, there isn’t a community of retired people who usually meet up a few times a week. You can also use platforms to find a community of expats in Medellin. This can be a nice way to help you adjust to life in a new country.
Note: Laureles and Poblado are also hubs for young people with a digital nomad visa and not just retirees!
How to Retire in Medellin as an American
If you want to retire in Medellin as an American, there are a few steps you’ll need to take. I’ve put together a quick rundown of what you’ll need to do if you’re considering this.
The first thing you need to retire in Medellin is to figure out the visa.
To do this, you’ll want to apply for the pensioner visa (M-11). The visa costs about $282 USD (subject to change), which you can pay using a credit card.
To apply for this visa, you’ll first need to meet a few requirements.
Have proof of an income of at least three Colombian minimum wages or an income from your social security, pension, and retirement savings account.
Have a valid passport with a minimum expiration date of 180 days from the time of application and two blank visa pages.
A copy of your passport stamps from your most recent trip to Colombia.
Proof of pension from the US government or a private company.
A photo on a white background
If you have previously entered Colombia with a visa (student, work, digital nomad), you’ll need a copy of this visa
It takes about three weeks for you to get your visa once you meet the requirements and apply.
Note: Currently, the Colombian minimum wage is $1,00,000 COP. So, you’ll need a monthly minimum income equivalent to $3,000,000 COP (subject to change).
Once you’ve got your visa, you’ll need to take out health insurance.
Having said that, Colombia, and Medellin in particular, is a city with an excellent quality of medical and health services.
Among the best health insurance providers you can enroll with include:
Once you have a visa, you can enroll in government health insurance. Or, you can purchase private medical health insurance.
Pro tip: You don’t need a visa for private health insurance in Colombia. All you need is your passport.
Next, it’s time to find a home in Medellin. One good move is investing in real estate in Medellin rather than renting. This way, you can actually make a bit of money off your investment.
The process in this city is easy and is something similar to buying a house in the United States.
You will need your passport and, of course, enough funds to purchase your property. In general, it’s best to pay in cash if you can, as getting a mortgage can be a bit tricky.
To get a mortgage in Colombia as a foreigner, you must have a credit history in the country for several years, as well as proof that you’ve permanently settled in Colombia.
Your best bet is to get an agent to help you with the property purchasing process if you go this route.
Alternatively, you can choose to rent. Many ex-pats choose to rent furnished apartments so that they don’t have to worry about buying furniture for their new home.
The last step is to buy your tickets and head to Medellin! Once you arrive, you can check out some of the things to do in the city or just focus on settling in.
There’s no right or wrong answer!
2022 Retirement Visa Changes to Know About
Visa legislation in Colombia changed during 2022, and some of those changes affect individuals interested in retirement visas.
The two biggest changes for retirees to know about include:
Your income must be consistent, and you must have proof that it comes from either a public or private entity
The visa for pensioners allows you to accumulate time to obtain a residence visa.
Another big change is that you now have to present proof of judicial records for the last three years. This basically shows the country that you’re not a crook trying to conduct illegal activities in Colombia.
Likewise, a medical certificate must be presented that exposes the psychological and physiological health of a person. Expats now also need a certificate of health coverage in Colombia valid during the period of time that they plan to stay.
The retiree visa is valid for up to 3 years and doesn’t allow you to work in Colombian territory or join the social security system. So, you’ll have a visa, but it is a bit limited.
Finally, this visa allows the holder to request a visa for beneficiaries, such as:
Children up to 25 years of age
Children with physical or mental disabilities
How Much Money Do I Need to Retire in Medellin?
One thing is clear: the cost of living in Medellin is much cheaper than in the United States.
But, you’ll still need some sort of cash in order to help you get by!
Remember, to get your visa you’ll need to make about $3,000,000 per month. This is roughly $600 USD (subject to change) as of 2022.
In general, you won’t need more than about $2,000 USD per month to retire in Medellin (subject to change).
For one thing, you can pay a monthly rent of $1,250 USD in a fully furnished private apartment in a high-class area of the city like El Poblado. Utilities will cost you around $70 per month for internet, phone, electricity, water, trash, and other necessary services.
Besides rent, you’ll probably need to spend around $100 USD per month for food, groceries, and other household items.
Remember, you’ll also have to have a health insurance plan. This will set you back about $60 per month, which is pretty low considering the cost of health insurance in the US.
Can I Still Collect Social Security in Medellin?
Many retirees want to know if they’re able to collect social security payments in Colombia as well as in their home country.
Previously, this was possible. However, the visa legislation corresponding to Resolution 5477 of July 22, 2022, issued by the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, limits this.
The new legislation ensures that whoever has a retiree visa doesn’t have the right to receive income from work or social security coverage. So, you’ll need to bring all the cash you intend to use in Colombia with you.
Is Retiring in Medellin Easy?
The short answer is yes!
Retiring in Medellin is generally pretty easy.
The only things that sometimes cause problems are the language barrier and the necessary paperwork to access services such as health or rent, as well as for the visa itself.
However, all the benefits and pros of living retirement in Medellin tend to outweigh the cons.
Choose to Retire in Medellín
Retiring in Medellin is a great way to make your savings go a bit farther. You can actually find that your retirement savings can as much as triple while living in Medellin!
Plus, the city is a place that offers a warm home for anyone looking to retire. Experience the culture, nature, nightlife, and affordable costs and enjoy everything that retiring in Medellin has to offer.
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