2020 South American Expat Thread

Cortés

Woodpecker
Gold Member

Ive done a bit of reading on this. my impression is that in the past, you simply just had to have a child on Brazilian soil and you're free no matter the crime. With that said, if you have too much notoriety, or you did something heinous like murder, they will look for some excuse to legally extradite you. If you are a Brasilian citizen then it is much less likely the could extradite you. There was a case 15 years ago where they were able to deport an American murderer who had a Brasilian child just on the technicality that he assumed a false identity upon entering. Up until the last few years, no criminal background check was required for residency. But even nowadays, they are supposed to be very forgiving of your criminal background. I think that unless you are a murderer, a rapist or other high profile criminal- you could have a child/wife and stay here without extradition

For what it's worth, Argentina is supposed to be even better on this issue. There was a 9/11 truther whose wife was killed under very strange circumstances, possibly framed for political motives. When the charges were temporarily dropped, he fled to Argentina and started a family. He was granted permanent asylum a few years ago after many attempts from USA to extradite him. If i recall, the motive for blocking the extradition on top of him having an Argentine family was that he faced the death penalty in America. Look up Kurt Sonnenfeld
 
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Invocato

Sparrow
I just looked at Colombia tax rate table (this is in peso). Huh!
Seems like one making a little over $10K/year has 19% income tax rate, and over $16K/year at 28%, over $39K - 33%.
I hope there's big deduction available.
But non-residents don't pay these taxes and also no tax on foreign-source income at all, looks like.
VAT 19% (5% for foodstuffs)

Say, compare to Paraguay - it 10% flat personal income tax rate for residents and no income tax on sources outside the country.
(alternatively, 8-10% progressive scale rate for income from providing personsal services, likely self-employment)
8% dividend and capital gains rate.
10% VAT (5% for basic groceries)
1% real estate tax (but properties are usually accessed below market - so far, supposedly)
Seems like decent tax climate, except real estate tax is very high for non-1st world country.

I looked into Paraguay tax deductions and appears they have possibly unlimited personal living expenses deduction....if this is true would be great. Colombia limits personal (non-business) deductions, say 10% for dependent, and see no mention of standard deduction.
Looks like there is also an annual assets tax?
Colombia Tax Rules
 

lonewolf1968

Kingfisher
Tax topic is endless one...

If you're earning somewhere around the tax bracket boundary, sometimes it makes sense to move down to lower bracket by lowering your income (at least official income on paper), especially with what I see in Colobmia tax rate table, where there's can be a big change in rate from bracket to bracket.
One can earn more gross income but end up earning less net income per hour (net is after taxes, gross before taxes), because of higher tax bracket and less/smaller tax deductions/credits becoming available.

Sometimes makes sense to become individual entrepreneur/contractor instead of employee, which would allow to deduct various business expenses: these deductions tend to be less limited than personal (and one normally could still deduct personal deductions as well, on top of business deductions); sometimes 100% of income can be deducted using business deductions. Deductions and exemptions reduce your taxable income.
There're also tax credits - unlike deductions, they don't just reduce tax they can be actually used to get money from the government, but not sure if there're any in Colombia, realistically.

In the US people file yearly tax returns (and sometimes make estimated quarterly tax payments, such as self-employed or if your employer withholds less than your final tax liability). Some people are not required to file tax returns because of having low income or skip them because they assume the employer withheld correct amount, and they don't (but this is a foolish thing to do which eventually comes backfiring in multiple ways).

Thank you, very helpful info man.
 

Cr33pin

Peacock
Gold Member
I stole this from the vaccination thread cause I thought it had some generally interesting information about Paraguay

Well, If I were to seek refuge in Paraguay, I wouldn't go to Asunción or any of the other cities. My experience tells me even in the third world, most of the brainwashed and the state apparatus are located in the cities. But I get your point and as far as I know, it's a sort of low intesity warfare, not something like Colombia in the 90s. But still, I wouldn't go there unless I have contacts in the country and a place to live, outside the cities. I hope that Paraguayans can sort out their differences. However the external situation points in the other direction. The international environment in the next months or years might be a catalyst for violent conflict due to impoverishment of the paraguayans, "all done in the name of their health". They are surrounded by a leftist countries (Bolivia, Argentina).

https://www.mspbs.gov.py/portal/22827/nuevas-medidas-contra-el-covid-19-rigen-desde-hoy.html

I didn't mean Asuncion by Southern Paraguay (I see it as Central), but more South. There's a lot more European ancestry population in the Southern region than in Eastern where rebels are and more developed even though it's rural. There're secret marijuana plantations in the Eastern region and sometimes that's what rebels are at.
In the region with these plantations, when you hear about kidnapping you have to understand that sometimes all kinds of deals might be involved that we will never know about.

American Bush family owns something like 100K acres in Paraguay. Paraguay is pretty stable country compared to neighbors, their economy is largely agricultural so it's not subject to swings as major as in more financialized economies, even though they don't fly high they have some stability.
There're some Russian/Ukrainians and Germans who moved there to live on land and they have no trouble with any kind of rebels or masks.
Yes, I'd definitely have some contact with expats and get some connections to show around.

i_like_that_parks_and_rec.gif
 
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I stole this from the vaccination thread cause I thought it had some generally interesting information about Paraguay

Well, If I were to seek refuge in Paraguay, I wouldn't go to Asunción or any of the other cities. My experience tells me even in the third world, most of the brainwashed and the state apparatus are located in the cities. But I get your point and as far as I know, it's a sort of low intesity warfare, not something like Colombia in the 90s. But still, I wouldn't go there unless I have contacts in the country and a place to live, outside the cities. I hope that Paraguayans can sort out their differences. However the external situation points in the other direction. The international environment in the next months or years might be a catalyst for violent conflict due to impoverishment of the paraguayans, "all done in the name of their health". They are surrounded by a leftist countries (Bolivia, Argentina).

https://www.mspbs.gov.py/portal/22827/nuevas-medidas-contra-el-covid-19-rigen-desde-hoy.html



i_like_that_parks_and_rec.gif

Currently, the government is with such low credibility it can’t push harsh measures without backlash from the industries, or uphold them for long, like in the first months. Life is going somewhat normal despite the masks or the desperate situations at the hospitals. The only positive thing I see in this pandemic is we’re not being swarmed by Argentine scummunists. Those parasites are getting too nosy after two child soldiers with Argentine IDs died in a firefight against the Joint Task Force back in September. Also, a conflict is more likely to start due to government negligence rather than the opposite. The eunuch posing as president got his second impeachment attempt last month and he’s barely halfway through his term.
 

Dilated

Robin
I have somehow managed to live in Cartagena for over a year now. It has its charms but it is certainly not my ideal living situation. I live in a super safe/ nice/ touristy part of the city an haven't left my neighborhood the whole time I have been here. Can't complain about my housing situation other than the rent, I am paying more here then I ever paid in any other country... pretty much double what I would normally pay. However I am in one of the nicest buildings in Cartagena and my building is beachfront. I am definitely going on a month by month basis now. I was looking into staying in some surf hostel near Santa Marta for a month just to escape the city life but the one I wanted to go to was closed for renovations. After a year of staying in my ivory tower I think I been spoiled and become accustomed to this level of comfort.. I need to break out of that. Its always so easy just to decide to do another month here cause I have things like the basketball court, the gym, the restaurants I like, the beach, the pool.... But in reality I would be 100x happier somewhere quiet with some nature around. Now that I am a few months back into the gym and starting to get my gainz back its super easy to just justify another month here as another month to stay in my gainz routine. The plan is to stay in Colombia until things start to open up and there are no required test or quarantines to travel to Panama (a test when I arrive is ok) I ponder the idea of just renting a car here for a month an driving around the coast, its only $400 a month. Some of my favorite times I had in South America on this trip was driving rental cars across Uruguay, Brazil, and Bolivia (until I made it to La Paz).... who knows... month by month and eventually I will swim up to Panama and hopefully it will capture my soul and I will stay there for the rest of my life.

I like watching all these videos from this relocation channel. I really like the personalities of most of these older folks that move to Panama. I would like to somehow get involved with these kinds of retired expat communities. My grandparents who have now passed were absolutely the shinning lights in my family life. I think because of that I have a certain connection with older folks. I am always about as close to my friends parents as I am to my friends. I think it would be good for me to have those kind of connections with some older folks if I am to settle in Panama, since I dont really have much of a connection with the current living members of my family (it makes traveling the world solo and looking to expat a lot easier and more appealing)

giphy.gif

Driving in Colombia is very relaxed. Just got back from driving the north coast and the roads are in great condition. Much better than Ecuador.

North Coast was fantastic, especially Parque Tayrona and Minca, only downside was I got my iPhone stolen right out of my hand by a motorcyclist in Cartagena. Total rookie move on my part...I think I had gotten too comfortable in S. America.

Good reality check.

If you see an iPhone 12 floating around holler at me.
 

Cortés

Woodpecker
Gold Member
Driving in Colombia is very relaxed. Just got back from driving the north coast and the roads are in great condition. Much better than Ecuador.

North Coast was fantastic, especially Parque Tayrona and Minca, only downside was I got my iPhone stolen right out of my hand by a motorcyclist in Cartagena. Total rookie move on my part...I think I had gotten too comfortable in S. America.

Good reality check.

If you see an iPhone 12 floating around holler at me.

Very true about the Caribbean Coast! Parque Tayrona and Santa Marta was the start of my travels in South America and holds a truly special place in my memories. I owe a visit back sometime.

Its funny that you say driving and the roads are better in Colombia than Ecuador, i had the exact opposite experience. I drove by moto through all of Colombia and never came across a newly paved road. The roads going from Pitalito to the Ecuadorian border were horrid- giant, meter-deep sinkholes and rocks in the road. The moment I entered Ecuador (La Hormiga crossing i think) the roads were beautiful smooth new asphalt. I only drove through the eastern Andes/Amazon part of Ecuador so perhaps it's different around Quito or the coast.

I dont particularly remember the drivers being too bad in those countries. I would say though hands down Peruvians are the WORST drivers. Those people cannot handle modern transportation. A bus will try to overtake you rounding a corner on a narrow mountain road. Second is maybe Brazilian.
 

Dilated

Robin
Very true about the Caribbean Coast! Parque Tayrona and Santa Marta was the start of my travels in South America and holds a truly special place in my memories. I owe a visit back sometime.

Its funny that you say driving and the roads are better in Colombia than Ecuador, i had the exact opposite experience. I drove by moto through all of Colombia and never came across a newly paved road. The roads going from Pitalito to the Ecuadorian border were horrid- giant, meter-deep sinkholes and rocks in the road. The moment I entered Ecuador (La Hormiga crossing i think) the roads were beautiful smooth new asphalt. I only drove through the eastern Andes/Amazon part of Ecuador so perhaps it's different around Quito or the coast.

I dont particularly remember the drivers being too bad in those countries. I would say though hands down Peruvians are the WORST drivers. Those people cannot handle modern transportation. A bus will try to overtake you rounding a corner on a narrow mountain road. Second is maybe Brazilian.

Roads are shit here in the Sierra in Ecuador. Even the back country roads I encountered in Colombia were much better than here.

Agree on Peruvian drivers.
 

Cortés

Woodpecker
Gold Member
Has anyone here had a positive experience dealing with Government/Police/Bureaucracy/Notaries etc in South America? I'm really starting to lose my patience with Brazil. I know this part of the world is well known for being a pain in the ass when it comes to red-tape and dealing with public workers, but I think that Brazil is as bad as it could get. Every turn here someone has given me false or misleading info about any sort of process I try to do here. Ive wasted so much time and money trying to get things done here only to have been misguided and need to restart

Back in February I bought a vehicle from a dealership. I went to Detran - the Brazilian DMV, the police, numerous dealerships and every single one told me that I as a foreigner can purchase a motorcycle. No residency required. All that I needed was a CPF number (tax ID number, another nightmare). I checked the VIN and it wasnt stolen nor outstanding fines. I paid and signed the paperwork, I leave on the bike and they tell me to come back next week to pick up their notarized registration. I come back the next week, and of course they dont have it ready. I come back two weeks later and they notify me I have a week left to finish the whole process before I rack up fines. Then of course I notice that they wrote my name incorrect on the notarized title transfer. I insist that they change it but they refuse and tell me that theyll accept it anyways, and that it would take months to ask for a new title to do it right. I tried 3 different notaries until one didnt care enough and stamped off on it. Next up was the inspection. I go to a garage for an inspection, and dude tells me my exhaust will fail and I need to do another few hundred worth of work. Thankfully I found someone who switched out my exhaust just to take the picture for the inspection and passed me. The next step is to turn in the paperwork and await the registration in my name. I wait in line with a helper to turn in the docs and talk to the workers for me. We send the papers in and I patiently wait. Fast forward to last week, I get notified that it turns out that the title was just sitting collecting dust because the previous owner was deliquent on some fees and i did need to pay it. Luckily it wasnt significant but frustrating that they didnt think to tell me about this two months ago. Because of this, now ive been getting fined each day after the initial month that they "didnt receive the paperwork before the deadline". On top of all this, my DMV assistant calls me on thursday and tells me that they REJECTED the sale because I need a Brazilian ID card! Unreal. Now I cant even register it after all that time and money. I cant even sell it back to the dealership because we already notarized on the title. Im sure that even if I could get a new title paper (after months of waiting) they would offer me a tenth of what I paid.

So disappointing. I cant even drive this thing legally. I might be able to just carry around the notarized title and play dumb gringo if I get pulled over. Or fake an American registration and put my old plates on it. I still love Brazil, but I am very hesitant to invest more effort, time, and money into the residency process if shit like this is gonna happen. This is only one of the many experiences ive had here in Brazil like this, dealing with residency documents was almost this bad, and Im still very early in the process of that.

Compare this to my experience in Colombia buying a motorcycle, and it was ridiculously smooth. Spent one day going between the dealership, DMV, bank, and notary. And one week later came back and took the bike, registration, inspection in less than 10 minutes.

Sorry for the rant, Im on my edge with Brazil. I still plan on spending time here, but I'm starting to reconsider residency. If anyone has had better experiences in some other Latin country, I am all ears. Getting residency in some other country with less red tape that is close to Brazil is starting to look very appealing.
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
I haven't spent as much time in LATAM as many of the guys on here. I'm a little under a year in total.

One thing I recall hearing from expats in Colombia is that the cultural frustration starts to kick in after a couple of years. You start to get accustomed to the benefits, and start to become frustrated with the downsides.

I remember even in my short while in Colombia coming across insane bureaucracy when trying to register for a Spanish course. It was ridiculous.

Still I found myself thinking of the beautiful green weather today, hot sunshine, upbeat people today.
 

Cortés

Woodpecker
Gold Member
I haven't spent as much time in LATAM as many of the guys on here. I'm a little under a year in total.

One thing I recall hearing from expats in Colombia is that the cultural frustration starts to kick in after a couple of years. You start to get accustomed to the benefits, and start to become frustrated with the downsides.

I remember even in my short while in Colombia coming across insane bureaucracy when trying to register for a Spanish course. It was ridiculous.

Still I found myself thinking of the beautiful green weather today, hot sunshine, upbeat people today.

It is pretty incredible that even doing something like registering for a course requires back and forth, signing documents etc. What i find funny is how the workers will make a big stink about having all the documents in their own way that they interpret the requirements, but it will just be another piece of paper stashed away in their files never to see the light of day. I had my hopes up for Colombia being red tape free, i know it's an investment hotspot nowadays. Unfortunately that may not be the case

I can imagine this really frustrating any expat after a few years. It's not just the incompetence, but their indifference to just pulling an answer out of ass and directing you to someone else. I'm hoping that if i do go through with residency, things would be easier with a local id in general

Watch the mechanism on Netflix. A Brazilian docu/movie about dealing with bureaucracy from a locals viewpoint.

I don't have Netflix but ive had already had some friends laugh and tell me "welcome to Brazil" when I complained about this. Sadly Brazilians are complacent with low standards for efficiency
 

magaman

Sparrow
It is pretty incredible that even doing something like registering for a course requires back and forth, signing documents etc. What i find funny is how the workers will make a big stink about having all the documents in their own way that they interpret the requirements, but it will just be another piece of paper stashed away in their files never to see the light of day. I had my hopes up for Colombia being red tape free, i know it's an investment hotspot nowadays. Unfortunately that may not be the case

I can imagine this really frustrating any expat after a few years. It's not just the incompetence, but their indifference to just pulling an answer out of ass and directing you to someone else. I'm hoping that if i do go through with residency, things would be easier with a local id in general



I don't have Netflix but ive had already had some friends laugh and tell me "welcome to Brazil" when I complained about this. Sadly Brazilians are complacent with low standards for efficiency
When you see something that looks better than it may actually be, that's when you gotta ask yourself "What's the scam?" ..Most times, there's usually something.
 

Dilated

Robin
It is pretty incredible that even doing something like registering for a course requires back and forth, signing documents etc. What i find funny is how the workers will make a big stink about having all the documents in their own way that they interpret the requirements, but it will just be another piece of paper stashed away in their files never to see the light of day. I had my hopes up for Colombia being red tape free, i know it's an investment hotspot nowadays. Unfortunately that may not be the case

I can imagine this really frustrating any expat after a few years. It's not just the incompetence, but their indifference to just pulling an answer out of ass and directing you to someone else. I'm hoping that if i do go through with residency, things would be easier with a local id in general



I don't have Netflix but ive had already had some friends laugh and tell me "welcome to Brazil" when I complained about this. Sadly Brazilians are complacent with low standards for efficiency

Sorry to hear about the bike troubles. I’m not surprised. It’s par for the course down here. It irks me that the people here (Ecuador) won’t tell you they don’t know something...they’ll just make something up and give you bad information. Must be a pride thing.

And the changing bureaucratic rules are insane. Not as bad as your bike example...but I worked with an agency to manage my 2 year temp. visa because I didn’t want to deal with the headaches. I paid several hundred $$ and arranged a power of attorney so they could act on my behalf. Last minute the Government decides that a POA isn’t good enough anymore and I would have to process my visa in person. So I drive 9 hours each way to get the visa.....which ENDS UP BEING A VIRTUAL visa (PDF document).

The inefficiency is making me weary.
 

Blade Runner

Pelican
I haven't spent as much time in LATAM as many of the guys on here. I'm a little under a year in total.

One thing I recall hearing from expats in Colombia is that the cultural frustration starts to kick in after a couple of years. You start to get accustomed to the benefits, and start to become frustrated with the downsides.

I remember even in my short while in Colombia coming across insane bureaucracy when trying to register for a Spanish course. It was ridiculous.

Still I found myself thinking of the beautiful green weather today, hot sunshine, upbeat people today.
Classic human "adaptation" in the sense that we complain according to what we are accustomed, and being an outsider to an extent, we've had a taste of the parts of life that didn't necessarily get foolishly crushed by marxism/bureaucracies, so it's even harder later. But the US is getting this way too, or at least corporate in its craziness, so there's that. Dilated seems to suggest that Colombia is going to become a place that's clearly just a good place to visit for 1-3 months, then leave the headache, to come back later so it doesn't persist.
 

aynrus

Pelican
The whole world will be pulling a Venezuela, except for Russia and China, who are just coming off communism.

The thing is the world is too socially liberal now; it's at Soviet Union levels of social liberalism. You can't have capitalism when you have that much degeneracy, people simply lose the will to work, become disillusioned, and want a handout simply for enduring all the filth.

Communist countries have a lazy, unproductive, and socially degenerate population. The bohemianism that swept Europe in the Weimar Republic and in communist Russia has returned with a passion - worldwide.

Where do people get this strange idea that Soviet Union was socially liberal?
It was not. USSR was a super conservative society (I remember it well).
It was more socially conservative than conservative areas of United States Heartland.
 
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