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How to Get Costa Rica Residence: The Ultimate Guide 2024

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This article discusses Costa Rica residence. You will learn how to become a temporary resident or obtain permanent residency with information on the different types of permits and how to apply.

Costa Rica is one of the more popular destinations that we feature on this website. From retirees to young digital nomads, the country is as popular as ever.

Is tropical Costa Rica just what you’re looking for? Or are you generally looking for a second residence in Latin America with a thriving real estate market? Broaden your horizons and save yourself time and legwork talk to the experts at Nomad Capitalist today.

Costa Rica Overview

Costa Rica is a tropical paradise with so much to explore, from the surf of its beaches to the turf of its forests.

Pura vida is a common expression that sums up the laidback lifestyle, which means pure life.

This Central American country is home to five million inhabitants. Three million of these live in the capital, San José.

How to Get Costa Rica Residence

Residency in Costa Rica Programs

Costa Rica offers a range of residency options that are simple and inexpensive if you want to stay on the island longer than the time permitted by a tourist visa. Becoming a Costa Rican citizen doesn’t have much in the way of physical presence requirements.

You can obtain a residency permit valid for two years by investing $150,000 in property, stocks, or an existing or new business. However, you will need to apply for a work permit should you wish to work in Costa Rica.

This investment can include the purchase price of residential real estate for your personal use and land held for future development, or preservation, relating to ecological, environmental, or watershed purposes.

You must submit proof of bank statements for the previous year showing a monthly income of $2,500 from employment, self-employment, or any other source of passive income translated into Spanish by an official translator.

To maintain your residency, you must spend at least one day a year in Costa Rica and retain your investment. To qualify for permanent residency after five years, you only need to visit Costa Rica once a year every four years.

Inversionista Residency Status

This requires you to invest a minimum amount of $150,000.00. The investment may be in active business, real estate, projects of national interest, stocks or securities, or forest plantations (required investment of $100,000).

An application may include an applicant’s spouse and children under 25 years or older with disabilities.

This visa grants temporary residency. The temporary residence permit is valid for two years, and you can renew for the same period. However, the government of Costa Rica charges $100 for each renewed residency identification card.

This temporary resident is not authorized to work in Costa Rica. After maintaining residency as an inversionista for three years, as a legal resident, you can apply for permanent residence without restrictions in the country.

This permanent residency requires at least one renewed identification card after two years. Permanent residents must also regularly renew their residence.

Required Documents:

  • A birth certificate authenticated by the Costa Rican consulate in the country where it is issued or legalized by an Apostille stamp
  • Certificate of Criminal Background Check legalized by the Apostille process or authenticated by the Costa Rican consulate in the country where they are issued
  • A marriage Certificate authenticated by the relevant Costa Rican consulate or legalized by the Apostille process
  • Fingerprint registration
  • Certified copy of the entire passport (including blank pages)
  • Two passport photos with white background
  • Payment of application fees and expenses
  • Consular registration at the local Costa Rican Consulate of their country of origin
  • A detailed description of the investment
  • Documents proving the investment
  • Special Power of Attorney where necessary

Rentista Residency

The essential requirement for the application as a rentista resident is that the applicant, including their family group (either spouse or partner, parents, single siblings, and children), must receive at least $2,500 as monthly income for a minimum period of two years.

Another option is if the applicant shows that they have an $60,000 investment in a Costa Rica bank.

Prove rentista residency income with an official letter issued by a financial institution, foreign bank, CPA certificate, or other titular entities that certify that you will receive said income every month for the next two years. In the case of investment in a Costa Rican bank, the local banking institution must issue said letter.

The rentista residency is valid for two years. You can renew these residency documents for additional two-year periods. After three years of holding temporary residency, you will become eligible for permanent status.

Required Documents:

  • Birth certificate
  • Certificate of Criminal Background Check
  • Marriage certificate if your spouse wants residency too
  • Proof of income requirement issued by a competent authority by way of a statement verifying that only the applicant will receive said monthly amount for the next two years
  • Fingerprint registration at the Immigration department
  • Certified copy of the entire passport (including blank pages)
  • Two passport photos with white background
  • Payment of application fees and expenses
  • Consulate registration
  • A detailed description of the investment
  • Documents proving the investment
  • Special Power of Attorney where required

Pensionado Visa

You must receive a lifetime monthly pension of no less than $1,000 per month. While this residence is most common for older persons, there is no age limit for a pension recipient.

Documents Needed:

  • Police certificate of good conduct from the last ten years
  • Birth certificates are required for you, your spouse, and all dependent children up to 18 years old or up to 25 if a university student where proof of enrolment is required
  • Income certificate
  • Proof of divorce is not needed
  • Proof of married couple pension income from both partners is not required either
  • Pensions from government agencies must have a letter stating that the government pays the pension
  • Pensions from other institutions must have a statement verifying the type of institution paying the pension,

Costa Rican Residency Benefits

Accessibility

Four international airports connect Costa Rica with the rest of Central America. Juan Santamaría International Airport is the main one, offering flights to and from Europe, the Middle East, and the US.

Costa Rica also has an extensive network of local airports, with many of these boasting private jet facilities. Getting from coast to coast is a three-hour drive across improving roads.

Route To Citizenship

Costa Rica doesn’t offer citizenship by investment. Nor is exceptional citizenship particularly common. It only occurs if Costa Rica appoints you in a government position.

Citizenship by naturalization is possible, though. However, it takes seven years. Another downside is that you have to spend more than 183 days a year in Costa Rica for each of these seven years spent in the country.

A New Passport

If you do go the citizenship route, however, a Costa Rican passport gives you visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to 150 countries and territories. It ranks as the 30th best passport worldwide and strongest Central American travel document.

Education

Schooling is generally free in Costa Rica, and all dependent children of citizens are obliged to receive education by law. The country has one of the highest literacy rates in the region.

There are international schools following various international curriculums.

Healthcare

Once you obtain residency, you will need to maintain national health insurance and retirement insurance payments. The national health insurance and social security system, Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS), covers all Costa Rican residents.

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