Welcome to Costa Rica!
Becoming a resident isn’t a hard thing to do in Costa Rica. Believe it or not, it’s actually very straightforward! The rules and regulations for immigration and residency in Costa Rica change continuously, so be sure to always check if any new information or laws have been changed. Today, Costa Rica allows longer temporary stays up to 90 days with a tourist visa and maybe be even possible to extend your stay to 180 days. You are also still able to own property or a business with a tourist visa in Costa Rica. If you stay in the country for more than 180 days, it is required that you must obtain legal residency. After living in Costa Rica for 3 years is when you can become an official Costa Rica resident.
For those who want to take the great adventure and move to Costa Rica, there are different categories of temporary legal resident statuses that you may obtain according to the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (ITC) or the Costa Rican Tourist Board. There are three temporary statuses that you can obtain in Costa Rica, depending on your situation, for residency and they are called Pensionado Residency, Rentista Residency, and Inversionista Residency. Just a reminder that under these statuses, you can not work or be hired by anyone in Costa Rica.
1. Pensionado Residency (Retiring): This residency is for people who would like to retire in Costa Rica. You require a minimum income of $1000 USD per month from a retirement plan or pension. If you are a couple retiring together, only one payment for the both of you is required. Remember to keep all your paperwork because the deposit of the money in a Costa Rican bank has to be proved and presented to the Costa Rican Government. Under this residency, you are unable to work. Remember, this is a temporary residency and can change after you have lived in the country for more than 3 years.
2. Rentista Residency (Legal): This residency applies usually applies to people who are not yet retired, who do not need to work while living in Costa Rica, and are receiving guaranteed unearned income from investments or other sources. To qualify, you must have an income of $2,500 USD coming from your savings, an investment, annuity from any financial institution or a business in the current country you are living in. As a rentista, you must prove that your investment will be stable for at least 3 years in order to be accepted. So each and every year, you have to prove that you changed $30,000 into colones and show your passport to prove you were in the country for at least four months out of the year. As a rentista, you can own and operate your own business, but you just can’t be hired by anyone in the country.
3. Inversionista Residency (Business Investor): This residency is for those who make an investment in Costa Rica of up to $50,000 USD in tourism or export, $100,000 USD in a reforestation projects, or $200,000 USD in any other type of business or real estate. The investment can be anytime of business or real estate. You must have proof that you have already invested in a government approved organization (not current or future value).
There are five major documents you will need in order to process legal residency in Costa Rica. For each document a charge of $40 USD will be required. Here are the documents you need in order to obtain legal residency…
1. Income Certification
2. Birth Certificate
3. Marriage Certificate (if the applicant’s spouse desires to attain resident status)
4. Police Certificate of Good Conduct (also known as a police clearance letter)
For more information, we always recommend that you check government websites for updated information.
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