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What are the residency requirements in Costa Rica? Print

Residency status is available in different formats, depending on the applicant's qualifications and requirements, as to lifestyle in Costa Rica.

The "permanent" residency status means that you can both reside and work in Costa Rica, since it is usually granted without limitations.

Temporary residency may be granted to individuals for a specific purpose, such as rendering services to the government, international organizations, or educational institutions. It may also be granted to individuals with certain specialized knowledge, students enrolled in specific educational institutions, domestic servants, and to other individuals who qualify, at the discretion of the Department of Immigration.

"Resident Investor" residency status was created to attract investment capital to Costa Rica. This status may be granted to individuals who invest US$ 200,000.00 or more. If the investment is made in an area deemed a priority, such as forestry or tourism, then the investment amount is US$100,000.00 or more.

"Pensionado" and "rentista" residency may be granted to individuals who can demonstrate an offshore fixed income from recognized sources. In the case of "pensionado" status, the individual must show a fixed monthly pension income of US$ 600.00 or more. With respect to "rentista" status, the individual must show a fixed monthly investment income of US$ 1000.00 or more. Working is usually not permitted with either the "pensionado" or "rentista" status.

In each residency category, a specific set of notarized documents is required from the applicant's country of origin, which is more easily obtained prior to travelling to Costa Rica. An applicant should consult the nearest Costa Rican embassy or consulate in their country of origin to determine these documentary requirements. Upon arrival in Costa Rica, an applicant should retain the services of a lawyer specializing in residency applications to complete the process.

It should be noted that the granting of residency in Costa Rica is discretionary on the part of the Department of Immigration and not a right of the applicant.