IMMIGRATION AND RESIDENCY IN COSTA RICA

Cordero & Cordero Abogados is a full-service law firm with vast experience helping investors and expats relocate to Costa Rica. We represent national and international clients and provide services through our offices located both in San José and in Guanacaste . If you want to move to Costa Rica, we can certainly help you with a quality one-stop service.

HOW TO GET TEMPORARY RESIDENCY IN COSTA RICA?

The 3 most common types of temporary residencies for foreign citizens are:

  • Residency as Investor: when the foreign citizen has one or more properties/vehicles that together are worth US$200,000 or more. This type of Residency as an Investor also applies in case you are planning on doing a different type of investment project in our country. Residency as Renter (“Rentista”): when the foreign citizen receives a minimum monthly income of $2,500 for a term of at least 2 years, for investments done in Costa Rican and/or foreign banks or entities.
  • Residency as Retired: when the foreign citizen receives a monthly pension or retirement income of at least $1,000, for life.

Any of the above-indicated Residency status will be granted initially for a term of 3 years with a status of ¨temporary residency¨, which in all 3 cases does not allow for the applicant and recipient of such status to work in Costa Rica. The only exception would be in case you apply and obtain the Residency as an Investor without limitation, granted when additional requirements are fulfilled allowing an operational investment, such as but not limited to, manage and operate it ́s own investment (i.e. manage a restaurant, a hotel or business venture).

HOW TO GET A PERMANENT RESIDENCY IN COSTA RICA?

A permanent residency can be requested if:

  • The foreign citizen´s parents are Costa Rican citizens;
  • If the person has children born in Costa Rica;
  • If the person has 3 consecutive years of having a temporary residency of any kind (mentioned above).

WHAT IS NEEDED TO APPLY FOR RESIDENCY IN COSTA RICA?

The basic requirements to apply for any residency application are:

  1. Police records from the last known place of residency (for US citizens FBI Police records);
  2. Birth certificate;
  3. Marriage certificate (in case the spouse of the foreign citizen requests its residency as dependent);

The above-mentioned documents need to include the Apostille Stamp or legalization process through the Costa Rican Consulate in order to be valid. If the documents do not indicate an expiration date, it is expressly assumed that they will expire 6 months after the issuance date.

  1. 2 passport size pictures;
  2. Applicant’s fingerprints (shall be taken in Costa Rica);
  3. Consular registration (shall be completed in Costa Rica);
  4. Copy of the entire passport including blank pages with a valid tourist visa;
  5. Immigration Filling Fees (per Applicant).

HOW TO CHANGE RESIDENCY CATEGORY?

After 3 years of having the temporary residency card granted (any type of residency), the person can apply for a permanent residency. Such new status is not restricted and will allow the resident to work.

HOW LONG IT TAKES TO BECOME A RESIDENT?

Immigration Department takes between 8 months to 1 year to grant the residency. This timeline can vary if requirements are missing or not submitted all at once; and shall apply for any type of residency application.

WHAT OTHER FACTORS WILL BE AFFECTED ACCORDING TO YOUR IMMIGRATION STATUS?

How often you need to leave the country, validation of your driver´s license, your right to receive medical attention by the Social Security Health Care System of Costa Rica, and others.

IS THERE ANY IMMIGRATION BENEFIT THAT CAN BE REQUESTED BY ENTITIES IN COSTA RICA?

Yes, certain type of companies can apply for the accreditation as a recognized company. This accreditation allows companies to file and obtain residency status for its foreign employees through a fast track process specially designed for these types of companies.

WHAT IS A RECOGNIZED COMPANY?

This type of accreditation is for the companies that requires a volume of migration flows in its plan of operation, of active employees or executive level.

The company has to be registered in Costa Rica, with domestic and/or foreign investment, that generates direct employment and contributes to the economic development of the country.

This process is done through a special department and the term for authorizing residencies or work permits are reduced to approximately 4 months.

WHICH TYPE OF COMPANIES CAN APPLY?

Companies that are registered before any of the following institutions:

  • Classification “A”: Companies that are operating under special plans to promote exportation,
    administered by the Ministry of Foreign Trade (COMEX) and the Promoter
    of Foreign Trade of Costa Rica (PROCOMER).
  • Classification “B”: Companies registered before
  • Classification “C”: That has the tourist declaration issued by the Costa Rican Tourism Institute
    (ICT).
  • Classification “D”: That are registered with one of the following agencies: Superintendence
    of Financial Institutions (SUGEF), Superintendence of Pension (SUPEN) or the Superintendence of Securities (SUGEVAL).
  • Classification F: The multinationals that do not belong to the classifications described above, in which the main corporate offices has decided the establishment of a subsidiary in Costa Rica, and that has operations in at least 3 other countries.
  • Classification G: Those foreign or national companies that are operating or will start operations in Costa Rica and were hired and duly awarded of a contract with the Costa Rican government, with a term of more than 1 year.

Contact us and we can guide you through the residency application, its requirements, and all migration matters.

OUR FIRM

Our team of lawyers, paralegal and staff is composed by experts and professionals, capable of dealing with complex transactions and bureaucracy as well as specialized legal requirements. They are determined to provide the highest quality legal service through a personalized, essential and a responsive approach in every legal matter.


Note:  The purpose of the present publication is to provide general information on the updates for Immigration regulations in Costa Rica and it is not intended to be legal advice as such. In case more specific information is required regarding these topics, please do not hesitate to contact any of our lawyers.

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