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What Residency Category Can I Apply for In Costa Rica?

dimexAccording to Immigration Experts, there are three main residency categories to apply for in Costa Rica. You can apply as an investor, a renter, or as retired. In this article we present a quick summary of each one of the categories, this will give you a better idea of which one you can apply for.

In Costa Rica, an investor is a person, and his immediate family including spouse, parents and children), who has investments in the country of at least $200,000. Such investments can be in tourism, reforestation businesses, shares in Costa Rican corporation, real estate or any other activity supported by the Costa Rican government.

As mentioned before, another residency category is as a renter. This category also applies to an individual and his immediate family as mentioned in the previous paragraph. There are two ways to become a renter resident, 1) the individual will receive a monthly income of at least $2.500 USD and that income will continue to come in for the following 2 years after applying for residency, or 2) the individual has bank investments in Costa Rica (most likely a deposit with a Costa Rican bank) of $60,000 USD.

As proof of availability of funds, the individual will have to present a letter from a Costa Rican bank, a financial institution, a foreign bank. It is important to know that in case the letter comes from an institution outside of Costa Rica, it will have to be authenticated by the Costa Rican Consulate or through the “Apostille” Process. Click here to find the closest Costa Rican consulate to your city.

The third most common residency category foreigners apply for in Costa Rica is as a retiree. This type of residency also covers, besides the individual, the spouse, parents, single siblings and children. To become a retired resident, the individual must prove through a certified letter by the Costa Rican Consulate or the “Apostille” Process, that he is entitled to a lifetime pension of at least $1,000 in his country of origin. Suddenly Costa Rica sounds as a great retirement option, don’t you think?

It is important to know that in all this three categories, you will be given a temporary residency, which will allow you to work in the country only if you have your own Costa Rican business or corporation. Once your temporary residency is approved, you don´t have to necessarily live in Costa Rica, you can maintain your residency status just by visiting Costa Rica one day a year, that is amazing! After a period of three years as a temporary resident, you will be able to apply for permanent residency without any restrictions.

Finding a good and trusted lawyer in Costa Rica is very important, especially when it comes to your residency process. Luckily, you can count on Immigration Experts to guide you through getting your residency in Costa Rica.

You can read more about Immigration Experts here.

What Are the Main Requirements to Become a Costa Rican Resident?

mapa banderaThere is some paperwork to get ready before applying for your residency in Costa Rica. To avoid last minute issues it is better to be prepared ahead of time. At Today in Costa Rica, along with our friends from Immigration Experts, we want to simplify things for you, so we present this guide to help you prepare you residency documents.

As a first step you need an Application Letter. This letter must have the following information: full name of the applicant, nationality, marital status, occupation, passport number and the city and date where and when the passport was issued. In case that the spouse and/or children of the applicant are also applying for residency, their names must be included in this application letter. The letter should also include the date when you entered Costa Rica, a formal request expressing your desire to become a Costa Rican resident. You must also specify the type of residency you are applying for (for more information you can read What Residency Category Can I Apply for In Costa Rica?). Finally, the letter must indicate the temporary address where you are living in Costa Rica, if so; or your permanent address in your country of origin. You have to also include either a fax number or a physical address where to receive notifications (this could also be your lawyers´ contact information since they are the ones most likely dealing with your immigration process).

The second document will be your Birth Certificate. It must be authenticated by the Costa Rican Consulate corresponding to the country or region where the Birth Certificate was issued, or through the “Apostille” Process. It is important to note that for the residency process, the Birth Certificate will expire after 6 months of being issued.

In case the applicant is married, you must submit a Marriage Certificate. It must be authenticated by the Costa Rican Consulate corresponding to the country or region where the document was issued, or through the “Apostille” Process, as well. Just as Birth Certificate, the Marriage Certificate will also expire after 6 months of being issued.

Another necessary document is a Police Record from the country of origin of the applicant. The same process applies to this document as mentioned in the previous paragraphs for authentication and expiring date.

It is true that you do not need to be present in Costa Rica to complete your application process, but luckily for you, you must have to take at least one trip to Costa Rica for your finger prints. Sounds like a good excuse for a good Costa Rican get away! As an applicant you must go to the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública (Public Security Ministry) in San José to get your finger prints taken. Make sure you bring your passport – the original document, not a photocopy of it – and three passport size recent photographs.

You need to submit a certified copy of all the pages on your passport including any blank pages. Your lawyer will need you to sign a Special Power of Attorney, granting whoever is representing you through your application process, all the rights to fully represent you with any necessary dealings. Do you like photographs? Lucky you, besides the three already mentioned, you need five more to go along with your application, same size as the ones mentioned before.

Along with all the paper work you need to pay up some cash in advance. You must pay a $250 application fee deposited to the Immigration Department´s bank account number 242280-0 at Banco de Costa Rica.

Finally, you must do a consular registration with the embassy of your country of origin located in Costa Rica.

Applying for Costa Rican Residency? Let the Experts Do the Job!

immigration expertsImmigration Experts is the only law firm in Costa Rica, which is fully dedicated to immigration matters. The firm was founded by Marcela Gurdián, who is a lawyer, registered notary and a real expert in immigration matters with more than 20 years of experience in that area. She is currently President and Lawyer at Immigration Experts law firm.

Their team of professionals is fully prepared to help you obtain your residency in Costa Rica, and they guarantee it 100%. To better server your immigration needs and provide you with the best service possible Immigration Experts has offices located in San Jose – the capital city; Playas del Coco and Playa Tamarindo, both in the northern province of Guanacaste. If you happen to be in any of those areas, make sure you stop by their offices and they will gladly help you start your residency process.

It is very important to know a few details about obtaining your residency, one of them is the fact that you do not need to be physically present in Costa Rica to complete your residency process. That is where a good and trusted law firm, like Immigration Experts, comes in handy.

Once your Temporary Residency is approved, you don´t have to necessarily live in Costa Rica, you can keep your residency status by visiting Costa Rica just one day a year. How amazing is that? After residency approval, you will need to renovate your ID card two years later. You will be able to apply for a Permanent Residency Status after 3 years of holding a Temporary Resident Status.

If you are interested in knowing more about Immigration Experts or the immigration and residency process in Costa Rica, and would like to arrange and informational meeting during your next visit to the country, you can contact their law firm by e-mail at: or They can also do a skype or phone conference call if you prefer it that way. If you prefer to contact them by phone, you can do so by calling the Playas del Coco office at +011 (506) 2670-2021, the Tamarindo office at +011 (506) 2653-0050 or the San José office at +011 (506) 2290-8050.

For more information on immigration check out If you want to come and live in paradise, let Immigration Expert be your guide!

Other articles by Immigration Experts: What Residency Category Can I Apply for In Costa Rica? and What Are the Main Requirements to Become a Costa Rican Resident?



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