Questions on Costa Rica Immigration

Costa Rica Online Legal Advice

Costa Rica General FAQ

1. Can a foreign national own property in Costa Rica?

Answer: Yes, according to the Political Constitution of Costa Rica there are no limitations for foreigners to become owners of Costa Rican land.

2. Do I need Costa Rican citizens to form a local limited liability corporation?

Answer: No, you can incorporate in Costa Rica without any Costa Ricans as board members and/ or shareholders.

3. Do I need an entry Visa to visit Costa Rica?

Answer: Costa Rica groups foreign national into 4 different categories, please consult with our legal team to determine your specific situation.

4. What is the minimum monthly pension amount needed to qualify for Pensionado Residency?

Answer: US$1000.00 monthly and the benefit will be extended to your spouse.

5. How can I obtain Residency as an Investor?

Answer: Currently you have to invest a minimum amount of US$200,000.00 in a business, property, assets and/or stocks.

6. How can I obtain Residency as a Rentista?

Answer: You have to demonstrate that during a minimum period of at least 2 years you will receive a minimum steady unconditional monthly income of US$2500.00 from a recognized financial entity. The standard procedure to obtain the residency is via the deposit of US$60,000.00 in a Certificate of Deposit for two years in a recognized Costa Rican financial entity who in return will provide a letter of comprise to disburse at least US$2500.00 per month to the applicant. The benefit is extended to the spouse and to the nuclear family.

7. Can I obtain Residency through marriage with a Costa Rican citizen and/or resident?

Answer: Yes, once you get married with either a Costa Rican citizen or resident you will be eligible to apply for Costa Rican Residency.

8. Can I obtain Residency by being the parent of a Costa Rican born child?

Answer: Yes, currently the Immigration Law allows parents of Costa Rican born children to apply for Residency.

9. Can I obtain a Work Permit in Costa Rica?

Answer: Similar to most countries, Costa Rica carefully studies the particular situation of Work Permit applicants, the key criteria is specialization demonstrated in both academic and experience backgrounds. Generally work permits are reserved for Skilled Workers which have abilities considered scarce in the country.

10. I do not have US$200K, US$60K, don’t yet receive a Pension or have a job offer from a Costa Rican company, can I still obtain residency in Costa Rica?

Answer: There are special categories considered by the current Immigration Law which can be used for Self Employed financially sound applicants. Please contact our legal team to study your particular situation.

11. What documents will I need to apply for Residency in Costa Rica?

Answer: It depends on the specific type of Residency but in general terms the applicant will have to produce the following documents:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Criminal Record
  • Marriage License (if applicable)

Note: All foreign documents require a specific legalization process which has to be done through the Costa Rican Consulates or through the Treaty of the Apostille, please consult with our legal team to determine which one is applicable to you.

Costa Rica Retirement Questions

12. Does my company need a business license to do business in Costa Rica?

Answer: Yes, if your company is going to do business in Costa Rica it is very likely that you will have to apply for a business license. Business Licenses called Patentes are authorized by local governments called Municipalidades and require several previous permits to receive proper approval.

13. Can I use Costa Rican corporations to conduct offshore business?

Answer: Yes, because Costa Rican corporations enjoy considerable international credibility based on the country’s long tradition of democratic, economic and political stability. Costa Rican companies are exempt from global taxation and do not have to pay taxes for offshore business. Costa Rican companies have very low maintenance fees and can used as global business hubs through legalization or through the Apostille. You can open offshore bank accounts, conduct online global business, purchase real estate and make use of regulatory advantages.

14. Can I open a bank account in Costa Rica?

Answer: Yes, as any other country, bank accounts are reserved to citizens, residents and/ or people that can demonstrate some attachment to the country. If you are neither a citizen nor a resident, you can do it by first forming a local corporation. Once you have your local company you will be able to open a local corporate bank account to conduct local and global business. You will be able to do transactions through secure internet banking, ATM machines, international wire transfers and debit cards.

15. What documents are required by foreign nationals to get married in Costa Rica?

Answer: Marriages in Costa Rica are conducted by attorneys/notary publics, as in any other public deed a valid passport will be necessary. To demonstrate the ability to get married the notary public may request the signature of a Sworn Statement in a public deed in the absence of a civil status certification.