*Immigration laws are frequently changing so please consult a lawyer for updates.
There are several different categories of immigration that an individual looking to relocate can select, depending on your circumstances including:
For the following bullet points we suggest you visit our partner site costarica-information.com under this link
- Visas Turísticas- Tourist Visas
- Residente Pensionado - Pensioner
- Pensionado Rentista - Small Investor
- Rentista Inversionista - Large Investor
- Residente por Vínculos Costarricenses - Costa Rican Links (family, children, marriage)
- Permisos de Trabajo - Work Permits
However, because the entry laws to Costa Rica are so lenient, most people who only live part time in the country rarely bother to take on the residency process. If you plan to stay for more than 3 months then you will need to exit the country at least every 90 days and for a minimum of 72 hours before you can be readmitted into Costa Rica for 90 additional days.
After 90 days in Costa Rica most people make a quick escape to Panama, Nicaragua, the Colombian islands, Mexico Venezuela, or any other nearby countries is a nice little vacation. If you plan on repeating this process to stay in Costa Rica it is not recommended.
Thus far, the Ministry of immigration has not been very seriously about enforcing too many additional regulations. Despite this fact, if you are planning on living in Costa Rica full time or very frequently then it is a much better option to apply for residency and avoid having to leave every 90 days which can sometimes be inconvenient and it can get costly. Additionally, at any time immigration officials can decide to not permit your re-entry if they feel you are a perpetual visitor living in Costa Rica.
If you do happen to overstay your visitor visa you could be fined and deported, but then allowed to enter back in after at least 6 months has passed. The fines will not be very significant, around $6 per day that you overstay. However, if you are caught living or working in Costa Rica without proper residency or that your residence category prohibits you from working you will be deported and will not be able to reenter for 10 years. Nevertheless, it is better to follow the rules and avoid illegal activities as to not ruin any future chances of visiting, staying, or living in Costa Rica.
In August 2002, law 8487 passed declaring that for most immigration categories, immigration applications must be done in your home country and presented at a Costa Rican consulate in your areas jurisdiction.
Once you have filed your residency application Immigration will issue you a document stating that your residency is in progress. In this time that your residency is being processed you do not have to leave the country if you do not wish. When leaving or entering the country you can simply show this stamped official immigration documents.
You will not gain voting rights by becoming a resident. Costa Rican residency will not negatively affect your US or Canadian citizenship either. In Costa Rica you are allowed to have dual citizenship ever since 1996; however, applying for Costa Rican citizenship could affect your citizenship in your home country so please review the laws in your home country before applying.
There are a few benefits you can enjoy as a resident including: you will have all the rights of a Costa Rican citizen except you cannot vote or run for office, you can manage businesses but not earn a salary even though you can earn on the dividends, you will receive up to a 50% discounts in many tourism related places in the country, and “unfortunately” you must reside in Costa Rica at least 4 months a year which does not have to be continuous.
GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL CATEGORIES
* Please note that all documents must be translated, certified (legalized) by a Costa Rican Consulate in your country. Most residency categories must be solicited while you are still in your home country.
- Immigration application with: First Name(s), Last Name(s), parent's names, and specification of which category you are applying for.
- Birth certificate stating your date, place of birth, and nationality.
- Marital Status.
- Full copy of all the pages of your passport notarized by a Costa Rican notary that includes the number of Passport with date of entry.
- Criminal Record.
- 4 recent photos.
- And some money for fees, lawyers, etc.
*For special residency categories such as student visas, temporary visas, diplomatic or political status, refugees or others, we suggest you consult a lawyer for more in depth information.