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Citizenship in Costa Rica

Citizenship in Costa Rica

Foreign citizens who relocate to Costa Rica have several options when it comes to remaining here. They can start with temporary residence permits followed by permanent residency if they stay here for at least 3 years. After 7 years they become eligible for citizenship in Costa Rica. This is called citizenship by naturalization. However, this is not the only way through which a foreigner can obtain a Costa Rican passport.

 Quick Facts  
Assistance provided by specialized immigration lawyer

Our lawyers in Costa Rica can also assist in citizenship matters.

Persons eligible for citizenship

– persons who reside here long enough,

– person married to Costa Rican citizens,

– foreign investors,

– persons with Costa Rican origins

Requirements for citizenship by naturalization

Citizenship by naturalization implies living in Costa Rica based on a permanent residence permit.
Availability for citizenship by descent 

Citizenship by birth or descent is available.

Citizenship by marrige possbility

Citizenship by marriage is available.

Citizenship by investment requirements

Living in Costa Rica for 7 years.

Real estate acquisition for citizenship by investment

It is possible to acquire citizenship by acquiring real estate.

Timeframe to obtain citizenship by naturalization

After 7 years of living in Costa Rica.

Timeframe to obtain citizenship by marriage

After 2 years of living in Costa Rica

Timeframe to obtain citizenship by investment Processing time takes around 9 months.
Eligibility for citizenship by descent

Children with Costa Rican mothers or fathers who apply before turning 25 years old.

Immigration with family members allowed (YES/NO)

Yes, through the residency and citizenship by investment schemes.

Dual citizenship permitted (YES/NO)

 Yes, dual citizenship is recognized in Costa Rica.

Benefits of permanent relocation to Costa Rica

– possibility to buy a property,

– possibility to retire in Costa Rica,

– simple procedure to apply for residency or citizenship by investment,

– possibility to relocate with the family

Visa-free access based on a Costa Rican passport 

Approx. 150 countries

Below, our immigration lawyers in Costa Rica explain the procedures associated with becoming a citizen of Costa Rica. You can also rely on us for other services, including company formation in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica citizenship requirements

There are several ways of acquiring citizenship in Costa Rica and each comes with its requirements. However, compared to other countries, the procedure is straightforward and is simpler when considering that residency here can be obtained through special categories of visas.

Here are the main ways through one can obtain a Costa Rican passport:

  1. Costa Rica citizenship by birth is the simplest way of becoming a citizen of this country;
  2. Costa Rica citizenship by marriage is an option for those who marry Costa Rican citizens;
  3. naturalization is by far the most employed way to obtain a passport for this country;
  4. for those with sufficient financial means, there is the option of citizenship by investment.

Considering the investment option has already been explained in this article, we will focus on the other ways you can obtain citizenship here.

You should also note that Costa Rica dual citizenship available for those who want to retain their current passports.

Requirements to qualify for Costa Rica citizenship by birth

The Constitution is the main law that provides for how a person can be recognized as a Costa Rican citizen.

 Article 13 specifies that the following persons can apply directly for citizenship in Costa Rica (without having to live here for a number of years):

  • children born in Costa Rica from one or two foreign citizens;
  • children with a Costa Rican mother or father and who were born abroad and whose parents registered them with the Civil Registry before they turn 18 of age or who register themselves before they turn 25;

In the case of children born from two foreign parents also have the option of registering themselves with the Civil Registry before they turn 25 years old.

Becoming a citizen of Costa Rica by ancestry is not difficult and our immigration lawyers in Costa Rica can help you draft the necessary documents.

We are also at your disposal if you want to start a company in Costa Rica.

How to obtain Costa Rica citizenship by marriage

Just like in other states around the world, it is possible to become a Costa Rican citizen when marrying a national of this country.

In order to obtain citizenship in Costa Rica this way, a foreign applicant must prove that:

  • the marriage took place in Costa Rica;
  • the marriage was recorded with the Civil Registry;
  • he or she has been married at least 2 years and lived in a common place with the Costa Rican spouse.

This is by far the simplest way of becoming a citizen of Costa Rica and our immigration lawyers can help you prepare the paperwork you need to submit in order to obtain your passport.

Foreign citizens can also opt for Costa Rica dual citizenship if they do not want to give up their former countries’ passports.

Citizenship by naturalization in Costa Rica

Obtaining citizenship by naturalization in Costa Rica depends on the citizenship of the applicant, as it follows:

  • citizens of Central American states, Spanish citizens, and Latin Americans qualify for citizenship in Costa Rica after 5 years;
  • citizens of other countries are eligible for Costa Rican citizenship after 7 years.

For the whole period, the candidates must have held permanent residence permits.

These can also choose to retain their former citizenship, as Costa Rica dual citizenship is permitted.

No matter the way one wants to use to apply for a Costa Rican passport, he or she must prove financial worthiness and good knowledge of the Spanish language. A citizenship test will also be required and through it, the person must prove he or she knows the Costa Rican culture. Immigration to Costa Rica can be quite easy with the help of our specialists.

Data on Costa Rica’s population

 Costa Rica attracts many foreign citizens every year. According to this information, the migration rate has slightly decreased in 2020, reaching 0.85 migrants per thousand population due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The same year:

  • the country had a population of 5,094,114 inhabitants;
  • out of these, 2,545,076 were males and 2,549,038 were females;
  • the net number of migrants was 21,000.

If you want to apply for citizenship in Costa Rica, please contact our local specialists. Immigration to Costa Rica through other means also enters the attention of our lawyers.