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Residency in Costa Rica

Residency in Costa Rica

Moving to Costa Rica is not complicated, as the country has many treaties in place which enable foreigners to enter Costa Rica without a visa as long as their stay here is short. Those who want to relocate here for longer time frames have the chance to apply for temporary and then permanent residency.

If you are interested in Costa Rica permanent residency and need assistance in obtaining the document attesting to your new status, you can rely on us. Our Costa Rica residency lawyer is at your service and can help you apply for temporary or permanent residence permits.

 Quick Facts  
Entry visa requirement (YES/NO)

For certain nationalities

Types of visas for permanent residency

– temporary residence cards,

– investor visas

Permanent residence through temporary relocation requirements


Temporary residence permit validity

 2 years

Direct permanent residency possibility (YES/NO)

No, minimum living requirements must be met

Living requirements to obtain permanent residency

 5 years

Permanent residency by investment option (YES/NO)

Yes, permanent residence can be obtained after minimum 3 years

Timeframe to obtain permanent residence (approx.)

Approx. 3 months

Relocation with family members possibility (YES/NO)

No, each family member must obtain a residence permit

Possibility to sponsor family members for immigration (YES/NO)

Yes, after gaining the status of a permanent resident

Citizenship requirements through permanent residency

7 years of living in Costa Rica

Advantages of obtaining a permanent residence

– possibility to buy a property,

– possibility to retire here,

– low investment amount for the investor visa

Support in obtaining permanent residency (YES/NO)


Other immigration services

Support in renewing temporary residence card, assistance in applying for citizenship

Permanent residency by employment availability (YES/NO)

 Yes, however, it is seldom used due to strict requirements

The Costa Rica residency visa, general aspects to consider

When discussing residency in Costa Rica, there are two types of permits one can obtain:

  • a temporary residence card;
  • a permanent residence card.

Each comes with its own requirements and grants various rights. By far, Costa Rican permanent residency is sought by most foreign citizens.

If you want to apply for Costa Rica temporary residency first, our specialists can help you. We are also at your disposal if you want to start a business in Costa Rica. Running a company here has many advantages. Our immigration lawyers in Costa Rica can explain them to you.

Who can apply for Costa Rica temporary residency?

A Costa Rica residency visa for temporary stay can be obtained by the vast majority of people seeking to relocate here. Among these:

  • students;
  • workers;
  • spouses;
  • businesspersons;
  • retirees;
  • investors.

The best part about immigration to Costa Rica by applying for this type of residence permit is that it comes with specific requirements for each candidate, thus giving the immigration procedure a personalized touch. This way, each applicant will know what to prepare and benefit from a simple relocation procedure. However, our Costa Rica residency lawyer can help one prepare the necessary documents in accordance with the category the respective person enters. Applications for temporary residence permits must be filed with the Immigration Department.

Our immigration lawyers in Costa Rica can also provide you with detailed information on the Costa Rica permanent residency requirements.

Obtaining Costa Rican temporary residency based on specific types of income

One of the most appealing reasons to immigrate to Costa Rica is that based on your income (which does not need to be very high) you can obtain temporary residency fast and simple. There are several categories of people who can relocate here based on retirement or as legal residents by independent means.

Here are the minimum income requirements that need to be met by those seeking to obtain a Costa Rica residency visa for temporary stays:

  1. a retired person must submit proof of having a minimum monthly income of 1,000 USD;
  2. the same amount of 1,000 USD is required for married couples retiring here;
  3. for those moving here based on sufficient means of self-sustenance, the minimum amount required is 2,500 USD per month for a minimum period of 2 years;
  4. this last category is required to make a deposit of 60,000 USD in a Costa Rican bank from where they will obtain a commitment letter.

There are also a few differences between these two types of Costa Rican temporary residence permits. In the first case, retired people are not required to live in Costa Rica (they only need to be in the country for one day a year. In the second case, the person must live in the country for at least 4 months in a calendar year.

The validity of a residence permit is 3 years. Following that, applicants become eligible for permanent residency.

What should be noted about these two options is that people who have obtained Costa Rican residency visas are not allowed to work here. They can do that only after they have become permanent residents.

You can rely on our Costa Rica residency lawyer for support in applying for a work permit.

Costa Rica permanent residency requirements

The easiest way of obtaining Costa Rica permanent residency is based on temporary residence cards. Family reunification can also be a way through which immigration to Costa Rica for obtaining permanent residence cards can be obtained.

In order to qualify for permanent residence in Costa Rica, a person must be a temporary residence card holder for at least 3 years. Following that, the permanent residence visa must be renewed every 5 years by those who do not want to apply for citizenship. In order to acquire Costa Rican passports, foreigners must live here for 7 years.

According to recent data, there are nearly 380,000 permanent residents living in Costa Rica.

If you want to apply for Costa Rica permanent residency and need support, do not hesitate to contact our local specialists. We are also at your disposal with various services, including if you are interested in company formation in Costa Rica.