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Immigrate to Costa Rica

Immigrate to Costa Rica

Foreign citizens who want to move to countries on the American continent have several choices even if when they don’t automatically decide on the United States. Costa Rica is a good example of a country that connects the Northern and Southern sides of the Americas and where there are plenty of opportunities for immigrants.

 Quick Facts  
Short-term stay visa required (YES/NO)

Yes, for certain categories of immigrants

Types of visas available

 – student,

– work,

– provisional visas,

– temporary residence permit

Work visa requirements

Special authorization from the Ministry of Labor is required

Retirement visa availability (YES/NO)

Yes, for persons with a minimum income of USD1,000/ month

Residency by investment (YES/NO)

Yes, the minimum investment is USD100,000 in forest plantation

Digital nomad visa availability (YES/NO)

Yes, minimum income requirement USD3,000/month

Possibility to purchase a property (YES/NO)


Bank account opening requirement (YES/NO)


Direct immigration with family members (YES/NO)

Yes, through the citizenship by investment program

Business immigration availability (YES/NO)


Timeframe to obtain permanent residency

– 2 years for investors and retired persons,

– 3 years for temporary residence permit holders

Timeframe to obtain citizenship

7 years

Personal income tax rate


Support in company registration (YES/NO)


Immigration services availability (YES/NO) Yes 

If you want to move to Costa Rica and need support, our immigration experts can provide you with all the necessary information on how to relocate here. We are a team of immigration lawyers in Costa Rica, and we can offer the necessary support to help to establish yourself here.

What to consider when deciding on immigration to Costa Rica

Foreigners who want to relocate to Costa Rica will follow the same steps as when emigrating to any other country, namely, they need to get information on the types of visas and residency in order to enter, respectively live in this country, find suitable accommodation, and details on the employment and/or businesses legislation depending on the reasons they move here for. For all legal matters, however, our Costa Rican immigration lawyer can offer not only all the details but also the support you need for a pleasant experience.

One-time visitors usually decide to move to Costa Rica. For this purpose, they need to obtain residency that will later allow them to apply for citizenship in Costa Rica. No matter the pathway you choose to relocate to this country, our specialists are at your disposal. We can assist with all the formalities that will enable you to obtain a passport as soon as possible.

Migration to Costa Rica is not difficult and obtaining a visa implies completing a few steps.

Types of visas available for people who emigrate to Costa Rica

There are several types of visas that enable people to enter or relocate to Costa Rica, and among these the most requested are:

  1. the tourist visa, which is available for short-term visits, however, not all foreigners need to apply for a visa to enter Costa Rica;
  2. the provisional visa, which is issued to students, teachers, researchers and professors;
  3. the temporary residence permit which can be obtained by those seeking to live in Costa Rica for longer periods of time;
  4. the permanent residence permit which can be obtained by those interested in moving here for indefinite time.

Our Costa Rican immigration experts can help you apply for residency here. When discussing long-term immigration, residency by investment is one of the most appreciated ways to move to this country.

You can count on us if you are thinking about applying for a residence permit in Costa Rica, be it a temporary or a permanent one. You can get comprehensive information on the requirements for permanent residency from our immigration lawyers. If you need help getting the paperwork ready, you can rely on our local consultants who are at your disposal quicky and with effective solutions that meet your expectations.

There are several advantages linked to obtaining citizenship in Costa Rica. First of all, visa free access to more than 130 countries. Then, this state is considered to be one of the safest in the world, being paralleled to Switzerland in Europe from this point of view. So, if you plan on immigrating, you should definitely consider Costa Rica.

If you decide on immigration to Costa Rica and need information, do not hesitate to rely on our specialized services. We are also at your disposal if you want to open a business in Costa Rica. Find out more from the infographic below:

Categories of persons who can obtain residency in Costa Rica

People who have visited the country once have no hard time in deciding whether they want to immigrate to Costa Rica in the long term or permanently.  For this purpose, they need to apply for residence permits.

In order to obtain a residence document, one must enter one of the following categories:

  • student, teacher, researcher or other academic endeavors which require an acceptance letter, respectively job offer;
  • worker which requires a job offer or employment contract with a Costa Rican company;
  • retiree which requires a minimum pension of 1,000 USD per month;
  • annuitant which implies a minimum income of 2,500 USD per month for a minimum 2 years;
  • investor which implies an investment of 200,000 USD in a project approved by the Costa Rican government;
  • company representative which implies for the person moving to Costa Rica to be a director in a foreign company with an establishment in Costa Rica.

Our Costa Rican immigration attorney can advise foreign citizens who want to relocate here on the main types of residence permits they can acquire. All applications must be filed with the Immigration Office falling under the supervision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Having a child or being married to a Costa Rican allows you to apply for residency by connection. This is the simplest and quickest way to get residency in Costa Rica. Additionally, there are distinct categories for scientists, athletes, and religious workers who can also benefit from special types of permits that enable them to work here.

Pre-immigration steps before moving to Costa Rica

Foreign citizens who want to emigrate to Costa Rica are first invited to get in touch with our immigration lawyer who can explain all the details. We can advise on the documents to prepare, on how to rent or buy a property here or even relocate here based on investment.

Also, if you need guidance in applying for citizenship or bringing family members through family reunification visas. All the questions you have can be answered in a timely manner by our Costa Rican immigration lawyer.

Moving to Costa Rica through employment

The procedure for obtaining a work visa for Costa Rica is more complicated. Finding an employer, and obtaining a work permit and visa for Costa Rica are the three steps in the process, however, the country has specific restrictions in place.

Furthermore, although Costa Rica provides temporary residency cards to visitors who wish to stay for longer than three months, these licenses do not immediately grant the holder the right to work. This is why applying for a residence permit through other means is usually recommended.

However, for those who want to make a living by working here, the Costa Rican digital nomad visa is a great option. It addresses employees of foreign companies, freelancers, self-employed individuals, and sole proprietors with businesses registered abroad.

The main requirement to obtain this visa is to have a minimum income of USD 3,000 per month. The visa includes detailed instructions on how to immigrate to Costa Rica with the nearest family. The spouse and young children may be included in the application. The minimum monthly income will increase to USD 4,000.

Our immigration lawyers in Costa Rica are at your disposal if you want to apply for such a visa.

Obtaining temporary residence in Costa Rica

An option for those who first want to test what it’s like to live in Costa Rica is temporary residency. Such a residence permit comes with various advantages, among which is the fact that it addresses multiple categories of immigrants.

If you decide to move to Costa Rica by applying for a temporary residence permit, the rentier and retiree categories are among the most sought.

Those who want to live in Costa Rica as rentiers must demonstrate that they have financial resources of at least USD 60,000 to live here for 2 years (this also the validity of the visa).

Retired people can live here for at least 5 years, provided that they have a minimum monthly income of USD 600.

Another advantage of relocating to Costa Rica through these visas is that one can later qualify for permanent residency without investment.

Immigration to Costa Rica is available for people all over the world, while the programs and visas available also address a wide category of immigrants.

After how much time can I obtain permanent residency in Costa Rica?

People who have discovered Costa Rica often decide to remain here. In order to obtain permanent residency, one must live here for 3 consecutive years. The permanent resident card is issued for a period of 5 years and is renewable. Those interested in citizenship should know that the minimum living requirement for a Costa Rican passport is 7 years.

We do not offer assistance only to those who are first-time comers to Costa Rica, but also to those who already live here and need support in prolonging their stay. Enjoy the benefits of having professional support in relocation and get in touch with our specialized immigration lawyers in Costa Rica.

Living costs in Costa Rica

Even if Costa Rica is not the cheapest country in the world, it is one of the cheapest in Central America. Also, the city one decides to move to can impact one’s budget. However, with around USD 1.500 per person of USD 2.500 per family, one can live here comfortably. 

The Costa Rican healthcare system is among the best in Central America and Latin America, while state education is free.

Thanks to the stability of the political and economic climates, many expats from the United States, Canada, France, and other countries move to Costa Rica every year.

If you are keen on immigration to Costa Rica, you can ask for the support of our lawyers, as you can watch in the video below:

How many foreigners live in Costa Rica?

Costa Rica is one of the most appealing countries to immigrate to in Central America and the number of foreign citizens living here is quite significant. According to the Immigration Department:

  • there are 488,935 foreigners living here legally;
  • out of these, 58,363 enter the special immigrants category;
  • there are also 50,671 temporary residence permit holders;
  • 379,901 persons have already obtained permanent residency.

If you want to move here and need support, please contact our immigration lawyers in Costa Rica.