The TYPES OF RESIDENCY
RETIREE - PENSIONADO
This program applies to any person who is already retired from his/her usual occupation and who is already receiving pension benefits.
Must show proof of monthly income from a qualified pension plan of at least $1,000 USD per month.
A pension plan can include:
Local, state/provincial and Federal government pensions from most countries, Canadian Old Age Pension System, U.S. Social Security Administration and Railroad Retirement benefits, private company pension plans, defined benefit plans, 401K plans, school district pension, IRA/Keogh distributions, etc. To be a qualified pension plan, the pension must be payable to the resident applicant "for life." Many lifetime annuities can also qualify as a pension.
Married Couple Pension Income:
A married couple needs to show proof of only one (1) monthly pension of at least $1,000 USD for both husband and wife to qualify to apply for residency. The pension recipient can be either spouse.
Costa Rica is one of the Central American countries which are rich in tradition and culture. This tropical country does not experience winter or summer; instead it has a dry and wet season. Nicaragua and Panama are its neighbors and on one side of it the Pacific Ocean and at the other side the Caribbean Sea. This democratic country is very stable and is proud to not have any need of an army to govern it.
The country has fabulous beaches and diving areas as well as beautiful flora and fauna. One has a very difficult choice of the Pacific Ocean or the Caribbean Sea when it comes to diving. Both offer beautiful dive spots and beautiful reefs for beginners and professional divers. One could get used to the sight of the sparkling blue waters as you laze in the beach. Visitors and tourists are welcome to purchase real estate and open a business in Costa Rica. Many international brands have already entered the country and they are flourishing in the local market.
The laws of the country are very investment friendly and they encourage putting up new investments or businesses directly. There are many law firms and offices which can help facilitate putting up a business or purchasing real estate in this beautiful and warm country.
LEGAL RESIDENT - RENTISTA
This program applies to individuals who (1) are not yet retired, (2) do not need to work while living in Costa Rica, (3) are receiving guaranteed, unearned income of $2,500 USD per month from investments, savings or other sources, and (4) who can prove that the non-earned income is guaranteed to be received for at least a period of 24 months (2 years).
Applicants must prove their ability to receive $2,500 USD per month of unearned income for 24 consecutive months (2 years).
The most common method used to prove the unearned income is by means of a notarized letter from a bank or financial institution indicating the applicant has at least $60,000 USD ($2,500 x 24 months) in a long term account such as a CD, and that the applicant agrees to withdraw and transfer to Costa Rica $2,500 per month for the next 24 months.
Other sources of unearned income include income from savings, rental property income or dividends. It is not mandatory that the bank account be held in Costa Rica. However, it is easier to obtain the required bank letter when the account is held in a Costa Rican bank.
Married Couple Income:
The exact same $2,500 USD per month income requirement applies to a single, or to married applicants, or to applicants with dependent children.
View information for Same-Gender Partners, Spouses or Domestic Partners
Income from salary or wages, or any form of employment does not qualify as unearned income and it cannot be used to apply for Rentista status.
Bank Deposit Requirement
Once approved, the resident agrees to deposit a minimum of $2,500 USD per month (or $30,000 USD per year) into the resident's Costa Rican bank account. The deposits are required for two years.
MARRIAGE AND FAMILY - VINCULO
This program applies to individuals who are married to or related to a Costa Rican citizen. The non-Costa Rican applicant must prove that he/she has a relationship in the first degree, either by marriage or by birth, with a Costa Rican citizen, and the Costa Rican citizen must be willing to sponsor the applicant’s residency.
This program includes applications for a spouse, son, daughter, father, mother, and unmarried siblings (brothers or sisters – age and marital status limitations apply), but the program does not include extended family members such as grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins.
Vínculo by Marriage
Registration of Marriage:
Prior to the application being filed (1) the marriage must be officially recorded with the Civil Register in Costa Rica and (2) the Civil Register must be able to issue a certified copy of the marriage certificate.
Applicants need to prove that the marriage is legitimate and not a sham if the couple has been married for less than 2 years. Both spouses are required to attend an in-person interview at Immigration after the application is filed.
Vínculo by being the parent of a child born in Costa Rica
Applications based upon having a child born in Costa Rica are approved as permanent residents. The application can include the parent(s) and siblings (brothers and sisters) of the Costa Rican citizen.
Parental Immigration Interview:
The parents of the Costa Rican-born child may be required to attend an interview at Immigration to state the parents are committed to the support and care of the child.
INVESTOR AND BUSINESS - INVERSIONISTA
This program applies to individuals who make a direct investment in Costa Rica of at least $200,000 USD. The investment can be made in any type of business or in real estate.
The applicant must prove that the amount already invested (not the current or future value) has a registered or verifiable value of at least $200,000 USD.
Type of investments
The investment can be made in any type of business, including manufacturing, transportation, hospitality (hotel, B&B, bar, restaurant, etc.), tourism industry (tours, nature walks, amusement and adventure-type parks, etc.), commercial real estate and non-commercial real estate.
Non-Commercial Real Estate
: This allows home purchases as an acceptable investment for the purpose of applying for residency, provided the amount invested is at least $200,000 USD. This type of investment can include not only the purchase price of a home in Costa Rica for personal use, but also the purchase of land held for future development, or for preservation, including ecological, environmental or watershed preservation purposes. Other specific requirements apply to this program.
OTHER TYPES OF RESIDENCY
Permanent Resident Applications
Costa Rica is so beautiful that you may never want to leave! We can help you apply to become a Permanent Resident of Costa Rica. In order to qualify, you must first be a temporary resident under one of the above programs for at least three years.
Costa Rica Citizenship Applications
When you are ready to take your love for Costa Rica to the next level, we can help you with the process of becoming a Costa Rican citizen.
We can also help you obtain your temporary residency in Costa Rica as a member of the clergy or employee or representative of a foreign company working in Costa Rica, including executive level personnel, technical and professional staff.
Please note that getting a work permit is not much easier than applying for residency. It requires that the applicant have a bona fide job offer and that the company offering the job must provide documentation and information regarding the company itself, the job offer and a certification of the reasons the non-Costa Rican candidate is uniquely qualified for the position.