Many people chose to purchase property in Costa Rica and only spend part of the year in the country. Doing this does not require obtaining residency. For those who wish to purchase property and reside in Costa Rica year round, obtaining residency is required. There are different types of residency that you may qualify for and each type has its own Costa Rica residency requirements. The four most basic types of residency are through family relation to a Costa Rican, as a pensioner, as a rentista, or as an investor. There are different ways to obtain residency, but most people who are seeking residency in Costa Rica will fall under one of these four categories.
Certain requirements are the same regardless of the type of residency for which you are applying. The required documentation for all residency applications must be translated into Spanish. All applicants must have a letter address to the Director of Immigration explaining the residency application. In addition, you must have digital fingerprints taken by the Ministry of Public Security and a certified copy of all pages of your current passport. It is also a common requirement for all types of residency applications that you must have proof of registration with your country of origin, proof of registration with the Costa Rica Social Security system, three passport sized photos, your birth certificate, certificate of arrest letters, certification fees, the bank receipt for your application fee, and your bank receipt for change of immigration category fees.
In order to qualify for the residency as a pensioner, you are required to prove a pension plan of at least $1,000 per month as an individual. For married couples, only one of the two must prove a pension plan of $1,000 per month and it does not matter if it is the husband or the wife. Please note that Costa Rica does not acknowledge same sex marriages or domestic partnerships at this time. The only other Costa Rica residency requirements for a pensioner or pensionado is that you agree to live in Costa Rica for a minimum of one day per year. This type of residency is temporary and after three years you can apply for permanent residency.
To become a resident through the rentista residency, you must be able to prove that you are receiving unearned income monthly for a minimum of 24 months. The amount of money required to qualify for rentista residency is $2,500 per month. As a rentista you are not able to work in Costa Rica but are not yet a retired individual. It is not a requirement that your bank account be held within in Costa Rica, however it is easier to obtain the required documentation needed for residency when the bank account is within Costa Rica. The only other Costa Rica residency requirements are the same as that of the pensioner, whereby you must agree to live in Costa Rica for one day of the year.
To obtain residency through investment, you must make an investment of at least $200,000 in order to meet the requirements for investor residency. This investment can be made towards any type of business or in real estate but it must be for the current investment, not future value. This type of residency is also temporary and after three years you can apply for permanent residency.
For more information pertaining to the process, it is advised that you speak with a lawyer who can help explain the specific Costa Rica residency requirements necessary for you to obtain residency in Costa Rica. Please contact us with any questions about finding a condo or home in paradise.