If you are planning on buying property in Costa Rica, already own property, or are considering moving to Costa Rica permanently, you may need to start the process of becoming a Costa Rica resident. In order to become a resident in Costa Rica, you must qualify for one of the four main types of residency available. The process to become a resident in Costa Rica can be a lengthy process, so if you need to apply for residency, it is wise to start the process as soon as possible, keeping in mind that it can be up to one year before you become a legal resident of Costa Rica.
The four main ways to become a resident of Costa Rica are as a pensioner, an investor, a rentista, or by marrying a Costa Rican citizen. If you are retired and receiving a monthly pension of at least $1,000 per month you can become a pensioner resident of Costa Rica. This type of residency is very common since many expats that move to Costa Rica do so after retiring in their home country.
The next most common type of residency that many people qualify for is as an investor. If you invest at least $200,000 in Costa Rica you can apply to become a resident. This type of investment is not limited to business investments. Your investment can be applied to the value of the home or property you are purchasing, but keep in mind it must be the actual value of your home or property, not the future value.
To become a rentista resident, you must prove that you are receiving a monthly income of at $2,500 for the next two years from a source outside of Costa Rica. This income cannot be earned income, but rather it must be from another type of bank account, savings, investments, stocks or bonds. This type of residency is not common and can be difficult to prove if the bank account is not in Costa Rica.
The fourth type of residency is granted to foreigners who marry a Costa Rican citizen or have a child within Costa Rica. If you marry a Costa Rican or a have a child in Costa Rica you automatically qualify to be a Costa Rica resident. While you do qualify for residency, the process to become a resident can still take time, so realize that you will not instantly be a resident after filing the birth or the marriage.
All of these types of residency are temporary, but after a period of three months, you can apply to become a permanent resident in Costa Rica. Also note that just because you become a resident of Costa Rica resident it does not mean that you are able to work in Costa Rica. Work visas are not issued to all residents, only ones that meet specific qualifications. If you are planning on moving to Costa Rica and need to seek employment, consider you options for obtaining a work visa based on the type of resident you hoping to become. Please contact us with any questions about finding a condo or home in paradise.