Many people who wish to move to Costa Rica do so without being familiar with the laws concerning immigration. There are many reasons why Costa Rica is such an attractive place for foreigners to purchase real estate, but the immigration laws are not necessarily one of them. While visiting Costa Rica is simple, immigration to Costa Rica is not easy for everyone.
Upon your arrival to Costa Rica, you will be granted a 90-day tourist visa from the immigration officials that work at the international airports and the border crossing with Nicaragua and Panama. You do not need to arrange for your tourist visa in advance like some other countries. But, if you wish to stay in Costa Rica for more than 90-days, the immigration process can be quite long. For those who wish to immigrate to Costa Rica, establishing residency is required. There are four main ways in which to establish residency in Costa Rica. Not everyone meets these requirements and as such, they are not able to establish residency and immigrate to Costa Rica. If you do not meet the requirements to establish residency, you must leave the country after your 90-day visa has expired. After you have spent a minimum of 72-hours outside of Costa Rica, you may re-enter and receive another 90-day tourist visa. There is no legal limit to the amount of times that you may leave and re-enter the country, but living in Costa Rica as a perpetual tourist is not recommended.
In order to complete the immigration to Costa Rica process you must file for residency as a pensionado, a rentista, an investor, or a vinculo. A pensionado resident is someone who is retired and receives a monthly pension of at least $1,000 per month. A retired married couple can both apply for residency as pensionados as long as one of the two is receiving the pension of $1,000 per month. In order to complete the immigration process and become a rentista resident in Costa Rica you must be receiving at least $2,500 per month from a monetary source that is not a work income. This means that you have a bank account with over $60,000 to prove that for a period of 2 years you would be able to support yourself living in Costa Rica without working. This type of residency can also apply to a married couple. The immigration process to apply for residency as an investor means that you have invested over $200,000 in the country of Costa Rica. This investment can be through real estate or a business venture. The vinculo residency is granted to persons who marry a Costa Rican citizen or have a child in the country of Costa Rica. All of these types of residency are temporary for a period of three years. After three years you can apply for permanent residency and complete the full process of immigration to Costa Rica. While it is not difficult to complete the immigration process, you must meet the requirements for one of the four types of residency for immigration to Costa Rica. Please contact us with any questions about finding a condo or home in paradise.