Costa Rica is one of several countries that offers a residency through investment opportunity that many expats are beginning to take advantage of. Other countries like Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Bulgaria, and even Austria also offer citizenship through investment, with varying amounts of money necessary to qualify. And while Costa Rica does not offer citizenship through investment, the benefits of residency through investment are still worth looking into.
In order to qualify for residency through investment in Costa Rica applicants must be able to prove an investment of $200,000. The investment can be through a variety of ventures including property, lots, shares in a corporation, or business. The investment can be a combination of several ventures, making this type of residency easy to qualify for. An investment in a business venture in addition to the property value of a house can be combined to the amount of $200,000, thus fulfilling the required amount.
For those who qualify for residency through investment, Costa Rica grants a temporary residency which allows foreign to remain in the country, without having to leave every 90 days in order to renew their tourist visa. Foreigners receive a residency ID card issued by Costa Rica and have legal status to remain in the country. After a certain amount of years, residents can apply for full citizenship. Residents acquire many of the same rights and duties as Costa Rican citizens so citizenship is not always the end goal, but it is a possibility.
Citizenship means naturalizing as a Costa Rican citizen, with the issue of a Costa Rican passport and nationality. Some countries allow dual citizenship but others do not. For those countries that do allow dual citizenship, citizens can retain citizenship in both their home country and Costa Rica. For those countries that do not honor dual citizenship, obtaining a Costa Rican passport would mean losing their original nationality. Because residents have many of the same rights at citizens according to the Costa Rican Constitution, it is recommended to obtain residency, rather than citizenship.
For residency to stay valid, residents must spend only one day per year in Costa Rica. For investors that have a business or real estate in Costa Rica, this makes it very easy and convenient to retain residency while not living in Costa Rica full time. Many foreign business owners live in Costa Rica for only part of the year but do require residency status in order to run their businesses successfully.
Investments into real estate as a primary home can qualify for residency as long as the amount they have already invested, not the current value, equals or exceeds $200,000. In some cases it may be possible to temporarily increase the value of the property so that it may meet the qualifications for investment. For those wishing to own a home, start a business, or live part or all of the year in Costa Rica, obtaining residency through investment may be the best option an worth considering.