Requirements for Residence in Costa Rica: about the Categories, Duration and MORE

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The Requirements for Residence in Costa Rica and everything related to Migration in Costa Rica It is one of the most sought after information.

Costa Rica It is a country considered an excellent option when it comes to emigrating. Besides being the calmest country in the region.

Live in Costa Rica It gives the foreigner the opportunity to obtain better income compared to the countries of Central America.

Education is also of a high standard, even if it is expensive.

It also offers good investment opportunities and political stability.

Likewise, those who consider this country to emigrate should take into account that it is a country considered expensive and with high taxes to pay.

What are the necessary requirements?

Here we will tell you what are the requirements that a foreigner must meet to obtain residency in Costa Rica.

General requirements for Residence in Costa Rica:

  • Birth certificate of the applicant, their relatives and dependents.
  • Filiation Form completely filled out.
  • Statement of reasons or letter explaining the reasons for the request.
  • Completed application form.
  • Proof of criminal records of the applicant and the people in his charge, who are over 15 years old. Verify the validity of the certificate, since it lasts for 6 months.
  • Residence application duly signed by a lawyer in Costa Rica.
  • Marriage certificate.
  • Fingerprints registered with the Ministry of Public Security.
  • Certified photocopy of the passport. Additionally, page number 1 of the passport must be translated by a public translator.
  • All documents in a language other than Spanish must be submitted together with the official translation.
  • Four passport photos.
  • You must submit the registration to the Social Security of Costa Rica.
  • Present the mandatory consular registration. Except that the country of origin does not have a consular representation in Costa Rica.
  • Bank receipt payment for $ 50 or its value in colones in the Banco de Costa Rica account number 242480-0, for the residence application.

It’s important to consider that if the applicant cannot deliver the birth certificates or criminal records, then they must deliver the Affidavit with the corresponding arguments for the absence of this documentation.

Also in the event that any of the relatives or dependents present disability, You must present the medical certificates stating this condition. Also present the proof of guardianship.

In the same way all documents must be apostilled from the country of origin. If not, then you must present them at the Consulate of Costa Rica before making the request.

Applicants for residence in Costa Rica that require proof of having received the yellow fever vaccine are: Angola, Benin Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, French Guiana and Venezuela.

Permanent residence

The Permanent residence It is a permit granted to the immigrant after 3 continuous years of residence in Costa Rica.

Within the Requirements for Residence in Costa Rica it is clearly stated that once the permanent residence, the foreigner has the power to live in the country or outside of it, if he so decides.

Permanent residence allows the foreigner to stay in the country indefinitely and enjoy professional freedom.

The application of permanent residenceIt can be required by immigrants who have resided in the country at least 3 years and who have family ties in the first degree with a Costa Rican citizen.

Also from now on you can apply for citizenship after fulfilling the established requirements.

The application of permanent residence in Costa Rica it is generally carried out in the country of origin of the immigrant. Otherwise, you can do it before the General Directorate of Migration and Immigration of Costa Rica.

It should be noted that criminal record Legalized, authenticated and apostilled, they must be from the country where you have been legally living in the last 3 years.

In the same way, you must present in addition to all the general requirements, a certified photocopy of the migratory movement in recent years.

Refering to renewal, They must do it within 3 months from the date of termination of the residency. It is recommended to do it in advance before the residence card expires.

Additionally you have to enroll in the Public Health Care Fund. You can also do it with the private insurance of the National Insurance Institute.

Consequently, you must have the insurance of the Fund in force, also the passport. As well as the payments corresponding to the fees requested for the completion of the procedure.

Once the Permanent residence you can live peacefully and work in the country. However, you cannot exercise the rights of citizenship such as the right to vote, possess a Costa Rican passport, among others.

The permanent resident can then be expelled for any reason from the country, if the authorities deem it pertinent.

To make the request for the Permanent residence You should go to the headquarters of Migration. Attention to the public is from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. at 12m. Without prior appointment request.

You can also do it in the offices that are in the regions of Liberia, Puntarenas, Limón, San Carlos, Paso Canoas, Golfito or in the Consulates located outside the country.

Temporary residence

To live in Costa Rica, As in many other countries, you have to apply for a permit for temporary residence.

Likewise, not all travelers arriving in Costa Rica require a Tourist Visa.

Therefore, it will depend on various reasons that may be the length of stay in the country, country of origin, nationality of the visitor, among others.

Visas depend on international agreements and treaties, so the Visa does not guarantee entry to the country.

In the General Directorate of Migration and Immigration they deliver an entry and stay pass for a specific period that ranges from 90 days and two years. This permission is called Temporary residence. It is delivered once the requirements for residency in Costa Rica.

The response time of the Temporary residence it will depend on the category in which the applicant for this permit is found.

Of course the temporary residence It is renewable in certain cases and until the person and / or family can obtain the permanent residence permit if it corresponds.

Also, the permission granted It is valid for direct family members, spouse and descendants under 25 years of age.

It also applies to those relatives or dependents of the owner who have disabilities.

To start the residency process, the requirement must include proofs and / or certificates of the respective affiliations, understood as marriage, certificates of birth of children, proof of disabilities and all the documents necessary to confirm or validate the family status.

Applications must be submitted to the General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners of Costa Rica or also to a Consulate of Costa Rica. These requests must be made in person, that is, personally.

If there is any impediment to making the request personally, then a third party must assist with a Special Power of Attorney, where the authorization to carry out the corresponding procedures is stated.

It is important to highlight that the temporary residence They grant freedom to carry out remunerative or profit-making activities.

In this particular, those tasks that are done on their own and those that are in a dependent labor relationship, duly authorized by the General Directorate of Migration, are allowed.

Consequently, these authorizations must include the decisions on labor matters issued by the Ministry of Labor and Social Security. Consequently, dependent family members of temporary residents can study and work with the corresponding authorization of the General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners.

It should be noted that those foreigners who have the temporary residence and that for whatever reason they are outside of Costa Rica for a period of more than two continuous years, unfortunately they will lose their residence. Of course with due exceptions of the case.

Who owns temporary residence and want to remain in the country, they must apply for an Immigration Category and meet the corresponding requirements. For example, those who are in the country with permission to temporary residence As pensioners or rentiers, they will be responsible for validating their respective conditions to continue in the country.

What are the Categories for Residence in Costa Rica?

Besides general requirements for residency, in Costa Rica, the General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners grants authorizations to stay in the country to foreigners, under the modality of Special Immigration Categories.

This is done in order to regularize certain migration scenarios that must have a different procedure than the other categories. In addition to facilitating requirements for residency in Costa Rica.

They are not categories of residences, they are permits granted to study, work or stay in the country. They do not facilitate in any way the application for temporary or permanent residence.

They are permits specifically granted to carry out activities or resolve any issue that concerns the interested party.

Therefore, once the matter in question that has determined the permanence in the country is finalized, they must leave Costa Rica or do the procedure of permanence under another category.

These are the Migratory Categories:

  • If you are a Costa Rican spouse.
  • The Pensioners.
  • Religious personalities.
  • The foreigner with ties to a Costa Rican citizen.
  • Person who has a relationship with a permanent resident.
  • If the applicant has a link with a temporary resident.
  • The invited artists, professionals and technicians.
  • The invited athletes, professionals and technicians.
  • Correspondent and Press Agent.
  • Interns, Students and dependents of students.
  • The Researcher, Scientist, Teacher, Professional, Volunteer.
  • In the case of a temporary worker.
  • If you are a cross-border worker.
  • Business visitor.
  • Executive, Manager and technical staff.
  • Self-employed specialist.
  • Worker in a dependency relationship.
  • If you are a Guest of the State, Institutions or for legal security.
  • The children of diplomatic agents.
  • If you are a specialized technician.
  • Has specific occupation.
  • Entrepreneur with his own company.
  • The transfer staff.

Duration of the process

The duration of the procedures for applying for temporary residence and the result is a minimum of three months.

The General Migration Law No. 8764 establishes that the General Directorate of Migration and Foreigners has 90 business days to solve a residence requirement, once the file has been completed by the applicant.

However, the delays inherent in government management are out of reach of the foreigner. So everything will depend on the category in which you are, and it may take a time of even a year to obtain residency.

Likewise, once the application process has been completed, you are given a receipt called a Certificate of Migration Procedure, on behalf of Migration of Costa Rica. This voucher or receipt will facilitate your stay in Costa Rica, while the application process lasts.

Consequently, the foreigner will not be obliged to leave the country every 90 days, to renew the Tourist Visa.

How much money do you have to pay?

One of the first guidelines of the requirements for residence in Costa Rica is that immigration procedures to Costa Rica are very personal and have no cost. In other words, migration procedures can be carried out personally and paying only the amounts indicated by law, through the Bank of Costa Rica.

If the foreigner enters Costa Rica with a tourist visa, he must pay US $ 200. If he changes category, he must pay US $ 50 upon request.

In case the entry is made as a potential resident, then you must pay US $ 50 for the respective application.

Likewise, this payment can be made in colones in the corresponding account of the Bank of Costa Rica.

Rates maintained by the authorities and Consulates of Costa Rica for the management of immigration procedures stipulated in the Law:

  • Tourist Consular Visa US $ 20
  • Granting of Certificates US $ 40
  • Performing Authentication of documents US $ 40
  • Declarations US $ 50
  • Powers of Notary Public US $ 80
  • Trademark Registration US $ 80
  • Patents US $ 80

No official of migration You are authorized to receive money for carrying out procedures for migration procedures.

You can make inquiries and request appointments and information by going to the General Directorate of Migration and Immigration from Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. at 4p.m.

You can also contact the number 1311 from Migration or by accessing the web portal:

Foreigners with Permanent residence and who are outside the country, must enter the country once every year.

They must also make a payment called Down Payment for US $ 300 in the Costa Rican government account.

The security deposit It is established in the Regulation of the Guarantee Deposit Fund of the General Law on Migration and Aliens.

It is a cash deposit that a foreigner must make once the entry is authorized. This payment must be made together with the expenses of the immigration services.


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