Requirements for a work permit in Costa Rica: All the information you need

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As in several Latin American countries in Costa Rica foreign residents are asked for a work permit. This is done based on permission to carry out lucrative work or activities within the country.

The relevance of this document lies in how important this document is for emigrants who wish to settle in the country. It should be noted that this document is generally issued when the applicant does not yet have Costa Rican citizenship.

However, there is an issuance process for this important document. On the other hand, if we do not have the proper documentation We will be denied access to gainful activities.

Given this, we want to offer you an informative article about everything you need to know about the work permit. In the same way, we will teach you how to process it and the requirements involved in doing it.

What is a work permit?

Certainly a work permit it is basically an authorization issued by the State that grants the right to perform functions as an employee. This document generally it is usually requested for people who do not yet have citizenship of the country.

Or if they are minors and have a desire to work, remember that this is important for minors. In this way, child exploitation is avoided and this is done in accordance with the laws on child labor.

On the other hand this permission may be requested to perform certain tasks within an industry. Such as maintenance activities, which are outside of normal operational tasks.

Requirements for work permit in Costa Rica

Below we will mention all the documents or requirements to take into account when processing a work permit:

  • Work permit application form.
  • Explanatory letter of the reasons for the request for said permit. This must specify your full name, nationality, age, occupation, address of the place where you live and place or form of notification.
  • Proof or invoice of payment of 125 ¢ and 2.50 ¢ for each sheet that you present with the residence application. We must emphasize that it should only be paid by the applicant for the permit and carried out on their behalf.
  • (2 two passport-size photos from a period of no more than 6 months.
  • Present the proof or certificate of the fingerprint registration which the Ministry of Public Security is in charge of issuing.
  • Present the document that proves the consular registration.
  • Duly legalized birth certificate (If you are a foreigner, it must be presented with an apostille).
  • Criminal records processed from the country of origin. Or in such a case where you have resided for the last 3 years.
  • Immigration document to verify your legality of residence in that country presented in original and copy.
  • Original and copy of all the pages of the valid passport.
  • The job offer that has been offered to the client who must have certain data. Such as the functions, the hours and the agreed salary.

Requirements to work in Costa Rica

According to the immigration statutes of Costa Rica, certain standards must be met to perform salaried work functions. These are specified within the laws on labor and employment.

First, foreigners who have a permanent or temporary residence must issue a work permit. These are It will be classified according to its category of income and permanence.

On the other hand, once the corresponding procedures have been completed, it will begin to enjoy the protection of the pertinent labor and social laws. However within a company There should be no more than 10% foreign employees with respect to total workers.

In the same way, their salary it must not exceed 15% of total annual salaries. And their stay within this will be agreed according to the type of residence that the foreigner has.

Labor Market for foreigners in Costa Rica

The truth is that when it comes to the labor market for foreigners in any country, the information they give you about it is very complicated. Although it is true that the priority is given to the natives of the country, sometimes the opportunities are very limited for foreigners.

Notably many documents must be issued to be able to perform functions as a worker. However, within the labor market there are many job offers that can be granted to foreigners without any problem.

Let us remember that despite the internationalization of companies, a company can work in different ways. Although in Costa Rica companies They must prove that they have a large number of natives to be able to hire a foreigner.

On the other hand, it is worth mentioning that it is quite difficult to find a job in this country despite the 95.8% literacy level it has. In addition to the high level of education that this country has.

Working hours in Costa Rica

Yes, in case you are hired within a job, there are 2 types of schedules by which you would be assigned the job:

  • Normal working day.
  • The Mixed Day
  • Special Day.

Each of these is divided into day and night shifts, the normal working day consists of 8 or 10 hours a day if the work is not heavy or unhealthy. On the other hand, in the night shift it is usually 5 0 6 hours and should not exceed 36 hours yes it is nocturnal and 48 yes it is daytime weekly.

The special day is one that despite its great importance should be dedicated more than 10 hours a day. In addition to having a minimum rest of an hour and a half and the salary must be considerably higher than the base, also they must not work for more than 36 hours per week.

The mixed shift is the one that joins the day shift with the night shift, and is made up of a maximum of 8 hours a day. When this shift exceeds the 10:30 p.m. or later It is no longer considered a mixed shift, so it is a night shift. And for that reason you only have to work 6 hours daily and mixed no more than 42 hours per week.


Although this is one of the aspects that matters the most to us, it is undoubtedly important that you bear in mind that the salary of a foreigner is not the same as that of a native. Besides that in this country the salary It is below that established in the United States and Europe.

Nevertheless the lifestyle in this country is much lower that in the aforementioned however is a good remuneration for residents. On the other hand, these salaries seek to cover the monthly basic needs quota and others.

Currently a person who has a university degree can earn a minimum of 549,195.15 ¢ per month. Remember that this may vary according to the activities we carry out in said job.

Labor regulations

Finally, we must specify that there are certain labor regulations to enter this area. Mainly the realization of contracts can be made verbally or in writing and each of these apply to certain labor agreements.

In the case of Verbal contracts this only applies to agricultural or livestock jobs, domestic service and temporary jobs. They should only have a maximum duration of 90 days if the residence is temporary.

In turn, these can be for a certain time or indefinite time, which can only be canceled if certain parameters of the contract clause are met. We urge our readers to investigate the labor regulations of Costa Rica to know the rights and duties that they must comply with.

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