Resident permits

Resident permits

You decided to spend some time in our wonderful country or live here for good? First of all, congratulations!
In the following you get some information about the momentarily valid legal regulations, but please be aware that those are subject to steady changes. We are certainly pleased to help you choose the right permit and the correct way to obtain it.

Spending wintertime in Costa Rica as a tourist

People who only like to spend wintertime in Costa Rica have been allowed to do so with their tourist visa since march 2010. This is clearly being pushed due to the new law. Passport holders from EU, Switzerland or USA are able – having their 90 days expired – to „buy“ another 90 days for $100.

Important: In case of illegal residence in Costa Rica, there will be charged a fine of USD 100 for each month. Additional to that, an immigration ban will be applied, three times as much as the period of the illegal stay (days count).

Residents permit / Residencia in Costa Rica

Costa Rica does not want to appear as an immigration country like eg. Paraguay, South Africa or even Panamà, there it is possible that you get a permanent residence for a little money, sometimes even in combination with a work permit.
Since march 1st, 2010 there is a new immigration law in Costa Rica. The advantages of the changes can be found especially for families with children and in terms of tourist visas.

Retirees / Pensioner - Pensionado

People who fulfill the requirements for this category need to present a confirmation of their monthly pension income for the amount of USD 1'000. Having a permit for pensioners, you are allowed to work for your own account and in your name (e.g. freelancer).
After a period of three years, you can apply for a permanent residency without restrictions.
In any case you need to be member of the “Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social” (health insurance)

Income from abroad - Rentista

If you are not yet retired, you have the possibility to confirm a monthly income from abroad of USD 2'500 minimum (needs to be guaranteed for 5 years). Having this confirmation you are free to apply for an according resident permit. This permit does also include eventual children and spouse. So, for families with children the legalization process will be cheaper than before.
Also with this type of permit you are allowed to be self-employed and work in your own name on your own account.
After a period of three years, you can apply for a permanent residency without restrictions.
In any case you need to be member of the “Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social” (health insurance).

Business – Investment - Inversionista

For this kind of permit you can apply if you are able and willing to perform an investment of USD 150'000 in an approved project in the tourism sector. But please note that you need to meet many requirements and have to pay lawyers fees. In general the process to obtain this permit type is quite time consuming. All business activities must be revealed and you need to hand in a business plan.

Marriage of a citizen or blood relationship with a child

If you get married to a Costarican citizen, the application process is quite simple and in the end you directly get a permanent residence permit.
Should you be a parent of a Costarican child, you also get a permanent residency after a quite short application process. But in this case, a DNA examination will be necessary.
A Costarican citizen (should be a lawyer) has to act as a guarantor for you and he or she also must apply for a permit in your name.


A naturalization or citizenship can be obtained through birth or marriage in Costa Rica.
But if you already have a valid residency permit you can also apply for the naturalization after 7 years of being residency holder. Please note, that not all countries allow double citizenship!

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