Please note that this check list is not final or binding and does definitely not replace a detailed planning! It will only show you an overview of some important points you should consider.
Should you plan to live in Costa Rica, make sure you meet the necessary requirements, respectively which kind of residence permit would suit you and so provide yourself with all necessary documents in your home country. Please pay attention to the fact that some documents have a duration of validity of less than 4 to 6 months!
Get in contact with shipping companies and compare their services and prices. Also pay attention to costarican offers, because only the local customs agents and forwarding companies do really have a clue of how to proceed exactly. Let a professional load the containers, because only they know how to avoid any transportation damages and what legal specification have to be kept in mind.
Renew all passports for all people who travel with you to Costa Rica (you'll need this passport in many occasions (such as banks, insurances, drivers license, lawyers and many more) and for the visa renewal in the first months, because it will last a while before you get a residency permit!
Contact people who already live here in Costa Rica. But rely on your common sense and act with caution.
Prepare for the costarican culture, so you won't belong to the 40% of immigrants who already move back to their homelands after one year, because they cannot overcome the culture shock. Please keep always in mind, that Costa Rica is not a western industrialized country!!
Already in your home country, learn Spanish as well as you can!
Think about in which region, what climate and in which social environment you'd like to settle down.
Should you have children, check before, what school system would suit them best, how much the costs will be and where the schools are located.
Clarify what part of your belongings you really want to take along and let the import as well as the customs taxes be calculated for you.
Book your flights in advance and take into calculation that there might occur the problem, that you do not arrive the date you planned due to eg. hurricane season.
Make a list of all people who you would like to contact before you emigrate, in terms of business as well as private matters.
Shouldn't you already have credit cards and knowledge about Internet banking, it is recommended to catch up on those things.
Now it is time to plan the details for the emigration, to fix the precise location, study maps, read specialist literature, socialize, determine the social environment, hobbies, personal needs and so on.
All necessary documents for the immigration need to be available now!
Health checks and eventual vaccination need to be made (e.g. Tetanus)
Insurance clarification (policies: life, sickness, accident and so on)
Change of address as well as personal and commercial notice of departure (employer, banks, authorities etc) are to be made.
Detail clarification with your shipping company and customs agent should be made now, define the location of your container!
Hotel reservation to be made (take into account that there is high season between December and April)
Time planning (also include time for unexpected events) is necessary!
Sell all unnecessary belongings. Develop a detailed packing list and clarify legacies, last will and possible death with your lawyer in your home country as well as Costa Rica.
Vaccination and documents for your pets you bring along
Obtain all other documents that have a validity of only 3 months, such as criminal record, birth certificate, Bank Statements and so on. And please note, that all documents need to be translated into Spanish and certified by the authorities!
Determine an emergency address in your home country, payment transfer and other eventual authorizations need to be established before departure.
Renew drivers license if necessary
Notice of cancellation for telephone, electricity, water, cable TV, newspapers, insurances and so on
Pay off eventual tax debts
Checkout at your home town
Make copies of all personal documents and bank references!
Last detail planning
Take pictures of all important things you relocate such as cars, valuables and so on
Pack and number all articles meant for relocation according to your pack list!
Send important documents by DHL to your lawyer in Costa Rica. Store all other important documents separately or take them with you on board, also notebook or data carriers. Let your relatives or friends have copies of important stuff.
Load containers and let check the goods
Handover of apartments or houses, end cleaning
!Bienvenidos en Costa Rica! Pura Vida!