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Costa Rica Immigration

When immigrating to Costa Rica, you may not need to apply for residency. You should think of the following questions prior to your Costa Rica immigration. How long do you plan to stay in Costa Rica? Do you travel often? How much money do you have and make?

Costa Rica has different regulations for visitors depending on their home country. Usually, citizens of the European Union, Canada, and United States do not need a visa to come into Costa Rica. With just a passport, citizens of those countries can come to Costa Rica and stay in the country for up to ninty days. They can renew their 90-day-allowance for a small fee, or by leaving and reentering their country.

Costa Rica Residency

Every application for residency is regulated by the Costa Rican Department of Immigration ( Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería) which is supervised by the Ministry of Public Security and Police ( Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Publica ). Usually, all applications for residency must be filed in your country of origin through the Costa Rican Consular Office in your area. There are currently two exceptions: (1) Rentista and Pensionado Residency and (2) Immediate Relative Residency Petitions.

Retiring In Costa Rica

There are two options for retiring in Costa Rica.

The Pensionado (Retiree) applicant must prove to have at least at least $600 per month permanent income from a pension or similar retirement pay. The average applicant in this category has a government, private sector pension or social security retirement benefits.

The Rentista applicant must prove to have at least a $1,000 per month permanent income. Usually, those who seek the Rentista category have an investment income, not a pension source.

To gain residency as a Pensionado or Rentista, you need the following documentation: Birth certificate, marriage certificate (if applicable), proof of income, police certificate of good conduct, interpol background check, photographs, translation of documents, and a sworn statement.

Investment Residency in Costa Rica

You can also gain temporary residency in Costa Rica as an investor, by showing you will make positive investments in Costa Rica.

You can apply through the investor program (inversionista). For this category you need to prove to the Department of Immigration that you will be coming to Costa Rica to invest in the country at least $50,000 to $200,000, depending on the type of investment.

You can apply through the business enterprise program [empresario]. For this category you need to prove to the Department of Immigration that the business enterprise which you will establish in Costa Rica will contribute to the employment of Costa Rican citizens and contribute to the local economy.

Costa Rica Residency as a Relative

You can also become a resident in Costa Rica if you can prove that you are an immediate relative (e.g. spouse, sibling, parent) of a Costa Rican citizen. You need the following documents to gain Costa Rica citizenship through this method: Birth certificate, proof of relationship to Costa Rican citizen, police certificate of good conduct, interpol background check, photographs, and translation of documents.

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