How to Become a Costa Rica Resident
RE/MAX Pura Vida knows it doesn’t take long after visiting Costa Rica for most people to fall in love with one aspect of this lush jungle nation or another. Whether it’s the laid back “pura vida” vibe of the people, the top-notch surf breaks, diverse wildlife, or countless volcanic vistas, the idea of calling Costa Rica home is a common one amongst visitors of all kinds. Regardless of how far along in the process you are, no one wants to play the “perpetual tourism” game forever and while RE/MAX Pura Vida loves sharing our favorite properties of Mal Pais, Santa Teresa, and Playa Hermosa, sometimes we just want to assist friendly people by providing helpful information. If you’re thinking of becoming a Costa Rica Resident, we’ve got a quick guide to the different ways that you can make your transition official. In all of the following situations, qualifying for residency will have the option to include a spouse and/or any dependents under the age of 18.
If you’re purchasing a property or thinking of purchasing a property, the easiest route for you could be applying as an “Investor”. To qualify under this designation an individual must invest a minimum of $200,000 USD in a business or property and visit Costa Rica at least once a year. As an “investor”, residents will be allowed to own and profit from a company in addition to being able to receive income from said investment project. This is the route that many of our clients decide to take and is relatively short and concise.
For those looking to retire in Costa Rica and already receiving a pension, there is an option to apply under a “Pensionado” designation. If an individual can prove a monthly income of at least $1,000 USD per month from a permanent pension or retirement fund, they may qualify. In this case, the person will not be able to work as an employee, but can freely own and profit from a company registered to said individual. Again, as in all cases, one must visit Costa Rica a minimum of once per year to maintain qualification.
Perhaps you’ve invested in a property but the lump-sum $200,000 amount is too steep for you to qualify. One may apply as a “Rentista” or renter. This requires proof of income equal to $2500 per month for a minimum of two years guaranteed by a bank or a single deposit of at least $60,000 USD into an approved Costa Rican bank. This is a little longer route to go, requiring two years of provable income, but it is an excellent way to bypass making a large initial investment to get your residency. As a “rentista” the individual will not be allowed to work for another establishment and will only be allowed to own and profit from a company registered to the qualifying individual.
Not everyone finds there way to Costa Rica by way of buying or owning property though. Some have their career paths lead them to move from their nation of origin and into this beautiful paradise nation. If you’ve worked hard enough to become a director of a company and that company meets the specific requirements put forth by the Costa Rican government, such as quantity of local employees and certified financial statements, you may be able to qualify under the “Representante” designation. As could be expected, the individual will be allowed to earn an income from the company they represent in addition to being able to profit from any other company registered to that individual.
The final designation is the one all individuals will eventually apply for, regardless of their original designation. Having a direct Costa Rican relative in the immediate family will qualify these applicants immediately. In most cases, those starting a family in Costa Rica apply if the child is born in Costa Rica and is therefore a Costa Rican native. In addition, those under any of the previous four residency categories will be able to apply after three years of qualifying under that status. In this case, individuals will be able to work freely in addition to being able earn an income from any owned companies or projects.
We hope this information can be helpful in showing you that residency isn’t quite the daunting task it can made out to be. Feel free to stop by and ask us any questions you may have at our new RE/MAX Pura Vida location in Playa Carmen cruce, next to the Banco Costa Rica. We’ll be happy to give you a tour of any of our latest dream properties, point you in the direction of many of the world’s most beautiful beaches and best surf breaks, or offer any other tips you may be interested in whilst visiting the area.