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Traveling to Costa Rica

Traveling to Costa Rica

The requirements to enter Costa Rica depend on your country of nationality.  Generally, citizens of the United States, Canada, and the European Union countries do not require a visa to enter Costa Rica.  With their passport, they can enter Costa Rica and remain in the country for up to a maximum of 90 days. While in Costa Rica, your passport and the immigration stamp that was placed in it when you entered the country is your proof of legal status. Tourists from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Israel, Japan, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, United States, and all European countries except Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Czech Republics, Iceland, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta, Russia Slovakia, and Slovenia are allowed to stay for 90 days without a visa.

If you are from Australia, Belize, China, Guatemala, Honduras, Iceland, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore, The Philippines and Venezuela you may stay for only 30 days without a visa.

All other countries require a visa to come to Costa Rica.

If you are already in Costa Rica and want to stay longer than 90 days, then you’ll have to leave the country for 72 hrs and re-entry legally again for another 90 days. You do not have to go too far. You may go to Panama or Nicaragua (which is pretty cheap).

Do I need to get a Costa Rican Driver’s license?

Your own driver’s license will work for you here in Costa Rica. It will be suitable just for three months. Then, you will need either to leave the country for 72 hrs. And return for another 3 months or get a Costa Rican Driver’s License.

Residency in Costa Rica

All residency applications are governed by the Costa Rican Department of Immigration (Direccion General de Migracion y Extranjeria) which in turn is overseen by the Ministry of Public Security and Police (Ministerio de Gobernacion, Policia y Seguridad Publica). Generally, all applications for residency must be filed in your country of origin through the Costa Rican Consular Office in your area. Theonlycurrentexceptions are ImmediateRelativeResidencyPetitions

Below you’ll also find basic information on the five most common forms of residency.

PENSIONADO (Retired person)
Requirements: Requires proof of US$1000 per month income from permanent pension source or retirement fund.
Length of Stay: Must remain in the country at least four months per year
Spouse/Dependents: Can claim spouse and dependents under 18 years of age
Employment: Cannot work as an employee
Business Income: Can own a company and receive income

RENTISTA (small investor)
Requirements: Requires proof of US$2,500 per month for at least five years, guaranteed by a banking institution.
Length of Stay: Must remain in the country at least four months per year
Spouse/Dependents: Can claim spouse and dependents under 18 years of age (there will be an increase in monthly income required)
Employment: Cannot work as an employee

Business Income: Can own a company and receive income

INVERSIONISTA (large investor)
Requirements: US$200,000 in any business or a specified amount of investment in specific government-approved sectors
Length of Stay: Must remain in the country at least six months per year
Spouse/Dependents: Cannot claim spouse and dependents under 18 years of age (must process separately)
Employment: Income allowed from the project
Business Income: Can own a company and receive income

REPRESENTANTE (company visa)
Requirements: Applicant must be the director of a company meeting individual requirements, such as employing a minimum number of local workers as established by the labor law, with financial statements certified by a public accountant
Length of Stay: Must remain in the country at least six months per year
Spouse/Dependents: Cannot claim spouse and dependents under 18 years of age (must process separately)
Employment: Can earn an income from the company
Business Income: Can own a company and receive income

PERMANENTE (permanent residency)
Requirements: First-degree relative status with a Costa Rican citizen (through marriage to a citizen or having a Costa Rican child) or may apply after three years in another type of residency. Note that the immigration reforms of March 2010 provide for “closing the loophole” of marriages of convenience entered into solely to obtain residency.
Length of Stay: Must visit Costa Rica at least once (72 hours) a year
Spouse/Dependents: Cannot claim spouse and dependents under 18 years of age (must process separately)
Employment: Can work
Business Income: Can own a company and receive income

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