Costa Rica Temporary Residency

costa rica

If you just want to go to Costa Rica on vacation, or even a prolonged vacation, then simply entering as a visa-exempt tourist may be enough. If you are from a place like Canada, the U.S., or Europe, then you are considered visa-exempt, and you can stay in Costa Rica for up to three months at a time.

Even if you wanted to stay for six months, then you could do what is known as a border run, and simply exit and reenter Costa Rica near the end of your three-month stay. By reentering the country you reset the length of time you are allowed to stay as a tourist.

In fact, you can even start a business in Costa Rica if you want without any type of long-stay residence permit. But if you do want to stay in it for a long-term basis, and consider settling there permanently, a temporary resident permit is a must. A temporary resident permit not only allows you to reside in Costa Rica, but it can also be a pathway to permanent residency and/or citizenship.

  • Costa Rica offers an assortment of temporary resident visas besides the rentista visa. These visas include:
    Pensioners
  • Individuals involved in educational matters, such as students, teachers, research professors, and internists
  • Business executives, managers, and technical staff
  • Spouses

The procedure to apply for temporary residency is as follows. First, you need to get all your documents in order. While you can apply for temporary residency from within Costa Rica, certain documents like your criminal record are easier to obtain from your home country. Once you have everything in hand, you can travel to Costa Rica on a visa waiver, and then you must apply at the Immigration Office of Costa Rica. You will need:

  • A letter that says why you are seeking residency in Costa Rica. You will need to include biographical information about yourself, such as where you are from, how old you are, where you live, and your occupation. This letter needs to be notarized as well.
  • Two passport photos of yourself.
  • A Completed application form.
  • Proof that you have registered your fingerprints with the Minister of Public Safety.
  • Birth Certificate
  • A clean criminal record checks from your home country and/or any country you have resided in during the last three years.
  • Payment of all fees.

Depending on the type of visa that you are applying for, you will also need proof that you fit the requirements. If you are a student, they will need to see your enrollment papers, as well as a Special Power of Attorney from their parents or guardian if you are a minor.

You will also need to demonstrate that you will have the funds to sustain yourself while studying in Costa Rica or a scholarship that covers all of your expenses. If you are a pensioner, then you will need to show proof that you have a pension of at least $1,000 a month. Your dependents can come with you if you want.

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Written by Mikkel Thorup

Mikkel Thorup is the world’s most sought-after expat consultant. He focuses on helping high-net-worth private clients to legally mitigate tax liabilities, obtain a second residency and citizenship, and assemble a portfolio of foreign investments including international real estate, timber plantations, agricultural land, and other hard-money tangible assets. Mikkel is the Founder and Director at Expat Money™, a private consulting firm started in 2017. He hosts the popular weekly podcast, the Expat Money Show, and wrote the definitive #1-Best Selling book Expat Secrets – How To Pay Zero Taxes, Live Overseas And Make Giant Piles Of Money.