Process Applicable For Residency Procedures

This is a resume of the process applicable today.

There are several options if you are considering applying for residency in Costa Rica. Migratory categories and their specific requirements are described below, however, general requirements (1- 10) are applicable to all of them.

Any request for residency in Costa Rica should be submitted to the Costa Rican Consulate in the country of origin or residency or directly to the offices of immigration in San José – Costa Rica.

  1. An application addressed to the Director General of Migration by the person concerned. If the applicant is not going to be able to go in person, he/she should grant a special power of attorney to a representative in the USA or COSTA RICA, who will sign the residence application form and present all the documents. This power of attorney should be in Spanish.
  2. The applicant should grant special authority to a representative (apoderado). This document could be either signed or authenticated in the Consulate or directly in Costa Rica with us.
  3. Birth Certificate (required for applicant, spouse and all dependent children up to 18 years or up to 25 if in a demonstrated dependency status) *
    Every certificate should have the parents’ name. If yours does not have it, please get in touch with us to make the proper documentation of the specific case.
    Police Certificate (not older than six months) issued by the State/last place where the applicant has lived for the past two years (required for applicant, spouse and any dependent children aged 18 to 25. If your country does not issue a Police Certificate, please get in touch with us in order to create the proper documentation in the specific case.
  4. Marriage Certificate (if the applicant is married)* every certificate of marriage should not be older than 6 months upon submittal.
  5. Photocopy of the passport certified by the Consul (required for applicant, spouse and any dependent children) or by a Notary Public, but in this last case, the copies will also have to be authenticated.
  6. Two recent forehead passport size photographs (required for applicant, spouse and any dependent children).
  7. Eligible individuals can claim their spouses and children under 18, as dependents, as well as older children with disabilities. A son or daughter between 18 and 25 can be included as dependent if he or she is in a demonstrated dependency status.
  8. In the case of a family group, an individual file is required per member. Parents should sign applications on behalf of minor children.
  9. In order to practice a profession, the individual concerned should provide his or her diplomas. Any other recommendation , commercial certifications, registries or operationpermits from your commercial activities are also required in certain types of applications. Concerning other professional activities, relevant documentation such as courses and studies undertaken should be submitted.
  10. All documents require Apostille certification if your country of origin is a member of the Hague Convention, if not then the documents will require a certification by the foreign affairs office of your country and a certification of the Costa Rica consulate in your country of Origin. ( If your country does not have Costa Rica consulate or embassy please get in touch with us to create the necessary documentation in your specific case). Once you have all this together, we can proceed in presenting your application for you. The documents will be sent to Migration in Costa Rica and we will take care of the follow up and final approval procedures necessary.Additionally to points 1-10, you should fulfill the following requirements depending on your immigration category.
  1. The applicant should receive at least one thousand dollars (US$ 1000) a month from aqualified retirement plan or a lifetime pension source outside Costa Rica.
  2. Income certificate – The applicant should provide an original document from the company, government or institution guaranteeing that the monthly income will be sent to Costa Rica in the name of the applicant.
  3. The Police Certificate mentioned in paragraph 4 should be issued by the State in which the applicant has resided for the last six (6) months.
  4. The Pension has to be re certified every two years upon renewals, this should be done in the proper manner if the document is issued out of Costa Rica.
  5. The retirees (and their dependents) cannot work and/or earn a salary in Costa Rica. They can however, administer their own investments but without a salary. In addition, a physical presence in Costa Rica for periods of time that do not exceed two years of absence.
  1. The applicant should demonstrate that he or she would receive income from an investment such as a certificate of deposit or annuity of at least US$ 2,500 per month fortwo years minimum. This amount will include the whole family group.
  2. Income certificate – The applicant should provide an original document from the banking institution (in a foreign country or in Costa Rica) guaranteeing that they hold sufficient funds in a stable and permanent account to provide an income of US$ 2,500 per month for at least two (2) years and that the monthly income will be sent to Costa Rica in the name of the applicant.
  3. The income will have to be re certified every two years upon renewal of the residency status.
  4. A deposit of US$ 60,000 in an approved Costa Rican bank will satisfy the government requirements for the residency status.
  5. The annuitant (and their dependents) cannot work and/or earn a salary in Costa Rica. They can however, administer their own investments but without a salary.
  1. Then investor in Costa Rica that can demonstrate an investment in Real Estate, vehicles, motorcycles, boats, aircrafts, bonds, certificates of deposit or stocks for an amountequal or superior to $ 200.000.00 ( two hundred thousand dollars). Can apply under this category.
  2. In case of a reforestation project, US$ 100,000 in a reforestation project; This project requires the approved certification by the Ministry of Energy and viability reports from SETENA.
  3. In any other type of business, with a minimum of US$ 200,000.Investment.
  1. Permanent residency can be applied for if you have first-degree family members such as parents, siblings or children who are citizens of Costa Rica.
  2. When the applicant is married with a Costa Rican citizen, the Marriage Certificate should be issued by the Civil Registry (Registro Civil) in Costa Rica. An interview to confirm the relationship will be requested for this category. The same applies for Birth Certificates in case of children or siblings born in Costa Rica.
  3. Photocopy of the ID (cédula de identidad) of the Costa Rican citizen relative of the foreign applicant should be submitted as well.
  4. The spouses of a Costarrican citizen will be required to demonstrate the relation, and will only be granted temporary residency for periods of one year. After each period the renewal will require the presence of both parties and a new marriage certification for it.
  • In order to obtain a student residency, the applicant should provide:A)
    Enrollment in an educational private or public center, recognized by Costa Rica;B) Relevant academic diplomas authenticated by the ConsulateC) Proof of sufficient economic resources for the duration of the educational program.Will also require to have the documents listed from paragraph 1 to 10.
  1. The following individuals can obtain a temporary residency in Costa Rica:A) Scientists, professionals and traders, teachers, technicians and specialized staff hired by companies or institutions based in Costa Rica;B)
    Businessmen and board members of national and international companies.
  2. The employing company or institution should provide a document describing the:A)
    Functions to be undertaken by the employee;B)
    Length of the contract;C) Salary or wages to be received andD) Why they need to employ that particular individual (justification of employment).Will also require to have the documents listed from paragraph 1 to 10, their dependants will required the same requirements as explained in point 8. This category has widen with the approval of the executive decree 37112 published on May 17th 2012, and it will include many categories of independent workers, professionals, and unique trade workers as part of the applicable possibilities, so you should contact us with your specific case to find an answer to your application.
  • This category will require the certification of the Ministry of Foreign affairs that would demonstrate the original and validity of the Corporation or Organization that has sent the person to perform religious or missionary duties in Costa Rica. They have to demonstrate the amounts received as support from their organizations and the length of time of their work in the country.Will also require to have the documents listed from paragraph 1 to 10. Their dependants will require the same requirements as explained in point 8.
  • All the residency status will require upon presentation a tax of $ 250.00 USD and upon approval a $ 335,00USD per person as guarantee deposit as well as the cost for the issuance of an ID card (today US $ 150,00 per person).
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Users testimonials
  • My wife and I have gladly recommended Pacheco & Marin law services to all our friends who need solid, trustworthy and expedient legal assistance in Costa Rica. We found their deep experience here in Costa Rica from immigration to real estate services, invaluable. He made integrating into another country much less daunting and we can’t recommend him enough!

    Douglas and Terri Gomez
  • Mr. Pacheco was very helpful in preparing our paperwork, explaining the legal terminology, and handling everything in an efficient manner. His staff at ARCR was also very responsive via e-mail and phone during the preliminary document gathering stage.

    The in-office procedure took only 1.5 hours.

    Roslyn Metchis
  • We met Sr. Pacheco in 2005 when we applied for residency as pensionados. The process went very smoothly with him handling all the details. Since then, he has helped us with permanent residency and now Costa Rican citizenship. We have referred a number of friends to Sr. Pacheco all of whom have felt very well treated.

    David C. and Marcia M. Murray
    Grecia, Alajuela, Costa Rica
  • Mr. Pacheco has been my legal counsel for several years. He has helped me obtain my residency, my will, corporation issues and every other hurdle that I have encountered in Costa Rica. His personal commitment to communication and understanding in both English and Spanish have been a major comfort for me.

    Dennis Oppelt