Which residency option is best for you?

There are many options to become a legal resident of Costa Rica. We’ll help you understand your options, and select the best choice based on your specific circumstances, lifestyle and goals.

The Most Common Costa Rican Residency Options

These are the four most commonly used residency programs:

Retiree

(Pensionado)

For those with a pension or other retirement income.

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Legal Resident

(Rentista)

For those with guaranteed non-salary income or savings.

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Business/Investor

(Inversionista)

For those with Costa Rican business or real estate investments.

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Marriage/Relation

(Vinculo)

For those married to or related to a Costa Rican citizen.

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Retiree

“Pensionado”

Who Qualifies

This program applies to any person who is already retired from his/her usual occupation and who is already receiving pension benefits.

Income Requirement

Must show proof of monthly income from a qualified pension plan of at least $1,000 USD per month.

A pension plan can include:

Local, state/provincial and Federal government pensions from most countries, Canadian Old Age Pension System, U.S. Social Security Administration and Railroad Retirement benefits, private company pension plans, defined benefit plans, 401K plans, school district pension, IRA/Keogh distributions, etc.  To be a qualified pension plan, the pension must be payable to the resident applicant “for life.”  Many lifetime annuities can also qualify as a pension.

Married Couple Pension Income:

A married couple needs to show proof of only one (1) monthly pension of at least $1,000 USD for both husband and wife to qualify to apply for residency. The pension recipient can be either spouse.

View information for Same-Gender Partners, Spouses or Domestic Partners

In-Country Requirement

Once approved, the resident agrees to live in Costa Rica for at least one (1) day per year.

Type of residency

Temporary. The resident can apply for permanent residency after being a temporary resident for three (3) years.

Work Permit

None issued until the resident becomes a permanent resident.

Please note that there are additional requirements to qualify for this residency program. Residency requirements are subject to change.

Business Investor

“Inversionista”

Who Qualifies

This program applies to individuals who make a direct investment in Costa Rica of at least $200,000 USD.  The investment can be made in any type of business or in real estate.

The applicant must prove that the amount already invested (not the current or future value) has a registered or verifiable value of at least $200,000 USD.

Type of investments

The investment can be made in any type of business, including manufacturing, transportation, hospitality (hotel, B&B, bar, restaurant, etc.), tourism industry (tours, nature walks, amusement and adventure-type parks, etc.), commercial real estate and non-commercial real estate.

Non-Commercial Real Estate

:  This allows home purchases as an acceptable investment for the purpose of applying for residency, provided the amount invested is at least $200,000 USD.  This type of investment can include not only the purchase price of a home in Costa Rica for personal use, but also the purchase of land held for future development, or for preservation, including ecological, environmental or watershed preservation purposes. Other specific requirements apply to this program.

Qualified Forestry Plantation Project (rarely used)

This allows an investor to make an investment of at least $100,000 USD in a qualified forestry plantation project.

Bank Deposit Requirement

None.

Type of residency

Temporary. The resident can apply for permanent residency after being a temporary resident for three (3) years.

Please note that there are additional requirements to qualify for this residency program. Residency requirements are subject to change.

Marriage/Relation

“Vinculo”

Who Qualifies

This program applies to individuals who are married to or related to a Costa Rican citizen.  The non-Costa Rican applicant must prove that he/she has a relationship in the first degree, either by marriage or by birth, with a Costa Rican citizen, and the Costa Rican citizen must be willing to sponsor the applicant’s residency.

This program includes applications for a spouse, son, daughter, father, mother, and unmarried siblings (brothers or sisters – age and marital status limitations apply), but the program does not include extended family members such as grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins.

Vínculo by Marriage

Registration of Marriage:

Prior to the application being filed (1) the marriage must be officially recorded with the Civil Register in Costa Rica and (2) the Civil Register must be able to issue a certified copy of the marriage certificate.

Immigration Interview:

Applicants need to prove that the marriage is legitimate and not a sham if the couple has been married for less than 2 years. Both spouses are required to attend an in-person interview at Immigration after the application is filed.

In-Country Requirement:

Once approved, the resident agrees to live in Costa Rica for at least one (1) day per year.

Type of residency:

Temporary. The temporary resident can apply for permanent residency after 3 years.

Work permit:

Yes. All residencies approved under this program have a built-in work permit.

Vínculo by being the parent of a child born in Costa Rica

Application:

Applications based upon having a child born in Costa Rica are approved as permanent residents. The application can include the parent(s) and siblings (brothers and sisters) of the Costa Rican citizen.

Parental Immigration Interview:

The parents of the Costa Rican-born child may be required to attend an interview at Immigration to state the parents are committed to the support and care of the child.

Type of residency:

Permanent.

Work permit:

Yes. All residencies approved under this program have a built-in work permit.

Please note that there are additional requirements to qualify for this residency program. Residency requirements are subject to change.

More Residency Options

Permanent Resident Applications

Costa Rica is so beautiful that you may never want to leave!  We can help you apply to become a Permanent Resident of Costa Rica. In order to qualify, you must first be a temporary resident under one of the above programs for at least three years.

Costa Rica Citizenship Applications

When you are ready to take your love for Costa Rica to the next level, we can help you with the process of becoming a Costa Rican citizen.

Specialized Visas

We can also help you obtain your temporary residency in Costa Rica as a member of the clergy or employee or representative of a foreign company working in Costa Rica, including executive level personnel, technical and professional staff.

Please note that getting a work permit is not much easier than applying for residency. It requires that the applicant have a bona fide job offer and that the company offering the job must provide documentation and information regarding the company itself, the job offer and a certification of the reasons the non-Costa Rican candidate is uniquely qualified for the position.

Please note that the requirements for temporary residencies change frequently.

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CUSTOMER SERVICE IS OUR PASSION!

I went with the wrong lawyer to try to save money. That did not work out well and I did not get my Cedula. I then went with Residency in Costa Rica and I had my Cedula in 6 months! Have it done right the first time, and get sleep. Thank you Javier and Mayanye.

F.H., US - Marriage/Relation (Vinculo)