Requirements for Residency

    This is a summary of the residency application process as of April 2017, and is subject to changes.

    There are several options if you are considering applying for residency in Costa Rica. The migratory categories and their specific requirements are described below, however, general requirements (1-9) are applicable to all of the categories.

    NOTE: All documents must be “Apostilled” per the Apostille Act, certified in your country of origin ( If your country is a member of The Hague Convention on the Legalization of Foreign Documents that is all you will need to do.

    If your country is not a member of that treaty, then you will have to send it to the Costa Rican consulate for your jurisdiction for authentication.

    Click here to see if your country is on the list:

    General Requirements

    1. Application: An application addressed to the Director General of Migration by the person applying. 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 Costa Rica, who will sign the residency application form and present all the documents in the Immigration offices. This power of attorney should be in Spanish, notarized and should follow the authentication procedures or the Apostille Act. We recommend issuing the power of attorney while you are in Costa Rica. Uvita Law Firm can help you to do this.

    2. Limited Power of Attorney: The applicant should grant specific and limited power of attorney to a representative that will carry out this process for the applicant. This document could be either signed in Costa Rica in front of an attorney and Notary Public or authenticated in the Consulate or authenticated (notarized) and must be Apostilled. It should indicate the personal information of the representative who is receiving the power of attorney and the fax number where notifications should be received.

    3. Birth Certificate: You must provide a NEW certified copy of your birth certificate and one for each of your dependents. This certificate is only valid for 6 months from the date they are issued.

    4. Federal Police Certificate of Good Conduct: This certification is obtained from the Federal Police department where you last resided. You will need to check with the Police department regarding what is the best way to obtain it.  Note that this certificate is only valid for 3 months from the date it is issued.  If this document expires while you are putting together the rest of the documentation, then you will have to obtain another one. If the document expires after you have submitted it to immigration and they have not processed your application you will NOT have to submit another one.  For further information please access the following link:

    5. Translation of Documents: Once you have compiled all your documentation, all documents that are in English must be translated into Spanish. Our Law Firm can handle this procedure (some charges may apply).

    6. Proof of Registration With Your Local Embassy: Your local Embassy in Costa Rica must provide you with a letter or certificate indicating that you have registered with them. This is now a pre-requisite to the approval of immigration residency status in Costa Rica.

    7. Marriage Certificate: (If the applicant is married, this certificate is needed.)

    8. Photocopy of the passport certified by the Consul: This is required for the applicant, spouse and any dependent children and can be done by a Notary Public, but in this last case, the copies will also have to be certified.

    9. Photographs: The application requires two (2) photographs. However, we recommend you have at least eight (8) photographs during the various stages of processing.

    10. Dependents: 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 enrolled in a University or College.

    11. Filing for families: In the case of a family group, an individual file is required per member.  Parents should sign applications on behalf of children who are minors.

    12. Professional Practice: To practice a profession, the individual concerned should provide his or her diplomas.  Concerning other professional activities, relevant documentation such as course and studies documentation should be submitted.


    1. Pension amount: The applicant should receive at least one thousand dollars (US$1000.00) a month from a qualified 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. (This can be obtained from the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica in some cases)


    1. Proof of Income: The applicant should demonstrate that he or she will receive income from an investment such as a certificate of deposit or annuity of at least US$2,500.00 per month for the whole family group.

    2. Conversion to Colones: The income should be converted into Costa Rican colones. The colones exchange rate is established by the Central Bank of Costa Rica. (See exchange rate for Banco Central here:

    3. Deposit: A deposit of US$ 60,000.00 in an approved Costa Rican bank will satisfy the government requirements for the residency status.

    4. No work policy: The Rentista (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. Investment of $200,000 in stock or a money-making endeavor: To qualify for investor status the applicant will have to demonstrate an investment of at least US$200,000 in Costa Rica. According to the regulations: “The investment amount must be $200,000 United States dollars or more according to the official exchange rate which is established by the Central Bank of Costa Rica. The investment can be made in tangible property, shares, negotiable instruments, productive projects or projects which are deemed of national interest”.

    2. Investment in Property: The regulations have loosened up a bit in this category, so that the purchase of property in Costa Rica with a value of US$200,000.00 if properly structured should qualify the purchaser and their immediate family under the investor category.


    1. Permanent Residency: Permanent residency can be applied for if you have first-degree family members such as parents, siblings, spouses and/or children who are citizens of Costa Rica. This includes children who are born to a Costa Rican citizen outside of Costa Rica and also to a baby born to foreign citizens in Costa Rican territory.

    2. Marriage Certificate: 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.  The same applies for Birth Certificates in case of children or siblings born in Costa Rica.

    3. Photocopy of ID: (cédula de identidad) of the Costa Rican citizen relative of the foreign applicant should be submitted as well.



    To obtain a student visa, the applicant should provide:
    a) Enrollment in an educational private or public center, recognized by Costa Rica;
    b) Relevant academic diplomas authenticated by the Consulate.
    c) Proof of sufficient economic resources for the duration of the educational program.


    The following individuals might obtain a temporary working permit in Costa Rica:
    a) Scientists, professionals, teachers, technicians and specialized staff hired by companies or institutions based in Costa Rica;
    b) Businessmen and board members of national and international companies.

    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 and
    d) Why they need to employ that particular individual (justification of employment).


    IMPORTANT. All the residency statuses will require, upon approval, a guarantee deposit of US$335.00 per person, as well as the cost for the issuance of an ID card (cost today is US $150.00 per person).

    For more information, please contact us via our Live Chat on the website, or to the following e-mail:

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The Dome Commercial Center, across from the Bridgestone building,
First floor, Office #7
Uvita, Osa, Puntarenas, Costa Rica

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