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Benefits of Residency

Why should I bother to get residency? This is a question we get a lot from people who come down to Costa Rica. This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, but here’s a short list of benefits of residency in Costa Rica:

  • You can get a Costa Rica driver’s license. With the new Ley de Tránsito, in order to get a Costa Rica driver’s license based on your existing one from your home country, you also need to show proof of legal residence. Your foreign license is only valid in Costa Rica when you show your passport with a valid entry stamp.
  • Less hassle opening a local bank account. Banks in Costa Rica are discouraging or phasing out personal bank accounts for those who do not have legal residence. While it’s still possible to have a Costa Rican bank account, it will be flagged as high risk. You will have to deal with extra requirements such as requiring to update your information very often or face account closure. In addition, you will not be able to send or receive interbank (SINPE) transfers without a legal residence.
  • No more need to carry your passport. Having to carry your passport everywhere you go is quite the hassle. It’s difficult to carry out any banking transactions without a passport (even changing US dollars to colones), and often times a notarized copy will not do. Residency means you get a resident ID card (called a DIMEX) you can carry in your wallet. You can then store your passport in a safe place.
  • No worries boarding a plane headed to Costa Rica. Many airlines require you to show proof of onward travel in order to board the plane to Costa Rica. This is also true with immigration once you enter the country. Having your residency card to show puts a stop to all that hassle.
  • Resident discounts. As a Costa Rican resident you’ll enjoy discounts with tourist businesses (for example, local flights are discounted), tourist destinations and national parks, and local attractions.
  • Stop leaving Costa Rica every 90 days! While border runs can be a fun trip to the beach, they can get old fast, and the circumstances of each border run seem to change every year (usually adding more and more complexity).

Enjoy the benefits of Costa Rica residency by contacting us at +506-8373-2085 with your questions, or completing our free assessment questionnaire.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Questions please. I received my cedula February 2018. Everything went well. I have been paying the caja every month. Do I have to deposit $1000 in a Costa Rica bank in order to keep the pensionado visa or was my proof of income (social security) enough? What about this when I renew? Do I have to show proof of deposit? Please email reply. If I m in the US and coming to Costa Rica do I need a return ticket with my cedula?

    1. Hi Leslie,
      Thank you for your comments! You would not be required to deposit $1000 in a Costa Rican bank every month — renewal requires proof of your pension only. If you have a DIMEX (residency card) that is not expired, you can enter Costa Rica without a return ticket.

  2. My wife and I have been living in Costa Rica for over 7 years. We are awaiting the arrival of our permanent residency cedula. We currently have our temporary cedula based on our social security. Is it possible for us to get a passport of Costa Rica?

    1. Hi Ronald,
      Thank you for your comment! The time spent with temporary residence status is eligible for the purpose of applying for citizenship. You’d be eligible 7 years from the date your temporary resident DIMEX (cédula) was first issued — or 5 years in the case of Iberoamerican citizens. For example, if you are a US citizen, it has been more than 7 years since you received your first DIMEX, and you have maintained your residency status (example: being away from CR of over 3 months at a time can freeze this clock so to speak), you may apply for Costa Rican citizenship via naturalization.

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