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There are several categories available if you are considering applying for residency in Costa Rica. Here below, we describe some of the most common categories and their specific requirements in short. However, general requirements apply to all Residencies and Permits.

Temporary, Permanent Residency and Citizenship

Temporary Residence – Retirees (Pensionado)

• Requires proof of $1000 US per month income from permanent pension source or retirement fund;
• Must remain in Costa Rica at least one day per year;
• Cannot work as an employee;
• Can claim spouse and dependents under 18 years of age;
• Can own a company and receive dividends.

Temporary Residence – Fixed Income (Rentista)

• Requires proof of deposit of $60,000 US in an approved bank, with $2,500 US withdrawn every month. This requirement needs to be met during application AND every subsequent renewal (every two years) until you apply for Permanent Residence.
  OR proof of $2,500 US per month passive income (cannot be employment income), verifiable, stable, permanent income such as bank interest, annuity, public company dividends for at least two years.
• Must remain in Costa Rica at least one day per year;
• Cannot work as an employee;

• Can claim spouse and dependents under 18 years of age;
• Can own a company and receive dividends.

Temporary Residence – Investors

• Investment of $200,000 US in a business or property;
• Must remain in Costa Rica at least one day per year;
• Cannot work as an employee;
• Can claim spouse and dependents under 18 years of age;
• Can own a company and receive dividends.

Click HERE to see some great homes for sale that meet the requirements for the Investor category.

Temporary Residence – Spouse of a Costa Rican

• Must provide documentary proof of the marriage’s validity (photos of the wedding and other events, proof of cohabitation, and communication between spouses – phone records, e-mails, etc.);
• Must remain in Costa Rica at least one day per year;

• Can work as an employee or independent worker;
• Can own a company and receive income.

Permanent Residence – Parent of a Costa Rican

• Permanent residency category for a parent of a Costa Rican (skip the Temporary Step);
• Can claim dependents under 18 years of age;
• Can work as an employee or independent worker;
• Can own a company and receive income.

Permanent Residence – for Qualifying Temporary Residents

• May apply after three years as a temporary resident;
• Can work as an employee or independent worker;
• Can own a company and receive income.

Citizenship (Naturalization) by Residence

• 7 years living in Costa Rica as a legal resident (5 years if you are a citizen of a Central American country, a citizen of certain Latin American countries, or a Spain citizen by birth);
• You must prove you have lived in Costa Rica for an accumulated time through the record of immigration entries and exits;
• 2 character witness declarations;
• Financial means of living proof, such as an income certification from a CPA;
• Completion of citizenship test – Spanish and social studies (Applicants aged 65 and over are exempt from this test).

Citizenship (Naturalization) by Marriage

• 2 years living in Costa Rica married to a Costa Rican citizen;
• Proof that you have lived in Costa Rica for the accumulated time through the record of immigration entries and exits.

Work Permits

Work Permit – Employee

***This category is generally only available to domestic and agricultural workers.***
***Other highly specialized and limited cases may also apply.***

• Authenticated job offer or contract indicating functions, hours, and salary, signed by an employer;
• Signed letter from intended employer, acting as guarantor;
• Proof of employer’s economic solvency (such as income certification by Certified Public Accountant);
• Must remain in Costa Rica at least one day per year;
Cannot claim spouse and dependents under 18 years of age.

Work Permit – Employer

• Company documents;
• Business license from the corresponding municipality;
• Business sanitation permit from Ministry of Health;
• Income certification by Certified Public Accountant;
• Proof of payment/registration of company income taxes;
• Proof of Caja (CCSS) registration of the company;
• Must remain in Costa Rica at least one day per year;
Cannot claim spouse and dependents under 18 years of age.

This is a must see video. Here you will find the answers to lots of questions about Residency.

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