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Seniors are Exempt from Citizenship Test in Costa Rica

The Test

Prior to getting the citizenship in Costa Rica you need to pass an exam. According to the Costa Rican Constitution, anybody seeking citizenship must exhibit good behavior, establish that they have a source of income. They will also need to demonstrate that they can speak, read and write in Spanish. Undergo a comprehensive exam on the history of the country, its values, assure that they will reside in Costa Rica on a regular basis and swear that they will respect the constitutional order of the Republic.

The exam includes a language and civics test, that most expats consider very difficult. Normally, you’d have to take the test on Costa Rican geography, general history, and a Spanish language test with the Public Education Department.  Throughout the year, there are usually four test periods. That is why, many of our senior clients do not consider becoming Costa Rican citizens, thinking they are unable to take the citizenship test.

The Good News!

However, did you know that applicants aged 65 and over are exempt from the citizenship tests?

Yes, it’s true! Thus, seniors are exempt from citizenship test in Costa Rica. The Supreme Elections Tribunal (TSE) reformed the naturalization regulations to include 2 key exemptions:

  • When applicants are 65 years old or over
  • When applicants can prove that they have cognitive problems that would make them unable to pass the exam.

For reference, please refer to the current regulations (in Spanish):
Reglamento Relativo a Los Trámites,
Requisitos y Criterios de Resolución en Materia de Naturalizaciones
The exemptions are covered in articles 116 and 117.

Please see our article Benefits of Citizenship for details on the benefits, the process, and answers to questions we get often.


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This Post Has 4 Comments

    1. Hi John… I have lived in Costa Rica for 10 years and I live on my Social Security from the states. If I become a citizen do I lose my SSN Benefits?

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