How Long Does it Take to Get Residency in Costa Rica?
If you plan on moving to Costa Rica, one of the most important things you’ll need to consider is obtaining residency. But just how long does it take to get residency in Costa Rica? The answer to this question depends on several factors, such as the type of residency you’re applying for and the documents you need to provide.
Types of Residency in Costa Rica
Before we delve into the timeline for obtaining residency in Costa Rica, we must understand the different types of residency available. There are seven types of residency in Costa Rica:
This type of residency is for retirees who receive a pension or other retirement income from a government or private entity. Learn more here about Residency from Disability or Retiree Pension…
Rentista residency is for those who can deposit $60,000 USD into a Costa Rican bank and withdraw $2,500 monthly. Learn more here about Residency from Fixed Income – Rentor…
This residency type is for investors planning to invest at least $150,000 USD in a Costa Rican business or property. Learn more here about Residency for Investors…
Foreign Work (Empleada Doméstica)
This type of residency is for domestic workers employed by a Costa Rican citizen or resident. Learn more here about Residency for Foreign Workers…
Permanent Residency (Permanente)
Permanent residency is for those who plan to live in Costa Rica permanently and have held their temporary residency for at least 3 years or longer. Learn more here about Permanent Residency…
Foreigners who have lived in Costa Rica for at least seven years can apply for naturalization. Learn more here about Citizenship and Naturalization…
Click here to find out the rest of the categories.
Requirements to get Residency in Costa Rica
Regardless of the type of residency you’re applying for, there are some general requirements that you must meet:
- A background check as criminal convictions may disqualify you.
- You must provide an apostilled or legalized birth certificate, marriage certificate (if applicable), and police clearance certificate (on the federal level) from your home country for each applicant.
- Depending on your category, you may need to provide proof of income, such as bank statements, tax returns, or pay stubs.
In addition to these general requirements, there are specific requirements for each type of residency. For example, for Pensionado Residency, you must show proof of a monthly pension of at least $1,000 USD. For Rentista residency, you must provide a bank statement indicating a deposit of at least $60,000 USD; for Inversionista residency, you must provide proof of your investment.
Application Process for Residency
Once you’ve determined which type of residency you’re eligible for and have gathered all the necessary documents, you can begin the application process. The application process involves several steps, including:
- We recommend consulting with a professional company to assist you in the process, such as CRIE (Costa Rica Immigration Experts).
- You are obtaining paperwork from your home country.
- Have said paperwork Apostilled or legalized.
- I am submitting the original copies of the paperwork.
- I am paying the necessary fees.
The time it takes to complete each step varies depending on various factors.
Timeline for Residency
So, how long does it take to get residency in Costa Rica? The answer depends on the type of residency you’re applying for. Generally, the timeline for obtaining residency ranges from 6 months to a year or more.
For Pensionado and Rentista residency, the application process can take 6-8 months or more. Inversionista residency can take up to a year or longer, involving investing in a Costa Rican business or property. It can vary from person to person since, once everything is turned in and in the hands of the government officials, they may proceed with your file more slowly or quickly depending on the efficiency of the government agency responsible for it.
Tips for Obtaining Residency
If you’re considering obtaining residency in Costa Rica, here are some tips to help make the process smoother:
- Start the application process as soon as possible to avoid delays.
- Ensure that you have all the necessary documents apostilled or legalized.
- Consult with an immigration expert for questions or concerns and to check your paperwork is correct before you come to Costa Rica.
- Stay organized and keep track of deadlines.
- Be patient and flexible, as the process may take longer than expected.
Obtaining residency in Costa Rica can be complex, but it’s worth it for those who want to live in this beautiful country. You can increase your chances of success by understanding the different types of residency, the requirements, and the application process. Remember to do your research and seek professional advice if needed.
-Written by Glenn Tellier (Founder of CRIEand Grupo Gap).
Fill out the form below to determine your residency category. Or click here!
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Pensionado (Pension/Disability) Category
Rentista (Fixed Income) Category
Inversionista (Investor) Category
Family ties with a Costa Rican Resident/Citizen Category
My residency company let me down
I am not sure.
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Country Of Birth
Country of Residence
How many people under your application (spouse, children under 25)
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can I work in Costa Rica with a work permit?
Yes, you can work in Costa Rica with a work permit.
What are the types of residency available in Costa Rica?
Several types of residency are available in Costa Rica, including categories such as a pension, renter, investor, family-related (marriage or having a child with a citizen), work permit, and more.
What documents do I need to provide to get residency in Costa Rica?
The documents you must provide will depend on the type of residency you’re applying for. Still, you must provide apostilled or legalized criminal record certificate, a birth certificate, and a marriage certificate if applicable. If you’re applying for retirement residency, you must provide evidence of a pension.
How long does it take to process the application for residency in Costa Rica?
The length of time it takes to process your application can vary depending on several factors, such as the type of residency you’re applying for and the workload of the immigration department. It can take several months to process your application, so planning and using it as early as possible is essential.
Can I apply for residency while on a tourist visa?
You must apply for residency while under your visa limitations. For example, if you are granted 90 days as a tourist, you must use that timeframe.
Can I work in Costa Rica while on a tourist visa?
You cannot legally work in Costa Rica on a tourist visa. You must obtain the appropriate visa, such as a work permit, to work in the country legally.
Can I apply for residency with a criminal record?
It depends on the nature of your criminal record. Some criminal records may disqualify you from obtaining residency, while others may not. It’s best to consult an immigration specialist to determine your eligibility.
Can I apply for residency if I don’t speak Spanish?
Yes, applying for residency is possible if you don’t speak Spanish. However, having a Spanish-speaking friend or hiring a translator to assist you with the application process may be helpful.
How long can I stay in Costa Rica on a tourist visa?
Most tourists on a tourist visa can stay in Costa Rica for up to 90 days. However, it’s essential to check the specific requirements for your home country and ensure you have the appropriate visa before traveling to Costa Rica.
How long is the residency permit valid in Costa Rica?
The length of validity for a residency will depend on your residency type. Temporary residency permits are typically valid for one to two years, while permanent residency permits are valid for five years.
Can I renew my residency?
Yes, you can renew your residency. You must provide updated documents and meet any requirements for your specific type of residency.
Can I bring my family when applying for residency?
Yes, you can bring your family with you when applying for residency. You must provide additional documents and pay additional fees for each family member; dependents must be under 25 years old to qualify.
Is it necessary to hire an immigration specialist to apply for residency in Costa Rica?
While it’s not legally required to hire an immigration specialist to apply for residency, it can be very wise and comes highly recommended. They can assist with navigating the whole process and ensure all required documents are submitted correctly.
How much does it cost to get residency in Costa Rica?
The cost of residency will depend on the type of residency you’re applying for and any additional fees for family members or legal assistance. The cost can range based on the number of family members you have.