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Opening a Bank Account in Costa Rica

If you are a foreigner moving to Costa Rica and seeking residency, you will eventually need the services of a Costa Rica bank. So if your thinking of opening a bank account in Costa Rica you will want to keep reading.

Government banks offer you the advantage of being a safer place for your money, since the Costa Rican government backs these banks. They have a large presence and many branches throughout Costa Rica. You will find that there is ether a BCR or Banco Nacional or both in practically every town in Costa Rica.

To open a bank account you must be legal in the country meaning that the visa entry stamp in your passport must be currently valid.  They would also like to see that you started your residency process and have some tie to the country such as a home, investment or business in Costa Rica. You will need to provide the bank with documentation to show where your funds are coming from and income verification.

Just like all USA, Canadian and European banks, Costa Rica banks are also subject to the ‘Know Your Customer’ reporting requirements to prevent money laundering, including the $10,000 transaction reporting limit. The good news is, banking secrecy laws are in effect, so no government or private agency can get access to your specific account information without a court order. This is just one reason Costa Rica is a frequent choice for foreigners that would like to keep their assets protected from frivolous civil lawsuits in their home country.

It’s best to check with the bank you are dealing with and ask for the requirements to set up an account, but most now require that an applicant have Costa Rican residency to open an account.

Most banks will generally ask for some or all the documents below:

  • Passport
  • Residency documents
  • Utility bill from the place where you are residing in Costa Rica.
  • Letter of recommendation from a financial institution in your country
  • Letter from your employer with the official stamp of the company (if employed)
  • Reference letters from current account holders at the bank you are applying

However, new regulations are making it very difficult for foreigners awaiting their residence card to use banking services. Even though the banks are obligated to provide service, you’ll find them to be generally uncooperative. Thankfully at Costa Rica Immigration Experts we work with banks and agents who can help you navigate the process of opening a bank account while your residency is pending.

Just give us a call at 8373-2085 for a price quote to open a bank account in Costa Rica

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