Residency Categories

There are several residency categories available if you are considering applying for residency in Costa Rica. Some of the most common migratory categories and their specific requirements are described below; however, general requirements are applicable to all of them.

Temporary Residence – Pensionado:

• Requires proof of US$1000 per month income from permanent pension source or retirement fund.
• Must remain in country at least 4 months per year.
• Can claim spouse and dependents under 18 years of age.
• Cannot work as an employee.
• Can own a company and receive dividends.

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Temporary Residence – Rentista:

• Requires proof of deposit of US $60,000 in an approved bank, with $2,500 withdrawn every month.  This requirement needs to be met during application AND every subsequent renewal (every 2 years) until you apply for Permanent Residence.
• OR proof of US$2500 per month unearned (cannot be employment income), verifiable, stable, permanent income  such as bank interest, annuity, public company dividends for at least 2 years.
• Must remain in country at least 4 months per year.
• Can claim spouse and dependents under 18 years of age.
• Cannot work as an employee.
• Can own a company and receive dividends.

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Temporary Residence - Investor:

• Investment of US$200,000 in a business or property.
• Must remain in country at least 6 months per year.
• Can claim spouse and dependents under 18 years of age.
• Income allowed from the project.
• Can own a company and receive dividends.
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Temporary Residence – Company Representative:

• Applicant must be director of a company meeting certain requirements, such as employing a minimum number of local workers as established by the labor law, with financial statements certified by a Public Accountant.
• Must remain in country at least 6 months per year.
• Can claim spouse and dependents under 18 years of age.
• Can earn an income from the company.
• Can own a company and receive income.

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Temporary Residence - Spouse of a Costa Rican Citizen:

• Must provide documentary proof of the marriage’s validity, such as photos (of the wedding and other events), proof of co-habitation, and communication between spouses (such as phone records, e-mails etc).
• Can work.
• Can own a company and receive income.

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Permanent Residence:

• May apply after three years as a temporary resident.
• OR first-degree relative status with a Costa Rican Citizen (having a Costa Rican child or Costa Rican parents — although having Costa Rican parents can qualify you to opt for citizenship),
• Can claim spouse and dependents under 18 years of age.
• Can work.
• Can own a company and receive income.

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Citizenship by Residence:

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

Citizenship by Marriage:

• 2 years living in Costa Rica married to a Costa Rican citizen
• You must prove you have lived in Costa Rica for the accumulated time through the record of immigration entries and exits