General Residency Requirements

Here’s a short list of the general residency requirements common to most forms of residency applications in Costa Rica. At Costa Rica Immigration Experts we’d love to be able to help you set up your file right the first time and enjoy residency as quickly as possible. Complete our FREE assessment now and we’ll be glad to serve you!

  1. Residency Application: We will create an application letter addressed to the Director General of Migration, as well as complete the application form, duly authenticated by a Costa Rican Attorney. For your convenience you will grant us a special power of attorney as your immigration representative to submit the documents.
  2. Proof of Consular Registration of intention to apply for residency in Costa Rica. Please note: The consular registration is waived if the country of origin does not have a consulate or embassy in Costa Rica. We can help you with this process with your country’s consulate in Costa Rica.
  3. Full Birth Certificate. Must be Apostilled; or, if your home country is not party to the Apostille Convention, submitted to the corresponding Costa Rican consulate in the country of origin, then authenticated at the Foreign Affairs department in San Jose.
  4. Criminal Record Check: Required of all applicants over the age of 12; this document must not be older than six months, unless the document specifies otherwise. Issued by your home country, or where you have legally resided for the past three years. Must be Apostilled; or, if your home country is not party to the Apostille Convention, submitted to the corresponding Costa Rican consulate in the country of origin, then authenticated at the Foreign Affairs department in San Jose.
  5. Fingerprint Registration: Necessary for residency in Costa Rica, must be personally done by the applicant in San Jose. We will guide you through the process of registering your fingerprints.
  6. Marriage Certificate: If the applicant is married and wishes to include his or her spouse as a dependent.
  7. Photocopy of the passport (all pages): Must be notarized. All applicants, including minors, must comply with this requirement.
  8. Eight recent passport-sized photographs: Required for applicant, spouse and any dependent children.
  9. To apply for residency in Costa Rica, the Costa Rican government requires applicants register with their Embassy. This will help them to be able to contact you or family in an emergency. You will need to complete the (COMPROBANTE INSCRIPCION CONSULAR) or (Register Abroad) form with your Embassy.  Click here for the  US EMBASSY and fill out the  (Register Abroad) form by clicking here: Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Click here for the Canadian Consulate in Costa Rica and you can fill out the form for the Registration of Canadians Abroad here.
  10. Eligible individuals can claim their spouses and children under 18, as dependents, as well as older children with disabilities. Dependent children between the ages of 18 and 25 can be included if he or she is enrolled in a University.
  11. In the case of a family group, an individual file is required per member. Parents should sign applications on behalf of minor children.

An affidavit stating a reason of impossibility may be submitted in the event there is a sufficient reason that justifies the impossibility of the presentation of certain requirements, i.e. birth certificate, criminal record check, etc.

All foreign documents must either be Apostilled, or authenticated by the Costa Rican Consulate if your home country is not a party to the Apostille Convention. Read here for more information on the Apostille Convention and if your home country is a party to it — notable exceptions include Canada and China.

All documents not in Spanish must be translated to Spanish by an Official Translator registered with the Costa Rica Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

At Costa Rica Immigration Experts we help you get the documents you need to complete your application and ensure that it meets the requirements of Costa Rica Immigration. Contact us now for a free assessment!