Immigration and Residency
The requirements to enter Costa Rica depend on your country of nationality. Generally, citizens of the United States, Canada and the European Union countries do not require a visa to enter Costa Rica. Those citizens can enter Costa Rica with their valid passport and remain in the country for up to a maximum of 90 days.
Visa renewal. If you are under the 30 or 60 day category then the law allows you to apply for an extension of up to 90 days. If you have a 90 day visa the law does not allow you to apply for an extension in Costa Rica you must leave the country and re-enter to obtain another tourist visa.
The amount of time that a Tourist can remain in Costa Rica is based upon their country of origin. Costa Rica ranks countries for visa purposes into 4 categories set forth below:
GROUP ONE: Those countries designated as Group One may enter Costa Rica without an entry Visa and may remain in Costa Rica for up to 90 days.
Example: United States Canada, European Union, Australia, Brazil,
GROUP TWO: Citizens of Group Two countries may enter Costa Rica without an entry Visa and may remain in Costa Rica for up to 30 days.
Example: Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Venezuela
GROUP THREE: If you are a citizen of a Group Three country you need to obtain an entry VISA from a Costa Rican Embassy or Consulate abroad before you enter Costa Rica. If granted it is for a period of 30 days.
Example: Colombia, Ecuador, India, Nicaragua, Peru, China
GROUP FOUR: This is the most restrictive category. This means that citizens of Category Three Countries must have an entry visa BEFORE they are allowed to enter Costa Rica. The visa must be reviewed by the Director of Immigration before it can be granted. If granted the visa is for a period of 30 days.
Example: Cuba, Jamaica, Iran, Iraq.
Your Passport Entry Stamp: While you are in Costa Rica your passport and the immigration stamp that was placed in it when you entered the country is your proof of legal status. The Immigration Department allows you to carry a copy of your passport with the entry stamp so that you can keep your passport in a safe place.
The process and requirements for Costa Rica residency can be reviewed or changed by the government at any time. You should always consult a Costa Rican attorney for the most accurate and current information about Costa Rica Residency options and procedures.
Most foreigners engage an attorney who specializes in immigration to help them through the process, which can involve a significant amount of paperwork. What follows is general information about the different categories of Residency in Costa Rica. If you would like to have some names of immigration attorneys that we work with on a regular basis, please contact us and we will be happy to put you in contact with them.
The following is a snapshot of the different types of residency options available to foreigners:
Requires proof of US$ 1,000 per month income from permanent pension source or retirement fund.
Requires proof of US$ 2,500 per month income for at least two years, guaranteed by a banking institution, OR a US$ 60,000 deposit in an approved Costa Rican bank. One amount covers the family.
Investment of US$ 200,000 in shares of a business and real estate (properties, cars, boats)
Applicant must be director of a company meeting certain requirements