Costa Rica in the recent times has evolved as the most favored investment and residency destination. With the government taking firm steps, changing the policies and building infrastructure and offering tax and other holidays to corporations, Costa Rica has become a much sought after destination for people across the world.With the opening up of markets and simplification of procedures, Residency has become a very viable option for many businessmen and retired from countries like USA, UK and other developed countries.

Living in Costa Rica

The peace, tranquility, natural resources and simplified living, Costa Rica offers are not available elsewhere. With very caring, cultured, educated and down to earth population of Costa Rica, people across the world have come to love Costa Rica as a destination of their choice for residency.

Residency is however, not a simple process yet. You will need some help getting the necessary papers in order to become a full resident of the country of Costa Rica. All residency applications in Costa Rica are governed by the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería (The Costa Rican Department of Immigration) which is under the aegis of Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Publica (Ministry of Public Security and Police). All application should be addressed to the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería and forwarded from the current country of residence through the relevant Costa Rican Consular office that governs the area.

The rules of residency keep changing from time to time and the present influx of people due to Costa Rica becoming an attractive destination is getting difficult to handle by the local officials. The new applications are facing delays in being processed and residency being a discretionary matter, the Department of Immigration is more biased towards immigrants who can financially benefit the country or provide employment to the local population through investments in industry (direct or indirect).

There are two basic residency options available in Costa Rica:

1. Pensionado and Rentista Residency: In the event that you are planning to retire into Costa Rica, you can have two options. You may either have a pension income or an investment income in which case you can pick the Rentista (Pension) or the Pensionado Residency.

a. Pensionado: The applicant applying for the Pensionado residency is required to have and demonstrate a pension or similar income which is permanent or fixed to the tune of at least $600 US per month.

b. Rentista: The applicant applying for the Rentista residency must have and demonstrate a fixed and permanent income of $1,000 US per month.

In both the above cases the applicants must comply with the following:

a. Regular evidence of the funds deposited monthly and converted into Colones.

b. A minimum residence of 4 months in the country.

2. Inversionista: The applicants in this category need to demonstrate and prove that the resident will come to Costa Rica to invest in the country. The investment are in various categories with different investment caps.

Exports & Tourism: The cap for this industry is a minimum investment of $50,000 US in such categories or project that are approved by the PROCOMER (Center for the Promotion of Exports) and demarcated as a priority investment area.

Reforestation: A minimum investment of $100,000 US in any of the Costa Rican reforestation projects.

Non-Priority Investment: A minimum investment of $200,000 Us in any area that does not fall under the above two categories.

This category really involves two different steps. The first is to qualify the investment by PROCOMER to determine if it falls within the priority area. Once this initial process has been completed and the certification issued then you can begin the application process which is done directly before the Department of Immigration.

3. Empresario: An individual who is willing to establish a corporation in Costa Rica and will give employment to costa Rican citizens is welcome under this residency scheme. The residency application should prove and demonstrate that the applicant is at least

(1) A shareholder of an active Costa Rican corporation declared by the Costa Rican Tax Department (Hacienda).

(2) The corporation should have a registration as an Employer with the Costa Rican Social Security Administration and should employ at least two employees.

(3) The employees are required to be insured under the Worker's Compensation Program.

(4) Your corporation should have a patente municipal (business licence) issued by the Municipal Government.

(5) The corporation should have a Costa Rican bank account.

(6) The corporation should also have financial statements prepared by a Costa Rican CPA that certify the financial investment made in the country.

With such openings and all other advantages, Costa Rica is truly a country that welcomes residency. However, the paperwork could sometimes get to you. We can help in such matters since we have qualified and experienced manpower handling residency issues for quite some years now.