Attaining residency in Costa Rica may be a smart idea for a number of reasons: You need to be a resident if you want to get a home loan or mortgage. You will also need residency if you purchase a property and wish to reside in it. You need residency to legally work in the country. If you want to stay in the country for a period of longer than 90 days, you will need to file for residency as well. The actual process of becoming a resident is actually quite simple in many cases.
Two Common Types of Residency
There are temporary forms of residency available in Costa Rica, but the most common forms are permanent. You can’t work in the country without the proper type of registry, and if you aren’t careful, you could be deported and banned from re-entering the country for a period that can be as long as twelve years.
The two most common types of residency are:
Pensionado, or person who receives a lifetime pension or who has assured income for life for an amount no less than $1,000 per month.
Rentista, or person who has a guaranteed income or who makes a deposit in a Costa Rican bank of no less than $60,000.
There are other types of residency, such as that for investors which have $200,000 or more invested into Costa Rican businesses or property, or those who are associated with government work. These types of residency have their own restrictions to consider, but those who are in a position to take advantage of these types of residency typically already have the mechanics in place to handle the legal matter of their stay, or have hired someone who has.
Pensionados must prove an income of at least $1,000 every month from a qualified source. They must also prove that they receive that pension at every renewal period, which could be once every two years. They will need to have lived in Costa Rica for a period of no less than four months of the year, and enroll in the Costa Rican federal health system, CAJA.
Rentistas must likewise prove a monthly income, only in a much higher amount of $2,500 per month. The initial $60,000 deposit requirement is an alternative, as the funds will be distributed to the rentista every month for two years. After the two year period, the rentista will need to deposit another $60,000 or leave the country. They must also live in Costa Rica for at least a four month period, and enroll in CAJA.
Individuals who marry a Costa Rican with permanent residency or native status will be able to qualify for temporary residency. You will still need permanent status in order to work, which could take up to a year after initial filing. The status must also be renewed every year with Immigration authorities. Permanent residence status will otherwise take up to three years of residency before filing, which will still take up to a year to process.