The information we’re providing about obtaining residency in Costa Rica has been pieced together based on conversations we’ve had with numerous expats, along with information we’ve found in various sources on the internet. We’ve heard that the process is frequently updated and can vary depending on the clerk who happens to be at the window when you apply. We plan to update this information as we go through the process ourselves. Meanwhile, you’ll need to do your own due diligence. If you spot any information that is inaccurate or incomplete, we’d love to be informed, so please use our contact form to let us know.

The main advantages to obtaining residency in Costa Rica are that you don’t have to leave the country every 90 days and you can (and must) participate in the national healthcare system (aka The CAJA).

There are four types of temporary residency in Costa Rica:

  • Pensionado – Requires proof of US$1,000 per month from a permanent source such as a pension or Social Security.
  • Rentista – Requires proof of US$2,500 per month for at least two years, guaranteed by a banking institution or a deposit of US$60,000 in an approved Costa Rican bank. The $60,000 is paid out to the Rentista at $2,500 per month over the two years, and another $60,000 must be deposited to continue living in Costa Rica beyond two years.
  • Inversionista – Requires a $200,000 investment in any business or specified amounts in certain government-approved sectors.
  • Representante – Must be a director of a company meeting certain requirements such as employing a minimum number of local workers.

Since our emphasis is on retirement, we will focus on applying for residency as a Pensionado or Rentista which are very similar except for the income verifications described above. Pensionado and Rentista residents:

  • Must remain in Costa Rica for at least four months per year.
  • Can claim spouse and dependents under 18 years of age with no further income requirement
  • Cannot work as an employee.
  • Can own a company and receive income.

If you’re ready to get started, you can visit our Applying for Residency page to step through the process.

If you want to work as an employee in Costa Rica, you must obtain Permanent residency. There are two basic ways to do that:

  • Vinculo – Married to or relationship (spouse, son, daughter, father, mother, or unmarried sibling) to a Costa Rican Citizen.
  • Apply after three years of temporary residency (Residents of Spain can apply for permanent residency right away.)