Costa Rica – How to get a residence permit?

Costa Rica – How to Get a Residence Permit?

Are you planning to move to Costa Rica? If yes, one of the crucial things you need to do is get a residence permit. A residence permit will allow you to stay in the country for an extended period and conduct legal activities like work or study. However, getting a residence permit can be overwhelming and confusing, especially if you’re not familiar with the process. In this guide, we’ll provide you with everything you need to know about how to get a residence permit in Costa Rica.

What is a residence permit, and why do you need it?

A residence permit is a document issued by the Costa Rican government that allows foreigners to reside legally in the country. Without a valid residence permit, you won’t be able to stay in Costa Rica for more than 90 days. A residence permit serves as proof that you are legally allowed to reside in the country for an extended period.

Types of Residence Permits in Costa Rica

There are several types of residence permits available in Costa Rica. The type of permit you require will depend on your intended activity while residing in the country. Below are some of the most common types of residence permits:


The Pensionado program is designed for retirees who wish to live in Costa Rica. To qualify for this permit, you need to prove that you have a monthly pension income of at least $1000.


Rentista visa is suitable for those individuals who have a steady income source but do not necessarily have a retirement plan. This category requires applicants to demonstrate they receive a guaranteed amount of $2500 per month for two years.


This category is for investors who want to invest in Costa Rican businesses. To qualify for this permit, an applicant should show an investment of $200,000 or more.


This permit is for students who wish to study in Costa Rica.


This permit is for individuals who have a job offer from a Costa Rican employer.

How to Get a Residence Permit in Costa Rica?

The process of obtaining a residence permit in Costa Rica can be divided into the following steps:

1. Gather All the Required Documents

The first step in obtaining a residence permit is to gather all the required documents. The specific documents you need will depend on the type of permit you’re applying for. However, some of the common documents include:

– Passport

– Birth certificate

– Marriage certificate (if applicable)

– Police clearance certificate

– Proof of income (for Pensionado and Rentista permits)

– Investment proof (for Inversionista permit)

2. Submit Your Application

Once you have collected all the necessary documents, the next step is to submit your application. You can submit your application online at the Costa Rican immigration website, or you can visit the nearest Costa Rican embassy or consulate. Ensure that you fill out the application form correctly and provide accurate information.

3. Pay the Fees

After submitting your application, the next step is to pay the appropriate fees. The amount you need to pay will depend on the type of permit you’re applying for.

4. Attend the Interview

After you’ve paid the fees, you’ll need to attend an interview at the immigration office. During the interview, the immigration officer will ask you questions about your background and the purpose of your stay in Costa Rica.

5. Wait for Approval

After the interview, you’ll need to wait for your application to be processed. The processing time varies depending on the type of permit you’re applying for. Generally, it takes between one to six months.

6. Collect Your Residence Permit

If your application is approved, you’ll need to collect your residence permit. You’ll receive a notification when your permit is ready for collection, and you can pick it up at the nearest immigration office.


Getting a residence permit in Costa Rica is a crucial step if you plan to stay in the country long-term. The process may seem daunting, but with this guide, you now have a clear understanding of what you need to do and what documents are required. Remember to apply for the appropriate type of residence permit depending on your planned activities while residing in Costa Rica. With patience and persistence, you can get your residence permit and enjoy all that this beautiful country has to offer.# Costa Rica – Why You Should Consider Becoming a Resident

In our previous article, we discussed how to obtain a residence permit in Costa Rica. But have you ever thought about why you should consider becoming a resident? Costa Rica is an incredible country with a lot to offer, and here are some reasons why you should consider making it your home.

Stable Economy

Costa Rica has one of the most stable economies in Latin America. The country’s economy is diverse, with thriving tourism, agriculture, and technology sectors. The government has implemented policies that promote foreign investment, making it an attractive destination for investors.

High Quality of Life

Costa Rica is known for its high quality of life. It has a warm climate, beautiful beaches, and stunning landscapes. The country is also famous for its biodiversity, with over 25% of its land designated as protected areas. Costa Rica has an excellent healthcare system, which is affordable and accessible to both residents and visitors.

Affordable Cost of Living

Compared to other countries in North America or Europe, the cost of living in Costa Rica is relatively low. This makes it an ideal destination for expats who want to stretch their retirement savings or entrepreneurs looking to start a new business.

Friendly People and Culture

Costa Ricans, also known as Ticos, are warm, friendly, and welcoming people. They live by the phrase Pura Vida, which means pure life or good life, and it reflects their positive attitude towards life. The culture of Costa Rica is rich and diverse, with influences from indigenous tribes and Spanish colonialism.

Easy Residency Requirements

Getting a residence permit in Costa Rica is relatively easy compared to other countries. The country offers various types of permits, including for retirees, investors, students, and those with job offers. The process is straightforward, and the immigration authorities are helpful and courteous.

Access to Great Education

Costa Rica has a well-developed education system, with a literacy rate of almost 97%. The country offers excellent educational opportunities for residents and students from all over the world. The University of Costa Rica is one of the top institutions in Latin America, and there are plenty of other reputable schools and universities to choose from.

Opportunity for Adventure

Costa Rica is an adventurer’s paradise. From zip-lining through the rainforest canopy to surfing on the Pacific coast, there’s never a dull moment in this beautiful country. There are also many national parks and reserves to explore, where you can see exotic wildlife like sloths, toucans, and monkeys.


Becoming a resident of Costa Rica is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a high quality of life, friendly people, and a stable economy. The country offers various residency options, making it easy for expats to obtain legal status. With affordable cost of living, great education, and endless adventure opportunities, Costa Rica is truly a gem in Central America.Whether you’re a retiree, investor, student, or someone looking for a new adventure, Costa Rica has something to offer. The process of obtaining a residence permit is straightforward, and with its stable economy, high quality of life, and friendly people, it’s no wonder why so many people are choosing to make Costa Rica their home. So what are you waiting for? Consider becoming a resident of this beautiful country, and start living the Pura Vida lifestyle today!

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