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Dealing with a residency project in Costa Rica


Clare Facio Legal’s reflection for the applicant

By Alberto Chacon



Thanks to the efforts made by Costa Ricans during this second millennium, the idea of settling in Costa Rica is gaining popularity in various parts of the world. Arguments of quality of life mixed with that call for adventure immersed in wild tropical spaces, and of course not omitting that promise of security with which we battle together every day.


The plan is clear, to enlist the volume of available assets to move to Costa Rica and make a life. The key to the plan lies in the “Volume of wealth” available. This point will show you the way to an ideal migratory figure and will reveal the doors of optional corollary figures, not ideal, but pertinent.


The ideal perspective of a future resident is thus born: “as soon as I meet the requirements, I will be eligible to obtain residency”. It is indeed an entirely certain perspective, however, it omits temporal and operative criteria.





In Costa Rica there are migratory categories ranging from Permanent statuses (through family ties such as marriage or kinship) to Temporary statuses linked to investment criteria (registrable properties or shares and securities), work permits (legal representatives, occupation of a specialized position in a company, private enterprises, specialized positions) among other options (students, stays) to more recent efforts with the new category of Digital Nomads.


Each of these categories relies on the applicant’s ability to obtain documentary proof of his or her situation, in relation to the recommended immigration status. The process itself seems to start naturally with (i) the case study conducted by a professional migration consultant, (ii) definition of the category and its requirements, (iii) collection of documentary evidence to meet the requirements, including as a priority those that must be obtained and duly legalized in the applicant’s country of origin, (iv) request for an appointment to present the documents, (v) presentation of the documents. However, the cadence in the administrative management times, force migration professionals and their clients to look for ways to optimize the process. In fact, they must take into account the dates of issuance of legalized documents (apostille, consular certification) and official translations by the corresponding governments, with respect to the DGME’s management dates. Your document collection efforts may be in vain, since your documents are already out of date or incorrect. This difficulty was latent when filing appointments were being issued one year in advance, during the recent critical periods linked to Covid-19.


The accompaniment of a professional is essential in our migratory processes. The ability to anticipate and adapt throughout the process is a determining factor for it to be carried out in a healthy manner and its outcome to be satisfactory. The classic example mentioned above, in which your particular situation prevents you from obtaining your documentary evidence on time, an immigration professional can guide you so that your immigration file is submitted on time and you can still provide what is missing.


On the other hand, immigration legislation in Costa Rica has been subject to changes in recent years, consequently, relevant and accurate information about such changes becomes difficult to discern. That guidance on how to proceed in times of change can prove invaluable to a process such as your residency application. Citing two examples of the most recent changes, we can highlight (i) the reduction of the investment amount for the temporary immigration category of investors, which used to be US$200,000.00. Now it is US$150,000.00 in order to improve our position, and to appear in a more attractive light to foreign investment. (ii) The inauguration of a new migratory category such as the Law to Attract Workers and Remote Service Providers of International Character. The country then decides to target the production sector created by the Digital Nomads and allow them to choose Costa Rica as a “safe heaven”; not only keep their income and labor context in their respective country but also enjoy the benefits of living in Costa Rica.


In practice the obstacles and surprises that arise are all foreseeable and the possibility of overcoming them is high, just with the accompaniment of a professional. At this point of the reading your questions could be many and we would like to help you land some ideas regarding the practical aspects.



If we take as a reference the application for temporary residence under the investor category, let us help you understand exactly how much should I invest? how should I invest it and where should I invest it?


Moving the amount corresponding to your investment from your country to the national territory requires guidance from professionals in the field. Your money should be taken seriously and your life condition should not suffer during the different stages of obtaining residency, therefore, is it important to make sure that your funds will be received in Costa Rica by responsible financial entities and that the object of your investment is subjected to a due diligence process calibrated to your life objectives.


If we take as a reference the application for residency under the immigration sub-category of Stay for Worker or Remote Service Provider: Digital Nomads, let us help you gather the information, coordinate your filing and obtain the immigration status.





We emphasize the importance of preparing your documentation in an appropriate manner and consulting with professionals on the best way to meet your needs and those of your family. This is of utmost importance since the time taken by the Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería (DGME) generally exceeds the established norms. In fact, the migration offices should take a maximum of 90 days to rule on your application and either approve the application or request answers or adjustments needed to complete the file. In practice, the DGME rarely takes less than 8 months to approve files, and often even longer.


In this sense, the government assumes its responsibility by tolerating your stay in the territory, until your resolution gives you the instructions to follow, to rectify what has been presented or to withdraw your DIMEX. In parallel you will notice that, with your respective immigration file number assigned and your process under review, banks will be more eager to open your bank account. At the end of the process, and before giving you your immigration and foreigner identification document, you will be welcomed into the national health system through your insurance in the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social).


Therefore, get ready, arrange your priorities of life in tropical lands and let our joie de vivre welcome you with open arms.


Your life experience is very important to us.

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