There are Three Main Categories of Residency in Costa Rica
The information below will help you decide which avenue works best for you.
This correct, professional and easy to undestand information is supplied by Immigration Lawyer Marcela Gurdian, owner of Immigration Experts, in Costa Rica.
Marcela is the attorney I trusted to help me receive my residency in Costa Rica. I highly recommend Marcela’s services to anyone that wants to reside legally in Costa Rica and have a smooth and easy experience. I know first hand!!!
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Residency as a Retired Person or Retiree
A foreigner and family (spouse, parents, single siblings and children) can only apply for this type of residency if he is entitled to a lifetime pension of $1000 per month in their country of origin. This could be from a US IRA program, or a 401K retirement plan or a certifiable pension from a corporation, from a union or the US Social Security. The same applies for Canadian residents with their RSP program .The foreigner must obtain a certifiable letter to prove life time pension and this letter must be authenticated either by a Costa Rica Consulate or through the “Apostille”Process. The foreigner will be given a temporary residency and can work in Costa Rica only if he has his own Costa Rican corporation / business and not work for another company. After 3 years of temporary residency, the foreigner can apply for permanent residency with no restrictions.
Residency as an Investor
A foreigner and their family (spouse, parents, single siblings and children) can apply for residency as an investor if the foreigner owns investments in Costa Rica valued over $200,000. USD$. The Investment should be in specific areas as tourism, reforestation, and share ownership in a Costa Rican corporation, properties and/or any other activity supported by the Costa Rican government. The foreigner will be given a temporary residency and can work in Costa Rica only if he has his own Costa Rican corporation/business and not for another company. After 3 years of temporary residency, foreigner can apply for permanent residency with no restrictions. This is one of the easiest ways to obtain and maintain residency in Costa Rica. A retiree can purchase a property as in a home, villa, condo or even a farm that they will retire to, as long as the property is held in a Costa Rican corporation that is legally registered in the National Public Registry showing a value over the $200,000. To maintain the temporary residency for the 3 years all that is required is proof of value and proof of property taxes being paid.
Residency as a Renter
A foreigner and family (spouse, parents, single siblings and children) can apply for residency as a Renter or as in Spanish a Rentista, if the foreigner receives a certifiable monthly income of $ 2,500.00 USD$ for the following 2 years or has verifiable bank investments in Costa Rica of $60,000. USD$. To prove the income, the foreigner must get a letter from a Costa Rican Bank, financial institution, foreign bank, CPA or Law Firm certifying he will be receiving a monthly income of $2,500.00 USD$ for the next 5 years. If the letter is issued outside of Costa Rica, this document must be authenticated either by a Costa Rica Consulate or through the “Apostille" Process. The foreigner will be given a temporary residency and can work in Costa Rica only if he has his own Costa Rican corporation/business and not for another company. After 3 years of temporary residency, the foreigner can apply for permanent residency with no restrictions.
GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR RESIDENCY APPLICATION:
Application Letter: This letter requires all the following information.
Complete name of the person applying for the residency
Nationality, marital status and occupation
Passport number, date and place where it was issued and date it expires
Name of any direct family member (children or wife) dependent on the income of the applicant who will also apply for residency
Date in which the applicant entered Costa Rica
A formal request of his/her desire of being a Costa Rican resident
Specify the type of residency applying for
Temporary address in Costa Rica or the address in the country of origin
Must indicate a place or fax number to receive notifications
Birth Certificate: Must be authenticated either by the Costa Rican Consulate located in the country where the document is issued or through “ Apostille” Process. ( Referenc note below explains the process). This document expires after 6 months of being issued.
Marriage Certificate: Must be authenticated either by the Costa Rican Consulate located in the country where the document is issued or through “ Apostille” Process. This document expires after 6 months of being issued.
Police Record: Must be authenticated either by the Costa Rican Consulate located in the country where the document is issued or through “ Apostille” Process. This document expires after 6 months of being issued.
Finger Prints: They need to be taken at the Ministry of Security in San Jose, Costa Rica and applicants must bring passport and 3 photographs of them selves
Certified Passport Copy: copies of the entire passport (even blank pages).
Special Power of Attorney: Granted by the applicants to the attorney that will handle the residency application.
Photos: 8 passport size photographs or each person applying for residency
Fees to Costa Rica Government: The applicant is required to pay/ deposit $250 for each person applying for residency, in the following bank account that belongs to the Immigration department of Costa Rica: Banco de Costa Rica, Account # 242480-0
Embassy Registration: The Applicant must register their intentions to reside in Costa Rica, at the embassy of its origin country located in Costa Rica.
Reference: What is an "Apostille" or "Authentication?"
Since October 15, 1981, the United States has been part of the 1961 Hague Convention abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents. The Convention provides for the simplified certification of public (including notarized) documents to be used in countries that have joined the convention. Under the Hague Convention, signatory countries have agreed to recognize public documents issued by other signatory countries if those public documents are authenticated by the attachment of an internationally recognized form of authentication known as an "apostille".
The Apostille ensures that public documents issued in one signatory country will be recognized as valid in another signatory country.
The sole function of the Apostille is to certify the authenticity of the signature on the document; the capacity in which the person signing the document acted; and the identity of any stamp or seal affixed to the document.
An Apostille issued by the Secretary of State is a one page document embossed with the Great Seal of a State. The Apostille includes the facsimile signature of the individual issuing the certificate.
There are currently over 60 member states of the Hague convention and in addition to those countries many other countries will also recognize an Apostille certificate. The Convention applies only to public documents. These are documents emanating from an authority or official connected with a court or tribunal of the State (including documents issued by an administrative, constitutional or ecclesiastical court or tribunal, a public prosecutor, a clerk or a process-server); administrative documents; notarial acts; and official certificates which are placed on documents signed by persons in their private capacity, such as official certificates recording the registration of a document or the fact that it was in existence on a certain date and official and notarial authentications of signatures.
The main examples of public documents for which Apostille are issued in practice include birth, marriage and death certificates; extracts from commercial registers and other registers; patents; court rulings; notarial acts and notarial attestations of signatures; and academic diplomas issued by public institutions.
Diplomas issued by private institutions may not receive an apostille (apostillised) directly; however, a "private" diploma may, however, bear an official certificate issued by a notary, Solicitor, Agency or any other person or authority competent under the law of the State of origin of the diploma to authenticate the signature on the diploma. This official certificate is a public document under the Convention and thus may receive an apostille. In such a case the Apostille does not relate to the diploma itself; instead it certifies the authenticity of the certificate on or accompanying the diploma.
NOTE: All documents written in a foreign language must be legally translated into Spanish.
Joseph A. Emanuelli
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