Today, it is essential to know Costa Rica immigration requirements. For those that are coming from North America (and many European countries) immigration paperwork is something that can be obtained rather easily. When you visit the country for the first time, you can stay for up to three full months without a problem. Yet, new legislation has been put in place in the country, and now, the perpetual tourist is no longer allowed to remain there. Every three months, you must leave the country for at least 72 hours before you can stay for another three months.
If you are considering just flying home for the weekend, really do consider the benefits of filing for legal residency here instead. As a tourist, you are able to make money in Costa Rica (but you are likely to pay taxes on it!) and you can own property, own vehicles as well as own your own business.
The process to becoming a legal resident of the country is not difficult, assuming you have the proper identification available and you shouldn’t have a criminal record. Several types of residency are available.
Pensionados: This type of residency is available for those seeking Costa Rica immigration and will be receiving a lifelong pension. You must earn at least US $600 a month and must remain in Costa Rica for four months out of the year. You can not work in the country as an employee here but you can own a company. You can claim dependents here.
Rentistas: This is for those individuals that are retired that do not have a pension in place. Still, you need to have income in the form of investments. You must earn US $1000 a month and show proof of having this income for at least five years, additional income may be necessary for dependents. You must remain in the country for four months out of the year, you can own a business and receive income but you can not work as an employee.
Inversionistas: These are for those individuals that meet specific qualifications but plan to start a business or invest in specific sectors of the country. The investment you make must be at least US $200,000 and you must remain here for six months out of the year. You can not claim dependents and can make income from the investment project.
You can also gain permanent residency in Costa Rica if you have a first degree relative from the country that is a citizen. Or, you can apply after three years of living in the country and having one of the three other statuses during that time. You must visit the country at least one time each year, but you can not claim any dependents. You can work here.
Costa Rica immigration is not difficult to obtain, though you do need to meet these specific requirements. It is essential that you know what to expect when you arrive at the port. To secure your Costa Rica immigration, consult the Costa Rican consulate.