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Costa Rica - Visas
There are two types of residency visas in Costa Rica: permanent and temporary.
Permanent residency visas
A permanent visa will give you indefinite leave to remain and the freedom to work in Costa Rica. You can apply for a permanent residency visa if you meet one of the following criteria:
- Your father or mother or son or daughter is a Costa Rican national.
- You have held a temporary residency visa for 3 consecutive years.
Temporary residency visas
You can apply for a temporary residency visa if you meet one of the following criteria:
- You are married to a Costa Rican national. (After three consecutive years of residing in Costa Rica you may then apply for a permanent residency or Costa Rican nationality).
- You are a religious official.
- You are employed at an executive or technical level.
- You are a skilled worker or are self-employed.
- You are an employee within Costa Rica.
- You are an investor planning to invest at least $200,000 into a project of national benefit.
- You are a scientific professional or trainee.
- You are a specialized technician.
- You are a sports person.
- You are a journalist, correspondent or work for a press agency.
- You are retired and qualify as “pensionado” - a pension of at least $1,000 per month
You must also meet the following requirements:
- To become a permanent resident, you must be able to demonstrate an income of at least $2,500 per month for a 24-month period, or deposit $60,000 into a Costa Rican bank
For both types of residency visas, if you have been out of the country for more than one year at the time of application you must provide a Police Clearance Certificate from the country where you have been residing. This is necessary in order to renew your DIMEX card (Documento de Identidad Migratorio para Extranjeros). DIMEX is an identity card given to all foreigners living in Costa Rica and is used primarily for banking purposes.
Business registration for residency visas
Companies that meet certain specified requirements can register with the Directorate General of Immigration to be listed in their system, in order to reduce delays when submitting applications of temporary residence for their employees. The following types of companies are eligible to register:
- Companies operating under special schemes for export promotion.
- Companies exporting goods or services outside of special schemes.
- Companies operating in the tourism sector in Costa Rica.
- Companies operating in the financial sector in Costa Rica.
- Companies operating in the sector of telecommunications in Costa Rica.
- Companies with multinational headquarters who wish to set up a subsidiary in Costa Rica.
- Companies that have been awarded a procurement for operations in Costa Rica.
Any person visiting Costa Rica as a tourist must meet the following criteria:
- Proof of onward travel or return to country of origin.
- Proof of economic solvency, equivalent to $100 for each month spent in Costa Rica.
- Possession of a passport that is in a suitable condition and not damaged.
Foreigners wishing to enter Costa Rica are classed into four different groups, depending on nationality, therefore you will need to check which group you fall under. Citizens of the USA and UK fall under Group 1. The varying requirements for each group are as follows:
- Group 1: Must hold a passport that has been valid for 1 day.
- Group 2: Must hold a passport that has been valid for 3 months.
- Groups 3 and 4: Must hold a passport that has been valid for 6 months.
Some nationalities also require a tourist visa; it is advisable to check the specific requirements of your country of origin before you arrive.
The following types of visas are also available:
- Application made by a company, institution or university. Where a Costa Rican company, institution or university requests the entry of the foreign person.
- Artist permits.
For a person intending to carry out a public performance.
- Consular visa.
For applicants from Group 3 defined by the Entry General Guidelines to Costa Rica.
- Consulted visa.
Non-resident applications managed by the Consulates of Costa Rica.
- Exceptional visa.
For foreigners originating from countries in Group 3.
- Family reunification visa.
For foreigners with minor children, major children with disabilities, minor siblings, major siblings with disabilities, spouse or parents residing in Costa Rica.
- Multiple entry visas.
Where a single person is managing several immigration applications under his name.
- Permanent or temporary residency provisional visa.
Where you wish to enter Costa Rica in order to then apply for permanent or temporary residency.
- Provisional visa for religious official and their dependents.
Where you wish to enter Costa Rica in order to then apply for a residency visa as a religious official.
- Request for medical treatment.
Where you are seeking medical treatment in Costa Rica.
- Request made by a company abroad.
Where a foreign company requests your entry into Costa Rica.
- Restricted visa.
A visa request addressed to the Commission of Restricted Visas in Costa Rica.
- Short-term passes to the coast.
Relevant to shipping companies requiring short-term access to the coast.
- Tourist visa extension.
An application for up to sixty further days in Costa Rica as a tourist.
- Transit visas for crew members.
For transport crew members originating from countries in Groups 3 and 4.
- Visas for students, researchers, teachers and volunteers.
For foreigners originating from countries in Groups 1, 2 and 3 wishing to obtain a provisional visa in order to enter Costa Rica as a student, researcher, teacher or volunteer.
For more information and the list of requirements for each of the above visas you should visit the following website:
To apply for any visa you can contact the Directorate General of Immigration of Costa Rica via the contact details below, including downloading application forms from the website, or you may choose to use a private visa consultancy company who can complete the application for you.
Directorate General of Immigration of Costa Rica
Tel: +506 2299 8100
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