Costa Rican Residency: Types, Tax Incentives, and More

The residency question will arise if you consider moving to Costa Rica. Will you continue as a perpetual tourist, leaving the country every three months to renew your visa, or will you apply for residency? In this guide, we’ll cover all you need to know about Costa Rican residency, including the types of residence, tax incentives, citizenship, and more.

Types of Costa Rica Residency

There are several types of Costa Rican residency, each with its requirements and benefits. Some of the most popular include:

  1. Pensionado: If you have a monthly social security check of $1000, you can qualify for pensionado residency.
  2. Rentista: This category requires you to deposit $60,000 into a Costa Rican bank and withdraw $2,500 monthly.
  3. Investor: Investing $150,000 in Costa Rica, usually in real estate, can qualify you for investor residency.

Tax Incentives for Residents

One of the most significant advantages of obtaining residency in Costa Rica is the tax incentives. As a resident, you can enjoy exemptions on income tax, import duties, and other taxes for a specified period. To qualify for these incentives, you must meet specific criteria, such as investing in a qualified business or purchasing a suitable property.

Citizenship in Costa Rica

If you’ve obtained residency in Costa Rica, you may eventually want to become a citizen. To do so, you must have resided in the country for at least seven years and meet other requirements, such as passing a Spanish language test and a test on Costa Rican culture. However, if you are 65 or older, you won’t need to write the test.

Choosing the Right Residency Option for You

Deciding which type of residency to pursue depends on your situation and goals. Consider your income, investment options, and business interests when determining.


obtaining Costa Rican residency is a big decision, but it can be straightforward with proper guidance. We hope this guide has provided you with a better understanding of the types of residency, tax incentives, citizenship, and other factors to consider when pursuing residency in Costa Rica. For personalized advice and assistance, be sure to consult an immigration lawyer.

-Written by Glenn Tellier (Founder of CRIE and Grupo Gap).

[email protected]


Frequently Asked Questions


How can I get residency in Costa Rica?

Several residency options are available in Costa Rica, including pensionado, rentista, investor, and small business owner categories. Each has its own set of requirements and eligibility criteria, so it’s best to consult with an immigration expert to determine the best option for you.

What is the income requirement for Costa Rica residency?

For the rentista category, the minimum monthly income requirement is $2,500 USD. For the pensionado category, applicants must have a guaranteed monthly lifetime income of at least $1,000 USD.

Can a US citizen live permanently in Costa Rica?

Yes, US citizens and citizens of most other countries can apply for permanent residency in Costa Rica.

How long does residency take in Costa Rica?

The length of time it takes to obtain residency in Costa Rica can vary depending on the type of residency being sought and individual circumstances. Generally, the process can take a few months to a year or more.

Does buying property in Costa Rica give you residency?

Buying property in Costa Rica does not automatically grant you residency. However, it can be used as a qualifying investment in the investor category of residency.

How long can you live in Costa Rica without residency?

Tourists can stay in Costa Rica for up to 90 days without residency. However, after the 90-day period expires, they must leave the country or face fines and penalties.

What happens if I overstay 90 days in Costa Rica?

Overstaying the 90-day period without proper authorization can result in fines and penalties, including being barred from re-entering the country for a set period of time.

How can I stay longer than 90 days in Costa Rica?

To stay longer than 90 days, individuals must obtain residency or apply for an extension of stay before their initial 90-day period expires. The extension process can be completed at a local immigration office.

What are the financial requirements for temporary residency in Costa Rica?

For temporary residency, applicants must demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to support themselves and any dependents for their stay in Costa Rica. The exact amount required may vary depending on individual circumstances.

How long can I stay in Costa Rica if I own property?

Owning property in Costa Rica does not grant residency but can be used as a qualifying investment in the investor residency category. Once residency is obtained, there is no limit to the length of time an individual can stay in Costa Rica.

What happens if I overstay my visa in Costa Rica?

Overstaying a visa in Costa Rica can result in fines and penalties, including being barred from re-entering the country for a set period of time. It’s essential to abide by immigration laws and regulations to avoid issues.


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