Unlocking the Doors to Costa Rican Residency for Spouses

Are you married to a Costa Rican citizen or planning to enter into wedlock with one? If so, you may be eligible for the Residency for Spouses program, which offers you the chance to settle down and reside in the beautiful country of Costa Rica. This comprehensive guide will walk you through obtaining Residency as a spouse, equipping you with vital information to ensure a smooth and hassle-free transition.

Requirements for Residency as a Spouse

You must meet several essential requirements to qualify for Residency as a Spouse of a Costa Rican citizen. These include:

  1. Valid Marriage Documentation: You must provide authentic and verifiable evidence of the validity of your marriage. This may encompass wedding photographs, proof of cohabitation, and communication records, such as phone call logs and emails exchanged between spouses.
  2. Presence in Costa Rica: Maintaining your residency status requires spending at least one day per year within the borders of Costa Rica.

Key Specifications and Benefits

Let’s explore the significant specifications and benefits associated with the Residency for Spouses program:

  1. Temporary Residency: Upon approval, you will be granted Temporary Residency, which remains valid for one year. This Residency can be renewed in accordance with the prevailing immigration laws.
  2. Path to Permanent Residency: After three years of holding temporary Residency, you can apply for permanent Residency without any additional conditions.
  3. Employment Opportunities: As a spouse with Residency, you can work as an employee or independent professional. This opens up a plethora of employment opportunities within the vibrant job market of Costa Rica.
  4. Entrepreneurial Ventures: Residency as a spouse enables you to establish and own a company, allowing you to participate in entrepreneurial ventures and benefit from dividends generated in the country.

Required Documents

To initiate the process of obtaining Residency as a Spouse, you will need to gather the following documents:

  1. Criminal Background Check: A document verifying your immaculate criminal record that is apostilled or legalized.
  2. Birth Certificate: Your original birth certificate or a certified copy that is apostilled or legalized.
  3. Marriage Certificate: The official marriage certificate registered with the Civil Registry (Registro Civil) that is apostilled or legalized.
  4. Application Form and Cover Letter: Our team at CRIE (Costa Rica Immigration Experts) will assist you in preparing a completed application form and a compelling cover letter.
  5. Consular Registration: We will guide you through the process, ensuring its completion.
  6. Fingerprints: Obtaining fingerprints is an essential requirement for your residency application, and we can guide this process.
  7. Passport-Size Photographs: You will need eight passport-size photographs for the application process.
  8. Costa Rican Spouse’s National ID: Submit three copies of the front and back of your Costa Rican spouse’s national ID (cédula de identidad).

It is crucial to note that all documents must be apostilled in your country of origin. If your home country is not a signatory of the Apostille Convention, the documents should be authenticated or legalized at the Embassy of Costa Rica in your home country.

Embark on Your Journey to Costa Rica

Armed with the proper documentation and our unwavering support, the Residency for Spouses program provides an avenue for you to settle down in the captivating landscapes of Costa Rica. Designed to be straightforward and efficient, the process ensures you can reunite with your spouse and embark on an exciting new chapter in your life.


Obtaining a Residency in Costa Rica through the Residency for Spouses program opens up new opportunities to settle, work, and explore entrepreneurial ventures in this beautiful country. By fulfilling the requirements and seeking guidance from immigration experts, you can navigate the application process smoothly. Embrace the chance to build a new life in Costa Rica’s beautiful landscapes, vibrant culture, and welcoming community. Start your residency journey today and experience the wonders this enchanting country offers.

Take the first step towards your new life in Costa Rica by contacting our experienced team at CRIE (Costa Rica Immigration Experts). We are committed to providing expert advice, personalized assistance, and seamless support throughout the process.

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

[email protected]

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get Residency in Costa Rica through marriage?

To obtain a Residency in Costa Rica through marriage, you must meet the requirements set by the Residency for Spouses program. This includes providing documentation of a valid marriage, such as photographs, proof of cohabitation, and communication records. Additionally, you must spend at least one day per year in Costa Rica to maintain your residency status.

How do I establish Residency in Costa Rica?

Establishing a Residency in Costa Rica involves meeting the criteria specified by immigration laws. Depending on your circumstances, you can pursue various residency options, such as Residency for Spouses, Rentista residency, or Pensionado visa. Each category has specific requirements that need to be fulfilled, including providing necessary documents, demonstrating financial stability, and complying with the prescribed residency periods.

How long must you live in Costa Rica to be a resident?

The residency period to become a permanent resident of Costa Rica differs based on the residency category. Generally, after three years of holding a temporary Residency, you can apply for permanent Residency without additional conditions. However, it is advisable to verify the specific residency requirements based on the chosen category and consult immigration experts for accurate information.

How hard is it to get a Residency in Costa Rica?

The difficulty level of obtaining a Residency in Costa Rica depends on various factors, including the chosen residency category, meeting specific requirements, and following the proper procedures. While the process can be complex and time-consuming, seeking guidance from experienced immigration professionals can help streamline the application process and increase the chances of success.

What are the benefits of having a Residency in Costa Rica?

Obtaining residency in Costa Rica offers several benefits, including the ability to legally reside in the country, work as an employee or an independent professional, pursue entrepreneurial ventures, and access various services and privileges available to residents. It also provides a path to permanent Residency, which offers additional advantages and the potential for obtaining citizenship in the long run.

Can I bring my children with me under the Residency for Spouses program?

Yes, the Residency for Spouses program allows you to include your dependent children under your residency application. You must provide the required documentation for your children, such as birth certificates and passport copies.

Is it necessary to hire an immigration lawyer to apply for Residency in Costa Rica?

While it is not mandatory to hire an immigration lawyer, seeking professional guidance can be highly beneficial. Immigration lawyers have expertise in navigating the complex residency application process, ensuring you fulfill all requirements and submit accurate and complete documentation. They can provide valuable advice and increase your chances of a successful application.

Can I apply for Residency in Costa Rica if I am not married to a Costa Rican citizen?

If you are not married to a Costa Rican citizen, other residency categories are available to explore. These include options such as Rentista residency, Pensionado visa, or investment-based Residency. Each category has its requirements and criteria that must be met. Consulting with immigration professionals can help determine the most suitable residency option.


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