Aug 20 2013

Highlights of Costa Rica’s Residency Requirements AND a Discount on Residency Services

When we decided to file for legal residency in Costa Rica back in 2008, we polled the expats we’d met regarding who they used to help them through the process. Based on the glowing recommendations we received for Residency in Costa Rica, we chose their services, and now we recommend them without hesitation to those interested in legal residency here.

Since that time, there have been major changes to Costa Rica’s immigration laws (effective March 1, 2010). The new law was then enhanced, or “fleshed out” with the passing of the Reglamento on May 17, 2012.  This Reglamento contains the guidelines, rules, and interpretation of the law which Migracion uses to apply and enforce the Immigration Law.

Thanks to our friends at Residency in Costa Rica for providing us with the highlights of the residency requirements per the 2012 Reglamento. The requirements contained in the 2012 Reglamento apply to all applications that are filed after May 17, 2012.

Pensionado – Income (no changes made)

The monthly pension income requirement is US$1,000. One pension allows both husband and wife to apply for residency

Rentista – Income (important changes)

The Rentista monthly income requirement is US$2,500. The exact same amount of US$2,500 per month applies to all applicants, whether or not the applicant is single, married, or married with children.

The new requirement is that applicant must prove the ability to receive $2,500 monthly income for 24 months (2 years), instead of the 60 months (5 years) mandated under the prior requirement. The income can be proven by a bank letter stating the applicant has an account with a balance of at least US$60,000.

Inversionista – Investment Amount (important changes)

The investment made must have a registered or verifiable value of at least US$200,000 (Two Hundred Thousand dollars).

Type of investments:  The investment can be made in any type of business, commercial real estate; and (new) non-commercial real estate.

Non-Commercial Real Estate (new):  This type of investment can include the purchase price of a home in Costa Rica, and the purchase of land to be preserved for ecological, environmental or watershed preservation purposes.

Return of the Tree Farm Investment (reinstated):  The 2012 Reglamento allows an investor to make an investment of at least US$100,000 in a qualified Forestry Plantation project.  Typically, the investment is made in a Teak, or similar genus, farm.

Mandatory Membership in “La Caja”

All applicants are required to become members in Costa Rica’s medical system, La Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social, known simply as “La Caja.” The applicant must show proof of membership in La Caja at the time the residency identification card is issued.

Location where applications can be filed

Applications can be filed abroad, in the applicant’s country of origin, or directly at Migración y Extranjería in San Jose, Costa Rica. Residency applications under the Vínculo Program can only be filed in Costa Rica.

Applications for Vínculo Status by Spouses of a Costa Rican citizen

Under the new law and Reglamento, spouses are granted temporary residencies for the first three years AND must attend an interview at Migracion at the time the application is filed to verify the marriage.

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