Immigration and Residency

Immigration and Residency

Immigration and residency laws in Costa Rica depend on your country of nationality. Citizens of the United States, Canada and the European Union don’t typically need a visa to enter Costa Rica, and are allowed to remain in the country for up to 90 days with a valid passport. They must, however, have their departure ticket booked prior to boarding their flight. No one-way tickets allowed! After leaving Costa Rica, these citizens may return at any point and will be granted another 90-day visitation period.

Citizens of other countries like Colombia and Nicaragua may be required to obtain a visa of up to 90 days, and a restricted visa of no longer than 30 days may be required for citizens of countries like Cuba and Jamaica. You can view the Department of Immigration Visa entry requirement list here.


The majority of foreign citizens relocating to Costa Rica will apply for Temporary Residency.

Temporary Residency may be applied for by the following:

1) The spouse of a Costa Rican citizen

(2) Those of religious orders for religions that have been accredited by the Ministry of Foreign Relations and Culture

(3) Executives, managers, and technical personnel for corporations established in Costa Rica. This may also include specialized, independent workers whose technical expertise is required and the Department of Immigration has approved their work in Costa Rica

(4) Investors

(5) Scientific, professional and specialized persons

(6) Sports figures recognized by the National Council on Sports and Recreation

(7) International press correspondents

(8) Renters

(9) Pensioners

Permanent residency is only available to foreigners that have held a temporary residency status for at least 3 years, or foreigners that have an immediate family relationship with a Costa Rican Citizen. To learn more about the immigration and residency laws in Costa Rica and how they apply to you, send us a message now.