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Costa Rica Residency

costa rica medicalThe Rentista and Pensionado program is available to those individuals who can prove a permanent and stable income from investments, pension or retirement benefits. The applicant must live in the country for a period of no less than four consecutive or alternate months, since the date of approval of the status.

1. Pensionado. The Pensionado (Retiree) applicant must demonstrate a permanent fixed income from a pension or similar retirement income of at least US$600 per month. The typical applicant in this category has a government, private sector pension or social security retirement benefits.

2. Rentista. The Rentista applicant must demonstrate a permanent fixed income of at least US$1,000 per month. Generally, those who seek the Rentista category do not have a pension source and instead have investment income. To apply for this category it is necessary to provide proof of the investment and it will generate the US$1,000 per month required under this program. As such the applicant must provide a letter from the bank or financial institution where the investment funds are deposited certifying the existence of that income. It is not required that the funds be held in Costa Rica. The letter can be issued by international banks as well as Costa Rican banks. The ideal letter issued by the financial institution should state the following: (a) That the recipient will receive at least US$1,000 per month in Costa Rica (b) That the investment generates US$1,000 per month in a stable, permanent and irrevocable manner for at least five years. (c) That the financial institution issuing the letter will notify the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (I.C.T.) if the condition changes.

real estate costa ricaThe application for Rentista and Pensionado status is filed directly with the Pensionado/Rentista Department at the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (I.C.T.). Before the application can be prepared the applicant must compile all the supporting documentation that is required as follows:

1. Interpol Background Check: This step is done in Costa Rica. The applicant first fills out an application form which is addressed to the Department of Public Security and signed by I.C.T. In it is a request for the background check which requires fingerprinting in Costa Rica. The background check takes approximately one month.

2. Birth Certificate: You must provide a certified copy of your birth certificate and that of your dependents. The certified copy must be sent to the Costa Rican Consulate for your jurisdiction for authentication. The consulate charges US$40 for each document authenticated. Be advised that I.C.T. will not accept any supporting documentation which has not been authenticated by the Costa Rican Consulate.

3. Marriage Certificate: Certified copy of a marriage certificate if applicable. Also must be authenticated by the Costa Rican Consulate.

costa rica residence4. Proof of Income: If your source is a government pension then obtain a letter from your government certifying the income. If the income is from a Bank or Financial Institution then it must issue the letter. All documents should be authenticated by the Costa Rican Consulate.

5. Police Certificate of Good Conduct: This certification is obtained from the police department where you last resided. This certification also needs to be authenticated by the Costa Rican Consulate. Note that these certificates are only accepted in Costa Rica for 6 months from the date they are issued. If this document expires while you are pulling together the rest of the documentation then you will have to obtain another one.

6. Photographs: The application requires photographs and we recommend that you take at least 20 photographs (10 facing the front and 10 facing the side). You will require photographs for the background search, the I.C.T. application and for the Department of Immigration so you might as well get them all at once and keep them in the file as needed.

7. Translation of Documents: Once you have compiled all your documentation, all documents which are in English must be translated into Spanish. This procedure can generally be handled by the Attorney that you have retained to process your application.

8. Sworn Statement: The Applicant and Dependent must appear before a Costa Rican Notary Public and issue a sworn statement stating that they agree to abide by the Pensionado/Rentista law. This statement can be prepared by your legal representative in Costa Rica. Once you have all the documentation set forth above you are ready to submit your application to I.C.T. Generally I.C.T. will only receive applications that are accompanied with ALL the supporting documentation. Keep in mind that all the original documents that you submit become the exclusive property of I.C.T. and will NOT be returned to you. Once received by I.C.T. the application goes to the Legal Department within I.C.T. who will review all the documentation for compliance. If all is in order the Legal Department will forward the application to the approval committee for approval. If their are defects in the application the Legal Department will notify your legal representative of the defect and request that it be corrected before it will submit the application for approval.

If approved the I.C.T. will issue a formal resolution indicating the date on which the application was approved. The procedures that follow approval are related to obtaining the actual picture residency card and are done directly before the Department of Immigration. It requires a prior deposit of US$100 for each applicant and dependent to pay for your residency identification card.

Resident Investor Status. Individuals who invest at least US$50,000 in project which has been approved by the Center for the Promotion of Exports (PROCOMER) as a priority investment area may apply for resident investor status. If the investment is in a non priority investment area then the investment required is US$200,000.

This category really involves two different steps. The first is to qualify the investment by PROCOMER to determine if it falls within the priority area. Once this initial process has been completed and the certification issued then you can begin the application process which is done directly before the Department of Immigration.


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