Temporary Residency for Investors

If you, or your spouse, have invested $200,000 USD in qualifying projects, or $100,000 USD in forestry project, individually, you could qualify for Temporary Residency as an Investor in Costa Rica.

Requirements for Temporary Residency as an Investor

People who have invested $200,000 USD in qualifying projects are eligible for Temporary Residence under the Investor Category. There is also an option available for people who have invested $100,000 USD in forestry projects.

The Temporary Residence under the Investor Category is valid for two years. It can be renewed for additional two-year periods. After three years, the person is eligible for Permanent Residence. As long as you keep the project you invested in (business, home, etc) you are able to renew your residency.

Perminent Residency

After holding a Temporary Residency for 2 years you automatically qualify to apply for Permanent Residency and after 4 years Citizenship.

Investment Options

There are four different subcategories for the investor option. This is a brief description for each of these categories.

New Business. Investment Amount: $200,000

This category is available for people who will invest in a new business. Whether it is a hotel, a restaurant, a factory, a service company, or any other business, you will qualify for this category as long as you invest at least $200,000 USD.

This category requires setting up a business plan. This category is rarely used as very few people are able to comply with all the requirements.

Real Estate Investment for Residency

Section 79 of the Immigration Law in conjunction with sections 87 and 88 of the Immigration Regulations, sets forth the requirements to obtain residency through the purchase of real estate… Read More…

What to Avoid When Applying for Residency as an Investor

Obtaining Documents for Residency

Popular Terms Used When Talking About Residency

Existing Business. Investment Amount: $200,000

This category is available for people who purchase an existing business, whether it is purchasing the whole business or just part of it. Regardless of the type of business, as long as you invest $200,000 USD to purchase the business, you will then qualify.

Purchasing part of a business refers to when you purchase some of the stocks or shares of an existing company. Regardless of the amount of shares that you acquire, as long as you invest $200,000 USD to acquire those shares, you will then qualify.

Real Estate. Investment Amount: $200,000

Under this category, you will qualify if you purchase real estate for at least $200,000 USD. Regardless whether it is a condo, a lot, a home or a farmland, as long as you invest the required amount, you will then qualify.

Please note that this option is available for people who actually spent the required amount of money in the property. On the other hand, it is not applicable to the market value of the property. For instance, if you purchased your home for $100,000 USD ten years ago, but now it is worth $250,000 USD, you will not qualify as you only invested $100,000 USD. Furthermore, if you invested in various upgrades in the property such as a new kitchen, a new bath, a pool, etc; those upgrades are not admissible for this category. You must have invested $200,000 at the moment of purchase.

Finally, the deed for the transfer of the property must show a purchase price for at least $200,000 USD. Very often, attorneys in Costa Rica report a lower purchase price in order to avoid paying taxes on the transfer of the deed. If that is your case, you will not qualify as the deed does not reflect an investment for the required amount.

If the property is purchased through a corporation, additional documents would apply. The principal applicant would need to own shares worth at least $200,000 to qualify.

Forestry Projects. Investment Amount: $100,000

This option is available for people who invested in a forestry project, whether it is for lumbering, preservation, or regeneration. This option requires to have all the appropriate permits from the environmental agency (SETENA) and the local municipality as well.

Document Requirements

The following are the documents required for filing the application for temporary residence.

Proof of Investment. It will be required to produce a number of documents to confirm that the investment was actually made. The type of documents will vary depending on the particular investment option.

Background Check. This document should be issued by a national authority. For instance, in case of US Nationals, it should be from the FBI. In the case of Canadian Nationals, it should be issued by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. In the case of UK Nationals, it should be issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers. So on and so forth.

Birth Certificate. It is required to obtain a new copy of your birth certificate.

Application Form. We complete the application with your information.

Cover Letter. The cover letter contains some information about you. We will complete the cover letter for you.

Fingerprints. The fingerprints are obtained at a Police Department. We will coordinate with you in order to complete the fingerprints. We can assist in San Jose or Liberia. We drive our clients from our offices in Liberia or San Jose to the fingerprinting place and take care of the corresponding forms.

Certified Copy of the passport. We need to obtain a copy of your passport, all pages including front and back cover. The copy must be notarized by a notary public in Costa Rica.

Consular Registration. It is required to register with the Consulate from your country. We will provide instructions for completing the registration.

Six passport size photographs. We will obtain the passport size pictures on the same day we do the fingerprints.

Government Fees. Initially, it is required to pay $250 USD in application fees.

Important notes about the documents.

All documents in a foreign language must be translated into Spanish. The costs for the translations will vary depending on the original language.

All documents from abroad must be authenticated for its use in Costa Rica. Documents from certain countries require an apostille. Documents from other countries require a legalization. To learn more about apostilles please click here.

The birth certificates and the background checks (and any other documents from abroad) must be issued withing six months prior to filing the application. Therefore, your original birth certificate will not be valid for immigration purposes in Costa Rica. You will need to obtain a new copy of your birth certificate and background check shortly prior to filing.

Additional documents may apply if any of the applicants has changed names. The Immigration Department needs documentation to evidence that the person on the passport is the same person on the birth certificate. Hence, if the applicant has changed names, documents explaining such name changes apply. These documents need to be apostilled/legalized and translated into Spanish.

Processing Time

The application process for the temporary residence has three stages. Namely, document procurement, Government Analysis and Decision, and Registration. 

Important notes about the processing times.

As noted, the DGME takes about 9 months for reviewing the application. The law allows the applicant to remain in the country while your application is pending. Thus, the applicant is not required to leave the country to renew the 90-day visa.

A Costa Rican driver license cannot be obtained until your residency is fully approved and your DIMEX is on hand. Applicants who want to use a foreign driver license during the waiting period are required to leave the country every three months to obtain a renewed 90-day visa stamp in their passport. This seems to conflict with the note above but it is the result of different government departments having different rules.

If you leave the country during the application waiting period, you may be required to produce a return ticket when trying to reenter the country at a border or airport. Whether a bus ticket or a plane ticket is required will depend on whether you are arriving at an airport or through a border crossing.