There are several ways a foreign citizen can obtain residency in Costa Rica.  Obtaining residency is the way to go if you are serious about staying in Costa Rica, although some ex-pats who live in Costa Rica have become ¨perpetual tourists¨ and do a visa run to the border, mainly to Nicaragua every 90 days, this is a risky proposition because visas are renewed for ¨up to¨ 90 days but this is done at the discretion of the immigration person at the border who can give you less time on that visa renewal or even deny it and then you are in a bad position.  There is of course a bureaucratic procedure to obtain your residency and of course there are the related expenses.  However;  the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. For example, only with a legal residency can a foreigner get a driver´s license, or be allowed to work legally, or get a post pay cell phone, or not need to carry around a passport, or get local prices at many places versus tourist prices, etc., etc., so it all begins to add up.  Let´s see some of the various ways you can obtain residency:



PENSIONADO:       Requires a monthly income of US$1000 per month.  This would be from a permanent fixed income                                          like a pension like private sector, government or social security benefits.

RENTISTA:              Requires a monthly income of US$2500 per month and includes spouse and children under 25 years                                    of age.  This category requires a permanent and stable source of income equal to or above US$2500                                    for two years which equals US$60,000 and is renewable.  An international and recognized bank or                                        financial institution must issue you a letter that states this or you can deposit the US$60,000 in a local                                    bank and can take out $2500 per month.


SPOUSE:                 Granted to the Spouse of a Costa Rican citizen under article 73 of the Immigration Law.


WORK RELATED:   Technical workers, Managers, Executives, Specialized workers, etc. of a company established in                                            Costa Rica. 


INVESTORS:            Foreigners who purchase Property for $200,000 or more can apply for the status of Investor by                                               presenting the proper documentation to Immigration.


SPECIALIZED:         Professional, Scientific, and other such specialized individuals deemed of value to the country.


RELIGIOUS:             Persons who are part of duly accredited religious orders and are so recognized by the Ministry of                                           Foreign Relations and Culture.


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              Permanent residency is a migratory condition that allows the person who obtains it, to remain indefinitely               in the country and with the freedom to work.  Persons eligible to apply for this type of residency are those               whose parents or children are Costa Rican citizens. The other persons eligible are those who have had a               Temporary Residency for 3 consecutive years.