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General immigration rules in costa rica

These General Rules and Immigrations Procedures are to be applied to all residency applications in Costa Rica:

General Requirements:

All Residencies can be submitted in Costa Rica before the Immigration Department or in the Costa Rican Consulate in the country of citizenship or in the country of legal residence of the applicant. If there were not Costa Rican Consulate in these countries, the presentation can take place in any consulate. The applications submitted in the Consulates or in Costa Rica must be presented personally or through a third party with a Special Power of Attorney.

If the request of residency is performed from Costa Rica, it must be submitted a receipt of banking payment in favor of the Government for the sum of US$200 (200 American dollars or its equivalent in colones) in the account 242480-0 of the Banco de Costa Rica, by concept of change in the migratory category.

The following are requirements applicable to all residency regimens:

  • Residency Application signed by the applicant and duly authenticated by a Costa Rican Attorney.
  • Filiation form duly filled out.
  • Birth Certificate: In order to apply for any kind of residency it is required the presentation of a birth certificate for each of the applicants, in the case the applicant has dependants it is required a birth certificate of each one of them. This document must be issued by the appropriate authorities in the place of birth, Apostilled or legalized by corresponding country authorities or the nearest Costa Rican consulate in that country. In the case of notary legalization, this document must be legalized by the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Apostilles do not require Foreign Affairs Ministry's Legalization. If there is a sufficient reason that justifies the impossibility of presentation of this requirement, it is possible to submit an affidavit to replace it, stating the reason of the impossibility. If there is no consular relationship with the country of origin, the procedures can be carried out via third country.
  • Criminal Records: It is required a “CLEAN” Certification of criminal records, either for the applicant as for each dependent more than 15 years old to be included in the residency application. This document must be issued by the appropriate authorities in the place of birth, Apostilled or legalized by corresponding country authorities or the nearest Costa Rican consulate in that country. In the case of notary legalization, this document must be legalized by the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Apostilles do not require Foreign Affairs Ministry's Legalization. This document is valid for six months with the exception that the document explicitly indicates a different expiration date. If there is a sufficient reason that justifies the impossibility of presentation of this requirement, it is possible to submit an affidavit to replace it, stating the reason of the impossibility. If there is no consular relationship with the country of origin, the procedures can be carried out via third country.
  • Marriage Certificate: If the applicant wishes to include his o her spouse as a dependent, s/he must submit a marriage certificate. This document must be issued by the appropriate authorities in the place of birth, Apostilled or legalized by corresponding country authorities or the nearest Costa Rican consulate in that country. In the case of notary legalization, this document must be legalized by the Foreign Affairs Ministry. Apostilles do not require Foreign Affairs Ministry's Legalization.
  • Fingerprinting: For the fingerprinting it is necessary to come to Costa Rica, to the Police Record, which is located in front of “Centro Comercial del Sur” in San José. This procedure must be done personally by the applicant(s). In all cases our staff facilitates the fingerprinting procedures to our customers.
  • Consular Registration: It is necessary for any applicant to make a consular registration in the Consulate of his or her country in Costa Rica. People who do not have consular representation in Costa Rica are exempted from this requirement.
  • Four front Passport-size photographs.
  • Certified copy of all pages of the Passport: All applicants including minors must comply with this requirement. In addition, the first page of the passport must be properly translated into Spanish by an official translator or a lawyer with knowledge of the origin language.
  • Proof of Bank Deposit of US$50 (50 U.S. dollars) or its equivalent in colones to the account number 242480-0 of the Banco de Costa Rica by concept of residency application.
  • Translation: Any document in a language other than Spanish must be accompanied by its respective translation into Spanish conducted by an official translator.

Updated 04/30/2014

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costa rica Residency Categories

Permanent Residency: Direct Family Relationship
Based on Direct Family Relationship with a Costa Rican Citizen. Spouse, mother/father, son/daughter, brother or sister. More...
Temporary Residency as a Pensioner (Retiree)
Based upon the income from a pension or similar of at least US$1000 a month. More...
Change of Immigration Category or Immigration Status
Procedure available for residents who already have a residency approved under one of the regimes and want to change to a different one. More...
Temporary Residency as Annuitant
Based upon proving a monthly income of at least US$2500 for a period of 2 years. The applicant must have a current visa. More...
Student's Permit
In order to study in Costa Rica it is required to obtain a special residency permit for students and to be studying in an academic institution recognized by the Education Ministry. More...
Companies Recognition
Companies working under a special export regimen, tourism companies, financial institutions, multinationals. More...
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Additional Services
incorporation services

Company Formation and incorporation services.

Acquisition of shelf-companies. List of shelf companies available.

Business Start Ups and License Acquisition for new corporations in order to start operations in Costa Rica.

Legalization of documents
Legalization of Costa Rican titles and documents (apostille services). All certifications are originals and issued by the proper authority in Costa Rica. If the document is going to be used abroad it will be legalized by the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the corresponding Consulate so that it has full legal effects anywhere in the world.

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