Costa Rica Retirement – A summary of the kind of residencies available.

Law No. 8487 of Immigration and Foreign Issues of December 12, 2005 its By-Laws and related laws, regulates the immigration status of foreign citizens who wish to permanently reside in Costa Rica.

This body of laws establishes that the Resident status is divided into two sub-categories, namely:

  1. Permanent residents
  2. Temporary residents

A permanent resident is the foreign citizen who enters the country to permanently remain in Costa Rica. They can enter the country as:

  1. Immigrants
  2. Income recipients or old-age pensioner
  3. Investors
  4. Relatives of Costa Rican citizens

A temporary resident is every foreign citizen who, without intention to definitely remain in the country, enters under the status of:

  1. Scientists, professionals, technicians or specialized personnel hired by companies or institutions.
  2. Entrepreneurs, businessmen and management staff of national or foreign companies.
  3. Students
  4. Clergy people
  5. Asylees and refugees
  6. Relatives of any of the above

The residency status awarded to the foreigners admitted as temporary residents can be annulled by law.

Foreigners who enter the country as non residents can be admitted as tourists. The period granted for a tourist to stay in the country varies depending on his/her nationality.


The Immigration Department of Costa Rica will issue an authorization to enter and stay in Costa Rica, for a specific period of time, for those people who belong to these sub-categories:

  1. Costa Rican citizen’s spouse.
  2. Clergy people who belong to religions authorized by the State.
  3. Executives, representatives, managers and technical personnel of companies established in the country.
  4. Investors.
  5. Retirees.
  6. Scientists, professionals, specialized technicians.
  7. Sportsmen properly credited before the National Council of Sports.
  8. Correspondents and personnel of news agencies.
  9. Who has coexisted with its spouse and smaller children or people with disabilities mentioned in the previous interjections.
  10. Rentists.

Written by attorney Nidia Maria Cordero. Lawyer and Public Notary for the University of Costa Rica. Exercise of the civil, commercial, administrative, migratory, customs and notarial profession rights since 1990.

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