Temporary Residency as Investor

by Quatro Legal Immigration Team | April. 10, 2024 | Article, Immigration

Investing in Costa Rica has been a popular activity for decades, but especially since the pandemic, mainly for the beautiful landscape and diversity the country has to offer, but also, because of the benefit of one time import tax free into Costa Rica. However, Costa Rica is working on beautiful developments and with our abundance in nature, the country practically sells itself.

You have two ways to apply for the process of Residency through Investment with the new regulations:

1. Real Estate: if you purchase a property under your personal name (not through a corporation), you can apply for residency with your property directly. The value of the property at the Municipality needs to be registered as at least $150,000 legal tender of the United States of America. Be careful about mixing the purchase price with the value of the property, they are two separate things. The documents required for this type of investment are:

A. Certification from the Municipality showing the value of the property.
B. Certification from the Municipality stating that you are up to date with the Municipal taxes.
C. Luxury tax declaration if applicable.
D. Certification from the Public Registry showing ownership of the property.

2. Corporation: if you purchase a property through a corporation, you will use the shares owned within your corporation to apply for the investment, not the property itself. Most of the times, a capital stock increase needs to take place, since it is a common custom in Costa Rica to create corporations with a low capital stock value and according to the Tax Agency as well as the Immigration Department, it needs to be consistent with the assets owned through the corporation. The documents required for this type of investment are:

A. Capital Stock Increase if applicable.
B. CPA letter declaring the capital stock increase if applicable.
C. Certificate of Corporate ID.
D. Certification of the Capital Stock Distribution.
E. Certification of being up to date with your tax obligations.

The rest of the required documents will remain the same, despite deciding between one type of investment or the other one. You will need the following documents:

1. Investment documents.
2. Birth Certificate dully Apostilled/Legalized.
3. Official translation to Spanish of the Birth Certificate with the Apostille/Legalization.
4. Criminal Report dully Apostilled/Legalized.
5. Official translation to Spanish of the Criminal Report with the Apostille/Legalization.
6. Marriage Certificate dully Apostilled/Legalized if applicable.
7. Official translation of the Marriage Certificate with the Apostille/Legalization if applicable.
8. Consular Registration.
9. Official translation to Spanish of the Consular Registration.

Please take into consideration that if your Criminal Report has records, the Immigration Department is entitled to request further documents to understand what happened with the record and this will reduce your chances up to 50% of not being approved. This will depend on the nature of the record.

The Immigration Department announced some delays regarding their times for response as they are short staffed, and the amounts of applications have increased. The process will take between 18-24 months to be approved. You and your family will be able to stay in Costa Rica while you go through the process.

Once the residency is approved, you must get enrolled in Caja, our Public Health System and request your DIMEX card. Note that the Temporary Residency will be granted for an initial period of two years and renewable every two years moving forward.

For the renewal process, it’s important to warn you about a mayor aspect to take into consideration when you used a property to apply for the residency: you must keep that property under your name for two years after you get the approval, if you sell it, you won’t be able to renew your Temporary Residency. Because that would be changing the investment, and the Immigration Department would need to review a new set of documents for that investment. Once you become a Permanent Resident (after three years of holding a Temporary Residency) you can sell the property freely.

Please avoid leaving the country for a consecutive year, if you do, you will have to obtain a new Criminal Report with the Apostille/Legalization for the renewal process and work on the translation as well. We recommend that you spend in Costa Rica at least a week or two weeks per year if you are not planning on being here permanently.

The Residency will also lead you to the path of Citizenship in the future, allowing you the opportunity to become a tico or a tica and making your stay more permanent here and enjoy the Pura Vida lifestyle!

For more information feel free to reach out to MARIA JOSE MATHUS at mjm@quatro.legal

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