Retiring In Costa Rica: Your Path To Costa Rica Residency

by Quatro Legal Immigration Team | April. 15, 2024 | Article, Immigration

Costa Rica, renowned for its stunning diversity and breathtaking landscapes, has become an increasingly popular destination for retirees seeking Costa Rica residency. If you’re considering this beautiful country as your retirement haven, here’s everything you need to know to make that dream a reality.


Financial Requirements for Costa Rica Residency: Pensionado (Retired) Program

To retire in Costa Rica, you’ll need a pension with a minimum monthly income of $1,000 USD. This amount can be sourced from Social Security or any private pension provider, and you may combine several pensions to meet this threshold. If your pension is in a currency other than USD, ensure that the conversion meets the required amount.


How to Get Costa Rica Residency: Documentation Requirements:

Despite common misconceptions, all applicants, regardless of age, must provide a full suite of documents:

  • Pension Letter: Confirming a minimum of $1,000 per month.
  • Birth Certificate: Duly Apostilled or legalized, along with its official Spanish translation with apostille/legalization
  • Criminal Record: Duly Apostilled or legalized, along with its official Spanish translation with apostille/legalization
  • Marriage Certificate (if applicable): Duly Apostilled or legalized along with its Spanish translation with apostille/legalization
  • Consular Registration: Along with its official Spanish translation.


Important Considerations:

As with all Costa Rica residency options, note that any criminal records might complicate your application. The Immigration Department may request additional documents based on your records, potentially reducing your approval chances by up to 50%.


Application Process:

Due to increased application volumes and staff shortages, expect the Costa Rica residency process to take between 18-24 months. However, the good news is that applicants and their families are allowed to stay in Costa Rica while in the residency process.


Post-Approval Requirements:

Once your residency is approved:

  • Enroll in Caja: Costa Rica’s Public Health System.
  • Request your DIMEX card: Essential for temporary residents.
  • Residency Renewal: Your initial temporary residency is granted for two years and is renewable every two years. The same Pension Letter can be reused for renewal purposes. It’s important to maintain your eligibility by not leaving Costa Rica for more than a year consecutively; otherwise, a new Criminal Report and its translations will be necessary.


Living in Costa Rica:

We recommend spending at least one to two weeks per year in Costa Rica if you are not planning on living permanently. This minimal presence helps maintain your residency status without complications.


Path to Citizenship:

Over time, you can go from resident to Costa Rican citizenship, offering you a permanent opportunity to enjoy the Pura Vida lifestyle as a true Tico or Tica and all the benefits of Costa Rica residency.

If you don’t apply to this residency category, there is also the opportunity to get Costa Rica residency through the investor and rentista programs.

Considering retiring in Costa Rica? Our expert Costa Rica residency lawyers can guide you through every step of the process.

For more information feel free to reach out to MARIA JOSE MATHUS at

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