The Residency Process: A General Overview Of The Process

by Quatro Legal Immigration Team | Jan 3, 2024 | Article, Immigration

Embarking on the Temporary Residence (TR) application journey in Costa Rica involves a detailed process overseen by the General Directorate of Immigration (DGME). This overview provides valuable insights into the application requirements, document legalization, processing times, and essential considerations for various TR categories.


Application Process Overview

To initiate the TR application, foreign nationals must submit comprehensive information and supporting documents explaining the purpose of their stay, such as employment contracts, investment plans, retirement intentions, and more. Essential legalized documents, including Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, and clear criminal history proof, are prerequisites.


Categories and Options

Costa Rica offers diverse TR categories, each catering to specific circumstances. Investors with over $150K investment, retirees with a monthly pension exceeding $1,000, individuals with a steady monthly income of $2,500, and those marrying Costa Rican citizens can explore tailored TR options. Quatro Legal’s immigration professionals can guide applicants through the intricate selection process.


Required Documents and Processing Times

While document requirements vary based on the chosen category, certain documents like legalized Birth Certificates, Marriage Certificates, and background checks are universally necessary. Processing times range from 10-14 months, covering stages such as document gathering, consular registration, filing appointments, government analysis, fingerprinting, and post-approval procedures. Regular updates from Quatro Legal ensure the most current information.


Traveling During Application

Applicants enjoy the flexibility of traveling freely during the TR application period. Once the local ID card is obtained, tourists’ entry requirements, like exit tickets and economic solvency, are no longer mandatory.


Tax Benefits for Investors, Rentistas, and Pensionados

Recent changes in Costa Rican law (Law No. 9996) have reduced the minimum investment for obtaining residence to $150,000. Investors, Rentistas, and Pensionados benefit from tax incentives, including exemptions on import taxes for household items, vehicles, and professional or scientific instruments.


Mandatory Social Security Protection

Costa Rican immigration law mandates social security registration, with TR applicants required to enroll with the Costa Rican Social Security Agency (“Caja”). Monthly premiums, income-based, must be paid before obtaining the local ID card (DIMEX).


Temporary Residence Validity Period

TRs are initially valid for two years, with the possibility of indefinite extensions if applicants continue to meet TR requirements.


Best Practices and Strategies

Quatro Legal recommends consulting immigration experts before making decisions, planning and preparing for transfers in advance, managing expectations throughout the process, considering the holistic picture of immigration, social security, and tax matters, and staying prepared for potential changes in laws and procedures at DGME

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